Harsh Words: English Words for Chinese Learners 9622097170, 9789622097179

Many Chinese learners find it difficult to learn English words they are difficult to spell and say, change forms from no

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Harsh Words: English Words for Chinese Learners
 9622097170, 9789622097179

Table of contents :
Contents
Acknowledgements
1 Introduction
2 Word Collecting
3 Word Processing
4 Training Independent VocabularyLearners
5 Direct Vocabulary Learning
6 Indirect Vocabulary Learning
7 Vocabulary Size and Tests
8 Computer-aided Vocabulary Learning
9 English Words and Chinese ErrorsIntroduction
10 Fun Vocabulary Learning Activities
Answer Key
References
Appendix
Index

Citation preview

Harsh Word s

Hong Kong University Press thanks Xu Bin g for writing the Press's name i n hi s Squar e Word Calligraph y fo r th e cover s o f its books. For furthe r information , se e p . iv.

Harsh Word s

English Words (or Chinese Learners

Monica Hil l

* if c * *

£

IB L *fc

H O N G KON G U N I V E R S I T Y P R E S S

Hong Kon g University Pres s 1 4 / F H i n g W a i Centr e 7 Ti n Wa n Pray a Roa d Aberdeen H o n g Kon g © H o n g Kon g Universit y Pres s 200 5 ISBN 96 2 20 9 71 7 0

All right s reserved . N o p o r t i o n o f thi s publicatio n ma y b e r e p r o d u c e d o r transmitted i n an y for m o r b y any means , electroni c o r mechanical , includin g photocopy, recording , o r an y informatio n storag e o r retrieva l system , withou t permission i n writin g fro m th e publisher .

Secure On-lin e O r d e r i n g h t t p : / / www.hkupress.or g

British Librar y Cataloguing-in-Publicatio n Dat a A catalogu e recor d fo r thi s boo k i s availabl e fro m th e Britis h Library . Printed an d boun d b y Green Productio n (Overseas ) Grou p in Hon g Kong, Chin a

Hong Kong University Press is honoured tha t Xu Bing, whose art explore s the comple x theme s o f languag e acros s cultures , ha s writte n th e Press' s name i n hi s Squar e Wor d Calligraphy . Thi s signal s ou r commitmen t t o cross-cultural thinkin g and th e distinctiv e nature o f our English-languag e books publishe d i n China . "At firs t glance , Squar e Wor d Calligraph y appear s t o b e nothin g mor e unusual tha n Chines e characters , bu t i n fac t i t is a new way of renderin g English word s i n th e forma t o f a squar e s o the y resembl e Chines e characters. Chines e viewer s expec t t o b e abl e t o rea d Squar e wor d Calligraphy bu t cannot . Wester n viewers , howeve r ar e surprise d t o fin d they can rea d it . Delight erupts when meanin g is unexpectedly revealed. " — Britta Erickson , The Art ofXu Bing

Contents

Acknowledgements vi Chapter 1 Introductio

i n1

Chapter 2 Wor

d Collectin g 7

Chapter 3 Wor

d Processin g 2

Chapter 4 Trainin Chapter 5 Direc

g I n d e p e n d e n t Vocabular y Learner s 3 t Vocabular y Learnin g 5

Chapter 6 Indirec Chapter 7 Vocabular

Chapter 1 0 F u

3 1

t Vocabular y Learnin g 7

5

y Siz e a n d Test s 9

3

Chapter 8 Computer-aide Chapter 9 Englis

1

d Vocabular y Learnin g 11

h Word s a n d Chines e Error s 12

n Activitie s fo r Presentin g Vocabular y 13

3 7 7

Answer Key 14

7

References 16

3

Appendix 1 16

9

Appendix 2 17

3

Index

Acknowledgements

When I first started to look more closely at English vocabulary learning, I foun d Paul Nation' s wor k a godsen d — writte n clearl y an d concisel y i n a wa y tha t even simpl e mind s lik e min e coul d follow . I hav e mad e man y reference s t o his wor k her e a s h e was , unknowingly , m y first mento r an d I appreciat e hi s gentle wisdo m an d soun d advice . I als o ha d th e goo d fortun e t o b e introduce d t o Bati a Laufe r an d he r research whic h too k m e furthe r alon g th e line . I greatly value th e guidanc e I received from he r togethe r with th e fun time s we have enjoyed a t conference s and elsewhere . Many othe r researcher s an d teacher s hav e inspire d m e wit h a bette r understanding o f vocabular y teachin g an d learning , includin g Michae l McCarthy, Pau l Meara , Norber t Schmit t an d Pete r G u Yongqi. I a m trul y gratefu l t o m y friends, colleague s an d student s a t th e Englis h Centre a t th e Universit y o f Hon g Kon g wh o hav e encourage d m e i n m y vocabulary researc h an d give n m e assistanc e an d feedbac k o n m y projects , materials, tests and websites. I would particularly like to thank th e MA Applied Linguistics an d Diplom a i n Englis h Languag e Teachin g student s wh o hav e suggested thei r favourit e way s of presentin g vocabular y an d opene d m y eye s to th e challenge s o f teachin g i n th e Chines e classroom . The constructiv e comment s fro m th e anonymou s reviewer s hav e als o helped shap e thi s int o a bette r organize d an d cleare r structur e tha t shoul d be easie r fo r reader s t o follow . I am grateful t o Pearson Educatio n fo r permissio n t o use the extrac t fro m the Longman Essential Activator and t o Orion Publishin g Grou p for permissio n to us e Everyman s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases revise d fro m Pete r Roget's Thesaurus by D. C. Browning, originall y publishe d b y J. M . Dent .

VIM ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

S

Lastly I' d lik e t o than k Tess a fo r he r drawings , Nikk i fo r he r word s o f wisdom an d Fran k fo r hi s tireles s proofreadin g an d helpfu l suggestion s o n earlier version s o f gobbledygook . Al l thre e hav e provide d endles s encouragement. Ther e woul d b e man y mor e glitche s i n thi s ha d i t not bee n for thei r feedbac k an d support .

PF

Introduction

The Importanc e o f Vocabular y Teachin g an d Learnin g One o f th e mos t difficul t challenge s fo r languag e learner s i s t o lear n th e meanings an d us e o f th e word s the y nee d t o maste r i f the y ar e t o b e abl e t o understand an d communicat e in a second or foreign language . While gramma r is also important , word s ar e th e buildin g block s t o communication . Beginners can often mak e themselves understood with basic content words (such a s noun s an d verbs ) an d gestures , eve n thoug h th e grammatica l rule s are lacking . A two-year-ol d ca n loo k jealously a t he r new-bor n bab y siste r i n her mother's arms, point to the baby's bed an d shout 'Bab y — cot!' an d clearl y make he r point , without using any grammatical nicetie s such a s 'Please Mum , put th e ne w baby dow n an d giv e m e a cuddle. ' In a simila r vein , ar e visitor s t o a foreig n countr y mor e likel y t o carr y a dictionary/phrase boo k o r a grammar book ? Which i s more likel y to provid e a quic k solutio n whe n strugglin g t o conve y a basic meaning ? This doe s no t mean , however , tha t gramma r i s a n insignifican t par t o f language learning . Knowing the meanings of words in a text allows the reade r to hav e a genera l ide a o f wha t a passag e i s about , bu t knowledg e o f th e grammatical structur e coul d b e th e ke y t o understandin g th e nuance s an d subtleties, followin g a n argumen t an d appreciatin g th e style .

Who Shoul d Rea d Thi s Book ? This book is intended fo r all those who would like to know more abou t Englis h vocabulary teaching , whethe r the y ar e traine e teachers , takin g postgraduat e courses in teachin g English as a second o r foreign language , or simply looking for ne w ideas .

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H WORDS ! ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

It i s als o writte n particularl y wit h th e Chines e learne r i n min d an d wil l focus closel y o n th e kind s o f error s frequentl y mad e b y students whos e firs t language i s Cantonese o r Putonghua. Th e mai n theor y and practice, however , are applicabl e t o al l student s regardles s o f thei r mothe r tongue . This boo k doe s no t se t ou t t o b e a n all-encompassin g researc h stud y o f everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know abou t vocabulary. Severa l excellent works have alread y bee n writte n wit h th e researc h postgraduat e studen t i n mind . This one i s written for a more genera l audienc e who will appreciate som e basi c theoretical framewor k o n whic h t o han g simpl e an d effectiv e vocabular y teaching an d learnin g technique s an d strategies .

Background t o th e Teachin g o f Englis h Vocabular y A language cours e need s t o hav e a balanced coverag e o f th e fou r mai n skills : reading, writing , listenin g an d speaking . Vocabular y teachin g i s a n essentia l component o f all four o f these and s o learners need t o have the opportunitie s to develo p thei r vocabular y receptivel y throug h listenin g an d readin g fo r meaning. Fo r thi s the y need t o b e awar e o f th e pronunciatio n o f words use d in isolation an d i n context . The y need t o be give n th e opportunit y t o practis e what they have learned throug h speakin g and writing, by using their vocabulary productively i n a variety of situations. Lastly, learners nee d t o develop fluenc y in thei r us e an d understandin g o f word s b y becomin g confiden t an d competent i n al l four skills .

English Vocabular y Teachin g i n Hon g Kon g Government statistics show that approximately 98% o f the population o f Hon g Kong speak Cantonese. This means that there i s little opportunity or incentiv e for Cantones e speaker s t o spea k Englis h outsid e o f th e Englis h class. Som e students repor t feelin g embarrasse d i f the y spea k Englis h o r fea r tha t thei r peers will think the y are showin g off. Ther e i s even less opportunity fo r man y learners i n mainlan d Chin a t o spea k Englis h an d s o most student s fee l mor e comfortable wit h reading and writing English tha n with listening or speaking . All to o often , student s repor t tha t the y hav e spen t littl e tim e a t schoo l learning vocabulary. Secondary school students from For m On e t o Form Thre e are ofte n give n list s of English word s with thei r Chines e translation s selecte d from readin g text s b y their teachers . They may be aske d t o chec k th e par t o f speech in the English-Chinese dictionar y and the y are then teste d on th e words

INTRODUCTION 3

through dictation . Student s interviewe d abou t thei r vocabular y learnin g strategies note d tha t the y use rot e learnin g method s t o memorise th e writte n form o f th e word , writing i t down repeatedly . Thi s habi t o f matching Englis h words wit h thei r Chines e equivalent s focuse s th e learner s o n a direc t translation o f on e meanin g o f singl e word s rathe r tha n o n th e variet y o f meanings gleane d throug h meetin g th e word s i n context . Whil e thi s direc t method o f vocabulary learnin g ca n b e usefu l fo r mor e advance d learners , fo r example thos e abou t t o embar k o n academi c stud y and wh o quickl y nee d t o develop a mor e specialise d vocabulary , i t appear s t o b e les s successfu l wit h lower leve l students . By Forms Fou r t o Six , teacher s ofte n repor t tha t th e wor d list s ar e n o longer provide d an d student s ar e encourage d t o not e dow n newl y learne d words i n vocabular y notebooks . I n thei r writte n assignment s the y commonl y confuse word s tha t have similar meanings, but are use d i n th e wrong context , for exampl e We lived (stayed) in a hotel for a week' and T want to train (practice/ improve) my English grammar'. Word s tha t soun d o r loo k simila r ar e als o confused: 'If I have a change (chance), I want to come here again . Most 'new ' o r unfamilia r word s tha t ar e encountere d i n Englis h comprehension text s ar e discusse d i n Cantonese , wit h th e resul t tha t th e learners seldo m hear the Englis h word s spoke n o r lear n ho w t o pronounc e them. B y the tim e student s reac h th e Certificat e o f Educatio n Examination s candidates ar e ofte n unabl e t o for m question s i n th e role-pla y tas k becaus e they neithe r kno w th e meanin g no r th e pronunciatio n o f th e word s use d i n the probes . A lac k o f awarenes s o f pronunciatio n o f word s i s apparen t i n ora l presentations a t university , whe n a studen t ma y suddenl y sto p mid-sentenc e unaware o f how to say a newly learned word found i n their research. A student who wante d t o describ e ho w a dinosau r woul d hol d object s pause d an d resorted t o saying 'don't know how to say "c-l-a-w"\ Sh e could say 'law', 'saw ' an d 'jaw' bu t coul d no t wor k ou t th e pronunciatio n o f claw until th e lin k wa s explained t o her . Few students relis h th e opportunit y t o improve thei r vocabulary, seein g it more a s a chor e tha n a fu n activity . Wit h som e creativ e ideas , perhap s the y can b e encourage d an d motivate d t o work o n thei r word s an d increas e thei r vocabulary i n a n interestin g an d challengin g way. This book is designed t o be an introductio n t o teaching English vocabulary to Chines e learners . I t will explain ho w English i s learned b y native speaker s and b y Chinese learners . I t will focus o n ho w we store words i n ou r min d s o that we can find the m again . I t will also suggest which words we should teac h our student s an d whic h strategie s ou r learner s migh t adop t t o hel p the m

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H WORDS ! ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

remember ne w words a s they come acros s them . Ways of presenting 'new ' o r unfamiliar word s i n clas s ar e suggeste d an d som e usefu l we b site s an d I T related studie s ar e described . Each sectio n begin s with some simple theoretica l background , describin g studies tha t hav e bee n conducte d i n Asi a an d beyond . Som e practica l idea s for presentatio n o f vocabular y follow , an d a t th e en d o f eac h chapte r ther e are tasks fo r teachers , a s well a s som e suggeste d activitie s fo r classroo m use . An answe r key is provided a t the en d o f the book . Relevan t books an d article s that will provide further informatio n ar e listed at the en d o f each chapte r an d a ful l lis t o f reference s i s included a t th e end . Task • D o you lear n words b y sight (spelling ) o r by sound — or both ? How many words do you kno w that end in -ougtil i

Here are some examples: rough, tough, cough, bough, enough Now try this with a timer: Give yourself 3 0 seconds to write down as many words as you can think o f that en d in -ight

A lis t o f word s i s give n i n th e Answe r Key . Ho w man y di d yo u writ e down ? Chinese student s usuall y produc e abou t 5 o r 6 word s endin g i n -ight while English nativ e speakers average 6 or 7 . This is partly due t o the fact th e nativ e speakers have a larger vocabulary and migh t think of some less frequently use d words. i Tas k \ j Ho w man y words d o you kno w by sound? The word bough means a branch of a tree. It rhymes with cow and now and how, | althoug h the spelling of bough is quite different. !

I | Using a timer, ho w man y words ca n you think o f i n 30 second s tha t rhym e with |

eight? j How many did you find? Some examples are given in the Answer Key and ther e are man y more . Native Englis h speaker s (know n her e a s first languag e user s o r LI) ca n usually recal l mor e word s b y sound tha n b y sight. Chines e speaker s (secon d language user s or L2), however , find thi s task considerably more difficul t tha n

INTRODUCTION 5

the first one . Th e mor e proficien t Chines e speaker s ar e abl e t o recal l tw o o r three word s an d som e les s proficien t one s ar e unabl e t o produc e an y word s that rhym e wit h eight. This simple experiment show s the importance o f sound, or pronunciation , in producing English words, because th e more advance d th e learner, th e mor e words ar e recalle d b y sound . Naturall y th e nativ e speake r ha s th e advantag e of a much large r vocabulary from whic h t o draw the matches, but th e contras t between th e way s of processin g word s b y sight an d b y sound i s quite clear . Evidently th e mor e emphasi s we can pu t o n linkin g the meaning , writte n form an d spoke n for m o f word s a s w e presen t the m t o students , th e mor e effective thei r vocabulary learnin g will become. I n additio n w e need t o poin t out ho w t o us e th e word s effectivel y an d whic h strategie s learner s ca n us e t o help the m lear n words more efficiently . However , in many Chinese classrooms , less emphasi s i s put o n th e spoke n for m o f Englis h word s an d mor e i s give n to readin g an d writing . Lastly, wh y Harsh Words? Harsh ha s take n o n it s ow n meanin g i n Hon g Kong an d i s both overuse d an d misused , ofte n a s a substitut e fo r difficult, o r bad. I t actuall y mean s rough as in harsh texture; or unpleasant to the senses, a s i n harsh voice, o r severe as in harsh climate, or cruel, as in harsh punishment. I t is also an infrequently use d word, whereas it has become a very popular word amon g Hong Kong students t o describe thei r teachers , homework an d lif e in general . More examples are given on p . 131. Harsh Words in the original sense are crue l or hurtfu l words , but t o ou r learners , the y seem t o b e difficul t words .

Further Readin g Some ke y books o n vocabular y teachin g an d learnin g include : Nation, I. S. P. (1990) Teaching and Learning Vocabulary. Massachusetts: Newbury House. Nation, I . S . P . (2001 ) Learning Vocabulary in Another Language. Cambridge : Cambridge Universit y Press . Schmitt, N . (2000 ) Vocabulary in Language Teaching. Cambridge : Cambridg e University Press . Thornbury, S . (2002 ) How to Teach Vocabulary. Essex : Longman .

Word Collecting

Introduction This chapte r deal s with collectin g words: knowing what a word is , what it goes with an d wh y the y ca n b e difficul t t o learn . I t als o look s a t wor d frequenc y lists and whic h word s ar e mos t usefu l t o teach .

What I s a Word? A word ca n b e describe d a s the smalles t unit o f speech tha t ha s meaning an d can stan d alone . I n it s written form , a word i s separated fro m anothe r wor d by a space. We could als o say that a word consist s of one o r mor e morphemes , or units of meaning. Are book and books one word o r two? We'd probabl y coun t them a s one word, becaus e i f we know the meanin g o f book and tha t 'boo k + s' is th e plura l form , w e kno w th e meanin g i s more than one book. Books has tw o morphemes, 'book ' an d ' + s' which give s it th e plura l meaning . Unhelpful has three morphemes : un/help/ful , wit h help being th e root , o r mai n part . We can clearl y see tha t book, sit and bank are thre e words , or lexical units, but ca n w e conside r sit, sits and sitting as knowing on e wor d o r thre e words ? In 'Please take a seat' and 'Phase be seated', ar e seat and seated considered a s two different word s o r differen t form s o f th e sam e word? Mos t researchers woul d count the m a s different form s o f th e sam e word, a s they share th e sam e basi c root seat. There appear s t o be a close connection betwee n thes e words to the exten t that eve n elementary leve l learners o f English would b e able t o recognise tha t they ar e base d o n th e sam e roo t an d s o we woul d conside r the m a s par t o f the sam e word family. Ca n w e consider bank as in th e Han g Sen g Bank an d a river bank as on e wor d o r tw o differen t words ? Her e th e spellin g an d soun d

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H WORDS ! ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

are th e sam e bu t th e meaning s ar e clearl y different . No w we hav e on e wor d form bu t tw o meaning s an d w e would coun t thes e a s tw o words, just a s the y would b e give n tw o separat e entrie s i n a dictionary . Words ca n als o b e classifie d b y thei r rol e i n a sentenc e an d s o w e hav e different part s o f speec h o r word classes. These are : Nouns

table, chair , honest y

Adjectives

green, bright , ol d

Verbs

sit, eat , thin k

Adverbs

quietiy, fast , smoothl y

Pronouns

he, she , the m

Prepositions

to, from , fo r

Conjunctions

and, but , s o

Determiners

a, an , th e

The first four nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs are content words and the y give u s th e basi c meanin g o f a sentenc e an d ar e ofte n use d i n newspape r headlines, advertisement s an d notes : Russian nuclear sub sinks. The remainin g fou r pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions and determiners are known a s functio n word s an d carr y grammatica l features . Fortunatel y fo r English languag e learner s ther e i s a fairl y limite d se t o f abou t 300 functio n words an d the y hav e remaine d unchange d fo r a ver y lon g time . Example s include 7 , no, someone, first,such,others, once, now, and, until, enough and few. Content words , however , ten d t o increas e wit h ne w words an d meaning s being adde d t o dictionarie s ever y year. Words whose meaning s hav e change d or take n o n additiona l meaning s i n th e pas t fifty years includ e gay, (merry , homosexual) and file (box or holder for papers , computer informatio n store d on a disk). New words recently added t o the Oxford Englis h Dictionary includ e cyberspace, rave, and grunge. A lemma consists of a key word plu s its add-ons o r inflexions tha t ar e th e same par t o f speech , a s in act, acts, acting and acted. A separate lemm a woul d be neede d fo r action, actor and actors. Change s ca n als o be made t o the en d o f the word dependin g o n th e way it is used i n a sentence an d s o affixes ar e th e parts fixed o n a t eithe r end . A t th e beginnin g o f a word, a s in react, the y ar e known a s prefixes, an d a t th e end , a s i n action, they ar e calle d suffixes. Most dictionaries woul d trea t the m a s sharing th e sam e basi c roo t act, but havin g different ending s o r inflexion s accordin g t o grammatica l forms .

