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How to teach Vocabulary
Transcript of How to teach Vocabulary
4 Texts, dictionaries and corpora
2 How words are learned
5 How to present vocabulary
7 Teaching word parts and word chunks
How to teach
1 Presenting vocabulary
2 Using translation
What are the implications for teaching?
6 How to put words to work
1 What's in a word?
'A word is a microcosm of human consciousness'. (Vygotsky)
The coining of new words never stops.
In a village of La Mancha, the name of which I have no desire to call to mind, there lived not long since one of those gentlemen that keep a lance in the lance-rack, an old buckler, a lean hack, and a greyhound for coursing. An olla of rather more beef than mutton, a salad on most nights, scraps on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays, and a pigeon or so extra on Sundays, made away with three‐quarters of his income. The rest of it went in a doublet of fine cloth and velvet breeches and shoes to match for holidays, while on week‐days he made a brave figure in his best homespun. He had in his house a housekeeper past forty, a niece under twenty, and a lad for the field and market‐place, who used to saddle the hack as well as handle the bill‐hook. The age of this gentleman of ours was bordering on fifty; he was of a hardy habit, spare, gaunt‐featured, a very early riser and a great sportsman. They will have it his surname was Quixada or Quesada (for here there is some difference of opinion among the authors who write on the subject), although from reasonable conjectures it seems plain that he was called Quexana. This, however, is of but little importance to our tale; it will be enough not to stray a hair's breadth from the truth in the telling of it.
En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo que vivía un hidalgo de los de lanza en astillero, adarga antigua, rocín flaco y galgo corredor. Una olla de algo más vaca que carnero, salpicón las más noches, duelos y quebrantos los sábados, lentejas los viernes, algún palomino de añadidura los domingos, consumían las tres partes de su hacienda. El resto della concluían sayo de velarte, calzas de velludo para las fiestas con sus pantuflos de lo mismo, y los días de entre semana se honraba con su vellori de lo más fino. Tenía en su casa una ama que pasaba de los cuarenta, y una sobrina que no llegaba a los veinte, y un mozo de campo y plaza, que así ensillaba el rocín como tomaba la podadera. Frisaba la edad de nuestro hidalgo unos cincuenta años, era de complexión recia, seco de carnes, enjuto de rostro; gran madrugador y amigo de la caza. Quieren decir que tenía el sobrenombre de Quijada o Quesada (que en esto hay alguna diferencia en los autores que deste caso escriben), aunque por conjeturas verosímiles se deja entender que se llama Quijana; pero esto importa poco a nuestro cuento; basta que en la narración dél no se salga un punto de la verdad.
L2 learners experience
bewilderment with some words
Novel & Obscure
in their L1
I like looking for bits and pieces like old second-hand record players and doing them up to look like new.
An open set
There is no limit in the number of content words that can be added to the language.
airbag, emoticon, carjacking, cybersex, quark.
Prepositions, conjunctions, determiners and pronouns
Grammatical words or function words
A closed set
The last time a pronoun was added to the language was in the early 16th century. It was them.)
Nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs
Word + affix
plays - played - playing
player - replay - playful
dishwaser - wildflower - record player
breakfast + lunch = brunch
information + entertainment = infotainment
Let's brunch tomorrow
She upped and left
flu (from influenza)
e-mail (from electronic mail)
Synonyms and antonyms
A Lexeme is a group of words that function as a meaning unit.
How fixed they are? How idiomatic? Are they sentence frames?
What about phrasal verbs?
out of the blue - well and truly - bits and pieces - Year after year - a lot of - swung round - lay off
Two words are collocates if they occur together with more than chance frequency.
A record number - this week - once again - defending champions - once again - first time
Style/register & connotation
Same form but unrelated meaning
Same sound but spelt different
Same spelling but different sound
well - bat - fair
horse & hoarse - tail & tale
a windy day & long a windy road
Multiple but related meanings
I held the picture up to the light.
I was held overnight in a cell.
You need to hold a work permit.
Mrs Smith is holding a party next week.
