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Studies lexical material of English

Studieslexical material of English

Chapter I. Howis Vocabulary learned?
1.1 Howimportant is vocabulary
1.2 How arewords selected
1.3 Conveyingthe meaning
Chapter II.How to present vocabulary
2.1 Presentingvocabulary
2.2 How toillustrate meaning
2.3 How toexplain meaning
Chapter III.How to put words to work
3.1 Decision — making tasks
3.1.1Identifying words
3.1.2Selecting tasks
3.1.3 Matchingtask
3.1.4 Sortingactivities
3.1.5 Rankingand sequencing
3.2 Games
Chapter IV.Teaching word parts word chunks
4.1 Teachingword formation and word combination
4.2 A lexicalapproach
4.3 Teachinglexical chunks
4.4 Teachingphrasal verbs
4.5 Teachingidioms

Chapter I. How isVocabulary learned?
1.1 Howimportant is vocabulary
TeachingEnglish vocabulary is an important area worthy of effort and investigation.Recently methodologists and linguists emphasize and recommend teachingvocabulary because of its importance in language teaching. Vocabulary is neededfor expressing meaning and in using the receptive (listening and reading) andthe productive (speaking and writing) skills. «If language structures makeup the skeleton of language, then it is vocabulary that provides the vitalorgans and the flesh» (Harmer)
Vocabularyis not a syllabus, i.e., a list of words that teachers prepare for theirlearners to memorize and learn by heart. Memorizing may be good and useful as atemporary technique for tests, but not for learning a foreign language.Language students need to learn vocabulary of the target language in anotherway. If we are really to teach students what words mean and how they are used,we need to show them being used together in context. Words do not just exist ontheir own; they live together and they depend upon each other. Therefore,teaching vocabulary correctly is a very important element in language learning.Correct vocabulary instruction involves vocabulary selection, word knowledgeand techniques.
1.2 How arewords selected
Inthe past, teachers used to select and present vocabulary from concrete toabstract. Words like 'door', 'window', 'desk', etc., which are concrete, usedto be taught at beginning levels. However, words like 'honesty', 'beauty' etc.,which are abstract words, used to be taught at advanced levels because theyare not «physically represented» in the learning/teaching environmentand are very difficult to explain.
Nowadaysmethodologists and linguists suggest that teachers can decide and select thewords to be taught on the basis of how frequently they are used by speakers ofthe language. That is, the most commonly used words should be taught first(Harmer).
Wecan get information about which words will be most useful for learners ofEnglish by looking at frequency counts of vocabulary. Usually a vocabularycount is done by making a list of the words in a particular text or group oftexts and counting how often and where they occur. Some of the more recentcounts have used computers to list the words and count their frequency(Nation).
Besidesthat, teachers can decide which words are useful and should be taught to theirlearners on the basis of semantics. This means, that the word is more useful ifit covers more things than if it only has one very specific meaning. Forexample, the word 'book', which is taught at beginning levels, has wider usagethan the words 'notebook', 'textbook', etc. Furthermore, Nation says thatfrequency and coverage are not enough to be used when teachers select andprepare a word list for learners of English. So he suggests other criteria,such as language needs, availability and familiarity, regularity and ease oflearning or learning burden.
Teacherscan help their learners enrich and increase their vocabulary. They can alsohelp the learners to build a new store of words to select from when they wantto express themselves. If any learner can handle grammar correctly, that doesnot mean that he can express himself fluently unless he has a store of words toselect from. Therefore, teachers are a very important factor in selecting andteaching English vocabulary, and they have to design vocabulary syllabiaccording to their learners' needs. As a result, “teachers vocabulary work canbe directed toward useful words and can give learners practice in usefulskills".
Theselection of words which are to be taught to the students is a very importantprocedure in the language learning process. However, the word selectionprocess doesn't mean that the students will be fluent in expressing themselvesin English upon learning that list, i.e., what students need to know regardingvocabulary is the word meaning, the word use, the word formation and the wordgrammar.
