What makes a good illustrative sentence?
An illustrative sentence will help you:
- clarify the meaning of a lexeme.
- use a word in the correct grammatical context.
- gain insight into the culture and literary style of the language.
An illustrative sentence is an example that clarifies the usage of a particular sense of a lexeme.
Here are some characteristics of a good illustrative sentence:
- It clarifies the meaning of the lexeme.
- It illustrates the meaning as defined in the sense.
- It contains characteristic elements that reinforce and constrain the meaning, such as
- behavior or action
- position or location, and
- material composition.
- See: How to test an illustrative sentence for specificity
- It is easy to understand.
- It is simple in construction (up to about 10 words).
- It is clear in its references.
- It is accurate.
- It is accurate in grammar.
- It is consistent.
- It is accurate in its information about the culture.
- It is true to the value system of the culture.
- It is practical.
- It is useable by a language learner in daily life.
Here are some useful sources for illustrative sentences:
- Literary publications that are
- written by respected speakers of the local language
- traditional, but not archaic (unless you are illustrating an archaic word or a specific style), and
- in the modern vernacular
- Texts of stories and conversations
- Elicited material that a language associate has obtained or provided
Bartholomew and Schoenhals 1983:60-62:
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