The theatre itself can hold only a limited number of people.
The offer still holds.
Synonyms: similar meaning
old - aged - ancient - antique - elderly
but: old record player instead of an aged record player.
Antonyms: opposite meaning
old woman - young woman, not new woman
old record player - new record player, not young record player.
What's connected to this idea?
Choice of words is an indicator of style and place of origin.
'Without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed.'
How important is vocabulary?
What does it mean to 'know a word'?
How is our word knowledge organised?
How is vocabulary learned?
How many words does a learner need to know?
How are words remembered?
Why do we forget words?
What makes a word difficult?
What kind of mistake do learners make?
If you spend most of your time studying grammar, your English will not improve very much. You will see more improvement if you learn more words and expression.
Emphasis on grammar
Emphasis on grammar
Re-think vocabulary role
The communicative value of a core vocabulary has always been recognized...
especially by tourists
'Vocabulary acquisition is the largest and most important task facing the language learner'
(Swan and Walter, 1984.)
Much more attention is given today to vocabulary in coursebooks.
Strong emphasis on vocabulary, with particular focus on high frequency useful words and phrases.
At the most basic level, it involves knowing its form and its meaning.
Classes, sports area, development, direction, meal, medical treatment, layer, to flock.
It can be used as a noun an adverb.
Can be countable or uncountable.
Inflexions and derivatons
Formal or informal (depending on the meaning)
Used all over the English-speaking world
in the course of time (UK)
The way words are stored in the mind resembles less a dictionary than a kind of network or web.
In what ways is the development of a second language lexicon any different from that of the first language?
Learn a new conceptual system
Construct a new vocabulary network
The cultural 'distance' between Spanish and Russian cultural system is relatively large, but for most language learners there will be much more that is shared than is foreign.
Even learning a very different language you don't have to relearn the concept of 'dog' or 'horse'.
The learner is likely to short-cut the process of constructing a network of associations - and simply map the word directly onto the mother tongue equivalent.
But... the degree of semantic overlap between words in different languages can vary a lot.
apartament - lunatic
gracious - constipation
empalagar - madrugar - cualcacino
Learning a new language is like moving to a new town - it takes time to establish connections and turn acquaintances into friends. We never forget friends.
Educated native speaker: 20.000 word families
(1.000 words a year by the age of 5)
The Longman dictionary of Contemporary English boasts 80.000 words and phrases.
The Oxford English dictionary contains 250.000 entries.
Most adult second language learners will be lucky to have acquired 5.000 word families.
It all has to be with exposure...
18 years of classroom exposure would be needed to supply the same amount of vocabulary input that occurs in just one year in natural settings.
The amount of words you need depends on your necessity
(amount of words most native speaker use in their daily conversations.
Equip learners with a
word vocabulary -
words a week -
Most researchers recommend a basic vocabulary of at least
word families. For more specialised needs a working vocabulary over
Cambridge First Certificate Examination (FCE)
word families related to academics.
, the preocupation withvocabulary size overlooks the importance of
(different degrees of knowledge)
understand & produce (speaking and writing) no effort
understand & produce, though need to think about past irregular forms
understand & produce but only in its main non-idiomatic senses
quirófano (operating teathre)
understand only in context & produced if prompted. No confident about stress
understand only in context & can't produced even if prompted
Not understand even in context & can't produce it.
Vocabulary knowledge is a question of accumulating individual items.
Limited number of items or information for few seconds
Enormous capacity and its contents are durable over time.
Performs operations - Cognitive tasks: reasoning and understanding
How to move words to long-term memory?
Repetition - Retrieval - Spacing - Pacing - Use - Cognitive depth - Personal organising - Imaging - Mnemonics - Motivation - Attention arousal - Affective depth
Even with the best will in the world, studens forget words.
24 hours = 80% material lost
Some words are better retained
Time help to retain words
Recycling is fundamental
Cognates: vocabulaire - Vocabolario - Vocabulary
Loanwords: Internet - t.v. - sciampo
camera - carta - subire - salire - fermare
regular - lorry for Japanese learners
strenght - crisps - breakfast - sixth (consonant clusters)
foreign - listen - climbing - honest - muscle
Lengh, complexity and variable stress:
High frequency words tend to be short in English.
