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1.1. The Problem
Since some verbs in English have many meanings and uses, most Iraqi learners of English (ILE) face real difficulties in distinguishing these uses and meanings. In this study some English verbs are selected whether versatile or not versatile in their use and consequently permitting more than one basic clause type. The problem lies in how they can recognize or know the meanings and uses of a given verb and its basic patterns. Although each verb has its primary use and meaning; it can have other meanings and uses when we look at it from different angles having, therefore, additional clause patterns. Verb meanings and uses can be captured either from a syntactic base or a semantic one. Whenever types of verb complementation (obligatory elements) are concerned, the syntactic base plays its role in restricting the verb meaning and its clause pattern. Here, complements, objects, adverbials play their own roles in restricting the meanings and patterns. The role of the semantic base appears when (metaphor, context, style, subject matter, types of arguments in the clause or sentence, situations, communication acts … etc) are taken into consideration as in the verbs “run”, “see”, “keep” … etc. Here, although the verb is followed by different types of complementation, the above mentioned variables participate in shaping the meaning and pattern on one hand. On the other, there are many verbs in English which can have one basic use or meaning; yet they are used in different clause patterns as in “read”, “eat”, “buy”, “smoke” and “teach”. The problem is that these verbs have one meaning or use although they have different clause patterns. This is because each verb has its own features, as in:
1. He is teaching.
2. He is teaching them.
3. He is teaching them chemistry.
Here, the syntactic shift is not accompanied by a semantic one. The point is that these verbs have various basic clause patterns with the same meaning (without any shift in meaning or use). Some of these clause elements can be omitted without affecting the verb meaning and consequently the pattern will change. Here, the elements are optional in the clause or pattern. The omission of an element in the verb complementation involves a change in the verb categorization. These verbs originally have one principal use or meaning as mentioned in the dictionary and they don't have developed meanings.
1.2. Aims of the Study
The present study aims at:
1. Describing the various uses and meanings of certain verbs in English (first group) which are (get, keep, make, grow, turn, see, find, call, run and go) with their basic clause patterns. This group involves a syntactic and semantic shift.
2. Describing the principal use and meaning of certain verbs in English (second group) which are (read, buy, smoke, eat and teach) with their basic clause patterns. This group involves a syntactic shift only.
3. Investigating the distribution and percentages of these two groups of verbs in scientific English (SE) and literary English (LE) and finding the most prominent meanings or uses and the basic clause patterns that they occupy.
1.3. The Hypotheses
The study under discussion intends to enquire the following hypotheses:
1. The verb meaning determines its syntactic behavior or pattern (first group of verbs). This means that the type of meaning determines the syntactic structure.
2. Some verbs in English whether they belong to the (first group) or to the (second group) are highly used in (LE) texts than in (SE) ones. Since scientific English texts are logical, concise, and cohesive they tend to be direct and one to one relation between form and meaning. But in literary English ambiguity, metaphor, and figurative language all require additional semantic values of the verb.
3. As (SE) is direct and expresses objectivity of factual thoughts, there might be less space (possibility) for more than one meaning that a verb might carry or express.
4. In some cases, the type of verb complementation whether O., C. or A. determines the verb meaning or use and consequently its patterns.
1.4. Value of the Study
The study may be of some importance to the learners of both scientific and literary English. It provides them with some scientific and literary materials; moreover, it may also be beneficial to some researchers, course designers, text analysts…. etc. at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels of education.
1.5. Limits of the Study
This study is limited to deal with the two selected groups of verbs in (SE) and (LE) texts: (BL), (GL), (NL) and (PL). To achieve this, 2000 textual fragments are taken from several texts. These fragments are analyzed and classified according to the syntactic and semantic analysis given in Chapter Two.
1.6. Procedure and Data Collection
The procedure followed in this study deals with the syntactic analysis of the verb and then with its semantic one. To carry out this purpose, Chapter Two is entirely devoted to the different uses and meanings of verbs in both groups with their basic clause patterns. The study adopts to a certain extent Quirk et al. model (1985): “A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language ". Besides other references that enrich the material tackled. Data collection is one of the commonest ways that is used for gathering this material tackled. The 2000 textual fragments are chosen randomly.