1.3 Conveyingthe meaning
Whenconveying the meaning to the students, teachers should teach their studentsthat a word may have more than one meaning when used in meaning, differentcontexts. For example, the word «book» has at least twelve differentmeanings when used in context. It has eight meanings as a noun, two meanings asa verb and three different meanings when used with prepositions as phrasalverbs. One may say «I booked my ticket three days ago»; another«I booked him for speeding» and so on (Harmer).Teachers should makethe teaching learning vocabulary process clear and easy for their students whenconveying any meaning; otherwise the student may feel bored and become fed upwith learning vocabulary.
Themeaning of words can be communicated in many different ways. Nation suggeststhat teachers can convey meaning to their students by demonstration or pictures(using an object, using a cut out figure, using gesture, performing and action,photographs, blackboard drawings or diagrams and pictures from books) and byverbal explanation (analytical definition, putting the new word in a definingcontext, and translating into another language). Besides that, teachers shouldinvolve their students in discovering the words' meanings by themselves and letthem make efforts to understand words' meanings. When the students are involvedin discovering meaning, they will never forget those meanings and they will beable to express themselves fluently.
Whena single word has various meanings, the teacher should decide which meaningsare to be taught first, i.e., the teacher must decide which meanings occur mostfrequently and which meanings the learners need most. As a result, the studentswill be motivated, and gradually they will build their own store of words whichwill be a basis for communication at any time.
Teachingvocabulary is not just conveying the meaning to the students and asking them tolearn those words by heart. If teachers believe that the words are worthexplaining and learning, then it is important that they should do thisefficiently. Teachers should use different techniques and activities in teachingEnglish vocabulary to motivate the learners, enrich their vocabulary and enablethem to speak English properly.

Chapter II. How to presentvocabulary
2.1 Presentingvocabulary
Welooked at possible sources of vocabulary input, including vocabulary books,readers, dictionaries and corpora. A motivated and self-directed learner mightbe able to acquire a large vocabulary simply by using these resources. However,many learners sign up for language courses in the expectation that, at leastsome of the time, they will be presented with language, rather than having togo out and find it for themselves. By presentation, we mean those pre-plannedlesson stages in which learners are taught pre-selected vocabulary items. Ofcourse, incidental vocabulary teaching can occur at other times of the lesson,as when a text or a discussion throws up unfamiliar vocabulary. In thischapter, however, we will be mainly concerned with ways vocabulary can beformally presented in the classroom. But many of the issues are relevant to theinformal teaching of vocabulary as well.
Atthe very least learners need to learn both the meaning and the form of a newword. We shall deal with each of these components in turn. But it's worthpointing out that both these aspects of a word should be presented in closeconjunction in order to ensure a tight meaning-and-form fit. The greater thegap between the presentation of a word's form and its meaning, the less likelythat the learner will make a mental connection between the two.
Let'ssay the teacher has decided to teach a related set of words — for example,items of clothing: shirt, trousers, jacket, socks, dress, jeans. The teacherhas a number of options available. First, there is the question of how manywords to present. This will depend on the following factors:
-  the level ofthe learners (whether beginners, intermediate, or advanced);
-  the learners'likely familiarity with the words (learners may have met the words before eventhough they are not part of their active vocabulary);
-  the difficultyof the items — whether, for example, they express abstract meanings.
Considerhow you would present each of the following six sets of words. What do youthink would be the most appropriate means of presenting them? (E.g. visualaids, a situation, real objects, etc.)
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2.2 How toillustrate meaning
Analternative to translation – and an obvious choice if presenting a set ofconcrete objects such as clothes items – is to somehow illustrate ordemonstrate them. This can be done either by using real objects (called realia)or pictures or mime. The use of realia, pictures and demonstration was adefining technique of the Direct Method. The Direct Method, in rejecting theuse of translation, developed as a reaction to such highly intellectualapproaches to language learning as Grammar-Translation. Here, for example, isadvice for teachers from a popular Direct Method course of the 1940s:
Theusual procedure is as follows.