WORD COLLECTIN G 9

In th e wor d disagreement w e hav e a prefi x dis-, 2i roo t o r ste m agree a nd a suffix -ment. W h e n word s ar e derive d fro m th e basi c wor d i n thi s way, the y ar e known a s derivatives. A word famil y consist s o f th e basi c word plu s it s inflexion s a n d mos t c o m m o n , o r closel y related , derivative s a s in : agree, agrees , agreed , a g r e e m e n t , disagree , disagrees , disagreed , disagreement. T h e siz e o f a word famil y wil l increas e a s a learner' s proficienc y increases , a n d so les s c o m m o n derivative s suc h a s agreeable a nd disagreeable could b e include d in a m o r e advance d wor d family . Are th e followin g classe d a s words ? Phoebe, Mandarin, Guangzhou W h a t woul d you r learner s n e e d t o kno w whe n the y m e e t them ? The y woul d n e e d t o kno w tha t the y ar e name s (o f a girl , a hote l a n d a place ) a n d s o n e e d a capita l lette r a t th e b e g i n n i n g a n d ar e use d a s p r o p e r n o u n s . The y woul d also n e e d t o k n o w t h a t M a n d a r i n c a n b e u s e d t o m e a n Putonghua, t h e language, o r a senio r officia l i n Imperia l China , o r th e n a m e o f a hote l g r o u p . They n e e d t o kno w thei r p r o n u n c i a t i o n a n d thi s i s especiall y difficul t wit h words tha t hav e c o m e fro m a differen t language , suc h a s P h o e b e , whic h i s a Greek n a m e p r o n o u n c e d 'feebee' . O t h e r type s o f Englis h word s ar e compoun d noun s suc h a s cyberport, a n d restroom. Neithe r o f thes e word s reall y carrie s it s original meaning . T h e cyberport in H o n g Kon g ha s n o port , althoug h t h e r e wa s a p o r t i n th e origina l desig n plan a n d word s b e g i n n i n g wit h 'cyber ' usuall y m e a n s o m e t h i n g t o d o wit h technology a n d computers , suc h a s cyberspace a nd cybercafe. A restroom is hardl y a plac e wher e o n e woul d wan t t o li e dow n a n d hav e a rest , especiall y i f it' s i n a publi c building , b u t a t leas t i t would contai n a toile t a n d water , s o o n e m i g h t go t h e r e t o freshe n u p . C o m p o u n d n o u n s ar e sometime s h y p h e n a t e d e.g . ricecooker, or ma y be writte n a s two separate words . W h en tw o words ar e abbreviate d to form o n e word , suc h a s brunch (breakfas t + lunch) the y are know n a s blends . Multiword unit s ar e group s o f word s tha t g o together , usuall y i n a se t sequence, suc h a s to and fro, in and out, in a nutshell, put it on a n d give it back. They hav e t o b e learne d a s if the y ar e a singl e uni t a n d ar e usuall y liste d u n d e r the ke y word i n a dictionary . I f you loo k u p nutshell i n a dictionary , th e idio m in a nutshell i s usuall y listed , afte r th e basi c m e a n i n g o f nutshell.

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H WORDS : ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

Task In English some words can be used in many different context s and one word can have multipl e use s and meanings . How man y use s and meaning s of save can you think of? Some example s ar e given i n the Answer Key . How man y Chines e word s woul d yo u nee d t o us e t o cove r al l thes e differen t contexts? Whic h o f th e word s ca n b e use d with bot h waste and lose? What i s , th e difference i n meaning ?

Since words ca n b e classifie d int o word familie s an d hav e multipl e meanings , it i s difficult t o sa y exactly how many Englis h word s we know . What I s Involve d i n Learnin g a Word ? When we learn a word, we need t o know its meaning, pronunciatio n an d ho w to us e i t correctl y i n a sentence . Thes e thre e element s coul d b e subdivide d into man y mor e relate d aspect s suc h a s spelling , par t o f speech , leve l o f formality, associate d words and frequency o f use which will be dealt with later . In the meantime, let's go back to the word save. If we know the word, we should also know that it can mea n t o rescue ( a life), and t o keep (money) , to preven t waste (time , energy , electricity , water) , t o kee p fo r late r (food) , preven t th e other sid e fro m scorin g a goal , stor e a file o n a disk , etc . We also nee d t o kno w tha t save can b e use d i n a multiword unit, suc h a s save the day, and tha t it is a verb that can tak e an object , a s in She saved his life. It ca n b e followe d b y 'from ' a s in 'Sh e save d hi m fro m drowning ' o r ca n b e followed b y 'by ' a s i n '...save d b y th e bell' . Save ca n als o b e use d a s a preposition t o mean 'except ' a s in She answered all the questions correctly save one. Its pronunciation follow s fairly regular spelling-to-sound rule s so it rhymes with shave , cave , Dave, gave an d wav e (unlik e have). Learners, however , ar e unlikel y t o b e abl e t o proces s al l thes e meaning s and use s i n on e lesso n an d s o the y graduall y buil d u p thei r vocabular y ste p by step and ad d t o the basic meaning a s they encounter words in new contexts. Why Are Som e Word s Harde r t o Lear n tha n Others ? Students fac e man y problem s whe n learnin g unfamilia r Englis h words , suc h as their form , structure , grammatical behaviou r o f words, their meaning s an d

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relationships wit h o t h e r words . H e r e w e wil l focu s o n t h e difficultie s t h a t Chinese learner s commonl y fac e a n d t h e n tr y to devis e way s to h e l p t h e m lear n English word s m o r e easily .

Written form Form refer s t o whether th e word s ar e writte n o r spoken , a n d ther e ar e differen t p r o b l e m s associate d wit h each . T h e writte n for m o f Englis h word s i s ver y different fro m Chines e characters , bein g m a d e u p o f letter s o f th e alphabet , which individually , o r i n combinations , r e p r e s e n t a sound . T h e r e ar e basi c general spellin g rule s t o guid e th e learner , fo r example : Comparatives and superlatives Add -er or -est to th e e n d o f th e adjective , fo r example : • sof • ful

t softe l fulle

r softes r fulles

t t

Exceptions: If th e adjectiv e ends in:

Do this:

Add:

Example:

consonant + -y happy

change th e - y to an -i

-er, -est

happy, happie r happiest

consonant + -e safe

remove th e - e

-er, -est

safe, safer , safes t

consonant + vowel + consonant

double th e last lette r

-er, -est

big, bigger , biggest

big Verbs ending —ing and -ed Take th e basi c ver b for m a n d a d d -e d o r -ing : • wal • pla

k walkin y playin

g walke g playe

d d

But • lov e lov«-in g love • tr y tryin g tr-y-ie • shi p shippin g shippe

d d d

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H WORDS ! ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

Exceptions: If th e verb end s in:

Do this :

Add:

Example:

consonant + -e save

remove th e - e

-ed, -in g

save, saving, save d

-ie lie

change -i e t o -y

-ing, -d

lying, dyin g

consonant + stressed vowel + consonan t stop

double th e las t letter

-ed, -in g

stop, stopping ,

lied, die d stopped

Is it ie or ei? This i s a c o m m o n spellin g erro r a n d o n e tha t ca n b e quit e tricky . T h e simpl e rule is : I befor e E Except afte r C If it rhyme s with be e Examples include : believe, brief, priest , chief , grief, thie f ceiling, receive , receipt , deceive , decei t If t h e wor d rhyme s wit h 'say ' i t take s 'ei ' : beige, feint, eight , freight , neighbour , vein , weigh, weigh t O t h e r c o m m o n word s wit h thi s spellin g patter n include : either, foreign , height , leisure , seize , weird an d thei r

Similar forms Learners frequentl y confus e word s tha t hav e simila r writte n forms , o r s o u n d similar, suc h a s cute/acute, board/broad a n d quite/quiet. T h e teache r n e e d s t o b e aware o f words tha t ca n easil y be confuse d a n d mak e a consciou s effor t t o h e l p

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the student s t o separat e thes e words , possibl y b y d e m o n s t r a t i n g thei r us e i n sample sentence s o r differen t contexts , suc h a s The cute baby had an acute tummy ache.

Spoken form In spoke n form , word s ca n b e trick y t o p r o n o u n c e becaus e o f thei r lengt h o r difficult combination s o f sounds , o r stres s pattern , fo r e x a m p l e catastrophe, [catastrofy], crisps [crisps] , a n d mechanism [mekanism] . Learner s i n genera l t e n d t o avoi d usin g word s orall y i f the y ar e difficul t t o p r o n o u n c e o r the y ar e u n s u r e o f t h e correc t p r o n u n c i a t i o n . Similarly , the y ma y m i s u n d e r s t a n d th e speaker i f the y confus e th e p r o n u n c i a t i o n o f simila r s o u n d i n g words . An exampl e o f thi s happene d t o a friend a fe w year s ag o i n France . Arriving lat e on e evenin g a t a smal l family hotel, she rang reception t o ask for som e soap as there was none i n th e bathroom. Afte r som e tim e a waite r appeared a t th e doo r carryin g a tra y with soup\

Structure Words ma y b e confusin g i f the y hav e t h e sam e r o o t b u t differen t affixe s (prefixes o r suffixes) , fo r e x a m p l e industrious and industrial; flammable a n d inflammable; exhausting, exhaustive a n d exhausted. T h e i r wor d for m ma y b e misleading becaus e o f th e morphology , o r structure , becaus e th e individua l parts, o r m o r p h e m e s , p u t togethe r ma y hav e a differen t m e a n i n g fro m th e o n e expected , suc h a s infallible whic h coul d b e wrongl y guesse d a s 'unabl e t o fall'. O t h e r s m i g h t hav e irregula r derivation s leadin g t o misunderstandings . Oversee a nd overlook, fo r example , ar e n o t interchangeable . Chines e learner s frequently appl y sensibl e logi c t o illogica l Englis h words , afte r all , why shoul d invaluable a n d priceless n o t m e a n worthless? Suc h word s n e e d t o b e carefull y explained w h e n presented .

Grammatical behaviour or syntax L e a r n e r s f r e q u e n t l y hav e difficultie s wit h verb s suc h a s concern a n d to be concerned about, o r to be concerned with something . Similarl y th e grammatica l

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structure T t i s difficul t fo r hi m t o d o this ' cause s a grea t dea l o f troubl e fo r m a n y C h i n e s e l e a r n e r s w h o i n s t e a d writ e He is difficult to do this. O t h e r confusions li e wit h phrasa l verbs , suc h a s put on clothes b ut w e c a n n o t put off clothes. We d o n ' t on the light, o r off the TV, n o r d o w e open the aircon o r close the radio.

Meaning Often o n e wor d m i g h t b e use d i n o n e languag e wherea s severa l word s ma y b e n e e d e d t o conve y th e m e a n i n g i n a secon d language , fo r e x a m p l e , She birthed a baby would b e inappropriat e fo r She had a baby, or She gave birth to a baby. Similarly, w e c a n n o t sa y / horned in Hong Kong. Idioms a n d m e t a p h o r s ar e a ric h sourc e o f problems . Eve n i f a l e a r n e r knows al l t h e individua l words , t h e m e a n i n g o f t h e c o m p l e t e p h r a s e o r multiword uni t ma y b e completel y differen t o r u n e x p e c t e d . Improper us e o f idiomati c Englis h cause d a n awkwar d silenc e a t the en d o f a formal banque t on e evenin g in Beijing. The host , who had spoke n perfec t Englis h throughou t th e evening , brough t th e dinner t o a clos e wit h Well, Fve eaten so much Tm really fed up \ H e meant t o sa y full up'. Similar confusion s wit h phrasa l verb s ar e cause d wit h throw up a n d throw out. If a chil d vomits , h e throws up, b u t w e throw out th e rubbish . Chines e learner s frequently confus e take with eat, drink o r have, translating yum cha ' literall y a s Hake tea\ Similarl y Chines e cook water whil e Englis h boil it. A n o t h e r sourc e o f difficult y occur s whe n distinction s ar e m a d e i n Englis h that ma y hav e n o equivalen t i n th e learner' s language , suc h as thin, slim, slender a n d skinny. Chines e learner s associat e slim wit h fit, a n d unhealthy wit h unfit. Some concept s ma y n o t exis t i n Chinese , makin g i t h a r d e r fo r th e l e a r n e r t o c o m p r e h e n d idea s suc h a s a rosy outlook. Thi s i s particularl y difficul t i f t h e learner confuse s outlook with appearance (loo k lik e o n th e outside) . Som e word s may b e culturall y u n u s u a l a n d hav e n o direc t equivalen t i n th e l e a r n e r ' s language a s wit h kettle or quilt. Learners als o n e e d t o b e abl e t o distinguis h betwee n forma l a n d informa l or colloquia l languag e tha t i s appropriat e t o th e situation , suc h a s relax a n d chill, o r psychiatrist a n d shrink.

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Abstract words are usually difficult t o learn because th e concep t itself may be unfamilia r t o th e learner , eve n i n thei r ow n language , suc h a s erudite, snobbish or sluggish.

Relationship with other words While a wor d ma y g o wit h o r collocat e wit h anothe r suc h a s strong tea, or a strong woman, we woul d b e unlikel y t o fin d strong used wit h engine, and s o learners nee d t o kno w i n wha t circumstance s a word ca n b e use d wit h othe r words in a sentence. Similarly , we might hurt ou r arm , but no t hur t a picture. Task Collocations Tick th e boxe s i n th e gri d belo w t o sho w whic h adjective s collocate , o r ca n b e used, with which nouns . Check the Answer Ke y to see i f you are correct . pace

progress

learner

journey

motion

coach

slow leisurely unhurried

Having identified difficultie s tha t Chinese learners often encounte r i n learnin g English words , we nee d t o b e awar e o f thes e problem s an d hel p the m avoi d making simpl e mistakes .

Which Words Shoul d Student s Learn ? We need t o look at ways to make vocabulary learning a little more manageabl e by deciding whic h word s student s mos t nee d t o learn . I t would see m logica l to mak e sur e tha t learner s kno w th e word s tha t the y ar e mos t likel y t o com e across in everyda y spoken English , in most general readin g text s as well as the words neede d durin g th e lesso n suc h a s page, blackboard, timetable etc. The tabl e belo w show s th e twent y mos t frequentl y occurrin g word s i n spoken an d writte n English , take n fro m researc h o n wor d frequencie s a t th e University o f Lancaster i n th e U K Wha t d o yo u notic e abou t thes e lists ?

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Spoken English

Frequency Number

Written English

the

1

the

I

2

of

you

3

and

and

4

a

it

5

in

a

6

to

's

7

is

to

8

was

of

9

it

that

10

for

n't

11

that

in

12

with

we

13

he

is

14

be

do

15

on

they

16

I

er

17

by

was

18

's

yeah

19

at

have

20

you

First o f all , seven o f th e to p te n word s occu r i n bot h lists : the, and, of, a, it, to and is/'s. Th e speake r tend s t o refe r t o himsel f mor e frequentl y ( / is in 2n d place), tha n t o th e audienc e (you in 3r d place) , wherea s i n writing , he is i n 13th place , /appear s 17t h an d you in th e 20t h place . S o wha t happene d t o she? Well , she is down i n 30t h position.. . Although ther e is a close relationship between written an d spoken English , we tend no t t o write shortene d forms , a t least in formal writing , as words tha t do not occur i n th e written lis t include n % yeah and er. I t could b e argue d tha t the las t exampl e i s not eve n a rea l word, bu t a soun d o f hesitation , althoug h er, erm, an d um frequently occu r i n speech . We have seen ho w certain word s occur mor e frequentl y tha n others . Th e first 1,00 0 word s an d thei r familie s ar e naturall y th e mos t importan t one s fo r students t o learn . Here ar e som e mor e example s take n fro m th e Universit y o f Lancaster' s research int o th e 1,00 0 mos t frequentl y use d word s tha t learner s woul d

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probably nee d t o kno w a t a fairl y elementar y stage . Mos t cours e book s an d basic readers are designed with these words in mind an d ten d t o use the words in many different context s so that the learners ca n become familia r wit h the m from th e beginnin g o f thei r course . Nouns

Adjectives

Verbs

Adverbs

Conjunctions

time

other

be

so

and

year

good

have

up

that

people

new

do

then

but

way

old

will

out

or

man

great

say

now

as

day

high

would

only

if

thing

small

can

just

when

child

different

get

more

than

Mr

large

make

also

because

government

local



very

while

work

social

see

well

where

life

important

know

how

although

woman

long

take

down

whether

system

young

could

back

before

case

national

think

on

since

part

big

come

there

so

group

right

give

still

though

number

early

look

even

until

world

possible

may

too

after

Why not focu s o n th e firs t 50 0 words? Man y o f thes e ar e functio n words , lik e 7, will, can and from rather tha n conten t word s lik e apple, see and walk, so we tend t o look at the bigger picture, though, of course, the most commonly use d words shoul d generall y b e taugh t first . Learner s wit h a specifi c interes t i n a particular are a lik e banking , migh t loo k a t a differen t se t o f word s tha n a general learner . W e will look agai n a t word list s in chapte r 5 . The nex t most useful word s to learn ar e th e words in th e 2,00 0 list, which, together wit h a goo d gras p o f grammar , shoul d allo w genera l fluenc y i n conversational English , an d 87 % coverag e o f academi c texts . The firs t 2,00 0 words ca n b e covere d explicitl y i n class , as the y are considere d fundamenta l to languag e learning .

