The three fundamental components of clarifying language – whether it be grammar, functional language, or vocabulary – are meaning, form, and pronunciation (or MFP). Principally, you want to teach them in a systematic order with meaning always coming first i.e. after teaching meaning, teach form and pronunciation (MFP) OR pronunciation and form (MPF). However, whichever way you do it, always remember to do it in a systematic order – starting with meaning.
- Meaning: You always want to convey the general meaning first and then clarify further with CCQs (Comprehension Check Questions).
- CCQs: Are questions that deepen the understanding of a word i.e. the basic definition of the word ‘filthy’ might be something that is dirty; a CCQ could be: “Does ‘filthy’ mean kind of dirty or really dirty?” You want CCQs to be limited in scope i.e. yes-or-no questions or limited to two options (e.g. dirty or really dirty).
- Form: You want to indicate the overall part of speech you’re dealing with – i.e. adjective, noun, verb, phrase, expression etc. – and then get into more subtle things – i.e. countable vs. uncountable nouns, irregular verb conjugations etc.
- Pronunciation: If it’s a single word, then you want to point out at the very least: 1) The number of syllables; 2) Where the main stress occurs. You can go deeper by pointing out individual sounds – i.e. pronunciation of -ed and plural -s endings, vowel sounds, how the /t/ and /d/ sounds are pronounced etc. If you are dealing with a phrase or a complete sentence, then focus on sentence stress and weak forms. If you are dealing with questions, indicate intonation markers i.e. for yes/no questions intonation generally rises while with open-ended questions intonation falls.
Note: Although CCQs are strongly related to clarifying meaning, they can also be used to further clarify form and pronunciation i.e. Does the word ‘rice’ take an -s ending to become plural? Do we pronounce the ‘h’ sound in the word ‘hour’?