The analysis of conjunctions in writing an english narrative composition: a syntax perspective



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THE ANALYSIS OF CONJUNCTIONS IN WRITING AN ENGLISH NARRATIVE COMPOSITION: A SYNTAX PERSPECTIVE

Paramita Kusumawardhani

English Department, ABA BSI Cengkareng Jakarta



Jl. Kamal Raya No.18, Ringroad Barat, Cengkareng, Jakarta Barat

paramita.pmi@bsi.ac.id

Abstract - The purpose of the research is to analyze about conjunctions as a part of syntax in writing an English narrative composition. Syntax is the study of the rules that govern the ways in which words combine to form phrases, clauses and sentences. Syntax is one of the major components of grammar. Noam Chomsky (2007) stated, “Syntax is the study of the principles and processes by which sentences are constructed in particular languages. Syntactic investigation of a given language has as its goal the construction of a grammar that can be viewed as a device of some sorts for producing the sentences of the language under analysis”. Conjunctions are also part of Syntax discussed in this paper. There are also parts of speech. There are eight parts of speech such as verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections. A conjunction connects words, phrases or clauses. Writing is related to composition and there 4 kinds of composition, they are: argumentation, description, exposition and narration. Data was taken from 20 learners’ English narrative compositions. They were taken by asking the learners to make an English narrative composition. After taking the data then classifying, analyzing and correcting were done. There were some kinds of syntax were found in the learners’ English narrative compositions, they are: 5 items of subordinate conjunctions, 3 items of coordinate conjunctions and 2 item of conjunctive adverbs.
Keywords: Syntax, Conjunctions, Writing Narrative Composition

AbstrakTujuan dari penelitian ini adalah untuk menganalisa tentang kata hubung sebagai bagian dari syntax dalam menulis karangan narasi bahasa Inggris. Syntax adalah ilmu yang mempelajari tentang aturan-aturan dalam menghubungkan kata-kata menjadi frase, klausa dan kalimat.syntax adalah salah satu komponen dalam tata bahasa. Noam Chomsky (2007) menyatakan bahwa Syntax adalah ilmu dari dasar-dasar dan proses-proses dimana kalimat-kalimat dibentuk dalam suatu bahasa. Syntax juga mempunyai tujuan dalam pembentukan tata bahasa yang dapat dilihat di dalam bagian pembentukan kalimat-kalimat dalam suatu bahasa. Kata hubung sebagi bagian dari Syntax dibahas dalam penelitian ini. Ada 8 bagian dalam bagian-bagian kalimat, yaitu kata kerja, kata benda, kata ganti, kata sifat, kata keterangan, kata depan, kata hubung dan kata ungkapan. Kata hubung menghubungkan kata, frase atau klausa. Menulis berhibungan dengan mengarang dan ada 4 macam jenis karangan, yaitu argumentasi, deskripsi, eksposisi dan narasi. Data diambil dari 20 karangan narasi bahasa Inggris para pembelajar. Para pembelajar tersebut diminta untuk menulis karangan narasi bahasa Inggris lalu karangan-karangan tersebut dikelompokkan untuk dianalisa dan dikoreksi. Setelah dikelompokkan, dianalisa dan dikoreksi ditemukan beberapa kesalahan dalam karangan-karangan tersebut. Kesalahan-kesalahan tersebut yaitu 5 kesalahan kata hubung subodinat, 3 kesalahan kata hubung koordinat dan 2 kesalahan kata ketrangan penghubung.

Kata kunci: Syntax, Kata Hubung, Karangan Narasi Bahasa Inggris



  1. INTRODUCTION

Listening, speaking, writing and reading are kinds of skills in learning English and writing is the most difficult part in learning English as what we say is different with what we write. J.B. Heaton (2008) stated, "The writing skills are complex and certainly difficult to teach, requiring not only of grammatical and theoretical devises but also conceptual and judgmental elements".