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How Man y Words Shoul d Student s Know ? The answe r wil l var y greatl y dependin g o n severa l factor s suc h a s Englis h proficiency, age , persona l o r famil y background , education , motivatio n etc . By th e ag e o f aroun d 20 , a nativ e Englis h speakin g universit y leve l studen t knows aroun d 20,00 0 wor d families , whic h mean s absorbin g aroun d 1,00 0 words a year until adulthood. (Goulden , Nation an d Read, 1990 ; Nation, 2001) . This migh t see m a n impossibl e goa l fo r man y secon d languag e learners , bu t those wh o se t themselve s a targe t o f 3 0 t o 5 0 words pe r wee k shoul d b e abl e to master enough words to enable the m t o read general text s without too muc h difficulty. While n o fir m figure s ar e availabl e fo r vocabular y level s o f student s i n Hong Kon g schools , governmen t source s sugges t tha t b y the en d o f primar y school education , childre n hav e encountere d aroun d 4,00 0 Englis h word s i n text book s an d readers . Wha t percentag e o f thes e word s ar e known b y th e students i s a very differen t matte r a s researcher s estimat e tha t learner s hav e to mee t a word 7 to 1 0 times o r mor e befor e the y are likel y to understan d it s meaning an d usage . A rough estimat e o f word knowledg e o f children leavin g primary schoo l migh t b e 50 0 t o 1,00 0 words . In secondar y schoo l learner s shoul d b e absorbin g mor e word s a s the y consolidate known words and learn new ones. With public exams approaching , their vocabular y level s shoul d b e close r t o 2,00 0 word s whic h i s probabl y a minimum goa l for HKCE E level students. Those wh o wish t o continue o n t o A levels an d universit y will still nee d t o lear n man y mor e words . Students a t Englis h mediu m universitie s nee d t o b e abl e t o rea d an d understand a variety of newspaper article s and text s in English. For 'minimall y accepted comprehension' , researcher s recommen d a knowledge o f 95% o f th e words i n a tex t o r aroun d 4,00 0 word families . Thes e woul d includ e th e firs t 2,000 words plus the Academic Word List of 570 words and a n additiona l 1,00 0 'technical words , prope r noun s an d lo w frequenc y words ' (Nation , 2001 , p. 147) . For 'adequat e comprehension ' 98 % of the words must be known an d this could mea n a vocabulary size closer to 7,00 0 o r even 10,00 0 word familie s for universit y student s t o rea d an d understan d academi c texts . Which Word s Shoul d W e Teach ? This will depend ver y much o n th e leve l and interes t o f th e learners . It make s sense first to teach th e words that learners will meet and us e most, so the words from th e first 1,00 0 leve l word lis t are crucia l i n any language course . Learner s will need t o know the words used i n instructions, such a s Clean the board, please,

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or Pass me the microphone, i f it's a large class . Course book s will probably b e th e main sourc e o f words , thoug h student s ma y pic k u p a surprisin g numbe r o f words and phrases from movi e titles and advertisement s on the MTR and buses. The nex t most frequently use d words ar e thos e i n th e 2,00 0 word list , bu t after thi s stag e th e frequenc y o f occurrenc e drop s considerably . Teacher s should the n focu s o n th e root s o f words an d th e words tha t ar e mos t likely t o be neede d fo r a particula r purpose , suc h a s academi c o r vocationa l study . These more formal words appear on lowe r frequency list s and ar e often derive d from Lati n an d Gree k words , an d s o a knowledg e o f wor d structur e ca n b e helpful. The Academic Word List (1997 ) wa s compile d b y Averi l Coxhea d wh o profiled th e word s fro m a cros s sectio n o f genera l academi c textbook s an d sorted th e word s b y frequency . Sh e remove d th e firs t 2,00 0 mos t frequentl y used word s an d the n identifie d thos e tha t learner s ar e mos t likel y t o com e across i n thei r studie s a t university. Th e lis t contain s 57 0 head words , i.e . th e word tha t woul d appea r i n a dictionary , plu s th e member s o f thei r wor d families, amountin g t o ove r thre e thousan d words . Student s ar e strongl y advised t o b e familia r wit h thes e ke y words an d thei r usage . Beyond thi s level, students shoul d concentrat e o n technica l o r discipline related word s use d i n specifi c contexts , fo r exampl e physics , la w o r engineering. Technica l word s use d i n vocationa l studie s suc h a s cookin g o r plumbing woul d b e deal t with i n Englis h course s fo r specifi c purposes . We hav e see n tha t frequenc y i s an importan t factor , bu t ther e ar e othe r points t o b e considere d whe n choosin g whic h word s t o teach . Coverag e an d range ar e importan t becaus e i t i s helpful firs t t o presen t word s wit h a broa d coverage, suc h a s bird, befor e owl or crow, an d thos e tha t would b e foun d i n a wide variety o f text s rathe r tha n specifi c words . It i s also sensibl e t o presen t word s tha t are : • easie r t o learn , an d mor e widel y used , befor e progressin g t o th e mor e difficult levels , such a s walk before saunter or stroll, • frequentl y use d b y nativ e speakers , takin g int o accoun t th e cultura l background, suc h a s fried rice, o r fish and chips, salt and pepper, • relevan t to th e teachin g activity, such a s slide or transparency for us e in ora l presentations, even though thes e words are not frequently use d in genera l English, an d • topi c related , suc h a s elector, voting and ballot box if the discussio n topi c i s elections. In short , w e shoul d thin k o f ou r learners ' need s whe n choosin g th e word s to present t o them. Ways of presenting words will be discusse d i n chapter s 5 and 6 .

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SUMMARY In this chapter w e hav e defined what we mea n by a word and looke d briefly a t how words are built. Knowing the meaning of a word is important, but we also need to know the pronunciation, spelling, grammatical usag e of a word and the words that they go with or collocate with. It is helpful to know whether a word is formal or informal, whether it is frequently use d or a rare word so that we can use it appropriately. School students should aim to learn the 2,000 most frequently used words so that they can communicate an d read general texts. Once the foundation i s established, if they wis h t o pursu e academi c stud y the y shoul d ai m to maste r th e Academic Word List and prefixes, roots and suffixes. Alternatively, they should learn the technical words that will be most useful for vocational study.

Revision question s 1. Wha t d o w e mean b y knowing a word? 2. Wh y are som e word s difficul t t o learn ? Giv e four example s o f words your students fin d difficul t an d explai n why . 3. Whic h word s d o your students nee d t o know ? 4. Sugges t thre e source s o f words tha t your learner s wil l find useful .

Further Readin g Coxhead, A . (2000) . A New Academic Word List. TESOL Quarterly 34, 2: 213238. Goulden, R. , P . Nation , an d J . Rea d (1990) . Ho w larg e ca n a receptiv e vocabulary be ? Applied Linguistics 11,4: 34 1 - 363 . Laufer, B . (1991) . Ho w muc h lexi s i s necessary fo r readin g comprehension ? In H . Bejoin t an d R Arnau d (eds) , Vocabulary and Applied Linguistics. Macmillan. Laufer, B . (1997) . The lexica l plight i n secon d languag e reading . I n J. Coad y and T . Hucki n (eds) , Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge Universit y Press . Lorge, I . an d J. Chal i (1963) . Estimatin g th e siz e o f vocabularies o f childre n and adults : A n analysi s o f methodologica l issues . Journal of Experimental Education 32, 2: 147-157 .

F

Word Processing

Introduction This chapter deal s with an introductio n t o how we learn words and stor e the m in ou r memor y s o tha t we ca n us e the m again . I f we ar e awar e o f ho w word s can b e linke d togethe r i n ou r brai n i t can mak e i t a little easier t o remembe r them. We also look at the importance o f learning the sound, o r pronunciation , of words a s we lear n the m s o tha t we can stor e the m mor e efficientl y an d b e able t o us e the m agai n orally .

How D o W e Lear n Words ? Children normall y lear n t o spea k — b y hearin g word s an d graduall y understanding the m — before the y learn t o read. They hear th e words spoke n by th e peopl e aroun d the m — parents , brother s an d sisters , friend s an d domestic helpers . Mos t childre n onl y lear n t o rea d whe n the y star t primar y school, although a few will recognise words at kindergarten o r nursery school . When w e are listenin g t o someone , thei r speec h i s a string o f sound tha t is processe d an d broke n int o wor d lengt h chunks . T o mak e sens e o f thes e sound units , a comprehensio n too l searche s th e wor d stor e i n ou r brai n (o r mental lexicon ) fo r a meanin g tha t matches . Whe n w e reply , w e searc h ou r brain fo r th e word s w e wan t t o conve y th e meanin g an d the n conver t th e meanings int o soun d chunks . When a ver y youn g chil d hear s a word , suc h a s dog, she wil l repea t th e word t o se e i f sh e i s understoo d correctly , fo r example , b y pointin g t o th e animal an d sayin g dog. I f sh e i s correc t th e mothe r ma y sho w he r deligh t a t having such a clever daughter , o r point ou t that , in fact, it's a cat, so try again. In listening , the sound i s converted int o meaning; and i n speech, the meanin g

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is converte d int o sound . S o u n d — r e p r e s e n t e d h e r e a s th e p r o n u n c i a t i o n o f a wor d — i s therefor e a ke y e l e m e n t i n learnin g a word . T h e m e n t a l lexico n appear s t o b e m a d e u p o f a storehous e o f word s tha t can b e retrieve d i n tw o ways : directly by matching th e sound s (o r phonemes) o f the spoken word with som e corresponding ide a i n th e memor y an d indirectly by using contex t t o activat e a se t o f possibl e word s whic h ar e the n narrowed dow n b y matching som e bu t no t al l o f th e sounds . T h e indirec t r o u t e ca n b e explaine d m o r e clearl y i f we thin k o f ourselve s at a nois y party . I n a conversatio n wit h a friend, w e ca n onl y h e a r par t o f wha t is b e i n g said : "They've just bough t a ne w house i n a very desirable " D u e t o th e b a c k g r o u n d noise , i t i s impossibl e t o catc h th e las t wor d clearly , b u t th e sentenc e i s stil l comprehensibl e becaus e o f th e clue s i n th e context . In thi s case , th e indirect rout e woul d b e used , matchin g possibl e meaning s wit h s o u n d s h e a r d (Carroll , 1986) . Generall y thi s r o u t e i s quicker , i n spit e o f r e q u i r i n g tw o set s o f clues , s o u n d a n d context . A nativ e (LI ) speaker , o r proficient secon d languag e (L2 ) speaker , woul d hav e n o grea t difficult y i n guessing tha t th e missin g wor d migh t b e 'location ' o r 'area' . Psychologists hav e als o show n tha t i n reading , th e brai n examine s t h e visual shape s o f th e letter s a n d the n wor d detector s examin e th e link s betwee n t h e word s a n d thei r letters . At th e sam e tim e ther e ar e m e a n i n g a n d g r a m m a r processors whic h c o m b i n e t o spee d u p wor d recognition . I n a fractio n o f a second, bot h th e contex t an d th e individua l letter , soun d o r wor d ar e processe d simultaneously t o ai d comprehension . Many , thoug h n o t all , researchers agre e that b o t h visua l a n d s o u n d processe s plu s contextua l clue s ar e involve d w h e n native speaker s proces s Englis h words .

H o w D o W e Stor e Words ? Words ca n b e store d i n m a n y differen t form s suc h a s alphabetically , a s i n a dictionary; a r r a n g e d b y simila r meanings , a s i n a thesaurus ; relate d b y topi c areas, a s i n a n encyclopedia ; i n group s b y subjec t area , a s i n a library ; o r wit h m u l t i p l e n e t w o r k links , a s i n a c o m p u t e r . Mos t r e s e a r c h e r s believ e t h e c o m p u t e r i s the closes t m o d e l t o th e menta l lexico n becaus e i t has spli t secon d

WORD PROCESSIN G 2

3

retrieval, create s cross-references , constantl y updates it s store an d re-sort s th e words (McCarthy , 1990) . How are words arranged? i n alphabetical order ? b y meaning? b y spelling? or b y sound ? If words wer e store d alphabeticall y an d w e ha d t o star t a t th e beginnin g of th e alphabe t t o fin d them , i t would tak e u s muc h longe r t o retriev e thos e beginning wit h x , y , and z . Give n th e eas e an d frequenc y wit h whic h w e ca n use 'you ' an d 'your' , i t is highly unlikely tha t we have an alphabetica l storag e system. A great dea l o f researc h ha s bee n don e o n nativ e speakers ' word storag e and i t seems tha t w e group word s togethe r i n severa l ways including : by sound b y spelling an d b y meaning We kno w thi s becaus e sometime s w e accidentall y sa y o r writ e a wor d tha t i s very similar t o th e wor d w e meant t o produce . Have you ever said abroad instead of aboard? Have you ever written here instead of hear? While w e are no t certai n o f how learners proces s newl y learned words , i t may b e helpfu l t o understan d ho w th e brai n processe s ou r firs t language . Aitchison's (1987 ) wor k ha s bee n a usefu l introductio n t o th e wa y nativ e speakers store and find word s in their mental lexicon. She has identified thre e dimensions o f words: their meanin g (semantic) , role in a sentence (syntactic ) and soun d (phonological) . Aitchiso n point s ou t tha t word s ar e store d an d retrieved accordin g t o their sound and thei r meaning. In particular, words hav e a general outlin e ou r shape an d we often recogniz e the m b y their beginnings , and t o a lesse r exten t thei r endings , plu s th e stres s position . I n othe r words , we migh t stor e togethe r word s suc h a s anecdote and antidote. Our brai n wil l search fo r th e wor d w e wan t t o us e accordin g t o it s genera l shap e an d it s meaning, the n i t will find th e correc t grammatical for m o f the word t o fit th e sentence. Task Which words can you think of that follow these sound and stress patterns? • sustainabl e -

* --

• explosio n -

* -

• inaccurat e -

* —

Some suggestion s ar e give n i n th e Answer Key.

2 4 HARS

H WORDS ! ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

Word searches Word searche s ca n giv e u s usefu l clue s t o th e genera l organizatio n o f wor d storage b y allowin g researcher s t o loo k a t th e stage s involve d i n findin g a missing word. Psychologists note tha t words can be on th e 'ti p of one's tongue ' when a speake r know s th e meanin g o f a word bu t i s momentarily unabl e t o produce i t (Brow n an d McNeill , 1966) . Th e speake r ofte n know s th e initia l sound o r letter , an d sometime s th e numbe r o f syllables , bu t i s unabl e t o successfully complet e th e word . Fo r example , "M y aun t suffer s fro m .. . oh , what's i t called whe n the y lose thei r memory ? I t begins with A .. . Sound s lik e 'old-timers' .. . O h yes . Alzheimer's disease. " The wor d o r initia l sound s tha t firs t com e t o min d ma y indicat e group s of word s closel y relate d i n th e menta l lexico n an d whic h ma y therefor e b e stored closel y together. Unfortunately, however , such words are generally thos e used infrequentl y an d s o th e metho d o f retrieva l ma y not b e th e sam e a s fo r those word s use d daily . These slip s ar e eve n mor e difficul t t o identif y wit h secon d languag e learners a s it is difficult t o sa y with certaint y whether th e sli p kitchen/chicken is really a slip of the tongu e o r a n erro r with th e speake r usin g th e wrong word . Confusions suc h a s pleasure/pressure are common pronunciatio n problem s with Chinese learners . However , i t doe s suppor t th e theor y tha t soun d i s on e o f the ke y features i n storin g words.

Word associations Psycholinguistic experiment s ai m t o impos e som e for m o f contro l ove r th e words t o b e examined . Example s o f thes e includ e wor d associations , "Whic h word firs t come s t o min d whe n I sa y black?" Answer s elicite d migh t includ e white or night. (

Tas k ,

i*

-~-—~-———————

—-

^

» Writ e down the first word that comes into your min d as you rea d each word. ; gree n

J chair ( f

gir l

! wate r [

!I

i ope n s

WORD PROCESSIN G 2

5

Usually th e answe r wil l b e associate d wit h th e give n wor d i n som e way , fo r example: green gras s ( a word frequentl y use d wit h green) — collocatio n red (anothe r colour ) — co-ordinatio n colour (th e grou p t o which green belongs) — super-ordinatio n water drin k — collocatio n melon — compoun d nou n clear — collocatio n open clos e — antony m door — collocatio n F r o m thi s w e ca n se e t h a t word s ca n b e store d i n network s tha t ca n b e linke d in som e way . Co-ordinate s (e.g . appl e a n d orange ) i n particula r see m t o hav e a ver y stron g b o n d a n d ca n b e illustrate d wit h semanti c map s o r networke d connections, particularl y usefu l i n vocabular y consolidation .

lI orange appl

fruit (super-ordinate)

1

e pea (co-ordinates)

r

People wh o ar e bilingua l o r multilingua l sometime s confus e word s fro m two o r m o r e vocabular y store s b u t psychologist s ar e uncertai n a s t o w h e t h e r words fro m differen t language s ar e store d togethe r i n a single menta l lexicon , or i n separate , b u t possibl y related , stores . Studie s o f th e L I a n d L 2 m e n t a l lexicons p o i n t t o a n interactio n betwee n th e tw o languag e store s i n o n e user . Meara (1982 ) argue s tha t th e L 2 menta l lexico n i s ' m o r e loosel y organised ' t h a n tha t o f a nativ e speaker . W h e n Englis h speaker s wer e aske d t o p r o d u c e L2 association s t o F r e n c h stimulu s words , frequentl y th e tw o language s wer e confused. Give n th e stimulu s 'semelle ' learner s p r o d u c e d th e respons e ' o d e u r ' which look s a n d sound s simila r t o th e Englis h wor d 'smell' . H e n n i n g ' s (1973 ) study o f th e wa y L 2 learner s o f varyin g level s o f proficienc y stor e ne w word s showed tha t a t lowe r levels , words were store d accordin g t o sound , fo r exampl e 'horse' a n d ' h o u s e ' . A t a late r stag e th e learner s woul d associat e ' h o r s e ' wit h 'cow'.

2 6 HARS

H WORDS : ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINESE LEARNER S

Task Look at the following groups of words. Which is easier to remember an d why? ruler mirro

r keyboar

bubbles por grapes calenda

d cashie k soa

r mous p compute

r hairbrus

h shelve

e r razo

s trolle

r

y

bubbles calendar cashier computer desk grapes hairbrush mirror mouse pork razor ruler shelves soap trolley desk

soap

cashier

computer

mirror

pork

ruler

razor

grapes

mouse

bubbles

shelves

calendar

hairbrush

trolley

The firs t grou p i s randoml y arranged , th e middl e on e i n alphabetica l orde r and th e las t groupe d thematically . Mos t peopl e fin d th e las t grou p easie r t o remember becaus e th e word s ar e al l associate d i n som e way , whether i n a n office, a bathroom o r a supermarket .

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While we are no t certai n exactl y how the L I an d L 2 lexicons ar e related , it seems that L2 learners can make conscious sound, meaning and associationa l links between th e tw o word stores. Cantonese speaker s who have learned bot h English an d Putonghu a repor t tha t the y frequentl y fin d th e Englis h wor d comes t o min d whe n the y tr y to us e Putonghu a an d vic e versa .

Chinese an d Englis h Speakers ' Approaches t o Wor d Learnin g The task s o n pag e 4 helped t o illustrat e th e differenc e i n th e wa y that nativ e speakers an d Chines e learner s proces s Englis h words . W e note d tha t nativ e English speaker s ten d t o store and find mor e words by sound tha n b y spelling. In fact the same experiment was conducted o n European subject s whose nativ e language i s French o r German . Th e result s showe d tha t learner s whos e firs t language i s written alphabeticall y ar e als o able t o recall mor e word s by sound than b y sight . A major differenc e betwee n Hon g Kon g Chines e (an d t o a lesse r exten t mainland Chinese , Taiwanese and Koreans ) an d nativ e English speakers is the way in which the y mentally process th e sigh t and soun d o f words. Hong Kon g Chinese learner s ten d t o be fairl y accurat e i n thei r Englis h spelling , probabl y because o f th e wa y the y hav e learne d t o rea d Chines e characters , visuall y distinguishing th e strokes . Although teacher s complai n abou t thei r Chines e students' inaccuracies , teacher s o f L I student s complai n abou t persisten t spelling errors , thoug h o f a differen t nature , eve n a t a n advance d level .