Theteacher first selects a number of objects, in batches of say from 10 to 20.[...] The objects may be:
(a)     thosethat are usually found in the place where the lesson is given, e.g. door,window, knife, match, book; or parts of the body or articles of clothing;
(b)     thosecollected specially for the purposes of the lesson, e.g. a stick, a stone, anail, a piece of wire, a piece of string etc;
(c)     thoserepresented by pictures, such as those printed on picture cards or wall charts,or by rough drawings on the blackboard.
Theteacher shows or points to each object in turn and names it. He says the nameclearly (but naturally) three or four times. [...] When the pupils have hadsufficient opportunity to hear the words and sentences (and to grasp theirmeaning) they are called upon to say them. In the first instance they mayrepeat them after the teacher ...
(fromPalmer H, The Teaching of Oral English, Longman)
Visualaids take many forms: flashcards (published and home-made), wall charts,transparencies projected on to the board or wall using the overhead projector,and board drawings. Many teachers collect their own sets of flashcards frommagazines, calendars, etc. Especially useful are pictures of items belonging tothe following sets: food and drink, clothing, house interiors and furniture,landscapes/exteriors, forms of transport plus a wide selection of pictures ofpeople, sub-divided into sets such as jobs, nationalities, sports, activities,and appearance (tall, strong, sad, healthy, old, etc).
2.3 How toexplain meaning
Ofcourse, reliance on real objects, illustration, or demonstration, is limited.It is one thing to mime a chicken, but quite another to physically representthe meaning of a word like intuition or become or trustworthy. Also, wordsfrequently come up incidentally, words for which the teacher won't have visualaids or realia at hand. An alternative way of conveying the meaning of a newword is simply to use words – other words. This is the principle behinddictionary definitions. Non-visual, verbal means of clarifying meaning include:
-  providing anexample situation;
-  giving severalexample sentences;
-  givingsynonyms, antonyms, or super ordinate terms;
-  giving a fulldefinition.
Allof the above procedures can be used in conjunction, and also in combinationwith visual means such as board drawings or mime. Although a verbal explanationmay take a little longer than using translation, or visuals or mime, theadvantages are that the learners are getting extra “free” listening practice,and, by being made to work a little harder to get to the meaning of a word,they may, be more cognitively engaged.

Chapter III. How to putwords to work
3.1 Decision — making tasks
Thereare many different kinds of tasks that teachers can set learners in order tohelp move words into long-term memory. Some of these tasks will require morebrain work than others. That is to say, they will be more cognitivelydemanding. Tasks in which learners make decisions about words can be dividedinto the following types, roughly arranged in an order from least cognitivelydemanding to most demanding:
•        identifying
•        selecting
•        matching
•        sorting
•        rankingand sequencing
Themore of these task types that can be performed on a set of words the better. Inother words, an identification task could be followed by a matching task, whichin turn could be followed by a ranking task.
3.1.1Identifying words
Identifyingwords simply means finding them where they may otherwise be “hidden”, such asin texts.
Here,for example, are some identification tasks relating to the text Fear of Flying.Give the learners the text and ask them to:
•        Countthe number of times plane(s) and train(s) occur in the text.
•        Findfour words connected with, flying in the text.
•        Findfive phrasal verbs in the text.
•        Findeight comparative adjectives in the text.
•        Underlineall the words ending in -ing in the text.
Askthem to read the text, then turn it over, and then ask:
•        “Didthe following words occur in the text?”
busycrowded fast dangerous uncomfortable dirty convenient inconvenient noisy
•        “Nowcheck the text to see if you were right.”
