Communicating in the Face of Racism: Infinitive v. Gerund Verbal Complements in English
As COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, Asian Americans and Asian immigrants have experienced an increase in racist attacks. This paper presents a lesson plan that is intended to help English as a Second Language (ESL) learners of East Asian origin communicate in the face of racial discrimination. In addition to outlining this teaching technique, the article provides a linguistic analysis of the lesson plan’s grammatical focus: the distinction between infinitive and gerund verbal complements. The author argues that the Bolinger Principle, a theory that articulates the reasoning behind this distinction, provides an effective and meaning-informed teaching strategy for teaching infinitives and gerunds. The purpose of the article is to offer guidance for teachers who may wish to use this form-focused technique in their own classrooms.
Keywords: ESL, racism, Asian immigrants, infinitive complements, gerund complements, Bolinger Principle