LI and L2 vocabulary acquisition by Chinese learners Researchers argue tha t there ar e key differences betwee n Chines e and Englis h writing which ca n affec t th e manne r o f word processing . A Chinese characte r consists of one morpheme , o r unit of meaning. Each Chinese word is therefor e made u p o f a sequenc e o f unit s o f meaning , rangin g fro m on e t o seve n characters. While eac h Chines e characte r represent s a unit of meaning, i t does not necessarily carry a clue to its pronunciation, althoug h i n many cases it does. In other words, it is possible t o understand th e meaning of a character withou t having an y idea ho w t o pronounc e it . English words, on th e othe r hand , consis t of a combination o f letters an d syllables tha t ar e processe d accordin g t o thei r sound , meanin g an d syntax . English i s an alphabeti c languag e wit h word s consistin g o f a serie s o f letter s with pronunciations tha t can generally be spelt out, such as 'c-a-t'. First readers

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H WORDS ! ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

often contai n 'Th e cat sat on th e mat' typ e sentence patterns. General spelling to-sound rule s can be learned enablin g more proficien t learner s t o read alou d words suc h a s 'table' , 'phone ' an d 'these' . Man y Englis h words , however , d o not follo w thes e rules , and som e ar e completel y illogica l suc h a s 'indictment ' pronounced a s 'inditement ' an d 'chaos ' pronounce d 'kayoss' . As ther e i s a larg e numbe r o f homophone s — o r word s tha t soun d th e same — i n th e Chines e language , th e pronunciatio n o f differen t character s can caus e ambiguity . Th e character s ma y loo k quit e differen t bu t soun d th e same. Fo r thi s reaso n th e reade r ha s t o focu s closel y o n th e visua l for m o f a character, an d thu s th e written form o f Chinese words plays a greater rol e tha n in English .

Learning Chinese characters Visual recognition o f Chinese characters is a key technique i n learning to read . However, th e metho d o f learnin g ho w t o rea d Chines e character s depend s on wher e th e learne r i s taught. I n mainlan d Chin a an d Taiwan , childre n ar e first taugh t th e alphabeti c for m usin g pinyin an d s o lear n t o 'soun d out ' th e words befor e the y lear n t o visuall y recognis e th e characters . I n Hon g Kong , on th e othe r hand , childre n begi n t o learn t o read character s throug h direc t recognition, withou t firs t learnin g th e sound s o f th e letter s o f th e alphabet . By learning t o rea d Chines e character s throug h visua l recognition, man y Hong Kong Chinese learner s o f English appl y the same method whe n readin g English word s an d memoris e thei r writte n for m withou t attachin g it s pronunciation.

Learning English words by sound We have noted tha t native English speaker s rea d words in a linear form , fro m left t o right as in 'c-a-t' , while Chinese character s ar e read a s a unit. Are word s stored i n th e sam e wa y in eac h menta l lexicon , a s a whole (holistically ) o r i n parts? Several studie s hav e bee n conducte d i n Hon g Kon g t o fin d ou t whethe r Chinese learner s memoris e words as a whole, like a character, o r in parts fro m left t o righ t a s in c-a-t. A group o f Cantonese speakin g student s were aske d t o learn thirt y unfamilia r word s o f thre e syllables , suc h a s litigate, pragmatic and intervene. Th e word s wer e presente d togethe r wit h thei r p h o n e m i c transcription, Chines e translatio n an d Englis h meanin g i n context . Th e students tende d t o proces s unfamilia r word s a s a whole , a s the y woul d a

WORD PROCESSIN G 2

9

Chinese character . When aske d t o rea d th e words aloud , the y di d no t appea r to brea k th e word s int o segment s (Hill , 1994) .

Long and short words If Chinese learner s proces s words as a whole unit , thi s would impl y that shor t words would be easie r to remember tha n lon g words as there would b e less to process. Anothe r grou p o f Chines e student s wa s aske d t o lear n thirt y word s of on e t o fou r syllable s i n length . Example s o f th e word s use d i n thi s stud y are gem, confer, auspices and reverberate. The score s showed tha t the y were bette r able t o remembe r th e word s o f on e an d tw o syllable s tha n th e longe r thre e and fou r syllabl e words .

Word stress in English and Chinese words In English words, each syllable is pronounced wit h a certain degree o f loudness and raise d pitch , o r stress . Th e stres s patter n o f a n individua l wor d i s fixed , but can chang e with different form s o f the key word, for exampl e 'economise ' but 'economies' . As Cantones e word s ar e compose d o f on e syllabl e (monosyllabic ) characters, eac h characte r ha s equa l stress . There i s therefore a tendency fo r Cantonese speakin g learner s o f Englis h t o giv e eac h syllabl e equa l stres s o r pay less attentio n t o th e stres s i n Englis h words .

Pronouncing Un f amiliar Englis h Word s Some Universit y o f Hon g Kon g student s wer e aske d t o lear n word s tha t ar e stressed o n th e first , middl e o r fina l syllable . A s expected , the y pai d mor e attention t o th e spelling , an d les s attentio n t o th e stres s positio n an d pronunciation. Words with stress on th e first and thir d syllables were frequend y given a middl e stres s and ver y few words with a final stress , such a s disembark, were correctl y stressed . To help overcom e thi s apparent weakness in word learning, students were given instructio n o n th e p h o n e m i c symbol s mos t commonl y use d i n dictionaries. A set o f 'phonemi c awarenes s exercises ' wa s developed t o se e i f this woul d hel p the m t o decode , o r understan d th e sound s represente d b y the symbols , and i f so, whether thi s would hel p the m t o remember th e word s better. Example s o f thes e exercise s ar e give n i n chapte r 5 .

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H WORDS ! ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

Following th e instruction , th e grou p wa s subdivided int o two : one grou p was take n t o a languag e laboratory , whil e th e othe r grou p remaine d i n th e classroom. Th e grou p i n th e languag e laborator y wa s als o abl e to listen to a tape recordin g i n whic h th e word s wer e rea d alou d an d the y coul d liste n t o the tap e a s ofte n a s the y wished, withi n a tim e limit . The student s wh o wer e abl e t o liste n t o th e pronunciatio n o n tap e wer e not onl y abl e t o sa y them mor e accurately , bu t coul d remembe r mor e word s in writing tha n an y of the othe r groups . They were als o able t o recall mor e o f the word s correctl y a week late r (Hill , 1996) . The phonemic awarenes s exercises have been show n to be helpful, thoug h not quit e so useful a s hearing th e pronunciation o f the words themselves. Th e knowledge o f phonemic transcriptio n combine d with the spoken sound prove d a very effective combinatio n fo r long-ter m storag e and retrieva l o f new words.

English word stress English words have many stress irregularities. For people t o understand spoke n English i t i s important t o mak e sur e tha t th e stresse d syllabl e i s pronounce d more loudl y than th e unstressed syllable . Some words change stres s dependin g on th e par t o f speech , fo r exampl e w e recor d date s o r w e mak e a recor d o f people's names .

Implications for teaching If wor d stres s i s no t properl y acquire d a t firs t learning , student s ar e mor e likely t o becom e confuse d wit h th e passag e o f time . I n presentin g ne w vocabulary, teacher s shoul d pa y particula r attentio n t o pronunciatio n an d stress. Students shoul d b e encourage d t o be awar e o f phonemic transcriptio n so tha t the y ca n us e thi s elemen t o f dictionar y entrie s t o hel p the m lear n the pronunciatio n o f unfamilia r words . Fo r thi s reason , i t i s important tha t they should b e abl e t o understan d th e symbols . More informatio n o n thi s is provided i n chapte r 5 . Not all students will benefit fro m learnin g phonemic symbol s as some may be confuse d b y them . Thi s coul d b e overcom e wit h frequen t revisio n o f th e symbol-sound relationship , fo r exampl e b y writing u p word s o r eve n leavin g messages for learner s o n th e boar d i n phonemi c script , lik e / gud momirj , ha u a: jo7. Teachers shoul d als o be mor e aler t t o stres s change s o r irregula r stres s patterns an d pronunciation , payin g particular attentio n a t the outse t t o words that ar e likel y t o b e mispronounce d b y learners, suc h a s 'estate' .

WORD PROCESSIN G 3

1

Chinese learners should be encouraged b y their English teacher s t o chec k the pronunciatio n o f al l unfamilia r word s whe n the y firs t mee t the m a s thi s additional elemen t o f vocabulary processing will enhance thei r learning ability.

SUMMARY Words are stored i n the min d by meaning and by sound. Making networks to lin k word s together ca n hel p u s t o fin d th e word s again . Shor t word s ar e usuall y easie r t o lear n than lon g words . The pronunciatio n an d stres s o f word s ar e importan t factor s i n wor d learning.

Revision question s 1. Wha t i s the menta l lexicon ? 2. Ho w ar e word s store d i n ou r minds ? 3. Ho w migh t thi s awarenes s o f word storag e affec t vocabular y teaching ? 4. Ho w ca n learner s fin d ou t th e pronunciatio n o f words ?

Further readin g Aitchison, J. (1987 ) Words in the Mind. Oxford : Blackwell . Channell, J . (1988 ) Psycholinguisti c consideration s i n th e stud y o f L 2 vocabulary acquisition . I n R . Carte r an d M . McCarth y (eds) , Vocabulary and Language Teaching. London : Longman .

Training Independent Vocabulary Learners

Introduction To help learner s tak e contro l o f thei r vocabular y learning , w e need t o teac h them ho w t o lear n word s mor e efficiently . Som e strategie s hav e bee n foun d to b e particularl y useful . Learnin g strategie s involv e th e studen t i n makin g some specifi c choice s an d takin g contro l o f thei r learning . Student s nee d t o be mad e awar e o f some o f the choice s tha t the y can mak e t o hel p thei r wor d learning becom e mor e effective . This chapter deal s with strategies such a s keeping a vocabulary notebook , revision o f words, and creatin g semantic association s and word families. I t also deals with ways to hel p student s lear n idiom s an d phrasa l verbs , thos e trick y multiword unit s s o commonl y use d b y nativ e speakers , ye t s o difficul t t o understand.

Vocabulary Learnin g Strategie s Experience show s that in order t o remember words we should b e able to develo p techniques o r strategie s t o hel p us . Each individual , however , wil l find tha t certain strategie s wor k bette r tha n others . The y wil l als o fin d tha t a combination o f strategie s ca n b e mor e effectiv e tha n usin g just one . Peopl e tend t o us e strategie s whether the y realiz e i t or not , however , bein g awar e o f effective learnin g strategie s ca n b e a n advantage . Researchers hav e develope d severa l checklist s o f vocabular y learnin g strategies, som e o f which identif y u p t o 5 8 strategies (Se e Schmitt , 1997 ; G u and Johnson, 1996) . Not al l o f the m ar e recommende d a s useful o r helpful , and som e ma y b e mor e effectiv e dependin g o n th e learners ' cultura l background, L I an d proficienc y level .

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H WORDS ! ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

Strategies hav e b e e n categorise d i n man y differen t ways , fo r example : planning whic h word s t o lear n (metacognitive) , thinking abou t ho w best t o lear n the m (cognitive) , committing word s t o memor y (memory) , asking other s fo r meanin g (social ) (Oxford , 1990) ; finding ou t th e meanin g an d us e (discovery ) an d developing a firm gras p o f th e word (consolidation ) (Nation, 1990 , Schmitt 1997) . Some example s o f vocabular y learnin g strategie s ar e show n below : • Wor d huntin g — plannin g an d identifyin g word s t o lear n • Wor d collectio n o r storag e — flashcards, wordlist s an d notebooks • Vocabular y buildin g book s an d wor d game s • Revisio n plan s

metacognitive/ cognitive

• Wor d familie s — parts o f speec h • Wor d associations , collocations , semanti c mappin g • Ke y word technique s an d imager y • Rehearsa l an d repetitio n spelling/pronunciatio n • Lexica l units/idioms/phrasa l verb s

memory

• Dictionar y us e — monolingual an d bilingua l • Thesaurus/activato r

discovery/ consolidation

• Wor d part s — prefixes, root s an d suffixe s • Guessin g fro m contex t • Askin g friends an d teacher s fo r meanings , translation s and explanation s

social

• Interactin g with nativ e speakers , nativ e Englis h teacher s • Grou p wor k activit y tha t focuses o n word s Within thes e groups , som e strategie s ca n b e explaine d fairl y easil y t o learner s w h o lik e t o wor k i n d e p e n d e n t l y a n d wh o ar e sufficientl y motivate d t o p l a n a n d organis e thei r learnin g b y themselves . O t h e r strategie s suc h a s effectiv e dictionary use , identifying wor d part s a n d guessin g technique s len d themselve s well t o g r o u p w o r k a n d discussio n s o t h a t l e a r n e r s c a n s h a r e ideas . T h e t e a c h i n g o f discovery , consolidatio n a n d socia l strategie s wil l b e covere d i n t h e n e x t chapter .

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Studies o f Vocabular y Learnin g Strateg y Us e i n Chin a Recent studie s t o identif y vocabular y learnin g strategie s use d b y Chines e learners hav e show n tha t no t al l ar e equall y effective . G u (1997 ) foun d tha t the mos t proficien t learner s i n a surve y o f 85 0 Beijin g student s use d a combination o f strategie s suc h a s guessin g word s fro m context , skilfu l dictionary work , attentio n t o word for m an d sound , an d recyclin g o f words . Those whos e performanc e i n test s was below averag e tende d t o rel y heavil y on visua l repetitio n 'th e kin d o f strateg y the y migh t hav e use d i n primar y school t o memoriz e Chines e characters ' (p.666) . University student s i n Hon g Kon g mos t commonl y fin d th e meaning s o f unfamiliar word s by using a dictionary o r guessin g from contex t (Fan , 2003) . Most ne w word s ar e me t whe n readin g newspape r article s an d th e mor e proficient student s tr y t o analys e word s int o componen t parts . As with Gu' s study, th e weake r student s us e repetitio n strategie s t o memoris e th e words , such a s writing the m o r sayin g the m quietl y ove r an d ove r again . Secondary schoo l student s hav e simila r habits . For m Fou r student s i n a Chinese-medium secondar y schoo l i n Hon g Kon g sai d the y prefe r t o gues s the meaning s o r us e a n electroni c dictionar y (Law , 2003) . Instea d o f tryin g to remember th e meanings o f the words, they memorized th e spelling, possibly because the y ar e use d t o relyin g o n wor d list s and dictatio n exercise s i n th e classroom. Th e student s als o reporte d tha t usin g a word i n writin g showe d they knew how to use it, although the y also made plent y of grammatical error s as the y faile d t o chec k th e part s o f speec h an d collocations . Th e contex t i n which th e wor d wa s originall y use d wa s ignore d o r neglected . T h e pronunciation wa s reporte d a s bein g les s importan t tha n th e meanin g o r spelling becaus e th e student s seldo m sa y the words . On e proficien t studen t noted tha t sh e remembere d th e meanin g an d the n th e spellin g but 'the biggest problem is I don't know how to pronounce the word' (Law, 2003 , p.46) . A weake r student reported tha t she did not know the pronunciation o f most of the words she learned . Strategy use is therefore a key part o f vocabulary development , ye t not al l students ar e awar e o f th e strategie s o r ho w t o us e them . Firs t o f al l student s should b e mad e awar e o f th e way s o f plannin g an d organisin g vocabular y learning, o r metacognitiv e an d cognitiv e strategies .

Metacognitive Strategie s Learners nee d t o know how to increase thei r vocabulary so that the y can wor k on thi s importan t aspec t o f languag e learnin g b y themselves . The y hav e t o

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realise tha t successful learner s tak e responsibilit y for thei r learning , plan thei r study time an d tak e an activ e rol e i n th e learnin g process . They need t o lear n how to learn and identif y an d choose the words they want to learn. The firs t strateg y ou r learner s nee d t o b e awar e o f i s setting goal s an d deciding whic h word s the y need t o know . Genera l languag e learner s nee d t o begin wit h th e basi c words t o enabl e the m t o communicat e an d understan d simple text s and conversations . By learning the first 1,00 0 mos t frequently use d words the y can understan d 80 % of conversational English . Graduall y the y will build on thi s foundation, drawin g their words mainly from th e 2,000 word level. Most textbook s an d earl y readers ar e base d o n thes e wor d lists . A learner who wants to travel to another countr y may simply want to lear n the basi c word s an d phrase s t o ge t b y on a n informa l socia l level . Someon e who need s t o write a technica l repor t wil l nee d t o becom e familia r wit h th e words use d i n a formal settin g by experts i n tha t field .

Word hunting — where are new words found? Besides thei r textbook s an d wor d lists , where d o learner s com e acros s 'new ' or unfamilia r Englis h words ? D o the y liste n t o songs , watc h TV , g o t o th e cinema, liste n t o newscasts , o r rea d advertisements ? Englis h word s ca n b e found al l aroun d them , s o the y shoul d loo k ou t fo r word s the y se e o r hea r repeatedly and chec k their meanings. They should als o note th e contex t wher e the wor d wa s foun d a s thi s shoul d hel p se t th e wor d mor e firml y i n thei r memory b y relating i t t o a topic . B y creating association s wit h th e wor d the y will process it s meaning mor e deeply , aidin g vocabulary retention .

Planned revision Do the y set aside som e tim e t o revis e thei r vocabulary word lists ? Do the y tes t themselves fro m tim e t o time ? Perhap s the y loo k ove r th e word s the y wer e taught i n clas s afte r school , the n revis e the m agai n th e nex t day , the n loo k again a t th e word s th e nex t wee k t o chec k tha t the y stil l remembe r th e meanings an d th e context . The y might revis e the m agai n periodicall y s o tha t they d o no t hav e t o lear n a hug e amoun t o f 'new ' word s al l a t once . Goo d learners pla n ahea d an d pac e themselves . Word s ca n b e learne d mor e efficiently throug h frequen t revision , suc h a s 1 0 minutes a day , rathe r tha n an hou r a week.

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Cognitive Strategie s These includ e decidin g ho w bes t t o lear n word s an d organisin g the m int o vocabulary notebooks , flash card s and wor d lists , using vocabulary section s o f textbooks, writin g dow n th e words , addin g note s abou t the m an d repeatin g the words orally . When learner s ar e mad e awar e o f how to plan thei r learnin g and revision , the y ten d t o becom e bette r learners .

