This chapter presents the research foundation including background of the study, research questions, the aims of the research, research methodology in general, scope of study and its paper organization. The keys of comprehending this research are provided in this chapter.

1.1              Background of the Study

Since English is acknowledged as necessary to enable Indonesians to involve in global community, it is taught even from kindergarten. TEFL is compulsory in Junior High School according to the school based curriculum. In this curriculum, the students must be able to understand and create various kinds of short functional and monolog texts in the form of descriptive, procedure, recount, narrative, and report (standar isi dan standard kompetensi, 2006:P. 212). Therefore this curriculum is a genre-based approach.

However in practise, the term genre is not new. More than a century, genre has been defined as written texts that are primarily literary, entirely defined by textual regularities in from and content, fixed and immutable, and classifiable into neat and mutually exclusive categories and subcategories (Johns 2002:P. 3).

Based on KTSP (education curriculum in Indonesia) there are five genres of the text that must be taught to students in junior high school. According to Harmer (2007: P.327), genre represents the norms of different kinds of writing. They who write within a certain genre need to consider a number of different factors. They need to have knowledge of the topic, the convention and style of the genre, and the context in which their writing will be read.

Since writing descriptive text is included in the curricula, all the first grade students of the junior high school must accomplish it well. However, many students of junior high school still lack of vocabularies which make them difficult to compose any writing text. The lack of the vocabularies can be seen when the teachers ask them in English and they do not even understand. Besides, the students have lack interest in English.  Therefore, many students consider it as the hardest subject to learn.

One of the possible causes of students’ weaknesses in coping up with descriptive text is the teachers tend to use Indonesian or their vernacular, Sundanese, rather than the English one. It brings English to be more unfamiliar for the students. How to classify the word into right word class is another problem for the students. The students find it difficult to arrange the words into correct sentence, let alone making the sentences to be logical and systematic paragraphs.

Oftentimes, the researcher found out that students are difficult in arranging a sentence or even they have no idea to say some words in English. Moreover, some of them do not know ordinary words in English. They are still confused in identifying word class such as verb or noun. For that reason, teaching vocabulary is considered essential, especially for the age of first grade in junior high school. They are facing some materials that demand them to master much more vocabularies. Vocabulary is the key.

Based on the problem above, the researcher aims to discuss the students writing ability. To be specific, it is focused on the student’s ability in composing descriptive text. The descriptive text is the first place to analyse because it is the beginning type of text taught in Junior high school. Thus, the researcher deals with writing ability in this proposed research project because she realizes that writing English through genre is difficult, especially for Junior High School Students. Since they are in the period of collecting vocabularies, the researcher will address seventh grade students as the object of this research.

Actually, there are many strategies to make teaching English more interesting, especially in teaching writing. In this part, the researcher will try to use genre based modeling strategy in improving the writing ability of the students on descriptive text. The researcher assume that through this strategy, the students will be better prepared to understand tenses, vocabularies, expressions, and other language features in writing descriptive text. This assumption is according to Brown (1994:P. 328) who says that to enable the students learning the concepts of grammar change and structure of a text, a model for learning and reinforcing should be employed. Therefore, this research aims to seek how modeling can improve students’ vocabulary in descriptive text.

1.2Scope of the Research

This research only covers a limited number of students for the subject of study. For this research, the focus is on how to make modeling as an effective means to create effective learning process so that the students might show progress in the end of the study. The population of this research is seventh grade students of Junior High School in Kawali 1. As the fresh graduate from elementary school, the researcher considers that their vocabularies are not enough yet to compose a text. It depends on their English teacher at their primary school, though. However, most students show the same symptom when they are assigned to write a text; they are confused and easy to quit. The researcher took only 40 students taken randomly from all seventh grades in the intended junior high school.

1.3Research Questions

The researcher considers that it is very important to make the statement of problem before conducting the research as this following:

  1. How can modeling improve the process of teaching descriptive text?
  2. How do the students respond to modeling implemented in teaching descriptive text?

1.4Aims of the Study

The aims of the study are:

  1. To figure out the ways of improving the modeling to create effective process in teaching descriptive text.
  2. To find out the students’ responses toward the modeling implemented in teaching descriptive text

1.5 Research Method

The researcher employs qualitative approach in this research. This research focuses on 40 students learning descriptive text through modeling. Those 40 students of a junior high school in Kawali 1 are the sample of this research. The data is gained from the pilot observation done by the researcher and also from interview and questionnaire. The obtained data will be then classified into several categories, to find out how modeling works. After those data categorized, the researcher will code them based on their categories. For it is a descriptive text, so the researcher is the main interpretive tool of all condition and results of the research. The researcher then will draw a conclusion based on all the data obtained.

