Activity: Logico-semantic relations

While EFL learners are often encouraged to ‘expand’ on their answers, very rarely are they given explicit instruction as to how. Here’s a quick activity I did the other day to get low-level learners thinking about expanding and prolonging their move in the exchange using enhancement, extension and elaboration (see Eggins & Slade, here). Very simply, enhancement (notated with ×) gives extra information to a clause by adding a cause, a condition or manner etc.; extension (notated with +) adds something new to the clause; while elaboration (notated with =) adds more to the clause by specifying or describing it.

For the activity, The exchange structure is initiate → respond + develop. First, write ‘×’, ‘+’ and ‘=’ on pieces of paper. In groups of four, one person plays the role of initiate while the other three choose a piece of paper each. The first person initiates the exchange with a simple Do you like [dogs]? and the other three then respond according to their card:

× Yes, I do. They are so friendly.

+ Yes, I do. I like cats better though.

= Yes, I do. I like poodles especially.

While it may not, of course, be the most natural of conversations, it does at least get them thinking about how to expand and maintain their turn in the exchange more effectively.