How do learners keep track of new words? Different learner s ofte n prefe r differen t way s o f keepin g a recor d o f th e unfamiliar word s the y meet. Som e lik e t o have neatl y written sheet s o f pape r stored i n a folder , whil e other s prefe r t o hav e a lis t o f words i n a compute r database, o r draw diagrams showing the relationshi p betwee n words. Learner s need t o select whichever metho d i s likely to be th e mos t appropriate fo r thei r needs. Her e ar e som e ideas : a. Notebook s o r card s with th e Englis h wor d o n on e sid e an d th e Chines e translation o n th e othe r ar e a popula r wa y o f keepin g trac k o f ne w vocabulary. Ideall y the y shoul d als o contai n th e Englis h meaning , pronunciation an d a n exampl e o f the word used in a sentence. Blank set s of 'wor d cards ' i n a variety o f size s ar e availabl e fro m som e stationer y shops. Alternatively, plai n inde x card s ca n b e use d with a hol e punche d in th e corne r an d kep t o n a ring . Card s ca n b e colour-code d an d rearranged accordin g t o thei r meaning , o r par t o f speech , o r spelling . They ca n b e mixe d u p an d learner s ca n revis e thei r word s o n th e wa y home, o r whenever the y have a few minute s t o spare . Ideally the y shoul d b e expandable , wit h sufficien t spac e fo r furthe r information t o b e adde d suc h a s ne w contexts , collocate s etc . Som e learners wh o ar e kee n t o us e hi-tec h tool s suc h a s a Palm , PD A o r Smartphone creat e a database entr y for eac h word an d revis e during thei r daily commut e t o school . Others repor t creatin g a personalize d sectio n i n thei r electroni c dictionary where the y list new words an d revis e the m periodically . b. Not e th e new word with a familiar opposit e (antonym ) o r with a word tha t has a similar meaning (synonym ) i n English, e.g. an arduous task: opposit e of msy/mean s difficult. c. Ad d a word tha t goes with it (collocates) , e.g. a car skids (slide s on slipper y ground); bu t i t is only used fo r vehicle s — people slip or slide. d. Not e irregula r verb forms suc h as: drink, drank, drunk and to forecast/forecast (past tense). No one could have forecast the turnout for the election.

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e. Not e i f a nou n i s countable o r uncountabl e — doe s i t take a/an/the} inspection scrutiny research Some word s ca n b e bot h countabl e an d uncountable , suc h a s experience/ an experience, s o i t is best t o chec k i n a dictionary . f. Not e a word wit h it s different part s o f speech , e.g . noun adjectiv e ver b complement complementar y complet e Good vocabular y learner s ofte n enjo y wor d games , whethe r crossword s an d word searches , o r word base d activitie s suc h a s scrabble, hangman , anagram s and others . Some suggeste d wor d game s ar e include d i n chapte r 10 .

Memory Strategie s Techniques tha t help learners t o commit words to long-term memor y are see n as useful way s of rememberin g words .

Word families — parts of speech We have noted tha t it helps to learn differen t part s of speech o f a word alread y known, fo r example , economy. Thi s makes i t much easie r t o use th e word a s a verb o r a n adjective , an d man y words hav e differen t forms . Learner s shoul d also note an y stress change s o r unusua l pronunciation . Noun

Adjective

Verb

Adverb

Related Words

economy

economic,

to economis e

economically

economics

accurately

inaccurate

economical accuracy

accurate

Word associations — creating networks We have see n i n th e previou s chapte r tha t sometimes when w e read o r hea r a word, anothe r wor d come s int o ou r mind. I t is often possibl e t o find a patter n or a connectio n betwee n th e origina l wor d an d th e associate d word . Her e i s an example : What d o you firs t thin k o f when yo u se e th e wor d black} Peopl e might sa y night, o r white, or colour. In thi s exampl e w e coul d sa y tha t th e responses ar e someho w relate d t o th e origina l word , black:

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night (noun ) coul d b e foun d wit h black (adjective) i n a sentenc e white is the opposit e o f black and the y are bot h adjective s colour is the genera l categor y int o which black would fi t Occasionally a word tha t sound s th e same , lik e crack might b e given . Fe w peopl e (if any ) woul d giv e a n u n r e l a t e d respons e suc h a s for, o r hardly. Learners ca n us e wor d associatio n strategie s b y g r o u p i n g word s tha t ar e related i n s o m e wa y a n d a d d i n g t o thi s selectio n b y checkin g i n a dictionar y or a thesaurus . Young learner s ofte n associat e word s b y lookin g a t picture s a n d illustrations, fo r e x a m p l e , a b e d r o o m wit h a bed, rug, lamp, books, toys a nd a picture o n th e wall, o r d a d i n th e kitchen o p e n i n g th e fridge tha t contain s fruit, milk, vegetables, drinks etc . A s l e a r n e r s progres s the y ma y m o v e o n t o m o r e c o m p l e x topic s a n d relat e word s fro m a newspape r article , suc h a s a n exhibition wit h posters, design, background, photographs, location a nd display. Mor e advanced association s ma y relat e t o busines s o r economic s wit h word s suc h a s budget, stockmarket, recession, downturn a n d speculation. O n c e g e n e r a l t h e m a t i c association s ar e m a d e , word s c a n b e l i n k e d b y collocations, o r word s tha t ar e ofte n foun d togethe r i n a sentence , suc h as : lamp shade , sofa bed , boo k shelf , to y bo x orange juice, roas t chicken , chees e sandwic h budget defici t an d shareholders ' meeting , o r credi t ratings . O t h e r example s o f collocation s ar e knowin g whic h adjective s ca n b e use d wit h which n o u n s , fo r example : heavy traffic, heav y suitcase an d heav y col d bright idea , bright light s an d brigh t pink . Exercises o n wor d group s ar e typica l o f th e kind s o f word associatio n activitie s t h a t i n d e p e n d e n t learner s m i g h t us e t o increas e thei r vocabulary . The y ca n vary considerabl y i n difficult y a n d som e learner s wil l probabl y b e challenge d to us e a dictionar y t o fin d o u t t h e m e a n i n g s o f som e o f t h e lo w frequenc y words.

Semantic mapping L e a r n e r s c a n b e e n c o u r a g e d t o c r e a t e t h e i r ow n s e m a n t i c n e t w o r k s b y g r o u p i n g word s t o g e t h e r a r o u n d a t h e m e , suc h a s Hallowe'en . T h e l e a r n e r

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should b e encourage d t o write dow n word s associate d wit h th e them e whe n they note th e words in their vocabulary collection. Categorie s might begin with the genera l heading s show n belo w an d the n expan d a s mor e word s ar e collected.

This simpl e ma p ca n the n b e expande d an d word s elicite d fro m learners :

It help s t o us e differen t part s o f speec h s o tha t learner s ca n practic e usin g the words i n sentences . Similar mind map s ca n be used , for example , when analysin g a story, with categories suc h a s main characters , mai n events , problems an d solutions .

Graphic images Another helpfu l wa y o f groupin g word s togethe r t o broade n a learner' s vocabulary and ad d variety to their writing or speaking is to use graphic images. One exampl e i s t o categoris e adjective s accordin g t o size , o r degre e big / bigger/biggest, suc h as :

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1

oO tiny smal

l mediu

large

m

huge

Students ofte n nee d word s t o describ e graph s o r chart s an d w e shoul d encourage learner s t o develop mor e interestin g an d descriptiv e vocabulary t o give a mor e precis e meaning , rathe r tha n go up, go down, stay the same. The topic ma y vary from th e environmen t an d level s of pollution t o stock marke t trends, bu t b y distinguishin g betwee n meaning s o f word s usin g graphi c illustrations th e learner s ca n mor e easil y understan d th e meaning s an d separate the m i n thei r minds . Rathe r tha n havin g t o repea t th e sam e word s to such a s getting better, getting worse, variety can b e introduce d addin g richnes s to th e writing . Task , Describing trends < List as many words a s you can to describe the graphs below . Try to find bette r words than go up and get better. Where appropriate, show the noun form, the verb with it s pas t tense , and adjectiva l forms . Adverbs ma y als o b e useful , such a s gradually or suddenly. Check the Answer Ke y for suggestions. ' 2.

4.

5.

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Key word techniques and imagery Many researchers, includin g psychologist s an d linguists , have trie d t o identif y effective way s of committing words t o memory. We know that th e mor e deepl y we study a word, th e better th e chanc e tha t it will be recalle d agai n late r whe n we nee d t o us e it . Strategie s includ e connectin g th e wor d t o a n imag e o r a n experience, rehearsing and writing the written and spoken word form, learnin g idioms a s single units , and analysin g word parts . Some o f thes e ar e easie r an d more effectiv e tha n others . When we use key word techniques , we focus o n th e word we want to lear n and the n lin k it either b y sound o r b y mental imag e t o a word alread y known , often i n LI . I n som e languages , th e targe t wor d t o b e learne d ma y b e ver y similar t o a word i n one' s ow n languag e an d thi s ca n mak e i t easier t o learn . Many Europea n language s ar e relate d i n suc h a way tha t th e sam e o r ver y similar wor d appear s i n severa l languages : clear (Eng) clarus (Lat) claro (Span) klar (Ger) clair (Fr) chiaro (Ital)

While thi s ca n b e a great advantag e t o some learners , thes e cognates, o r word s with simila r root s ca n als o b e 'fals e friends ' whe n a word tha t appear s t o b e similar i n fac t ha s a very different meanin g suc h as : Recept in German does not mean receipt, but recipe. Cantonese speaker s learnin g Putonghu a repor t findin g i t helpfu l t o us e key word technique s becaus e o f th e similaritie s betwee n man y o f th e words . There ar e virtuall y n o cognates , o r commo n root s o f Englis h an d Chines e words give n th e differen t origin s o f th e languages . There are , however , quit e a few loan words: the Chines e words for tart, ketchup, cool, bus and taxi are very similar t o thei r Englis h equivalents . Nation (1982 ) give s an exampl e o f th e us e o f imagery when learnin g th e Indonesian wor d pintu meanin g a door . Th e imag e h e give s is a door wit h a pin going in to it representing th e sound an d pictur e of the word to be learned . Similarly when learning the Russian word yxa6ncTbiM (pronounced oochabeestie ) and mean s bumpy, a n imag e was created o f a bumpy roa d with a n insec t like a beetle runnin g acros s it and th e sound 'Ooc h a beasty', ( a beastie i s a Scottis h word fo r a n insect) .

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Studies i n Hon g Kon g an d Chin a sugges t tha t Chines e student s ar e reluctant t o us e thi s imagery technique , possibl y due t o th e visual processin g involved i n th e Chines e writin g system. It coul d als o b e du e t o th e frequentl y reported preferenc e fo r repetitio n o r rot e learnin g strategie s i n Asia n classrooms. Whil e teacher s us e simpl e L2-L 2 o r eve n L1-L 2 dictatio n a s a means o f learning words, students ar e conten t t o use th e mechanica l memor y strategies employe d i n learnin g othe r subjects , suc h a s physics an d history , t o language learning . Som e teacher s repor t tha t student s lik e t o writ e dow n Chinese character s tha t soun d lik e th e Englis h word . Thi s ma y help learner s to remembe r roughl y wha t th e wor d sound s like , bu t i t ca n als o lea d t o confusion o f th e meaning .

Imagery o r Stor y Makin g The following tas k can be used a s a self help activity, or with a partner o r grou p of student s t o discus s an d shar e strategie s o r ways of recallin g words . Task Read (or preferably ask someone else to read) the following twenty words aloud once only. Don't write anything down but listen carefully. letter friend narrow dry

green dream heavy briefcase

open new sleep smile

bright drive banana medicine

window umbrella see soft

As soon as you have read or listened to the words being read aloud, write down as many of the words as you can remember. I If you remembere d abou t 1 5 or more , you hav e don e ver y well. The averag e score i s usually aroun d nin e o r te n an d man y peopl e ca n recal l onl y five o r six. Why do som e peopl e fin d i t easy to remember words ? They usually repor t that the y connecte d image s t o th e words , o r mad e a stor y with them . Som e students who have remembered mor e tha n twelv e words will describe a pictur e or a story tha t the y have create d i n thei r min d a s the y listened t o th e words . They ma y visualise someon e openin g a letter fro m a friend a s they stand b y a window o n a brigh t sunn y da y lookin g ou t a t gree n grass . Thi s i s a menta l technique fo r makin g informatio n easie r t o memoris e an d i s know n a s a mnemonic device. While i t is a successful learnin g strateg y for man y people, i t is one tha t works best if the learne r develop s thei r ow n image t o go with a word,

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rather tha n bein g tol d whic h pictur e shoul d b e linke d t o a word. Groupin g words togethe r strengthen s th e connection s i n th e menta l lexico n an d make s it easie r fo r u s t o stor e an d retriev e th e word s agai n later . Some peopl e repor t tha t the y remembered som e o f th e words because o f their soun d — for exampl e banana and umbrella share a similar stres s pattern . This i s one way in which th e soun d o r pronunciatio n o f words ca n hel p stor e them i n ou r menta l dictionary .

Words that cause confusion Words may be confused becaus e they look similar, sound similar or have simila r meanings. Learner s shoul d chec k th e meaning s o f the confusin g word s i n th e dictionary an d the n tr y to make a crossword tha t will help the m t o distinguis h and separat e thei r meaning s a s with aboard and abroad as shown below :

C O ABOARD ABROA N U E I I S G E N

F

H D L I D A Y

As with th e techniqu e o f using imagery t o learn words, creating crossword s t o distinguish betwee n confusin g word s is most effective whe n th e learners creat e the crossword s fo r themselves .

Task Make crosswords t o distinguish betwee n the meaning s o f th e following pair s o f words that are frequently confused. 1. complimentar y / complementary 2. acces s / assess

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Homophones ar e word s tha t s o u n d th e sam e b u t hav e differen t spellings , such a s meat/meet, a n d see/sea. The y ar e fairl y c o m m o n i n Englis h word s a n d very frequen t i n Chinese , a l t h o u g h th e character s ar e usuall y different . S o m e learner s r e p o r t tha t i t i s helpfu l t o lear n t h e m e a n i n g o f a n o t h e r word tha t sound s th e sam e a s word tha t i s alread y known . The y fee l i t reduce s the learnin g proces s an d help s t h e m t o increas e thei r vocabular y i n a n interesting way . N o t al l learner s wil l fin d thi s easy , however , a n d som e m i g h t even b e confuse d b y th e similarities i n sound , ye t th e difference in spellin g a n d meaning.

Task Look at the following list of words and write down a homophone, or another English word that sounds the same. The answer s ar e given i n the Answer Key . flower

piece

male

stair

way

die

whole

rain

bored

through

sew

pair

here

hire

aloud

fair

tale

break

Homonyms ar e word s tha t hav e th e sam e spellin g and p r o n u n c i a t i o n b u t have differen t meanings , suc h a s th e bank wher e w e p u t m o n e y a n d th e bank of a river . Similarl y a branch ca n b e a p a r t o f a tree , o r w e ca n visi t o u r loca l branch o f a bank . I n th e latte r example , learner s ca n probabl y mak e a m e n t a l i m a g e t o c o n n e c t thes e m e a n i n g s . Homograph s ar e simila r t o h o m o n y m s except tha t while the y share th e sam e spelling , the y are p r o n o u n c e d differently , for example : The wind blew from th e south . A windy day

He ha s t o wind up th e ol d clock . A windy road

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Live chickens W A lead pipe Lead I ha d a row with m y sister. Row

e live in China . the way! the boa t gently .

Care s h o u l d b e take n w h e n p r e s e n t i n g word s t h a t loo k t h e same , especiall y when th e pronunciatio n a n d meaning s ar e different , i n o r d e r t o avoi d causin g confusion.

Rehearsal and repetition O n e o f th e mos t frequentl y r e p o r t e d vocabular y learnin g strategie s i s t o hid e the targe t wor d fro m vie w a n d tr y t o recal l i t i n writing . O n e studen t i n Law' s (2003) stud y explaine d ho w t o lear n words : 'Look at the word, spell it again and again and then remember its Chinese meaning. No other methods to remember the word without rote learning [sic]' (p.54) . While i t i s certainl y a ver y p o p u l a r strategy , i t t e n d s t o involv e s u r f a c e leve l p r o c e s s i n g o n l y a n d s h o u l d b e u s e d i n combination wit h o t h e r strategies . T h e additio n o f ora l repetitio n i s a ste p i n the righ t direction . O n e c o m m o n practic e use d b y Chinese learner s an d n o t e d above i s t o writ e t h e p r o n u n c i a t i o n o f a wor d wit h Chines e characters , suc h as writing / I S / ( p r o n o u n c e d mau , m e a n i n g cat ) nex t t o music t o r e m i n d t h e m how t o sa y t h e wor d (Law , 2003) . Thi s ma y b e helpful , b u t frequenc y o f us e of a strateg y doe s n o t necessaril y impl y its effectiveness. Deepe r leve l processin g such a s using th e wor d agai n i n contex t ha s b e e n show n t o b e m o r e beneficial , a n d s o suc h revisio n a n d consolidatio n exercise s shoul d b e incorporate d int o h o m e w o r k o r classroo m tasks .

Use of imagery with idioms We n o t e d befor e tha t visua l imager y technique s t e n d n o t t o b e p o p u l a r wit h Chinese learner s w h e n r e m e m b e r i n g word s i n isolation , b u t the y ar e widel y used wit h idioms . Man y Englis h idiom s ar e simila r t o thos e use d i n Chines e a n d ar e therefor e easie r t o learn , suc h a s Kill two birds with on e stone ; add fue l t o th e fire; practic e make s perfec t Visual imager y i s a usefu l wa y fo r learner s t o r e m e m b e r idiom s a s show n i n the followin g examples :

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7

As wit h m n e m o n i c devices , i t i s bes t fo r th e learner s t o devis e thei r ow n images r a t h e r t h a n b e provide d wit h o n e a s th e effor t o f creatin g th e imag e helps consolidat e t h e idio m i n t h e memory .

Phrasal verbs A particularl y difficul t p a r t o f Englis h vocabular y i s als o o n e o f t h e m o s t commonly use d i n informa l Englis h — phrasa l verbs . Thes e ar e usuall y m a d e u p o f a ver b plu s a prepositio n a n d sometime s a n adver b — a s i n made up of. A m o r e forma l t e r m fo r made up of would b e consist of or comprise. S t u d e n t s frequently r e p o r t tha t the y kno w al l th e word s i n a sentence , b u t the y stil l d o n o t u n d e r s t a n d t h e m e a n i n g . Thi s i s ofte n becaus e i t i s t h e c o m b i n a t i o n o f the word s tha t conve y th e meaning , rathe r tha n th e meaning s o f th e individua l words p u t together . Word o r d e r i s a n o t h e r p r o b l e m wit h phrasa l verbs , a n d meaning s ca n b e quite differen t d e p e n d i n g o n th e use , fo r example : The bu s broke down. Sh What tim e di d yo u get up} H

e broke down in tears . e gets up my nose.

Sometimes th e wor d o r d e r ca n b e flexible : He turned on the TV . H e turned the T V on. H e turne d i t on . She gave back the book . Sh e gave the boo k back. Sh e gav e it back .

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H WORDS ! ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

This is not always the case, however, and so learners must check the word orde r carefully. Give n th e problemati c natur e o f phrasa l verbs , learner s shoul d b e aware o f the m an d loo k ou t fo r the m i n conversationa l English , T V programmes, movie s and th e lyric s of songs. Students ma y also pick u p som e idiomatic languag e fro m readin g horoscope s i n th e dail y newspaper. I f the y look o n phrasa l verb s a s lexical chunk s or fixe d phrase s an d lear n the m a s a set group , the y will graduall y b e abl e t o buil d u p a bette r awarenes s o f ho w they ca n b e used . As phrasal verbs ar e very commonly use d i n spoke n English , the y tend t o be use d informall y an d learner s nee d t o be awar e o f th e level s of formality o f these multiwor d unit s a s they lear n them . The y shoul d b e awar e tha t get and got are mor e commonl y use d informall y i n spoke n Englis h an d shoul d b e avoided i n more formal situations , especially in business and academi c writing. Alternative word s coul d includ e receive, obtain, gain, acquire, merit etc. Task i Avoidance of get and got Substitute a more formal word from the list below. Use each word only once and check the verb tense and agreement. earn gai become obtai 1. I

n acquir n receiv

e hav e bu

e retur y understan

n d

got a present from m y friend.