Identificationis also the process learners apply in tasks in which they have to unscrambleanagrams (such as utis, snaje, eti — for suit, jeans, tie), or when they haveto search for words in a 'word soup', such as the following (also from Languagein Use):
1 Whatare these clothes in English? The answers are all in the word square.
3.1.2Selecting tasks
Selectingtasks are cognitively more complex than identification tasks, since theyinvolve both recognising words and making choices amongst them. This may takethe form of choosing the “odd one out”, as in this task (again, based on thelexical set of clothes).
Choose the oddone out in each group
T-shirt etc.
Notethat with this kind of activity, there is no “righ” answer necessarily. What isimportant is that learners are able to justify their choice, whatever theiranswer. It is the cognitive work that counts – not getting the right answer.
Here isanother open-ended selection task, with a personalised element
1. Work in pairs. Choose five words to describe yourself. Use a dictionary if necessary.
careful interesting clever cold confident fit funny imaginative intelligent kind lazy nervous
optimistic patent pessimistic
polite quiet calm rude sad sensitive nice serious tidy thoughtful
Think of other words you can
honest, friendly...
Discuss your choice of words with your partner.
I think I'm usually optimistic.
And I'm always polite!
Does he/she agree with you?
2.Think of three people you admire very much. They can be politicians, musicians, sports personalities etc. or people you know personally. Choose the person you admire most and think of three adjectives to describe this person.
Then choose the second and third person you admire and think of three more adjectives for each person to explain why.
fromGreenall S, Reward Pre-Intermediate, Macmillan Heinemann

3.1.3 Matchingtask
Amatching task involves first recognising words and then pairing them with – forexample – a visual representation, a translation, a synonym, an antonym, adefinition, or a collocate. As an example of this last type, here is averb-noun matching task.
Hereis a vocabulary activity from a beginners' course (Mohamed S and Acklam R, TheBeginners' Choice, Longman), consisting of two stages. Devise at least threefurther stages which would require learners to 'put the words to work' – bothreceptively and productively.


Look at the picture below and number the parts of the body.
hair 2. head… foot… nose… eye… leg… knee… finger… mouth… hand toe… shoulder… face… arm… back ear… stomach ...

3.1.4 Sortingactivities
Sortingactivities require learners to sort words into different categories. Thecategories can either be given, or guessed. Here is an example of the former(from Thornbury S, Highlight Pre-Intermediate, Heinemann).
Wordfield: characteristics
Put these adjectivesinto two groups – positive and negative
Hereis an activity in which learners (at a fairly advanced level) decide thecategories themselves:
Putthese words into four groups of three words each. Then, think of a title foreach group.
goalnet piece club racket shoot board green
courthole pitch referee check serve tee move
Now,can you add extra words to each group?
3.1.5Ranking andsequencing
Rankingand sequencing activities require learners to put the words into some kind oforder. This may involve arranging the words on a cline: for example, adverbs offrequency {always, sometimes, never, occasionally, often, etc). Or learners maybe asked to rank items according to preference:
Imagineyou have just moved into a completely empty flat. You can afford to buy onepiece of furniture a week. Put the following items in the order in which youwould buy them:
fridgebed desk dining table sofa
wardrobechair dishwasher bookcase cooker
washingmachine chest of drawers
Now,compare your list with another student and explain your order. If you weresharing the flat together, would you agree? If not, make a new list that youboth agree about.
Anysequence of activities – from starting a car to buying a home – lends itself tothe same treatment. Here, for example, is a task that focuses on the languageof air travel (from Garton-Sprenger J and Greenall S, Flying Colours 2,Heinemann):
Workin pairs. Think about what people do when they travel by plane. Put the actionsbelow in the correct column.before the flight after the flight
check in
leave the plane
unfasten your seatbelt
go into the departure lounge
go to the departure gate
fasten your seatbelt
go through passport control
Leave the plane
check in
collect your baggage
go through passport control
listen to the safety instructions
go through customs
board the plane
go into the arrivals hall Number the actions in the order people do them.
