Jeanette S. DeCarrico

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Applied Linguistics

Physical Description

1 online resource (94 p.)


English language -- Verb phrase, Lecture method in teaching, English language -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Foreign speakers




Phrasal verbs are a pervasive and distinctly Germanic part of the spoken English language that has been alive for centuries. They have preceded American history, and yet considered to be "the most active and creative pattern and word formation in the American language" (Meyer, 1975). Distinctly colloquial, idiomatic and varying in shades of literalness and figurativity, phrasal verbs are largely dominant in casual usage, such as conversation, while the Latinate verbs of English are dominant in formal usage, such as in making reports (McArthur 1989). While foreign educators and their students, such as from Chinese countries, are found to emphasize English study for formal and academic purposes, the acquisition of phrasal verbs may not be considered instrumental to the purposes of the students coming to the United States in pursuit of academic degrees.

Because of the pervasiveness of phrasal verbs in spoken English language, and because of the largely conversational nature of American lectures, this study is intended to answer the following research questions:

1. In university classrooms, are the phrasal verbs spoken by native English speaking lecturers?

2. Are figurative phrasal verbs in academic lectures significantly greater in frequency than non-figuratively classified phrasal verbs in the academic lectures?

3. Do certain academic subjects tend to generate a significant increase in the number of phrasal verbs spoken by instructors, of either figurative phrasal verbs, or the more literal non-figuratively classified phrasal verbs?


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