Writing is also concerned about the linguistics because “Linguistics is the scientific study of language”, Loreto Todd (2007). In linguistics there are branches of the linguistics which one of them has the specific purpose that also help the learners in learning writing. “With writing, on the other hand, language competence involves the association of a meaning with a sign, a visual symbol”.

Loreto Todd, (2007). Thus the study of the language will involve the learners in appraisal of all of the following levels of the language, they are: language, phonology which studies about sounds, morphology which studies about meaningful combination of sounds, lexis which studies about words, syntax which studies about meaningful combination of words, semantic which studies about meaning and discourse which studies about how syntax is combined.


  1. The Nature of Syntax

In linguistics, syntax the study of the rules that govern the ways in which words combine to form phrases, clauses, and sentences. Syntax is one of the major components of grammar. Noam Chomsky (2006) stated that, “Syntax is the study of the principles and processes by which sentences are constructed in particular languages. Syntactic investigation of a given language has as its goal the construction of a grammar that can be viewed as a device of some sort for producing the sentences of the language under analysis”.

Syntax is also one of the linguistic elements that should be mastered in order to be able to write well. Syntax concerns about sentence structure. This is emphasized by Frodesen and Eyring (2010) who believes that, “A focus on form (grammar) in composition can help writers develop rich linguistic resources needed to express ideas effectively”. It means that syntax is very important in composing a readable written text as it is the key of the writing. Syntax can help writers to create the structural sentences into a good writing to convey the meaning.

Crystal (2006) said, “Syntax has some rules in sentence structure such as combining words into phrases and phrases into sentences, describing the relationship between meaning of a particular group of words and the arrangement of those words and specifying the grammatical relations of a sentence”

Loretto Todd stated that British linguists often use the term ‘grammar’ for the same level that is referred to as ‘syntax’ in many Americans. The differences in terminology will become clear when various models of grammar are examined. Syntax commonly studies about the phrase, the clause and the sentence.


J.D Murthy (2008) said that:

  1. The phrase is a group of words which does not make complete sense.

In the east with love and care

  1. The clause is a group of words which forms a part of a sentence and contains a subject and a verb.

Where she was born when I saw him

  1. The sentence is a group of words which makes complete sense

Honesty is the best policy what are you doing?

  1. The Nature of Conjunctions

Dorgeloh (2007) explained, “Conjunctions are also part of Syntax discussed in this research. They are also parts of speech. The eight parts of speech are verbs, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections”.
A conjunction connects words, phrases or clauses. Incoherent or mispunctuated sentences often result from misused conjunctions. There are three kinds of conjunctions: coordinate, subordinate and conjunctive adverbs (also called logical connectives).
Coordinate conjunctions (and, but, nor, for) join words, phrases and clauses of equal importance. They often link similar grammatical parts of a sentence together (parts of speech + parts of speech / phrase + phrase / clause + clause). In a sentence, coordinate conjunctions come in between the individual words, phrases, and independent clauses they are joining.
Examples:

Words : Silk and velvet are my favorite materials.

Phrases : Living in pain or dying in peace was his choice.

Clauses : George continued to make money, but he was miserable.
A special type of coordinate conjunction is the correlative conjunction, which also joins elements of equal importance but also occurs only in pairs, such as: not only … but also, neither … nor, both … and.

Examples:



Not only did he buy a Porsche, but he also paid cash for it.

Neither she nor her husband appeared at the ceremony.

Both my father and my grandfather agree with me.
Subordinate conjunctions (if, because, when, since, where, while, whereas, after, before, until, as if) are used to join subordinate clauses with an independent clause and a dependent clauses.
Examples:

Felice studies because she is ambitious.



If it rains, we must buy an umbrella.
Subordinating conjunctions always come at the beginning of a dependent clause. However, dependent clauses can sometimes come before an independent clause (separated by a comma).
Examples:

Although / Even though it was very hot, they went running.

Despite / In spite of the rainy weather, we went to the beach.