'necessary - ne'cessity - nece'ssarily
Explain - Explicar love/hate/like + ing look sth up - look after sth
Make and do - since and still
Range, connotation and idiomaticy
Spelling and Pronunciation errors
Similar sound or spelling
My girlfriend was very hungry with me.
He persuaded me to have a noise operation.
Misapplying word formation rules
In a peopleless island.
His hopeness of peace.
People looked emocionated.
Most of time I just watch shop's window.
Wrong choice of letters
(shell - shall)
Omission of letters (studing - studying)
Wrong order (littel - little)
Wrong choice of sound
(leave for live)
Addition of sounds
(eschool fro school)
Omission of sound
(poduk fro product)
Related meaning words
their lovely smell.
I have fifteen years experience as a
I live with my
in Mexico city.
Large numbers of words in short time
30 words an hour can be learned
Translation deals with meaning and allows learners to test themselves
Non alphabetical order avoids form confusion
What factors are taken into account to select a coursebook vocabulary?
How is vocabulary incorporated in course books?
Segreation (groups of words: lexical sets/ thematically
Integration (text based activities)
Incidentally (embedded in instructions - metalanguage)
Are targeted at specific needs (business, technical English, examinations)
Books focused on specific aspects: phrasal verbs - idioms - chunks)
Allow learners to work independentl.
Are design to test vocabulary rather than to teach it.
Lack opportunities to develope vocabulary (No more than 2 chances to make decisions about words).
Learners pick up a lot of incidential language from their teachers. (esp. words related with classroom processes.
They also offer useful interpersonal language through conversation (how are you? What did you do...?
They are a fertile source of vocabuary.
Learners often pay more attention to what their classmates say.
Unfortunately, in many cases, learners are not given the opportunity to talk.
Sharing of knowledge (brainstorming activities)
Presentations and 'show and tell' give students an active role.
Books and readers:
Nowadays there is a tendency to present vocabulary in short texts.
Words are in context.
Texts display lexical fields.
Can be subjected to grammatical and lexical use.
Provide useful models for students production.
Show lexical chains.
Indentification of genres and discourse markers.
The hunt is on for a live snake which could be on the loose in Auckland. The reptile has left behind a freshly shed skin in the inner-city suburb of Freeman's Bay. Experts believe it has come from a boa or phython nearly two metres long.
The best way of providing the necessary exposure is through extensive reading. Long texts.
Words can be found in their contexts of use.
'Real' books tend to follow a topic over a length of text.
Variety of levels.
Opportunity to choose the kind of texts they like.
For long time its use was discouraged.
It was said that bilingual dictionaries could lead learners to over-rely on translation and to make mistakes.
Nowadays the role of dictionaries has be reassessed.
Is a collection of texts that has been assembled for the purposes of language study.
Consist of millions o words from academic texts, newspapers, articles, casual conversations from different varieties of English.
It is useful toprovide learners with attested rather than invented examples of words in context.
Provides information about frequency.
Shows new uses for words and new collocations
(...the convent where we usually never set foot.
Tickets are normally always available on ...)
3 How to illustrate meaning
4 How to explain meaning
5 How to highlight the form
6 How to involve learners
Take into account: level of s's - its familiarity - its difficulty - is it concrete or abstract? - is it for production or reception?
Economic way of teaching but it is said. 'No pain no gain'
Realia - Visual aids - Mnemonics
Example situations - Example sentences - Synonyms - Antonyms - Superordinate terms - Full definition
Listening drills - Oral drills - Boardwork
Provide one part of the total and ask for information (elicitation). - Personal involvement - Peer teaching - Information gap activities.
Decision making task
Lexical chunks - Word grammar - Phrasal verbs - Idioms
THORNBURY, S. (2002) How to Teach Vocabulary. Essex: Pearson Educational Limited.