Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    14
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Tdol, Casiopia....I need help.

    I want to know whether words like sale, exhibition , robbery, war etc are abstract nouns. I thought they were , but many of the other English language teachers in our school have their doubts about that .If not, what category do they belong to??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Tdol, Casiopia....I need help.

    All I can offer, at this late hour, is a bit of food for thought.

    From CyberGrammar,

    Both count and noncount nouns can be subdivided into concrete and abstract nouns. Concrete nouns are those which have measurable or observable referents, such as table or rain, whereas abstract nouns refer to ideas, emotions and concepts, such as thought, fear and determination.

    Although in many instances the distinction between the observable, quantifiable nature of concrete nouns and the abstracted, conceptualised quality of abstract nouns is easy to see, it is important to be aware that very often the distinction is less clear. Often expert grammarians will argue about whether a given noun is concrete or abstract. In the sentence, England has an outstanding national football team, it is debatable whether the noun 'team' is concrete because it refers very specifically to a team of identifiable players or abstract because it refers to the notion of a group of people working collectively together.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    14
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Tdol, Casiopia....I need help.

    Food for thought indeed!!!! Thanks any way Casiopia .

    Anybody else has anything to say about this ????

  4. #4
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is online now Harmless drudge
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    15,332
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Tdol, Casiopia....I need help.

    The issue of whether a noun is abstract or not often comes down to whether it has a pysical manifestation. To take Casi's example, 'team' can be an abstract reference to a variable number of people working or playing together, or it can be a concrete reference to, say, 11 people playing on one side in a football (soccer) match.

    Your four examples can be seen in various ways:

    sale
    • an abstract reference to the process of selling, as in The Sale of Goods Act, 1966
    • a concrete reference to a particular thing happening in a shop, as in 'At the time of the sale - recorded on the till receipt, presented to the court as defence exhibit B - the accused was at home with three witnesses'. (I'm not sure I'd call this abstract, but some might). 'Sale' can also refer to a particular event: 'there's a sale on at that shop.'


    exhibition
    • abstract reference to the pocess of showing something
    • concrete reference to a particular instance, of a thing being shown. Again, there's a particular use of exhibition, as in The Ideal Home Exhibition - this sort of exhibition is more obviously concrete.


    robbery
    • abstract reference to the taking of something without the owner's permission and the intention of permanently depriving (to rule out 'borrowing')
    • concrete reference to a particular crime


    war
    • abstract reference to the principle of being in a belligerent state
    • concrete reference to a particular blood-bath

    This last one is interesting. Latin had the word bellum (as you can see in the word 'belligerent') for something fine and abstract, involving order and organization. When Julius Caesar encounted the Germanic fighting methods (not pitched battles with orderly arrangements of troops), they had to borrow the local word WERRA to refer to it. But there was no 'w' in Latin, so Vulgar Latin coined the word 'guerra'.

    My knee-jerk reaction was to agree with you girija, and regard them all as abstract. But there is a way of interpreting them all as having a more concrete reference too.

    b

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    14
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Tdol, Casiopia....I need help.

    Thanks a ton BobK !! I had sleepless nights with that one . So the bottom line is to ignore such words when we teach abstract nouns at the intermediate level because the explanation may become too confusing for them. Right?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Tdol, Casiopia....I need help.

    Quote Originally Posted by girija View Post
    So the bottom line is to ignore such words when we teach abstract nouns at the intermediate level because the explanation may become too confusing for them.
    Not at all. Knowledge is power, so you may want to consider teaching what you know: some nouns are hard to classify, even for grammarians. Make a class activity out of it. Have students come up with nouns that could be both abstract and concrete. The activity will certainly provide your students with an opportunity to learn more about the subject, and it might even lead to this question, Why are nouns even classified into abstract and concrete categories?

    What students do in fact find confusing is what they're supposed to do with the knowledge that nouns are abstract and/or concrete. How does that information help them as language learners? Does it make them better speakers? Writers? If so, how? It's a good question, indeed. Would you happen to know why it is that nouns are classified in that way and why we teach them?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    14
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Tdol, Casiopia....I need help.

    Casiopia , that leads us to the same old question....why teach formal grammar at all , why not just the functional ???? When I went to school ,no body taught me formal grammar, and sometimes I wonder what I am doing ,teaching seventh graders about phrases and clauses!!!!! It is part of the syllabus , but is it necessary ???
    Last edited by girija; 02-Apr-2007 at 16:03.

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    41,618
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Tdol, Casiopia....I need help.

    How much of the syllabus is grammar? I am happy teaching grammar, but only as part of the cocktail.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    14
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Tdol, Casiopia....I need help.

    Tdol, it is not all grammar , we do have other stuff like poetry and creative writing too. But, in grammar we teach them( in the 6th and 7th grades) about transitive and intransitive verbs, active and passive voices, converting phrases into clauses ,clauses to phrases etc.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Tdol, Casiopia....I need help.

    Quote Originally Posted by girija View Post
    it is not all grammar, we do have other stuff like poetry and creative writing too.
    Ah, yes, and there's poetry and creativity in Grammar, too.

Similar Threads

  1. Hi Tdol
    By Blearbunty in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-Sep-2006, 17:10
  2. thanks tdol !!!
    By yaowu in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 15-Apr-2005, 20:00
  3. to Tdol
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 30-Apr-2004, 18:36
  4. TO TDOL AND MIKENEWYORK.
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 29-Apr-2004, 00:37

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Hotchalk