1.6Significance of the study

The Significance of the study is a follows:

  1. To find out the best way on how to implement the modeling in creating effective learning process of descriptive text
  2. To help the students to increase their ability in writing descriptive text.

1.7 Clarifications of  Terms

It is important for the researcher to make clear the terms used in this paper as this followings:

  1. Modeling

If children are to write in a particular genre, they first need to become familiar with its purpose and features through immersion in the genre and by exploring sample texts Derewianka ( 2004 : P.7 )

  1. Teaching

According to harmer (2007: P. 107) teaching is “transmissions” of knowledge from teacher to students, or it is creating conditions in which, same how. Students learn for themselves.

  1. Writing

Writing is process of arranging words into sentences into paragraphs based on certain rules. According to Nunan (2003: P 88) writing can be defined by a series of contrasts:

  1. It is both a physical and a mental act.
  2. Its purpose is both to express and impress
  3. It is both a process and product.

In this study, writing means process and product of expressing student’s ideas in descriptive text.

5.  Descriptive Text

Social Function: to describe a particular person, place, or thing Generic Structure:

  • Identification: Identifies phenomenon to be described.
  • Description: describe parts, qualifies, characteristics.

Significant Lexicogrammatical Features:

  • Focus on specific participants.
  • Use of attributive and identifying processes.
  • Frequent use of epithets and classifiers in nominal groups.
  • Use of simple present tense.

1.8 Organization of the Paper

  1. I.                   Chapter I – Introduction

This chapter presents background on the research, limitation of the research, research questions, aims of research, and significance of the research. This chapter also provides a brief explanation about the method of the research. In the end of this chapter, the researcher informs clarification of main terms and organization of paper.



  1. II.                Chapter II – Literature Review

This chapter presents the result of the researcher’s search on theories or related research studies on similar field. It provides the readers theories which they need to comprehend this present study.

  1. III.             Chapter III – Research Methodology

How to feed the body of this research by the data are explained here. In this session, there would be research design, samples, data collection, data instrument, and data analysis. Many data that needed by the researcher are collected and analyzed in this part. Contribution of the samples gives a lot of objective views in gaining the data required.

  1. IV.             Chapter IV – Findings And Discussion

It is the spirit of the papers. The findings display all results of data analysis. The research questions meet the answers in this chapter. To make it clearer for the readers, the researcher conveys the discussions of the findings

  1. V.                Chapter V – Conclusion and Suggestions

This chapter provides the readers the chronicles of homograph history. It includes the origin and the development of homograph. to avoid unclear description, the researcher also presents all factors influencing the change of homograph meanings and forms




Language is a means to express cultural values of its speaker. The comprehension of cultural substances is the most essential things in the study of a language. Therefore studying English also means fully comprehending the attitude and socio-cultural values of England. It is considered as the reasons of why words rather frequently changing depend on its contexts. To comprehend this, the researcher should go deeper and deeper until the root of the word itself.

To construct a sentence or phrase used to convey a message, no matter in what language, words are the smallest unit of language to form. The choosing of words is very meaningful in term of elaborating the message the user means to deliver about. Occasionally, one word even can stand alone and means a lot i.e. words in imperative form.  Many ways, gesture as well, are used to represent word then sentences. Words are significant.

Profound, words are. Have you ever counted how many words you daily articulate? How many worlds you recognize well? After all, how many English words that actually exist without neglecting original or absorbance language? Enormous is the only answer for these questions mentioned. Then by confronting this condition, in what way you account those words? Since you know that words are various which not an easy stuff is to get it properly used. Many words mean huge meanings; deep quandary; strong speech or weak statement indeed. More words used more consideration taken.

Having huge amount of words in the worlds somehow lead its users to the big hole of the quandary. At junior or senior high school, in Bahasa, the pupils must be ever taught about homonym, homograph, or homophone. Homonyms are the words that sound alike but have different meanings. Whereas homophones are a type of homonym that also sound alike and have different meanings, but have different spellings. In contrast, homographs are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings. Heteronyms are a type of homograph that are also spelled the same and have different meanings, but sound different. Distinguishing those words then position them into the correct construction so that it can be precisely meaningful is a bit complicated. It is caused by the variety of words and its meaning contextually. One should note words are phenomenal.