3.2 Games
Whilethe tide of this chapter is “How to put words to work”, it would be wrong tosuggest that vocabulary learning has to be all work and no play. Language play,including word games, has a long history. Children of all cultures seem toenjoy games of the “I spy ...” or “Hangman” type, and there is a long traditionof adult word games, a number of which have been adapted for television. Mostfirst-language word games transfer comfortably to the second-languageclassroom.
Wordclap: Students stand or sit in a circle, and, following the teacher's lead,maintain a four-beat rhythm, clapping their hands on their thighs three times(one-two-three ...) and then both hands together (four!). The game should startslowly, but the pace of the clapping can gradually increase. The idea is totake turns, clockwise, to shout out a different word from a pre-selectedlexical set (for example, fruit and vegetables) on every fourth beat. Playerswho either repeat a word already used, or break the rhythm – or say nothing –are “out” and the game resumes without them, until only one player is left. Theteacher can change the lexical set by shouting out the name of a new set atstrategic points: Furniture! Nationalities! Jobs! etc.
Categories:Learners work in pairs or small groups. On a piece of paper, they draw up anumber of columns, according to a model on the board, each column labelled withthe name of a lexical set: e.g. fruit, transport, clothes, animals, sports. Theteacher calls out a letter of the alphabet (e.g. B!), and to a time limit (e.g.three minutes), students write down as many words as they can beginning withthat letter in the separate columns {banana, berry; bus; bikini, blouse; bear,bat; baseball, basketball...). The group with the most (correct) words wins.
Noughtsand crosses: Draw two noughts and crosses grids on the board:
Oneis blank. In the other each square is labelled with a category, or with ninedifferent phrasal verb particles {up, on, off, in, back, etc), or ninedifferent affixes {un-, non-, -less, -tion, etc). Prepare a number of questionsrelating to each category. For example (if the class is monolingual): How doyou say “tamburo” in English? Or, What is the opposite of “shy”? Divide theclass into two teams: noughts and crosses. The object is to take turns choosinga category and answering a question in this category correctly so as to earnthe right to place their team's symbol in the corresponding position in theblank grid. The winning team is the first to create a line of three (noughts orcrosses), either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.
Coffeepot:This is a guessing game. One learner answers yes/no questions from the rest ofthe class (or group) about a verb that she has thought of, or that the teacherhas whispered to her. In the questions the word coffeepot is used in place ofthe mystery verb. So, for example, students might ask Do you coffeepot indoorsor outdoors? Is coffee potting easy or difficult? Can you coffeepot with yourhands? etc. If the verb that the student has selected is yawn the answers wouldbe: Both indoors and outdoors; It's easy; No, you can't, but you might use yourhands… To make the game easier a list of, say, twenty verbs can be put onthe board and the person who is 'it' chooses one of them. This can also beplayed in pairs.
Backto board: This is another guessing game, but this time the student who is 'it'has to guess a word by asking the rest of the class questions. The student sitsfacing the class, back to the board; the teacher writes a recently studied wordor phrase or idiom on the board, out of sight of the student. The student asksdifferent students yes/no or either/or questions in order to guess the word.For example: Helga, is it a verb or a noun? (A verb.) Dittmer, is it an action?(No.) Karl-Heinz, is it something you do with your mind? (Yes.)… etc. Tomake the game easier, the words chosen can be limited in some way – e.g. allphrasal verbs; all character adjectives, and so on.

Chapter IV. Teachingword parts word chunks
4.1 Teachingword formation and word combination
Welooked at some of the principles of word formation in English. We noted thatwords can be formed by the addition of prefixes and suffixes – a process calledaffixation. (The word affixation is itself an example of the result of addingaffixes to the root fix.) We also saw how, by compounding, two or more wordscan join up to make one. Thus: black + board = blackboard. Or, new words can becreated by a process called conversion, when a word that in one context is onepart of speech (such as a noun), in another context can be enlisted to serve adifferent function (such as a verb). Hence, you may have heard the relativelyrecent term to board as in The teacher boarded the new words and the studentswrote them down.