Because / as it was too cold to go to the beach, we decided to go to the cinema.

While / Whereas her brother lives in California, Monica lives in New York.

However, place of subordinate conjunction before an independent clause and you will have a sentence fragment-a transformation often overlooked by the student writers.


Examples:

The man stood at the door. (independent clause)

While the man stood at the door. (fragment caused by subordinate conjunction)
Such a fragment can be corrected by attaching it to an independent clause.

Examples:

While the man stood at the door, the dog barked.

The dog barked while the man stood at the door.


Relative pronouns can function as subordinate conjunctions.
Examples:

We blamed the man who was driving without a license.

Most people feel confident that our economy will not collapse.
Conjunctive adverbs (however, consequently, moreover, besides, on the other hand, that is to say, yet, nevertheless, meanwhile, indeed, anyhow, hence, henceforth, then) are adverbs used to connect independent clauses. Always place a semicolon before and a comma after a conjunctive adverb that connects two independent clauses.
Conjunctive adverbs explain how the first sentence relates to the second. They can be considered both adverbs and conjunctions because they modify the second clause and connect the second clause to the first. Conjunctive adverbs can be moved to different positions in a clause (part of a sentence).
Examples:

The tickets are three dollars a piece; however, members of the club pay only two dollars.

The sky was dark and cloudy; nevertheless, we pressed onward.
A comma should be used before and after the conjunctive adverb when the conjunctive adverb is parenthetical.
Examples:

My friend drove her car to the party; I, however, took the bus.

The other half of the restaurant, meanwhile, stood empty and forsaken
The use of yet and so as coordinate conjunctions has been more or less accepted in informal writing. However, careful writers use yet only as a logical connective and seldom use the anemic so.


  1. The Nature of Narrative Composition

Writing is the most difficult part in English subject as what it is said different from what it is written. Ron White and Valerie Ardnt (2011) stated, "Writing is far from being a simple matter of transcribing language into written symbols; it is a thinking process in its right." so, before the learners starting to write an English composition, they should master the English pattern correctly.

Mc. Dougal (2008) said, "A composition is a group of closely related paragraph that develop a single idea." David Crystal (2011) also said, "Writing a composition with vocabulary and structure which the student has either learnt to use orally or written exercises for each lesson. These exercises may be of various types. The range from filling blanks to the composition and may be modification, sentences composition and paragraph writing."

So the theory of the composition based on Mc. Dougal is the activity of writing which is started by mastering words and the grammar itself.

There are 4 kinds of compositions; they are argumentation, description, exposition and narration. George E. Wishon and Julia M. Burks (2010) stated:

"Argumentation is used in persuading and convincing; it is closely related to exposition and is often found combined with it. Description is used to create a visual image of people, places and even of units of time-days, time of day or seasons, exposition is used in giving information, making explanation, and interpreting meanings and narration is the form of writing used to relate the story of acts or evens."

Based on AS Hornby (2006), "Narration is telling of a story", meanwhile based on John M. Echols and Hassan Shadily (2006), "Narration adalah 1. Penceritaan, pengisahan; 2. Cerita, kisah".

Narratives are stories. Narratives are plots. They are essays that tell a story, hopefully in an interesting way, that also convey themes. Often, if you are asked to write a narrative essay, you will not be asked to research a theory or topic. Rather, you will be asked to use your imagination instead of a bibliography. You may need to research for this narrative essay; nonetheless, the writing of it may come more easily to you for you do not need to quote specific words from primary sources.

A narrative paragraph tells a story or a series of events. It tells what person or thing did during a particular period of time. As White (2011) states:

“In narrative it is activities which are important; in description it is things. And in describing things we are usually more concerned with the noun rather than the verb phrase. Thus, description gives us a reason for teaching features of the noun phrase which, while occurring in other uses of the language, are of particular importance and frequency in describing things, people and places.”