2. H e gets $5,000 a month working in a shop. ' 3 . Sh e studied very har d and got 4 As in her exams. 4. The y borrowe d a sum of money from the bank and got a flat. 5. It' s hard to find a job. You need to get some experience first . 6. I got a new sweater from Giordano's las t week. 7. I

just don't get it. What do you mean ?

8. Th e weather gets warmer i n summer. ; 9 . We'l l need to get this finished before 5 P.M. 10. I

need to get this book back to the library today.

Vocabulary learnin g involve s multiple exposures and context s t o appreciat e the various uses and meanings of a word. Th e mor e involvement with th e word , the deepe r th e processin g an d th e mor e effective the learnin g wil l be. Word s

TRAINING INDEPENDEN T VOCABULAR Y LEARNER S 4

9

should b e recycled and revised frequently. Goo d planning enhance s vocabular y learning and motivation to learn play s an important rol e in vocabulary learning , as i t doe s wit h languag e learnin g generally . Motivation , however , i s not eas y to creat e an d eve n a highl y motivate d learne r ca n struggl e wit h word s whil e an unmotivate d on e ca n remembe r words from a task that requires some for m of decision making . Som e suc h task s will be discusse d i n th e nex t chapter . SUMMARY Training i n vocabular y learnin g strategie s ca n encourag e effectiv e an d independen t learning. Learner s ca n b e encouraged t o pla n which words the y are goin g to lear n an d to kee p trac k o f their word s s o tha t the y ca n revis e the m frequently . They shoul d lear n the other forms of a new word so that they can use the word appropriately i n a sentence. They ca n be encouraged to group words together aroun d a theme o r a topic and attac h images t o hel p them remembe r word s better . Idiom s an d phrasa l verbs requir e specia l attention a s they ca n b e particularl y tricky , bu t i f learner s loo k out for them, treat the m as multiwor d unit s and , where possible , attac h picture s t o them , these chunk s shoul d become mor e manageable .

Revision question s 1. Ho w should a learner decid e whic h word s t o learn ? 2. Sugges t four useful strategie s that learners can use to help the m remembe r new words. 3. Identif y word s tha t your student s frequentl y confus e an d sugges t ways of removing th e confusio n s o tha t the y ca n us e the m correctly . 4. Choos e five idioms an d five phrasal verbs and decid e ho w you will presen t them t o your learners .

Further Readin g Schmitt, N . (1997) . Vocabulary Learnin g Strategies . I n N . Schmit t an d M . McCarthy (eds) , Vocabulary Description, Acquisition and Pedagogy (199-227) . Cambridge: Cambridg e Universit y Press . Gu Y. and R . K. Johnson (1996) . Vocabulary learning strategie s an d languag e learning outcomes , Language Learning, 46: 643-679.

Direct Vocabulary Learning

Introduction The previou s chapte r looke d a t ways that we ca n mak e ou r learner s awar e o f how t o increas e thei r vocabular y throug h i n d e p e n d e n t learnin g wit h vocabulary collections, word association s and memor y strategies. We have see n the importance o f selecting and collectin g words and creatin g lexical networks. We have als o note d tha t words should no t b e considere d a s isolated unit s bu t are bette r remembere d i n chunk s o r fixe d lexica l unit s suc h a s room for improvement, like a dream come true and make off with. This chapter will look at how we can incorporat e discovery , consolidatio n and socia l strategie s int o ou r in-clas s activitie s t o encourag e furthe r development o f vocabulary learning. Here we will look a t ways to creat e a rich environment fo r vocabular y learning , enablin g learner s t o us e an d practis e newly learned words . First we will look a t direc t vocabulary learnin g an d th e effectiveness o f wor d lists . We wil l the n loo k a t dictionar y us e an d way s o f recycling word s whil e creatin g a supportiv e learnin g environmen t wher e learners fee l a t eas e t o as k thei r peer s an d teacher s abou t word s the y d o no t understand. I n th e nex t chapte r we will deal with indirect vocabulary learnin g and guessin g meaning s fro m context .

Learning Word s i n Isolatio n o r i n Contex t Researchers hav e argue d fo r a lon g tim e abou t ho w student s ca n bes t lear n new words — i n isolatio n o r i n context . Direc t vocabulary learnin g involve s learners i n exercise s an d activitie s directly focused o n vocabular y acquisition , for example , word building , vocabulary game s an d learnin g words from lists . Indirect vocabular y learnin g focuse s th e learners ' attentio n o n th e message

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H WORDS : ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

conveyed throug h readin g o r listenin g activitie s rathe r tha n th e word s themselves. While word s ar e generall y learne d fro m contex t throug h readin g and listening , wor d list s an d game s ca n b e a n effectiv e wa y o f increasin g vocabulary fo r a specifi c purpose , suc h a s preparation fo r academi c study , o r learning technica l words. The tw o methods shoul d b e seen a s complementary .

Words i n Isolatio n Direct vocabular y learnin g ca n hel p t o spee d u p th e proces s o f languag e learning s o tha t a considerable numbe r o f words ca n b e learne d quickl y an d efficiently (Natio n 1982 , 1990; Nation an d Newton , 1997) . 'Discovering' word s is made easie r if the word list s and exercise s have been selecte d b y the teache r as being relevan t an d useful . I n fact, man y Chinese learner s rel y on wor d list s provided b y their teacher s an d memoris e the m fo r clas s dictations. While thi s might no t alway s be th e mos t effectiv e wa y of testin g thei r learning , carefull y selected wor d list s ca n b e quickl y revise d an d re-use d i n pee r evaluatio n activities, bingo , story-tellin g an d ga p fil l quizzes .

Word List s For man y years studies hav e focused o n th e learnin g o f a core vocabulary an d word list s hav e bee n develope d t o sho w th e basi c an d mos t frequentl y use d words. On e o f th e earlies t list s was West's (1935 ) definitio n vocabular y use d to compile a dictionary in which al l the definition s wer e given in simple term s using th e smalles t basi c vocabulary. Thorndik e an d Lorge' s (1944 ) list , base d on a running tex t o f one millio n word s includes th e frequenc y o f occurrenc e of th e 30,00 0 words covere d an d som e informatio n abou t thei r range , o r th e kinds o f texts in which a word occurs . Although thi s list was compiled ove r 6 0 years ag o an d som e o f th e word s migh t no w b e considere d archai c suc h a s thee and thou, the lis t is still a useful referenc e tool . West's (1953 ) General Service List of English Words is still regarded a s one o f the mos t famous an d usefu l list s of high frequenc y words . Based o n a corpu s — or body of text — of two to five million words, this list of 2,000 hea d word s gives bot h th e frequenc y o f occurrenc e an d th e relativ e frequenc y o f thei r meanings. It s advantage s fo r bot h teacher s an d learner s o f Englis h word s i s that i t give s differen t form s an d meaning s unde r eac h hea d wor d togethe r with a percentage showin g its relative frequency i n the corpus . From thi s user s can choos e th e mos t commo n meaning s an d use s o f a word. Th e lis t i s stil l

DIRECT VOCABULAR Y LEARNIN G 5

3

used a s a standard referenc e vocabular y lis t for writer s o f simplified readers . Most of the words classified a s being in the 1,00 0 an d 2,00 0 word lists are take n from thi s lis t which closel y correspond s wit h dat a fro m compute r generate d corpora develope d i n th e 1980 s and 1990s .

Word lists and text coverage We know which words are most frequently use d i n written an d spoke n English , but what does that mean for teachin g vocabulary? Nation (2001 ) ha s compare d the word s use d i n differen t type s o f Englis h discourse , fro m conversationa l English t o fiction, newspaper s an d academi c texts . The tabl e below shows th e percentage o f words fro m th e 1,000 , 2,00 0 an d academi c wor d list s (Nation , 2001, p . 17) . Levels

Conversation

Fiction

Newspapers

Academic Texts

1st 1,00 0

84.3%

82.3%

75.6%

73.5%

2nd 1,00 0

6%

5.1%

4.7%

4.6% 8.5% 13.3%

Academic

1.9%

1.7%

3.9%

Other

7.8%

10.9%

15.7%

With a knowledg e o f th e firs t 1,00 0 mos t frequentl y use d wor d familie s i n English, learner s shoul d b e abl e t o understan d 84 % o f th e word s use d i n a general conversation , 82 % of th e word s i n a story and 75 % of th e word s i n a newspaper article . The ide a o f a core vocabulary ha s appealed t o researcher s an d languag e teachers fo r man y years (Se e Richards , 194 3 and Carter , 1987) . Richard's lis t of Basic English limits th e numbe r o f words neede d t o 85 0 an d reduce s th e rules for usin g the m t o the minimu m necessar y t o convey ideas clearly. Ther e are onl y 1 8 verbs: come, do, get, give, go, keep, let, make, put, say, see, seem, send, take + may, will, be and have.

There ar e 60 0 nouns , o f which 20 0 are 'picturable ' word s suc h a s needle and plough and 40 0 'general ' word s includin g apparatus and slope. Ther e ar e 15 0 adjectives o f which 10 0 are 'general ' lik e hard and political plus 50 'opposites' . The remainde r ar e functiona l word s includin g through, he, because, and, now, very, yes, no a n d please.

This seem s lik e th e idea l wa y to star t learnin g a languag e — bein g abl e

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H WORDS ! ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

to communicat e b y using such a small pool o f word forms tha t may represen t over 12,00 0 meaning s (Nation , 1990) . Ther e is , however, a distinc t lac k o f basic, social words such as goodbye and thank you and learner s will have to maste r the us e o f phrasal verb s t o conve y a huge rang e o f meanings . More recen t word list s such a s The Cambridge English Lexicon (Hindmarsh, 1980) wit h 4,50 0 word s an d ove r 8,00 0 meaning s encompasse s mos t o f th e previous wor d list s available . Longman's Lexicon of Contemporary English (McArthur, 1981 ) wa s also developed for th e preparation o f teaching material s and th e compilatio n o f dictionaries . Bot h o f thes e creat e ric h resource s fo r classroom discussio n an d for m th e basi s o f man y grade d readers . Wit h th e advent o f compute r technology , a wide variet y o f computer-base d linguisti c corpora hav e emerged , includin g th e Britis h Nationa l Corpu s an d th e Birmingham Corpu s o n which Collin s COBUILD dictionar y and textbook s ar e based. The Universit y Word Lis t (Xu e an d Nation , 1984 ) whic h wa s replaced b y the Academic Word List (Coxhead , 2000 ) was developed fro m a 3 million wor d corpus o f general academi c text s covering law, business, arts and science . Thi s list contain s 57 0 words identifie d a s being essentia l fo r academi c stud y an d arranged accordin g t o thei r frequenc y o f occurrence . While word list s can b e a very useful wa y for motivate d student s t o lear n and revis e a fairl y larg e numbe r o f word s tha t hav e bee n selecte d fo r a particular purpose , such a s technical words or academi c terms , many student s find list s o f word s boring . The y hav e t o se e tha t ther e i s some relevanc e t o the word s an d ideall y th e list s shoul d b e arrange d b y topic s o r themes . A n additional challenge with low frequency word s is that learners need t o be awar e of tone , registe r an d formalit y o f word s i f the y ar e t o b e abl e t o us e the m effectively. Most o f th e word s i n th e Academi c Wor d Lis t als o appeare d i n th e University Word List, but other useful words , such as accomplish, fluent and insist were eliminated . I n developin g th e University Word Web vocabulary learnin g web site, the list s were merge d t o identif y duplicat e items . Words tha t tende d to b e disciplin e specific , suc h a s arithmetic, sociology, acid and microscope were removed a s well a s rar e item s lik e scalar. Th e resultin g lis t was incorporate d into th e web site a s an interactiv e learnin g resourc e fo r student s describe d i n more detai l i n chapte r 8 . Using a Dictionar y Is a particular dictionar y recommende d fo r us e a t your schoo l o r institution ? Do th e student s prefe r t o us e electroni c dictionaries ? Dictionar y us e i s a

DIRECT VOCABULAR Y LEARNIN G 5

5

discovery strategy in which learners search for informatio n abou t a word. Ther e are man y differen t kind s o f dictionarie s available , includin g monolingua l (English wor d an d Englis h meaning) , bilingua l (Englis h wor d an d meanin g in Chinese) , learne r dictionaries , electroni c an d multimedi a o r web-base d dictionaries. Englis h dictionarie s ar e usuall y arrange d alphabetically , excep t perhaps fo r pictur e dictionarie s an d thos e arrange d b y meaning suc h a s a thesaurus o r lexicon. It is important, therefore , tha t learners becom e familia r with th e feature s an d function s o f thei r dictionary , s o tha t the y kno w ho w t o make th e bes t us e o f it . Some teacher s regar d bilingua l dictionarie s a s inferior becaus e the y worry that thei r student s will rely on translation , rathe r tha n lookin g a t examples o f how th e word s ar e use d i n English . Mos t beginners , however , fee l mor e comfortable wit h a translation unti l the y feel confiden t enoug h t o appreciat e the sligh t difference s i n meanin g an d usag e describe d i n a monolingua l dictionary. A useful compromis e i s the learne r dictionar y whic h ma y contai n som e Chinese explanations , bu t whic h ha s simpl e definition s base d o n th e mos t useful an d commo n Englis h words. Students ma y be bette r abl e t o remembe r the words by making a mental effor t t o understand th e meanings given , seein g a variety of contexts an d understandin g collocations , register and grammatica l notes provide d fo r learners . More advance d user s ma y prefe r th e challeng e o f usin g a monolingua l dictionary designe d fo r nativ e speakers . Having selecte d th e mos t appropriat e dictionar y for students ' ability , it is helpful t o spen d som e tim e o n familiarizatio n task s t o mak e i t easie r fo r learners t o loo k u p th e words the y want t o check . Thi s is much easie r i f the y are al l using th e sam e dictionary , o r work togethe r i n smal l group s an d not e the difference s betwee n th e informatio n provide d b y various dictionaries . Task Look at the information at the beginning of the dictionary. Does it contain a list of abbreviations, or short forms of words? I f so, do your learner s kno w what thes e mean? The answers are given i n the Answer Key. nC vU adj p adv T

i

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H WORDS : ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

Which informatio n shoul d learner s note when the y use their dictionary? Whe n we chec k th e meaning s o f unfamilia r words , som e word s hav e differen t meanings, perhap s dependin g o n whethe r the y ar e noun s o r verbs . Fo r example 'attribute ' ca n be a verb, meaning ascribe, or credit, or a noun meanin g a quality or a characteristic. Some dictionaries also show information suc h as the formality o r informalit y of a word an d whethe r i t is a rare word o r on e tha t i s frequently used . Task Dictionary meanings Using th e dictionar y recommende d fo r us e a t you r school , check th e followin g words. Note if they have multiple meanings. If they are nouns, are they countabl e or uncountable ? I f the y ar e verb s ar e the y transitiv e (requirin g a n object ) o r intransitive? Do they have an irregular past tense? Does the spelling change? Note the preposition, if any, that follows. contract need source emphasis process analyse equate discuss ! !

simila r

t

! Whic h words shoul d your learner s loo k u p in a dictionary? Ar e there words that they frequently misuse? Perhaps they will be able to identify their errors by checking the words and noting the correct usage.

Checking the pronunciation in dictionaries Bearing i n min d th e effectivenes s o f sound awarenes s i n vocabulary learning , we should closely examine th e kin d o f dictionary tha t ou r learner s use . Som e dictionaries rel y o n a simpl e American-styl e pronunciatio n format , usuall y described i n th e fron t pages . Th e wor d itsel f i s broken u p int o on e syllabl e chunks an d th e stresse d syllabl e is written i n bold type , for exampl e anarchy is shown a s / an-er-ki/ . Electroni c dictionarie s usuall y have a n audi o versio n o f

DIRECT VOCABULAR Y LEARNIN G 5

7

the pronunciation o f the key word, though th e quality may vary from on e mak e or mode l t o another. Whicheve r forma t i s used, learner s shoul d b e advise d t o check th e pronunciatio n a t th e sam e tim e a s th e meaning . If phonemic symbol s are used in a dictionary, do students know how to decod e the symbols ? D o th e electroni c dictionarie s provid e clea r pronunciatio n wit h stress? On pag e 5 8 you will find a n exampl e o f th e kin d o f pronunciation char t with phonemi c symbol s use d i n som e dictionaries . Thi s char t wil l vary fro m one dictionar y t o another s o it is important tha t students become familia r wit h the symbol s used in their own dictionary. A selection o f exercises follow t o hel p users improve thei r familiarity with these symbols so that they are not as strange looking as they might first seem to be. The mai n point is to ensure tha t learner s know where t o loo k t o chec k o n th e pronunciation an d stress pattern o f word s they loo k u p i n th e dictionary . Task Teaching phonemic symbols Look at the table of phonemi c symbol s give n i n your dictionary , an d compare i t with the one on the nex t page. Check to make sure that the symbols used in the chart an d exercises correspond wit h those in the dictionary use d at school, The symbols can be quite confusing i f you are not very familiar with them o r seldo m use them.

Beginning wit h th e consonant s tha t ten d t o b e slightl y easie r t o recognis e a s they consist mainly of familiar lette r symbols, students ca n b e aske d t o say the symbol an d th e ke y word, e.g . ' / p / as in pet; / b/ as in bet. A t thi s poin t w e should not e tha t th e onl y differenc e betwee n thes e tw o sounds i s the us e o f the vocal chords . Student s ma y eithe r pu t thei r finger s lightl y to thei r throa t to fee l th e vibration , o r t o cove r thei r ear s t o hea r th e compariso n betwee n the voiced an d unvoice d sound . Th e sam e comparison ma y be draw n with th e pairs / t/ an d / d / ; / k / an d / g / ; /f / an d / v / ; / 9 / an d / 5 / ; / s/ an d / z / ; /j 7 and / 3 / . The combine d sound s represente d b y / t j / an d /0I3 / ca n als o b e compared. Sounds tha t commonl y caus e a grea t dea l o f difficult y wit h Chines e speakers suc h a s / m / , / n / , / r j / , / l/ an d / r / shoul d als o b e demonstrate d until th e student s fee l comfortabl e wit h th e sounds . The vowel sounds ma y create quit e a bit of discussion, especiall y / e/ an d /ae/ whic h ten d t o b e pronounce d th e sam e b y many Hon g Kon g students . The / i / i n ship might b e compare d t o th e vowe l i n / # / meanin g to eat in Cantonese.

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H WORDS" . ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

The mai n purpos e o f the activity is to promote a n awarenes s o f the sound s represented b y the symbols , rather tha n a pronunciation course , although th e practice wil l always stand th e learner s i n goo d stead . Once learner s ar e familia r wit h th e soun d symbols , the y ma y also fin d i t easier t o look up words that the y have heard i n speech an d chec k th e spelling . They ca n b e mad e awar e o f th e fac t tha t th e / A / soun d ca n b e spel t a s u, (cup) o r ou (couple ) an d tha t / e / ha s quite a variety of different spelling s a s we will see i n th e exercise s tha t follow th e char t o f phonemic symbol s below . Consonants Symbol Key P pe b be t ti d di k clas 9 glas f fe v vie 9 thro 6 thoug s soo z zo J sho 3 treasur

word t t e e s s

Vowels Symbol Key e be as ba i: shee i shi a: cal

d d

po o: caught u pu u: boo A CU

t

D

w w w h n

word

p p m , hors e t t t

3: bir 9 fathe

d

ei mak 9U coa ai bit au co oi to 19 her es hai us poo

e t e w y e r r

r

o e e

tf churc

h

d3 judg

e

m su n su rj sun

m n g

h hi

t

1 li

t

r re

d

j ye w we

t t

DIRECT VOCABULAR Y LEARNIN G 5

9

How can we encourage ou r learner s t o chec k th e pronunciatio n o f newl y learned word s an d recognis e word s the y hear i n listenin g activities ? The following phonemi c awarenes s activities are th e first steps in teachin g learners how to work out the pronunciation i n a dictionary that uses phonemi c script.