Thenagain words can cluster (but not join up) to form multi-word units – looselycalled chunks – that behave as if they were single words. For example,alongside black, the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English lists: blackand white, black and blue, black sheep, in the black and to black out. (Thislast is an example of a phrasal verb.) Many chunks have an idiomatic meaning –that is to say the meaning of the chunk as a whole is not directly inferrablefrom the individual words: He's the black sheep of the family; you'veintroduced a red herring, etc.
Theway bits of words combine, and the way words themselves can be combined, is aconstant source of difficulty for learners. Errors of the following types arecommon:
Thereare uncountless ways to bring happiness to my life thanks to the internet.
Afterfinishing the paragraph and reading it again, I felt unsatisfy. I think that myreal and only knowledgements are in the vocabulary.
InLondon I took a two floor bus and of course crossed the city in the highestfloor.
Isaw my dog died in a box's shoes.
Errorsof multi-word units
Wehave also a buses network.
Sometimesdog isn't the best man's friend.
Idon't like when I do mistakes.
Someteachers are strict they put us a lot of homework and exams.
Phrasalverb errors
Sheused to go to school with her maid, and a maid was picking up her from school.
Thereare some days that the better it's stay in bed and don't get up you.
Ihave no more money. So most of time I just watch shops' window.
Idon't like to blow my own horn, but my grammar knowledge and my vocabulary arequite good.
Inresponding to these kinds of problems, there are two possible approaches.
Youcan either
- teach rules, or
- expose learners to lots of correct examples
Arule-based approach starts by isolating and highlighting any relevant patternsor regularities. Take word formation, for example. In a rule-based approach,words can be grouped and presented according to the manner of formation(affixation, compounding, conversion, etc). Within these categories finerdistinctions can be made. So, of the words formed by affixation we can selectthose formed by the addition of prefixes, and this group can be narrowed downfurther to those that have a negative meaning. The way these words are formedcan then be described in general terms in the form of a rule – or 'rule ofthumb'. Here is an example of such an explicit rule statement (from Gude K andDuckworth M, Proficiency Masterclass, OUP):
B Negative prefixes. The prefixes mis-, dis-, ig-, and un- can all be used to give a word a rather negative meaning. The prefix may help you to guess the meaning of the word.
mis- = 'wrongly, badly' or 'not done' (mismanage)
dis- = 'away from, the opposite of, lack of' (distaste)
ig- = 'not, lacking in' (ignorant)
un- = 'not, lack of, the opposite, reversal or removal of' (undo)
Here is some advice to help you choose the correct prefix.
dis- can be used to form verbs, eg dissatisfy, adjectives, eg dishonest; and nouns, eg disability.
The prefix ig- appears only before the letter n.
Here,on the other hand, is a table which suggests – but doesn't explicitly state – arule about noun and verb endings:
1 Now you can strengthen the thin green line.
Strengthen is a verb which is formed from the adjective strong. Work in pairs and complete this table. ADJECTIVE NOUN VERB wide strong deep weak short high
fromNaunton J, Think First Certificate, Longman
Asimilar approach is used with word collocations, wherever a general tendencycan be identified. Here, for example, is a coursebook extract that focuses onthe difference between make and do combinations:
Make or do?
1 Read thefollowing sentences carefully.
Last night Itried to do my homework. However, I kept making mistakes because the manupstairs was doing his exercises and making a noise.
Make usuallymeans to create, bring into existence, or produce a result.
Dousually means to perform an action. However, there are exceptions to this'rule', as you will see in Exercise 3.
fromBell J and Gower R, Intermediate Matters, Longman
Oneproblem with a rule-based approach is that the scope of the rule is not alwaysclear. How many, and which, adjectives can be turned into verbs by the additionof -en, for example? Sweet and fresh — yes, but wet and dry? There is the addedproblem of the lack of one-to-one match between forms and categories. Forexample, in- and un- both express negation (uncertain, inactive), but in- canalso be used with the meaning of in, or within (as in inclusive). And when dowe use in-, as opposed to un- or non- or dis-, to convey negation? How, forexample, does the learner know whether to use unsatisfied, dissatisfied,insatisfied or nonsatisfied ?