  1. The Nature of Writing

Gloria (2013) stated, “The writing is good when it gives information or messages clearly and creates effective verbal dialogue to readers. It aims to give point of view of the ideas in text where it organizes in different way of writing such as narration, description, exposition, and argumentation”. When students write a paragraph, they try to explore what they are thinking in mind, and they also concern with the language, meaning, and the structural of context related to English language acquisition as second or foreign language.

Mousapour (2011) said that writing must be related to the content, the language and grammatical rules. In order to avoid misunderstood, the students have to use correct sentences by creating a well written text and giving attention to the arrangement of words their composition to express their idea and to give the value of the writing to readers.

Writing is seen as a product constructed from the writer’s command of grammatical and lexical knowledge, and writing development is considered to be the result of imitating and manipulating models provided by the teacher. For many who adopt this view, writing is regarded as an extension of grammar-a means of reinforcing language patterns through habit formation and testing learners’ ability to produce well-formed sentences.

Alamargot et al. (2010) explained that developing writing is related to the writer’s knowledge of language and writing exposure. Writing process is the way the writers give their ideas and messages to readers in the form of text. The writers present their ideas in various ways of writing such as narration, description, classification, comparison and contrast, argumentation and etc. First narration is a basic writing strategy for presenting past event or activities. It can be used for a variety of purposes such as to illustrate and support ideas with anecdotes, to entertain readers with revealing stories, to analyze causes and possible effects with scenarios, and to explain procedures with process narrative. Second, description is a strategy used to create a dominant impression. For example, students describe a place in order to set a scene and make readers aware of its atmosphere and to describe people to show a kind of person’s performance. Third, classification is aimed to classify number of items or ideas into a small number of classes. In a classification of paragraph, it is important to set up adequate categories and define what goes into categories. Fourth, comparison and contrast are to compare similar aspects or to contrast different aspects of two subjects, people or things. At last, argumentation is to argue ideas or opinion by giving some argues to proof the concept or research. A good paragraph must give readers complete information and unified by a controlling idea. It is organized form and can be understood what the paragraph is going to be about.

A paragraph is a group of sentences that works together to develop a main idea. Paragraphs are organized differently depending on their purposes. There are three main types of paragraphs in English: narrative, descriptive, and expository.

A narrative paragraph tells a story or a series of events. It tells what person or thing did during a particular period of time. As White states:

“In narrative it is activities which are important; in description it is things. And in describing things we are usually more concerned with the noun rather than the verb phrase. Thus, description gives us a reason for teaching features of the noun phrase which, while occurring in other uses of the language, are of particular importance and frequency in describing things, people and places.”



II. METHOD OF RESEARCH

Descriptive method was used to do the research. There are 3 types of descriptive method, they are observational method, case study method and survey method. Observational method as a part of descriptive method was used to take the data.

Descriptive method was used as Best stated,

“Descriptive method is the method which tries to give the explanation about the symptoms relating with the recent situation. It consists on the effort of giving the note, the analysis and the interpretation of the recent symptoms which have the characteristics as follows: try to give the fact, straight to the problem and the recent variables aren’t manipulated by the researcher.”

The learners’ English narrative compositions were used as the research instruments and they were taken from 20 learners and it was taken by asking the learners to make English narrative composition. After that, identifying, classifying, analyzing and correcting were done in order to know what kinds of syntax were found in the learners’ English compositions.

II. RESULT AND DISCUSSION

After having been analyzed and corrected, some kinds of syntax had been found.



In syntactical level, the learner used wrong conjunction to connect between one sentences to another sentence. Example: I saw a hunter which was hunting near the river. The sentence is wrong in using the subordinate conjunction. The conjunction “which” is used to connect things, meanwhile, “who” is used to connect people as a subject, so the sentence should be I saw a hunter who was hunting near the river.



The examples of textual errors which were found were:
Table 1 Syntactical Level

No.

Sentence

Correction

Level

1.

He saw Snow White which was unconscious in case.

He saw Snow White who was unconscious in case.

Subordinate conjunctions

2.