Doing an observation since childhood, the researcher is still curious in investigating this phenomenon.  Taking translation and interpretation course in the fifth semester, then just more intrigue the researcher to find out the underlying reasons of those. As bell (1993:5) states that translation is the expression in another language (target language) of what has been expressed in another (source language), preserving semantic and stylistic equivalence, the researcher meets another conspicuous phenomenon on it. To obtain the equivalent meaning from the original language, translators frequently change the words into proper context on the target language; even when that’s definitely not the literal meaning of the original e.g. “Do you copy?” is translated “apa kau mendengar?” in Bahasa- taken from the movie G-force. In fact, copy in Bahasa is salinan; tiruan; menyalin;meniru, but  since the context is required different translation word in other to gain that equivalent meaning of the original so that the word “mendengar” is then regarded more representative to be. Words are contextual.

Those phenomena above are simplified into three patterns conducted by the researcher:

1. Same word — > CONTEXT  –> Different meaning

E.g. see            I see you in the market   -    see: look at; view something

see             I see what you’re saying  -  see: understand; recognize something

This pattern is also considered homograph since it produces alike sound and orthographic string.

2.  Different words – context – same meaning

E.g. bring        It brings people to the saddest traumatic moment – bring (cause)

lead            It leads people to the saddest traumatic moment – lead (cause)

In translation, it’s known as free translation whereas literal technique is certainly out of context.

3. Different words – same meaning (in Indonesia) – different context

E.g. begin -  MULAI :  commonly found in the process; technical stuff

Start – MULAI : commonly found in the game; sport

After the contextualizing process, the different words results in same meaning, it is well known as synonym, or linguistically as syncretism.

In the first pattern that has orthographic string, the researcher figures out that many students learning or interested in English repeatedly confront the same problems in determining the meaning of its words contextually. This problem is called contextual constraint. Disambiguation then occurs after they translate it into Bahasa.

Most of my senior high schools students even some of my friends at college, still do the fault in translating English homographs after those are positioned after the sentence; after those are contextualized. For example, when I asked my students in the class after explaining about “noun phrase” material,

Teacher (me)   : “is it clear enough?”

Student 1        : “Apa miss? Bersih?”

Student 2        : “iya miss udah clear ko kelasnya, tadi pagi kita udah sapu-sapu  kelas”

Teacher            : ——–

What the teacher pointed by saying the word “clear” is whether the students already understood what has been explained or not; whether their material darkness has been brighten or not. In contrast, the students recognized it as “clean”. The students performed contextual constraint by the given homograph. Disambiguation is a common obstacles evoked in every context where homograph is in. However, the researcher assumes that British will not experience the same since they are native who know how those homograph works in context.

Similar case also shown by a friend in English department, what an ironic! The researcher only does a little experiment by asking her a very simple question using homograph.  If her friend complains the question, means that she considers it well, otherwise, the contextual constraint is on her. Below is that memorable dialogue:

Siska    : are you like candy? (Giving her a candy)

Widi (not her real name) : Ga ah, ga suka (answering in Bahasa means No, I don’t

like candy)

Siska    : Oh, padahal enak (Oh, it’s delicious actually)

Widi    : iya ga suka aja (Yeah, I just don’n like it)

The researcher understands that this condition not only comes up among her friends and students but others acquiring or learning English. After a long observation done, the researcher concludes that it is triggered by the uncommon context where the words are not usually put. For instance, the word “like” is popularly known as “love” or “menyukai” in Bahasa, but in different context, it can be interpreted as “similar” or “seperti”. For most of same conditions met, the researcher is invited to conduct the research of the homograph etymology. Therefore, after completing this research, there will be a brief insight added on how words are formed and its meanings and senses are changed over the context.

It is intriguing for the researcher to find out the historical background of each word that makes them result in different context or different association even different sense; that make them cannot position freely in every context. However, there still should be a limitation on this research to keep it in context. Thus the study will be bounded on the etymology of homograph phenomenon only. In studying this phenomenon, the researcher ought to be more patient. It is further explained by Crystal: 1995 that:

Knowing the etymology of a word can provoke a speaker to use the old meaning of that word, which will result in so called etymological fallacy, a view based on the idea that the etymology of a word or phrase is its actual meaning

That’s what this research is conducted for. To investigate the words occurrence historically and its etymology related to this contextualizing process; in this case, homographs. Much etymology has been researched, like the given result examined by Crystal: 1995:

Particularly interesting are the pairs of words that at the first glance do not show any relationship, but historically happen to have common antecedents, which is the case with, for instance, glamour and grammar, salary and sausage

The question about how and when they are invented is indeed an attractive question for the researcher.

