Growing interest in students’ vocabulary Vocabulary Study • Recent evidence of inadequate vocabulary of HK university entrants • Most 2004 entrants to CUHK knew between 2000 and 3000 English words only • International research suggests that students need at least 5000 words to cope with university study in English
Vocabulary Study Aims of the study • EMB collaborative project with CUHK to develop wordlists for schools’/teachers’ reference • To strengthen the vocabulary components of the English Language curriculum • Proposed vocabulary targets set for each KS
Vocabulary Study References of the frequency-based wordlists • General Service List (GSL) - West, 1953 • Academic Wordlist (AWL) - Coxhead, 2000 • British National Corpus (BNC)
Vocabulary targets 1000 1000 1000 2000 1500 3500 1500 5000
Wordlists • In alphabetical order • By category
Features of Hong Kong student writing • Repetition of key words (need for lexical substitution) • The need for lexical enrichment (adjectives and adverbs)
Too many pianos? Lexical substitution: “ piano” “I had learnt piano for five years. My mother encouraged me to take piano examinations until I was ten. Sometimes I was tired of touching the piano… After a bad experience, I never learned piano any more. I do not dare to play the piano even now.”
Too many pianos? “I had learnt piano for five years. My mother encouraged me to take _______examinations until I was ten. Sometimes I was tired of touching the ________… After a bad experience, I never learned ____________ any more. I do not dare to play the ___________ even now.” Grade 3 keyboard the instrument horriblething
Lexical expansion of a first draft “Every Sunday we visit the home of my grandparents. They live in an apartment in a housing estate in Shatin. My grandmother cooks lunch. After lunch we walk in the park.” What activities can you design to enrich the above text?
Lexical expansion of a first draft “Every Sunday we visit the (adj.) home of my (adj.) grandparents. They live in an (adj.) apartment in a (adj.) housing estate in Shatin. My grandmother (adv.) cooks lunch. After lunch we walk (adv.) in the park.”
Paradigmatic approach (topic strand) • Deliberate organization of words into hierarchies • Develops associative networks • Encourages efficient vocabulary learning • Paradigms are fixed (but ‘open’) • Other associations are more personal (e.g. acoustic, visual, ‘linkword’)
Assumptions about paradigmatic arrangement • Allows for efficient vocabulary growth because the system is ‘open’ and allows for additions • Associated with receptive vocabulary knowledge in particular • Retrieval of words operates through the ‘cohort’ principle
What is the missing word? How many superordinates could teachers introduce at the primary level?
Focus on vocabulary size? “In my neighbourhood there is a library, a hospital, a swimming pool, a health centre, a cinema, a police station, a railway station and a bus station.” Good vocabulary, but how are learners supposed to USE these words?
More ideas on expanding pupils’ vocabulary • Exploring the familiar words: - different parts of speech (e.g. ‘shoulder’ as the noun and the verb) - other meanings of a word (e.g. ‘head’ as a body part, the school head) - metaphorical use of a word (e.g. moving) • Using specific words (e.g. shout, whisper) Can you think of other words?
Syntagmatic approach (collocation strand) • E.g. Topic: transport Car – drive – fast – wet – road Brakes – skid – collide - accident • Develops associative networks • Word combinations are the key to productive use of English • Focus on multi-word units (e.g. ‘See you later.’, ‘Have a good trip!’) • Collocations (e.g. ‘go shopping’, ‘have a shower’, ‘play football’)
Assumptions about syntagmatic arrangement • Associated with productive vocabulary because it is based on the words which tend to occur together in sentences • The associations are based on collocations rather than semantic categories
Teaching implications Raising pupils’ awareness of how words are related: • Knowledge of word formation and word association • Giving definitions and details • Using the name of the superordinate (e.g. flat) • Using the names of the member (e.g. living room, bedroom, kitchen)
Vocabulary building skills recommended in CG Word formation • Affixation (e.g. unhappy, careless) • Compounding (e.g. foot+ball=football) • Conversion (e.g. cook a meal, a cook) • Derivation (e.g. excite, exciting, excited, excitement)
Vocabulary building skills recommended in CG Word association • Synonyms (e.g. happy, glad) • Antonyms (e.g. bright, dark) • Homonyms (e.g. catch a bus, catch a cold) • Collocation (e.g. make a wish, watch TV) • Lexical sets (e.g. furniture – table, chair, desk, cupboard) *please refer to CG (CDC, 2004): pp. 168-171
The use of mini-activities / games in vocabulary learning and teaching • Adding fun elements • Designed to integrate newly acquired words into the learner’s mental lexicon • The mini-activities / games should be incorporated into meaningful tasks
Incorporating mini-activities / games into meaningful tasks Exemplar 4 – “Buying Things” (Primary 1-3) • Use noun / noun phrases to - identify items to buy in a shopping centre, e.g. rain boots, waterproof watch - identify shops in a shopping centre, e.g. toy shop, clothes shop • Read a story about a boy called Charlie, who went shopping with his family, and learn or revise the names of the shopping items in context… • Task: design a poster for an imaginary shopping centre, with information on the types of shops, the products available and the prices *please refer to CG (CDC, 2004): pp. E20-23 for details of the exemplar
Examples of classroommini-activities / games • Word hunt • Odd one out • Pelmanism (locating pairs) • Go fishing • Hangman • Analogies • Word slap • Pass the sentence
Odd One Out e.g. trousers robot jeans T-shirt Analogies e.g. - easy is to simple as hard is to ________ - top is to bottom as frontis to ________ - fruit shop is to banana as bookshop is to ________ Can you suggest some more items for the analogies?
Word Slap One – two – three – pencil! Players take turns, clockwise, to shout out a different word from a pre-selected lexical set (e.g. things in a bookshop) on every fourth beat. Players who either repeat a word already used, or break the rhythm – or say nothing – are ‘out’.
Ideas on vocabulary learning and teaching • Input from various sources • Present and practise in context • Repetitive exposure overtime in multiple and varied contexts • Work on vocabulary building skills and strategies • Print-rich environment • Bridging from receptive to productive • Have fun!
Useful Links Online Games for children and resourcesfor teachers and parents: • PBS Kids http://pbskids.org/lions/games/ • FunBrain Kids Center http://www.funbrain.com/words.html Games as well as Tool Box for creating word games: • Wordgames http://www.eastoftheweb.com/cgi-bin/top_scores.pl?game=wordsearch • Interactive Wordplays http://www.wordplays.com/p/index