There was a king that looked for somebody to help him.

There was a king who looked for somebody to help him.

Subordinate conjunctions

3.

The police knew Prof. Moriarty had killed somebody last night.

The police knew if Prof. Moriarty had killed somebody last night.

Subordinate conjunctions

4.

She always did whoever the King told her.

She always did whatever the King told her.

Subordinate conjunctions

5.

He did a doodle on my book and I was not in my mood.

He did a doodle on my book whereas I was not in my mood.

Subordinate conjunctions

6.

He could win the battle and the sword was so powerful.

He could win the battle because the sword was so powerful.

Coordinate conjunctions

7.

Sherlock Holmes was a clever man but lived happily.

Sherlock Holmes was a clever man and lived happily.

Coordinate conjunctions

8.

Since that tragedy, Andy changed his behavior to be a better person but never be arrogant again.

Since that tragedy, Andy changed his behavior to be a better person and never be arrogant again.

Coordinate conjunctions

9.

However, Juliet’s father had decided the time to marry her with Paris.

In the other hand, Juliet’s father had decided the time to marry her with Paris.

Conjunctive adverbs

10.

Romeo kissed Juliet’s lips for the last time although the sleeping potion had worked.

Romeo kissed Juliet’s lips for the last time; meanwhile, the sleeping potion had worked.

Conjunctive adverbs

Based on the above description, there are 10 sentences in syntactical level. 5 of them are about subordinate conjunctions, 3 of them are about coordinate conjunctions and 2 of them are about conjunctive adverbs.



  1. Syntactical in subordinate conjunctions

Subordinate conjunctions are used to join subordinate clauses with independent clauses. Subordinate conjunctions are: if, because, when, since, where, while, whereas, after, before, until and as if.

  1. He saw Snow White which was unconscious in case. The sentence is wrong because the sentence uses “which” as the conjunction. “which” as the conjunction is used to connect things meanwhile the subject of the sentence is Snow White so the conjunction should use “who”. The correct sentence is He saw Snow White who was unconscious in case.

  2. There was a king that looked for somebody to help him. The sentence is wrong because “thatas the conjunction used to connect things and the sentence needs a conjunction to connect subject. So “who” is used to connect subject and the correct sentence is There was a king who looked for somebody to help him.

  3. The police knew Prof. Moriarty had killed somebody last night. The sentence is wrong because it needs a conjunction to connect two sentences and the appropriate conjunction for the sentence is “if”. The correct sentence is The police knew if Prof. Moriarty had killed somebody last night.

  4. She always did whoever the King told her. The sentence is wrong because a conjunction to connect nouns is needed in the sentence meanwhile “whoever” is used to connect people so “whatever” is used to connect nouns. The correct sentence is She always did whatever the King told her.

  5. He did a doodle on my book and I was not in my mood. The sentence is wrong because “and” as the conjunction is not appropriate in the sentence. “whereas” is more appropriate to use in the sentence. The correct sentence is He did a doodle on my book whereas I was not in my mood.




  1. Syntactical in coordinate conjunctions

Coordinate conjunctions are used to join words, phrases and clauses of equal importance. Coordinate conjunctions are: and, but, or, nor and for. Correlative conjunctions, such as not only … but also, neither … nor, both … and, and relative pronouns, such as who, what, which, whom, whose, when, where, are also part of coordinate conjunctions.

  1. He could win the battle and the sword was so powerful. The sentence is wrong because the use of “and” as the conjunction is not appropriate in the sentence. “because” is more appropriate to use in the sentence so the correct sentence is He could win the battle because the sword was so powerful.

  2. Sherlock Holmes was a clever man but lived happily. The sentence is wrong and the explanation is same as the first sentence explanation. “and” as the conjunction is more appropriate to use in the sentence and the correct sentence is Sherlock Holmes was a clever man and lived happily.