1.2 Research Question

One of the fascinating aspects is that all words have a past. Therefore, the researcher addresses only one question in this research:

What is the etymology of daily homographs that implies new association and sense of those after contextualizing process?

1.3 Research Method

1.3.1 Research design

This research employs descriptive research design. Specifically, the researcher will focus on documentary analysis of the words phenomenon denoted above. It will be more satisfying for the researcher having two advantages from conducting this research by using this qualitative design. First advantage is to figure out the historical-background of each word which has different meaning and even sense after it has been contextualizing, as the result of the “documentary analysis”. Another reason that goes together supporting this decided design is to obtain the philosophy of underlying reasons that imply those words having different meaning. Secondly as the result of the “research”, this will provide many new understandings on what has been hidden about what word, meaning, and context are. This design will also cover the necessary of discovering the ways to differentiate the words due to its context. Thereby what the user means to convey is delivered successively through the equivalent meaning produced after contextualizing.  Regarding as qualitative research, this method can be adjusted during the actions of this research.

1.3.2 Sample

The sample will be taken randomly from the words regarded as homograph and particularly become ambiguous in Bahasa if the user doesn’t have any idea about it. The researcher’s starting point is a list of 15 ambiguous words (homographs) where each comes together with two associated words that are typical of one sense and a third associated word that is typical of another sense. It has been derived from the most homograph that somewhat ambiguous if the Indonesian does not consider the topical context influencing the meaning.


Sense 1

Sense 2

First association

Second association

First association

Address Location Place Point
Arm Leg Hand War
Ball Game Base Dance
Book Note Group of paper Reserve
Clear Clean Bright Understandable
Close End up Block Intimate
Image Picture Sketch Impression
Lead To guide To bring The metal
Lie Untruth Fib Lie down
Like Love Put an interest on As
Means Valuable Wealth Tool
Party Celebration Festivity Political group
Present Gift At the moment Attend
Patient Calm - Doctor’s client
See Look at View Understand; Know

The 15 homographs above will be then analyzed to figure out the historical background, no matter in what field that lead them to have different association and classified into different sense.

1.3.3 Data Collection

The researcher firstly gathered the data by doing observation in the pilot study toward the phenomenon occurring beyond the words, contexts, and its equivalent meaning. The result of the pilot study denotes three phenomena mentioned-above   which are regarded as homonym, homograph, which has orthographic string and different meaning after contextualizing process, and the synonym, affected by its topical context to be then produces the same meaning. The researcher also called it syncretism. As the research design indicated, she will do a brief analysis of the historical documentary of each homograph to figure out the data relevant to this. Regarding to Bogdan and Biklen (1982 as cited in Bandu,2002:63) clarify that:

Qualitative approach is descriptive. The gathered data encompases: transcript, interview, photograph, field notes, video tapes, documents and other notes.

In line with this technique, Cresswell (1994) in Insani (2003: 30) states that qualitative data can be collected by document analysis or visual materials. Furthermore bibliographical aids and library resources are also needed in gathering the data.

            1.3.4 Data Analysis

No matter what kind of research established, data analysis is absolutely an important action on how the gathered data are analyzed so the aims of the study can be achieved. Glense and Peshkin (1992 in Alwasilah, 2003: 166) argue that:

Data analysis is the process of organizing and storing the data in light of your increasingly sophisticated judgments, that is, of the meaning finding interpretations that you are learning to make about the shape of your study.

In this documentary research, the data collected will be analyzed by firstly categorizing the same symptom occurred. From the documents studied, and the facts reckoned, the researcher is aimed to classifying the historical background of each word so that they can have different meaning in contexts. Summing up the data gathered will be the last to do in order to convince the reader about the result obtained.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This study is addressed in the concerning on misunderstanding toward the ambiguous meanings of English homographs when they are translated into Bahasa. The researcher believes that by conducting this study, she is able to obtain new knowledge upon etymology of words in homograph that since she was in senior high school becomes an intriguing topic. This knowledge then hopefully can brighten the darkness of the historically background of each word that lead them to have two or more associations and senses.

Sharing the results of this research is expected to fulfill the curiosity of, beside me, others who has the same anxious to find the underlying reasons of why the words meaning are varied even it occurs from the same word.