Phonemic awareness exercises The firs t exercis e i s a free productio n tas k where ther e i s a very wide range o f possible answers . Any symbol s ca n b e use d an d learner s nee d t o matc h th e vowel soun d t o thre e mor e Englis h word s a s shown i n th e example . (a) Free Production task ae bad , damage ma

d

land

rat

e bed , leisure ai fight , wipe

a: calm , hear t 3: bird , worm au now, loud

oi toy , oil The followin g thre e exercise s ar e matchin g activitie s tha t becom e mor e difficult a s first on e vowel sound i s matched, the n diphthongs , and lastl y words t h a t ma y hav e u n e x p e c t e d p r o n u n c i a t i o n , o r tha t ar e frequentl y mispronounced b y Chinese learners , suc h a s oven and couple, e.g . (b) Put eac h o f th e followin g word s int o th e correc t column , accordin g t o th e pronunciation. The first one ha s been done for you. sit bea

d fa

IvJ hi

t se

t lea

f lif id

t chea

t ha

d das /ae

bed

h hi

t ches /

s

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H WORDS : ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINESE LEARNER S

(c) Match the following words with the phonemic symbol . The first on e has been done for you. pier spar e coac h gro w sur e dar e se w tou r bee r chai r poo r dea r /ia/ /es

/ /us

/ /au

/

dear

(d) Match the words belo w with the symbols of these vowel sounds. men sho e bur lose cu p ove

y coug h frien d mov e los t sai d bloo d coupl e n watc h hea d choos e to p shoc k troup e luc k

Id iAi

/o

/ /u:

/

The nex t tw o exercises requir e recognitio n o f symbols an d can be don e individually or as pair/group work with students sounding out the symbols as they complete the tasks. (e) Match the following words with their phonemic transcriptions. / 'fArjkja n / quie / kwai t / snatc / snaet j / quit / kwaist / psycholog / sai !kabd3i / functio

t h e y n

(f) Ca n you recognise the following Englis h words ? / ^aenuar i / / juinaVsisst i / / m^skiite u / / ^ ^S/

/ ^sultr i / / ^nekaniz m /

DIRECT VOCABULAR Y LEARNIN G 6

1

Stress changes Many o f th e word s i n th e phonemi c awarenes s exercise s consis t o f onl y on e vowel sound , o r syllable . Mos t Englis h word s hav e tw o o r mor e syllable s an d in orde r t o pronounce thes e words correctly it is important t o check th e stress. To develo p a n awarenes s o f th e rol e o f stres s i n Englis h words , student s als o need t o chec k which symbol s ar e use d t o represen t th e stresse d syllable s use d in thei r dictionaries . Task Some word s chang e thei r stres s dependin g o n their meanin g an d their par t of speech. Mark the stressed syllables as shown in the example. Word Conduct

Verbs I was conducted roun d the school.

Nouns and adjectives ' His conduct was very poor. [

Contract

Metal contracts when it cools.

She signed the contract. l

Export

China exports good s to the USA .

Tourism is an invisible export. !

Insult

He insulted me.

That was a dreadful insult. J

Object

They objected to being searched.

This object is very old. j

Perfect

They perfected the idea.

This essay is almost perfect. '

Permit

Smoking is not permitted here.

You need a permit to park. f

Task Wrongly stressed words \ Learner s frequentl y mispronounc e th e following words . Whic h i s the stressed | syllable ? I econom y estat j economical analys

e e

| analysi s consequenc mechanism mechanica

e l

Silent letters Students als o nee d t o be mad e awar e o f words tha t contai n silen t letter s suc h as thumb, crumb, debt, whistle and island and b e asked t o look them u p an d chec k the pronunciation .

6 2 HARS

H WORDS ! ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

Using a Thesauru s Words ar e store d i n o u r m i n d s accordin g t o thei r m e a n i n g s , a s wel l a s form . A thesauru s i s lik e a dictionar y i n whic h th e word s ar e a r r a n g e d b y meaning s rather tha n spelling . I n Everyman s Thesaurus of EnglishWords and Phrases revised from Pete r Roget' s Thesaurus b y D . C . Browning , th e first sectio n o f th e b o o k is arranged thematicall y int o classe s such a s abstract relations, space, matter, intellect a n d affections. Within thes e categorie s ar e n u m b e r e d subsection s includin g time, form a n d change. A t t h e bac k o f t h e t h e s a u r u s i s a n alphabetica l lis t o r ke y a c c o m p a n i e d b y a n u m b e r s h o w i n g i n w h i c h s e c t i o n w o r d s o f a simila r m e a n i n g ca n b e found . I f w e wan t t o find a n o t h e r wor d fo r record, th e i n d e x at th e bac k give s tw o options : Record n o t

e 55 1 list 8 6

T h e n u m b e r refer s n o t t o t h e page , b u t t o th e sectio n i n whic h th e w o r d i s shown, s o i f we loo k u p m e a n i n g s o f record as i n note we find : Trace, mark , tradition , vestige , footstep , footmark , footprint , footfall , wake, track , trail , slot , spoor , pu g an d scent . Monument , relic , remains , trophy, hatchment, achievement , obelisk , monolith, pillar, stele, column , slab, tablet , medal , testimonial , memorial. Note, minute , register , registry , index , inventory , lis t (86) , catalogue , memorandum, jotting, document , account , score , tally , invoice, docket , voucher, protocol , inscription . Paper, parchment , scroll , instrument , deed , indenture , debenture , roll , archive, schedule , file, dossier , cartulary , table , process verbal, affidavit , certificate, attestation , entry , diploma , protest , round-robin , roster , rota , muster-roll, muster-book , notebook , commonplace-book , adversaria, portfolio. Chronicle, annals, gazette, Hansard, histor y (594) , newspaper, magazine , gazetteer, blue-book , almanac , calendar , ephemeris , diary , log , journal, day-book, ledger . Registration, tabulation , enrolment , booking . (Verbs) t o record , note , register , chronicle , calendar , mak e a n entr y of , enter, book , tak e a note of , post , enrol , jot down , tak e down , mark , sig n etc. (550) , tabulate , catalogue , file, index , commemorat e (883) . (Adjectives) registered , etc . (Adverbs) Unde r one' s han d an d seal , on record .

DIRECT VOCABULAR Y LEARNIN G 6

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From thi s extremel y detaile d selectio n o f words w e ca n se e tha t the y hav e b e e n arranged int o subgroup s accordin g t o meanin g a n d par t o f speech . Som e item s are cross-referre d t o a n o t h e r categor y suc h a s list (86) . W e ca n als o se e t h a t some foreig n word s o r phrase s tha t hav e c o m e int o us e i n Englis h a n d man y archaic m e a n i n g s o f record are included . Mos t o f thes e words , i n fact , woul d b e wel l b e y o n d th e secon d languag e learner' s goals . Fortunately, les s detaile d version s o f th e thesauru s hav e b e e n develope d a n d a r e a r r a n g e d alphabeticall y b y ke y wor d i n a m o r e traditiona l format . Webster's New Thesaurus list s fewe r t h a n hal f o f th e abov e word s i n it s singl e entry fo r record and the y ten d t o b e th e m o r e frequentl y e n c o u n t e r e d synonym s in c u r r e n t usage , s o m o r e usefu l fo r non-nativ e speakers . T h e r e ar e electroni c version s o f th e thesauru s too , a n d us e o f a computer based thesauru s i s covered i n chapte r 7 along wit h concordancer s a n d corpora .

U s i n g a n Activato r a n d L e x i c o n While th e a r r a n g e m e n t o f a thesauru s i s extremel y usefu l a s a too l fo r finding synonyms, m a n y ar e to o advance d fo r mos t learners . A n activator , however , such a s Longman 's Essential Activator a n d th e Language Activator publishe d b y Pearson Educatio n ar e b o t h designe d wit h th e intermediat e Englis h languag e learner i n mind . T h e m o r e advance d versio n i s th e lexicon , suc h a s th e Lexicon of Contemporary English (McArthur , 1981) . T h e s e kind s o f dictionarie s a r e similar t o a thesauru s i n tha t th e word s ar e g r o u p e d t o g e t h e r a n d a r r a n g e d alphabetically a n d semantically . T h e ai m o f th e activato r i s t o h e l p learner s p r o d u c e m o r e accurat e a n d m o r e varie d language . I t contain s simply-worde d m e a n i n g s o f ke y word s a n d use s corpus-base d example s o f ho w th e wor d i s used i n context . Bot h spoke n a n d writte n example s ar e provide d alon g wit h irregular forms , spelling , superlatives , collocatin g preposition s a n d potentia l errors. Advic e i s als o provide d o n opposites , level s o f formality , frequenc y a n d usage. T h e Essential Activator entr y fo r dry fo r e x a m p l e show s th e opposit e wet a n d ha s a cross-referenc e t o weather . Fou r meaning s ar e n o t e d : 1. no t wet / drai / (adj ) The wood was dry and it burned easily. Bone dry/dr y a s a bone. Dr y — drier — dries t 2. whe n there is not much rain (adj ) It was a very dry summer. Dusty / 'dAsti / (adj ) a dusty road, town, track etc is dry and covere d in dust , because th e weather i s hot an d ther e i s not much rain . The road to Agra was long, hot and dusty. Dusty — dustier — dusties t

6 4 HARS

H WORDS ! ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

Drought / drau t / ( n C/U ) a lon g perio d whe n ther e i s little o r no rain , so that people an d animal s do no t hav e enough wate r an d plants die . Southern Africa is suffering its worst drought of the century. 3. t o become dr y ( V I) Wet clothes soon dry on a hot day. Hang somethin g ou t t o dry . Drying — dried — have dried . Dry ou t (phrasa l ver b I ) t o becom e completel y dr y o n th e insid e and th e outside . Put your coat near the fire — it'll soon dry out. Cover the pastry with a damp cloth to prevent it from drying out. Dry u p (phrasa l ver b I ) I f a rive r o r lak e drie s u p i t become s completely dr y becaus e ther e ha s no t bee n an y rain . Last summer the river dried up and you could walk right across it. The drought has made the reservoir dry up, and many homes are without water. Shrivel u p /Jriva l Ap / (phrasa l ver b I ) I f a plan t o r frui t shrivel s up, i t becomes smalle r an d dee p line s form o n it s surface, becaus e it i s so dry : There was so little rain that most of the crops shrivelled up and died. Shrivelling — shrivelle d — have shrivelle d (British ) Shriveling — shriveled — have shrivele d (American ) 4. t o make something dr y or make yourself dr y ( V T)To mak e something dry . Could you wait ten minutes while I dry my hair? Drying — drie d — have drie d Dry yourself of f (phrasa l ver b T ) T o use a towe l t o mak e yoursel f dry, fo r exampl e afte r a bath o r a swim . He got out of the pool and dried himself off. Source: Longman Essential Activator (2003). Essex: Pearson Education . I n t e r m e d i a t e learner s ca n benefi t fro m thi s kin d o f dictionar y a s a recyclin g task t o consolidat e word s alread y p r e s e n t e d i n a n earlie r lesson . I f the y hav e b e e n r e a d i n g a passag e a b o u t a fire, the y c o u l d loo k u p thi s t e r m a n d fin d blaze, flame, spark, flare a n d burn. I n g r o u p s the y c o u l d discus s a stor y o f a fire i n a b u i l d i n g o r a c o u n t r y p a r k a n d d e s c r i b e i t i n a s m u c h detai l a s possible. New word s ca n b e discovere d i n a n activato r a n d learner s coul d b e o n a word h u n t , fo r example , o n th e topi c o f Hallowe'en . Divid e th e clas s into smal l groups a n d giv e eac h o n e o r tw o word s t o chec k i n th e activato r suc h a s fear a n d ghost. I f the y chec k i n th e index , the y ma y find a referenc e t o frightening

DIRECT VOCABULAR Y LEARNIN G 6

5

and frightened. With a partner the y may be able to find othe r nouns , adjective s and verb s relate d t o fear such as : Nouns

Adjectives

Verbs

fear

afraid

to b e afrai d

panic

panic stricke n

to pani c

fright

frightened

to b e frightene d

scare

scared, scar y

to b e scare d

terror

terrified, terrifyin g

to b e terrifie d

They migh t als o find som e colloquia l phrase s suc h as : scared stiff / scare d to death / scar y monster / spook y house The searc h for ghost may take them t o a section 'strange things and events' 'where they coul d find: Nouns

Adjectives

ghost

ghostly (appearance )

— spirit phantom spectre apparition

—_ ..

spooky (castle ) evil (spirit )

— — haunted (house )

Verbs

— — — — — haunt

Once the y have found som e useful word s they should be able to describe som e spooky creatures and scary places or explain how they feel when they are afraid . They coul d als o g o o n t o giv e example s o f feelin g afrai d o r o f thing s tha t frighten them , lik e insect s o r snakes . More advance d student s ma y tak e a topi c suc h a s crime an d tr y t o find words tha t migh t b e usefu l t o write a n essay . Looking u p crime in th e lexico n they will find th e verb s to commit a crime, to get into trouble and to turn to crime. Nouns give n ar e offence, felony and misdemeanour. Closely relate d noun s ar e criminal activity and delinquency. Persons wh o commi t a crim e ar e criminals, offenders, delinquents, lawbreakers or felons. A group of criminals is a gang, a ring, or a syndicate and organised crime operates i n th e underworld. These coul d al l be show n i n a bubble diagram :

6 6 HARS

H WORDS : ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

Verbs to commi t a crim e to tur n t o crim e to ge t int o troubl e

Nouns criminal activit y delinquenc

Crimes shoplifting drug dealin g fraud theft murder

organised crim e syndicat

J

offence

felony

y

\

misdemeanour

e underworl

gang rin

g tria

criminals offender

s delinquent

lawbreakers felon

d

d s

s

Finding word s throug h grou p activitie s ca n generat e socia l strategie s fo r vocabulary learning , a s they as k an d lear n fro m thei r peer s an d teachers .

Not nice One o f th e mos t frequently use d adjective s i s nice and i t tends t o be embrace d to describ e almos t anythin g fro m a baby t o a book. I t is overused and learner s should tr y to avoid using it by finding a more appropriat e word. The followin g activities len d themselve s wel l t o grou p wor k an d ca n generat e considerabl e discussion an d negotiatio n o f meanin g — i n itsel f a usefu l strateg y fo r attending t o an d learnin g words . Task } Find a better word ! Usin g a thesaurus, or an activator, as k learners to find words that could be use d j to describe the following: clothes party apartment

friend food book

Next, look for antonyms.

Students shoul d chec k thei r dictionar y t o mak e sur e tha t th e wor d the y hav e selected i s appropriate for th e context . The y shoul d als o loo k fo r antonym s o r words tha t mea n th e opposit e o f nice. Teacher s shoul d b e careful , however , t o avoid presenting opposites of new words together in the same lesson as learners can easil y confuse them . Onc e th e word ha s become established , th e opposit e can b e introduced .

DIRECT VOCABULAR Y LEARNIN G 6

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Once student s hav e an ide a o f how to group words togethe r accordin g t o their meaning s (synonyms) , and that suit the context, student s ca n tr y to d o th e same wit h th e following : good (work ) ba

d (person ) prett

ugly (creature ) interestin

g (story ) usefu

y (child ) attractiv

e (lady )

l (tool )

A practical way of dealing with th e students ' suggestion s i s to create wor d flowers o n th e board , o r wit h a transparenc y an d overhea d projector . Th e target word nice becomes th e centr e o f the flowe r an d th e noun s tha t g o with it form th e petals as in the following example . By grouping th e words togethe r within a contex t the y will be abl e t o se e th e relationship s betwee n meaning s and collocations . Other word s ca n b e use d i n th e centr e an d min d map s o r spide r graph s can b e create d s o that learners are challenge d t o attend t o the words, or mak e decisions abou t them , a s t o which categor y the y migh t fit. Thi s attentio n t o words an d thei r meaning s ca n hel p learner s t o store an d retriev e the m agai n more efficiently .

Clothes smart stylis h trendy chi c fashionable casual dress y

Friend kind thoughtful considerate reliable trustworthy good-natured easygoing laid-back sociable

Party lively fun enjoyable terrific marvellous fantastic

Nice Story interesting fascinating gripping exciting delightful enchanting

Flat comfortable pleasant modern cosy convenient quiet

Food delicious tasty healthy wholesome yummy

6 8 HARS

H WORDS. " ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

Word Parts : Prefixes, Root s an d Suffixe s The Englis h use d toda y i s very different fro m th e languag e tha t was spoke n and writte n b y th e inhabitant s o f Englan d a thousan d year s ago . Unde r Roman rule , Lati n word s wer e introduce d an d later , whe n th e Norman s invaded England , thei r for m o f French , whic h wa s also derive d fro m Latin , influenced English . Thes e word s ten d t o b e use d i n forma l writte n Englis h while othe r word s fro m Germani c origi n mak e u p th e bul k o f spoke n English. Man y medica l an d scientifi c term s hav e Gree k root s an d ther e ar e close link s betwee n man y French, Spanish , Portuguese , Italia n an d Englis h words. Because othe r language s hav e ha d a grea t influenc e o n English , an d since man y forma l word s ar e mad e u p o f differen t parts , i t ca n b e ver y helpful t o learner s t o b e abl e t o recognis e an d understan d th e meaning s of som e o f thes e c o m p o n e n t s . No t al l word s ca n b e divide d u p int o meaningful parts , bu t i t ca n b e helpfu l t o b e abl e t o identif y th e mor e common elements . B y understanding ho w words ar e mad e up , learner s ca n develop a n awarenes s o f word pattern s — a consolidatio n strateg y — and , in time , recognis e commo n feature s o f word s tha t ca n hel p wit h wor d building. Learners shoul d focu s o n som e o f th e mos t frequentl y use d prefixes , roots an d suffixe s tha t make u p Englis h words. Around 97 % of the 10 0 mos t frequently use d word s ar e o f Germani c origi n an d the y ar e les s likel y t o have prefixes . Thes e word s includ e arm, finger an d hand an d ar e almos t identical i n Swedish , Danish , Dutc h an d German . However , Lati n an d Greek word s becom e mor e apparen t i n th e 2,000 + wor d lists , accountin g for almos t 60 % o f the m (Bird , 1987) . Learner s nee d t o b e awar e tha t mos t of thes e word s ten d t o b e forma l i n ton e an d mor e academi c i n meaning . Often th e curren t meanin g o f a word i s very different fro m th e origina l m e a n i n g a s word s frequentl y tak e o n ne w meaning s ove r time . O n e example o f th e chang e i n meaning s ha s alread y bee n show n wit h gay no w tending t o refe r mor e frequentl y t o th e homosexua l communit y tha n t o its olde r meanin g o f happy or merry. Sometimes i t ca n b e ver y difficul t fo r learners t o relat e th e meaning s o f individua l part s t o th e curren t meanin g and s o usin g a dictionar y tha t explain s th e origin s o f a wor d ma y b e beneficial t o them .

