English and English-American literature

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English and English-American literature Volume 49
published_at 2014-12-20

Teaching the countability of abstract nouns : a practical approach (宮崎充保教授退職記念号)

Teaching the countability of abstract nouns : a practical approach (宮崎充保教授退職記念号)
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Japanese EFL learners can have great difficulty learning the appropriate use of English articles, and one of the main reasons for this is their inability to judge the countability of English abstract nouns. The present study examined various approaches to teaching the countability of abstract nouns, based on previous research. The study discussed problems with the countable/uncountable dichotomy as well as the demarcation problems with the concept of boundedness. As a practical approach, the present study suggested that the countability of fully uncountable nouns be taught as a lexical property. It also recommended teaching separately nouns which are frequently used as uncountable nouns but are also sometimes used with a unit denumerator such as a(n). Since there is a strong relationship between the semantic meaning and countability of abstract nouns, it seems that a practical method of earning is to check the meaning of each word and its relationship with noun countability. In order to prevent Japanese learners from assuming that all English abstract nouns are uncountable, it would be effective to compare both countable and uncountable forms of the same abstract nouns.