  3. Since that tragedy, Andy changed his behavior to be a better person but never be arrogant again. The sentence is wrong and the explanation is same as the first and the second sentence. “and” as the conjunction is more appropriate to use in the sentence and the correct sentence is Since that tragedy, Andy changed his behavior to be a better person and never be arrogant again.




  1. Syntactical in conjunctive adverb

Conjunctive adverb is adverb used to connect independent clauses. The conjunctive adverbs are however, consequently, moreover, besides, on the other hand, that is to say, furthermore, nevertheless, meanwhile, indeed, anyhow, hence, and henceforth. Always place a semicolon (;) before and a comma (,) after a conjunctive adverb that connect two independent clauses.

  1. However, Juliet’s father had decided the time to marry her with Paris. The sentence is wrong because “however” isn’t appropriate in the sentence. “in the other hand” is more appropriate to use in the sentence. The correct sentence is In the other hand, Juliet’s father had decided the time to marry her with Paris.

  2. Romeo kissed Juliet’s lips for the last time although the sleeping potion had worked. The sentence is wrong and the explanation is same as the first sentence above. “meanwhile” is more appropriate to use in the sentence and the correct sentence is Romeo kissed

  3. Juliet’s lips for the last time; meanwhile, the sleeping potion had worked.


IV. CONCLUSIONS

Based on the research result that has been conducted, grammar, where this research focused in syntax, such as conjunctions, is not the only component in writing.

Beside grammar, there are other components of writing that must be noticed by the learners, such as mechanics, organization, word choice, purpose, audience, process and content.

Awareness of the other components of writing that is very important for the learners. Grammar should not only be focused by the learners, other components in writing are also need to be concerned in order to be able to create a good writing especially a narrative composition. It could be useless if grammar can be mastered well by the learners but other components in writing are not noticed.




BIBLIOGRAPHY

Alamargot, Dennis. Fayol, Michel. (2010). Modelling Development of Written Composition. Journal of Second Language Writing. 23-47.

Best, John, W. (2006). Research in Education. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Chomsky, Noam A. (2006). A Transformational Approach to Syntax: Oxford Journal. 337-371.

Chomksy, Noam A. (2007). Conditions of Rules of Grammar: Journal of English Linguistics. 3-50.

Crystal, David. (2006). A Contrastive Study of English Syntax: International Journal of English Linguistics. 63-70.

Crystal, David. (2011). A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. USA: Cambridge University Press.

Dorgeloh, Heidrun. (2007). Conjunction in Sentence: Journal of Pragmatics: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language Studies. 1761-1779.

Dougal, Mc. (2008). Little English. USA: Cambridge University Press.

Echols, John M. and Hassan Shadily. (2006). Kamus Inggris Indonesia. Jakarta: PT. Gramedia.

Frodesen, J. & J. Eyring. (2010). Grammar Dimension: Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics. 90-100.

Heaton, J.B. (2008). Writing English Language Tests. New York: Longman Group.

Hornby, AS. (2006). Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English. New York: Oxford University Press.

Mousapour, Giti. (2011). A Study of EFL Learners’ Writing Skill: Intenational Journal of English Linguistics. 299-307.

Murthy, JD. (2008). Contemporary English Grammar for Scholars and Students. New Delhi: Book Palace.

Park, Gloria. (2013). Writing is a Way of Knowing: Writing and Identity. English Language Teaching Journal. 336-345.

Ron, White, and Valerie Ardnt. (2011). Process Writing. London: Longman Group.

Todd, Loreto. (2007). An Introduction to Linguistics. Singapore: Longman.

Wishon, George E., and Julia M. Burks. (2010). Let’s Write English. New York: American Book Company.



AUTHOR’S PROFILE

The author, Paramita Kusumawardhani, M.Pd is one of the English Lecturers at Bina Sarana Infomatika (BSI) Cengkareng, West Jakarta. Having finished her study majoring in English Education from Indraprasta PGRI University in 2006 then she continued her graduate study, still in Indraprasta PGRI University in English Education and finished her study in May 2012



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