Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 7 July 2010
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.



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The Role of Compounding in Technical English Prescribed for
Engineering Students in Tamilnadu

P. Malathy, M.A., Ph.D.

1. Glimpses on Compounding

Compounding is frequently used in the word formation process in Technical English. Flexibility in compounding and the ease with which it can be applied to express complex meanings and concepts make compounds a great favorite in Technical English.

Compounding is a process whereby two free morphemes are combined as one word. They differ from both derivational and inflectional affixation as they are the exclusive amalgamation of two free morphemes. For instance, the form 'black box', consisting of two free morphemes, may be interpreted as a box that is black in colour, but the concept borne by the compound, blackbox, points out to the fluorescent orange colour box fitted in the aeroplanes to explore the history of any mishap during emergencies.

In the word rainbow, there are two individual morphemes 'rain' and 'bow' to mean two different things, when these are not combined. However, the combination of these two words gives a new dimension to the words, rain and bow, by associating a new meaning to it.

In compounding, when two or more free morphemes are combined, we get a form without any change in their original forms, but such a combination results in some new meaning. Adjacency of these free morphemes ushers in a new concept/meaning.

The prime difficulty in exploring the form and function of the compound words in English is that there are no systematic rules for the compounding of two or more free morphemes.

Perhaps, it might simply be expected that in English, two words will be compounded when they are frequently used together. However, to make things slightly more complicated, the English language also consists of compound words whose meanings have seemingly lost their connection to their constituents' meanings. The meaning of the word deadline, for example, has little to do with 'death' or 'line'.

2. Compounding in Technical English

Compounding is prevalent in Technical English prescribed for engineering students in Tamilnadu, India (and this, indeed, is a good plan and wise move). For instance, the use of the compounds given below, frequently seen in engineering texts, may confuse the students when not expanded properly.

Condenser-extraction pump

An important goal of the syllabus prescribed for the engineering students in Tamilnadu is better comprehension of the compounds with a special focus on engineering texts.

The teaching and learning of the compounds poses some difficulty in the engineering classroom. It appears that the authors of engineering textbooks are more focused on the presentation and interplay of the concepts, etc., rather than on the presentation mode and language style they should adopt to make their texts readable and easily comprehensible. Thus, the compound jargon used in engineering texts often goes beyond the entry level of students' comprehension. As a matter of fact, the conjoining of morphemes in compounds leads to ambiguous comprehension, if the students are not acquainted with the process of compounding and the meaning nuances/results that the combination brings about. Hence, it becomes very essential to resolve the ambiguity of such technical and engineering jargon.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

EAT Expressions in Manipuri | Learning from Movies - 'Slumdog Millionaire' and Language Awareness | Maternal Interaction and Verbal Input in Normal and Hearing Impaired Children | Role of L2 Motivation and the Performance of Intermediate Students in the English (L2) Exams in Pakistan | Problems in Ph.D. English Degree Programme in Pakistan - The Issue of Quality Assurance | Using Technology in the English Language Classroom | Teaching Literature through Language - Some Considerations | e-Learning of Japanese Pictography - Some Perspectives | Is It a Language Worth Researching? Ethnographic Challenges in the Study of Pahari Language | Using a Reading Material for Interactive Reading | Importance of Task-Based Teaching in Second Language Acquisition - A Review | Skill Enhancement Techniques - The Necessary Tools for the Indian Management Students | African American Literature and Ishmael Reed's Novels - Hoodism | Instances of Code Switching in Indian Television Serials | The Role of Compounding in Technical English Prescribed for Engineering Students in Tamilnadu | Polite Request Strategies as Produced by Yemeni EFL Learners | Manju Kapoor's Difficult Daughters - A Saga of Feminist Autonomy and Separate Identity | Reflections on Partition Literature - A Comparative Analysis of Ice Candy Man and Train to Pakistan | Mother Tongue! The Neglected Resource for English Language Teaching And Learning | Breaking the Good Mother Myths - A Study of the Novels of Amy Tan | Effect of Teachers' Academic Qualification on Students' L2 Performance at the Secondary Level | What Is Most Important? Fluency or Accuracy? Is Learning a Second Language a Conscious Process? | Let Us Learn from Our Standard 1 Textbook, Again! - A Brief Note on the New Standard 1 Tamil Textbook in Tamilnadu | Eugene O' Neill's The Hairy Ape - An American Expressionistic Play | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF JULY 2010 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT | HOME PAGE of July 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

P. Malathy, M.A., Ph.D.
Department of English
Kumaraguru College of Technology
Coimbatore- 641006
Tamilnadu, India

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