DIRECT VOCABULAR Y LEARNIN G 6

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Recognising word parts Learners ca n find i t difficult t o locate a word in a dictionary if they are lookin g up a derivativ e instea d o f th e hea d word , fo r example , i f the y want t o chec k indecisive, the y need t o kno w t o look u p decisive. Thi s i s a very practical reaso n for learnin g word parts, and learner s nee d t o know which words can be broke n down int o smalle r components . The firs t stag e i n lookin g a t word part s i s being abl e t o divid e words int o sections tha t ca n b e furthe r analyse d fo r meaning . S Tas k Prefixes come at the beginning of a word, while the root is usually in the middle and the suffix is at the end. In the following examples , divide the words int o the prefix, the root and the suffix. The first one is done for you. trans/port/ation predictabl

e inanimat

e determinatio

n controversia

j

l

Prefixes Prefixes ar e letter s tha t ar e adde d o n t o th e beginnin g o f a word an d the y often carr y an elemen t o f meaning. Onc e learner s ar e abl e t o recognis e som e of th e mor e commo n prefixes , the y ma y find i t easie r t o gues s th e meaning s of words tha t contai n them . Task Guess the meanings from word parts Look at the following words that begin with prefixes. Can you guess what the prefix means? Som e of these are more transparent than others. predict previe

w preschoo

automatic autograp subordinate subwa

l prejudg

e prehea

h automobil e autonomou y substandar

d submerg

t premarita

l

s autoimmun e e submarin

e subtitl e

postgraduate

posterior

posterity

postscript

postpone postnata

cent

century

centipede

centimetre

centigrade centilitr e

decimal

decade

decathlon

bisexual

bicycle

bisect

binocular

bilateral bilingua

beneficial

benevolent benefactor

benefit

benignant

diagonal

diameter

dialogue

l

l

7 0 HARS

H WORDS ! ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

W h e n learner s ca n se e th e c o m m o n element s o f som e words , t h e functio n o f the individua l part s ca n b e easie r t o wor k out . T h e n e x t tabl e show s s o m e o f t h e m o r e c o m m o n prefixe s i n English , t o g e t h e r wit h thei r m e a n i n g a n d som e examples . Usin g a dictionary , learner s s h o u l d b e abl e t o identif y word s tha t contai n thes e prefixe s a n d fin d a t leas t o n e m o r e example . Som e suggestion s ar e give n i n th e Answe r Key , b u t other s may als o b e acceptable . Prefix

Meaning

Example

Further Exampl e

a, ab , ab s

away, from, of f

abnormal, absen t

con, co , co r

with

correspond, cooperat e

contra

against

contradict, contrar y

dis

not, opposit e

disagree

ex, e

out, beyon d

external

in

in, int o

internal

in, il im, i r

Not

illegal, impossibl e

inter

between

international

mis

wrong

mistake, mislea d

min

small

minimum

max, ma j

large, grea t

maximum

and

against

antibiotic

ante

before

anterior

re

again, bac k

remake, retur n

super

over, abov e

superman

O n c e learner s hav e b e c o m e awar e o f th e i m p o r t a n c e o f prefixes , the y m i g h t try t o l e a r n w o r d s t h a t c o n t a i n t h e s a m e prefix , fo r e x a m p l e , ex, extr a n d mis: extract extractor extramural extravagant extrovert extremist extravaganza extraordinary

misfortune miscalculate misconstrue misdemeanour misadventure mishap misjudge misplace

DIRECT VOCABULAR Y LEARNIN G 7

1

Roots It ca n b e ver y difficul t t o u n d e r s t a n d ho w a wor d ha s c h a n g e d it s m e a n i n g s o m u c h fro m it s o r i g i n a l sense . Word s c o m e i n t o Englis h fro m m a n y o t h e r languages a n d ne w meaning s ar e bein g a d d e d t o word s al l th e time . H e r e ar e s o m e example s o f root s o f words : nov meanin

g new as in novelty, novel, innovation, novice

vid/vis meanin

g see or look as in video, visual, vista, vision, visor,

revise, revision Sometimes t h e r o o t ma y c h a n g e it s for m d e p e n d i n g o n w h e t h e r t h e wor d i s used a s a verb o r a n o u n , suc h a s vid/vis i n video a nd visual o r mit/mis i n transmit a n d transmission. Task | Identify the root in the following words and then add one more word that contains i the same root: | inspector sensitive vocation conclusion Can you guess the meaning of these roots? i Suggested answer s ar e give n i n th e Answe r Key . Som e o t h e r word s ma y als o b e correc t b u t n o t listed , a s onl y th e m o r e c o m m o n word s ar e shown . I t ca n b e ver y difficul t t o se e an y connectio n betwee n th e c u r r e n t m e a n i n g a n d th e sum o f th e part s o f th e words , b ut whe n a n unfamilia r wor d appear s i n context , the r o o t ca n sometime s giv e u s a clu e t o th e word' s m e a n i n g . Task Find as man y words a s possibl e that contain the following root s and gues s th e meanings o f the roots: phon diet scrib/script tain/ten vert ject mit/mis graph Some suggestions ar e provided i n the Answer Key.

7 2 HARS

H WORDS : ENGLIS H WORD S FO R CHINES E LEARNER S

Suffixes The mai n functio n o f suffixe s i s to alte r th e par t o f speec h o f a word an d s o when learner s mee t a ne w word, i t i s helpful fo r the m t o not e th e differen t forms o f a word, o r it s word family . Loo k a t th e followin g examples : Verb specify obstruct hesitate

Noun specification obstruction hesitation

Adjective specific obstructive hesitant

Adverb specifically obstructively hesitantly

Task How does the suffix affect the part of speech? Fill in the grid with the appropriate part of speech for each of the words in the left column. How do the suffixes chang e according to the part of speech ? Noun

Adjective

Verb

Adverb

benefit expose consult minimal publication

Check your answer s i n th e Answer Key . It is worth notin g tha t th e roo t o f th e word ca n occasionall y chang e alon g wit h th e suffi x becaus e th e Lati n for m also change d accordin g t o it s part o f speech .

"1

Task

Complete thi s tabl e b y addin g word s tha t en d wit h th e followin g suffixes . A n example o f eac h is provided. What do the suffixes tell us about the words? Ca n you see any patterns ? -ate

-tion

-less

-ness

-er

educate

education

careless

carelessness

driver

-or actor

Professions ar e ofte n create d b y taking th e verb an d addin g -e r o r -o r t o th e end a s in teach/teacher , write/writer , act/acto r an d sail/sailor , bu t Chines e learners nee d t o b e awar e tha t thi s rul e doe s NO T appl y t o cook/cooker !

DIRECT VOCABULAR Y LEARNIN G 7

3

Many word s d o no t fi t int o thi s rathe r simpl e schema , bu t sometime s learners repor t tha t th e awarenes s o f ho w som e Englis h word s ar e pu t together ca n hel p the m t o gues s thei r meaning s whe n the y encounte r unfamiliar word s i n context . Knowin g genera l guideline s abou t inflection s of word s b y usin g suffixe s ca n b e ver y helpful , particularl y i n writin g an d speaking. SUMMARY

Focusing on words in isolation, or direct vocabulary learning , can be a useful way of discovering words: in word lists, in a dictionary or thesaurus, or in an activator or lexicon. By being aware of the phonemic symbols used in a dictionary, learners can check the pronunciation of words when they check their meanings and use. A basi c knowledg e o f wor d formatio n — prefixes , root s an d suffixe s — ca n consolidate the meanings of some words and give clues as to the meanings of others.

Revision Question s 1. Wha t i s the differenc e betwee n direc t an d indirec t vocabulary learning ? 2. Whic h wor d lis t level i s likely t o b e mos t appropriat e t o your students ? 3. Ho w wil l yo u teac h you r student s ho w t o us e a dictionar y an d a thesaurus? 4. Choos e a topi c tha t yo u wil l b e coverin g i n clas s soo n an d sugges t ho w you will encourage you r student s t o creat e wor d associations . What kin d of tas k wil l you us e a s a consolidatio n exercise ? 5. Ho w wil l yo u incorporat e wor d analysi s int o you r teaching ? Whic h prefixes, root s o r suffixe s wil l you dea l wit h firs t an d why ? Further Readin g Coxhead, A. (2000) . A New Academic Word List . TESOL Quarterly 34, 2: 213238. Everyman's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (1972) . London: J. M . Dent , Orion Publishin g Group . Goulden, R. , P . Natio n an d J . Rea d (1990) . Ho w larg e ca n a receptiv e vocabulary be ? Applied Linguistics 11, 4: 341-363. Longman Essential Activator (2003). 13th impression. First published 1997 . Essex: Pearson Education . Longman Language Activator: The World's First Production Dictionary (1993) . Essex: Longman.

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McArthur, T . (1981) . Lexicon of Contemporary English. Essex: Longman . Nation, I . S . P . (1990) . Teaching and Learning Vocabulary. Massachusetts: Newbury House . Paribakht, T . Sirn a an d Marjori e Wesch e (1997) . Vocabulary enhancemen t activities an d readin g fo r meanin g i n secon d languag e vocabular y acquisition. I n J. Coad y an d T . Huckin (eds ) Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition: A Rationale for Pedagogy, pp . 174-200 . Cambridge : Cambridg e University Press .

—J Indirect Vocabulary Learning

Introduction In th e previou s chapte r w e note d tha t discover y strategie s includ e findin g words an d learnin g the m directly , from wor d list s and wor d focused activities , using a dictionary or thesaurus. We also looked at ways of breaking words dow n into smalle r units . Her e w e will put thes e strategie s int o effec t b y examinin g vocabulary in contex t an d ways of guessing the meanings o f unfamiliar words .

Indirect Vocabular y Learnin g fro m Contex t With nativ e speakers , th e majorit y o f vocabulary learnin g i s indirect. I n on e study, twent y nativ e Englis h speakin g adult s wer e aske d t o rea d th e nove l A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. The book contains over 200 slang words, many based o n Russian , suc h a s droog meaning friend , an d veck, a fellow - but the glossar y giving the meaning s o f the words was removed. The reader s were unexpectedly teste d o n 9 0 of the non-Englis h words and the y could recogniz e the meaning s o f 76 % o f them , simpl y b y having guesse d th e meaning s fro m context a s they rea d th e boo k (Saragi , Nation an d Meister , 1978) . Native speakers have a vocabulary of about 5,000 English words when the y start primar y school , an d the n quickl y increas e thei r wor d powe r b y aroun d 1,000 word s pe r yea r (Nagy , 1997) . Thi s growt h i n vocabular y learnin g i s probably du e t o th e hug e amoun t o f word s the y hea r al l aroun d the m an d the reading that students are faced with in secondary school. By university level, Goulden e t al . (1990 ) sugges t tha t th e vocabular y siz e o f educate d adult s i s around 20,00 0 wor d families . I t i s unlikel y tha t wor d list s coul d accoun t fo r such gains .

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Does th e sam e appl y t o L 2 learners? Som e argu e tha t b y learning word s in context , learner s ca n lin k words an d thei r meanings , us e an d collocation s for mor e effectiv e wor d learnin g (Carter , 1987) . A series of studies about ho w L2 learner s dea l wit h unknow n word s i n reading s text s foun d tha t mos t learners ignore d thes e word s unles s the y wer e require d t o answe r readin g comprehension question s (Paribakh t an d Wesche , 1993 , 1997) . Successfu l incidental learnin g ca n onl y tak e plac e whe n ther e ar e clea r cue s i n th e tex t to th e meaning s an d relationships , an d th e learne r mus t attend to th e ne w word. Th e clarit y o f th e contex t i s importan t an d th e learner' s previou s knowledge o f th e contex t an d surroundin g vocabular y influence s thei r learning. I t was also note d tha t conten t words , especiall y concret e noun s ar e more likel y t o b e learne d tha n functio n words . The interpretatio n o f 'context' , ca n var y widel y betwee n sentenc e definitions an d neutra l contexts . Compar e th e followin g tw o examples : An opaque window is one that you can't see through. Six windows in the building are opaque. The firs t sentenc e explain s th e meanin g o f opaque and s o i t ha s a definin g context. Th e secon d sentenc e give s u s n o clu e a s t o th e meanin g o f opaque, and s o i t is a neutra l o r non-definin g context . Given th e numbe r o f variable s tha t exis t i n a context , fo r example , th e length o f tim e take n t o lear n th e targe t wor d a s oppose d t o understandin g the context, togethe r with the difficult y o f the content, it is difficult t o measur e accurately th e effectivenes s o f indirec t vocabular y learning . Other studie s tha t loo k a t th e effectivenes s o f vocabular y growt h fro m reading sho w tha t th e numbe r o f unfamilia r word s learne d range s fro m 1 to 5 words i n a tex t o f ove r 1,00 0 words . In Hors t e t al' s experimen t (1998) , a n average o f 5 words wer e gaine d fro m th e readin g o f a simplifie d versio n o f The Mayor of Casterbridge, a text of 21,000 words. At this rate of growth, a second language learne r woul d hav e t o rea d ove r 8 million word s o f texts , o r abou t 420 novels to increase thei r vocabulary by 2,000 words (Laufe r an d Hil l 2001) . This woul d no t b e a n efficien t mean s o f vocabular y development , s o i t i s reasonable t o believe tha t L 2 learners acquir e thei r vocabulary no t onl y fro m reading o r listening , bu t als o throug h wor d focuse d activities . Nevertheless, the ability to learn vocabulary in context is obviously helpfu l for student s wh o hav e t o absor b a hug e volum e o f subjec t relate d readin g material anyway . The y ca n als o b e encourage d t o develo p an d practis e strategies fo r guessin g th e meaning s o f word s fro m context , checkin g th e dictionary for item s that may be unclear, o r that reappear i n different settings .

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Guessing th e Meaning s o f Word s i n Contex t Teachers frequendy sugges t that it is important t o understand th e general sens e of a text and tha t learners need no t worry too much i f they do no t understan d the meaning o f every single word. This is certainly the case for readin g fluency , so learners shoul d tr y to avoi d checkin g th e meaning s o f all unfamiliar word s in th e dictionary . Unfortunately , however , weake r learner s ar e ofte n unabl e to guess the meaning s o f words, or make incorrec t guesses that resul t in the m completely misunderstanding a passage. If they make a wrong guess, they ofte n change thei r understandin g o f th e tex t t o mak e thei r incorrec t gues s fit . I f the wron g meanin g remain s fixe d i n thei r mind , i t ca n tak e som e tim e t o unlearn it, s o learner s shoul d b e encourage d t o loo k u p word s tha t the y fee l are ke y to understandin g a text . Guessing Strategie s Here ar e si x step s fo r guessin g word s fro m context , adapte d fro m Natio n (1990): Step 1 : Find th e par t o f speec h o f th e unknow n word . Is it a noun , a verb, a n adjectiv e o r a n adverb ? Step 2 : Does i t contai n an y familiar parts ? Does i t look simila r t o anothe r wor d yo u alread y know ? But b e carefu l a s ther e coul d b e misleadin g clue s here , e.g . infallible doesn't mea n unable to fall. Step 3 : Examine th e immediat e context . I f the unknow n wor d i s a Noun Whic h adjective s describ e it ? Which ver b doe s i t g o with? What doe s i t do an d wha t i s done t o it ? Verb Whic h noun s g o with it ? Does a n adver b tel l you mor e abou t it ? Adjective Whic h nou n doe s i t go with ? Adverb Whic h ver b doe s i t g o with? Step 4 : Examine th e wide r context . Loo k a t th e relationshi p betwee n th e claus e or sentence containin g th e unknown word and othe r sentences or paragraphs .

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Sometimes thi s relationshi p i s signale d by a linkin g word , e.g . but, because, zfan d when O R by a conjunctio n e.g . however, a nd as a result. Word lik e this, that a n d such as can provid e usefu l information . Often t h e r e i s n o signal , b u t th e punctuation ma y provid e clues : dashes — ma y signa l explanation s colons : a nd sem i colon s ; ofte n signa l list s o f relate d ideas . Step 5 : Guess th e m e a n i n g . Step 6 : Check tha t you r gues s i s correct . Doe s th e par t o f speec h o f you r gues s m a t c h th e m e a n i n g o f th e u n k n o w n word ? Mayb e yo u thin k yo u kno w th e m e a n i n g i n Chinese . Ca n yo u thin k o f a n Englis h wor d wit h a similar meaning ? Substitute you r guess . Doe s th e sentenc e m a k e sense ? Your gues s i s probabl y correct.

Guessing from word parts S t a r t i n g wit h step s o n e a n d two , w e w a n t t o gues s t h e m e a n i n g o f t h e highlighted wor d i n th e sentenc e below : The youn g ma n picke d u p th e piec e o f food fro m th e plat e an d looke d a t i t closely. I t seeme d dry , har d an d tasteless . H e though t i t was probabl y quit e indigestible. W h a t clue s ar e t h e r e here ? 1. T h e wor d i s a n adjective . 2. I n / d i g e s t / i b l e . T n ' probabl y m e a n s not. Tble ' i s a for m o f 'able whic h m e a n s abl e o r can . T h a t leave s 'digest ' a n d w e kno w i t i s relate d t o food . Learners ma y kno w th e wor d 'digest ' o r digestion ' o r 'digestiv e system' . They ma y hav e l e a r n e d som e o f thes e word s i n a n o t h e r lesson , suc h a s science o r biology , a s the y ar e t o d o wit h th e wa y th e body breaks down food to make use of it. Taking step s 3 a n d 4 : 3. Indigestible goe s wit h t h e subjec t 'if whic h refer s t o the piece of food i n t h e first sentence . 4. O t h e r clue s a b o u t 'it ' ar e tha t i t seems hard, dry and tasteless. Take ste p 5 a n d it' s tim e t o guess . I t i s related t o foo d tha t can' t b e b r o k e n down a n d use d b y th e body . Thi s make s sense , especiall y i f it seem s 'hard , dry a n d tasteless' . T h e substitut e m e a n i n g make s sense , s o i t i s probabl y correct.

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Guessing from punctuation In th e followin g sentence , tr y t o gues s wha t stratification means . The principl e o f stratificatio n — breakin g u p a n asse t an d sellin g th e individua l parts fo r mor e tha n th e origina l cos t pric e — i s becoming mor e popula r i n Hon g Kong's propert y market . I g n o r i n g th e word s betwee n th e dashe s (— ) ther e remains : The principl e o f stratification i s becoming mor e popula r i n Hon g Kong' s propert y market. T h e informatio n betwee n th e dashe s explain s wha t stratificatio n means : breaking u p a n asse t and sellin g the individua l part s for mor e tha n th e origina l cos t price A furthe r exampl e i s show n below : Corrosion, th e destructiv e chemica l attac k o n meta l objects , ca n b e prevente d i n a number o f ways. Between th e comma s w e hav e th e m e a n i n g o f corrosion .

Using pictures as clues In a d d i t i o n t o t h e s e strategies , t h e r e a r e occasionall y helpfu l clue s i n illustrations tha t accompan y som e texts . I n th e followin g extrac t student s n e e d to gues s th e wor d bunting. Multicoloured buntin g dance s in th e wind t o mark th e start of a new academic year. Students ar e settlin g int o thei r ne w routin e a t th e beginnin g o f thei r study .

of the dictionar y Week 1 assert (verb) to stat e strongl y The President asserted that th e peace treaty woul d remain In force. assertion (n) § forceful *t*temenr (odJD oxpr&sskiQ strong opinions (s