Otherpattern-highlighting techniques involve the use of texts and include thefollowing:
- learners are given a text and asked to search for and underlineall compound nouns, negative prefixes, multi-word units, etc.
- learners find words in a text that are derivations. For example,'Find three words in the text that are derived from sense ...'
- learners classify these derivations according to which part ofspeech they are
- learners categorise underlined words in a text according to acommon affix, or according to the word formation principle they exemplify(compounding, conversion, etc.)
Themore of these kinds of operations the learner does the better, since (as we sawin the last chapter) the more decisions the learner makes about a word thegreater the depth of processing.
Agreat advantage of working from texts is that the words that are to be focusedon are already in context, hence their meanings may be clearer than if presentedas isolated words in a list. Also, and perhaps more importantly, the sharedcontext will bring words together that are commonly associated. In thefollowing text, for example, there are a number of words associated with time,crime and the law.
Anapproach to focusing on these features might be:
•    Askstudents to read the text and to answer comprehension questions to gauge levelof understanding. For example:
1 The maximum time you can be detained without charge is:
 a24 hours b 36 hours c 60 hours
2 You can be detained for 36 hours only if:
a. a a serious arrestable offence has been committed,
b. b a magistrate gives permission,
c. c further questioning is necessary.
•    Asklearners (working together and using dictionaries) to underline all wordsrelating to legal processes, and to categorise these according to a) people, b)processes.
•    Askthem to use dictionaries to make verbs for these nouns: limit, detention,charge, offence, questioning, suspect, and to make nouns of these verbs:arrest, detain, commit, extend, secure, preserve. Which of the verb forms cantake -able to form an adjective?
•    Askthem to circle all time expressions with numbers and note the prepositions usedin each case.
•    Asklearners to identify the verbs that fill these slots: ______a person
withoutcharge; _________an offence; __________a suspect in custody;       
_______asuspect before a magistrate; ___________a time limit.
•    Asklearners to rewrite the passage in 'plain English', e.g. as if they wereexplaining it to a friend. Alternatively, ask them to translate it into theirown language.
•        Learnersthen use the rewritten (or translated) passage as a basis for reconstructingthe original text. They then compare the reconstruction with the original.
•        Afollow-up activity might be to ask learners to research and summarise thisaspect of the legal system in their own country (respecting, of course, theircultural sensitivities).
Notethat this text, although short, is difficult and the tasks would be achievableonly by quite advanced learners. Nevertheless, the same tasks could be adaptedto much easier texts, and used at lower levels.
Tosummarise, then: the teaching of the grammar of word formation and wordcombination can be approached from two directions: early instruction in therules, or the learning of a quantity of vocabulary items from which these rulesare slowly distilled. We have looked at the case for a midway position thatrecognises the need for early exposure but at the same time accepts thatconsciousness-raising through focused attention can speed up the process of'getting a feel for it'. Plentiful exposure plus consciousness- raising is akey principle underlying what has come to be known as a lexical approach.
4.2 A lexicalapproach
Alexical approach to language teaching foregrounds vocabulary learning, both inthe form of individual, high frequency words, and in the form of wordcombinations (or chunks). The impetus for a lexical approach to languageteaching derives from the following principles:
•        asyllabus should be organised around meanings
•        themost frequent words encode the most frequent meanings and
•        wordstypically co-occur with other words
•        theseco-occurrences (or chunks) are an aid to fluency
Asyllabus organised around meanings rather than forms (such as grammarstructures) is called a semantic syllabus. A number of theorists have suggestedthat a syllabus of meanings – especially those meanings that learners are likelyto need to express – would be more useful than a syllabus of structures. Forexample, most learners will at some time need to express such categories ofmeaning (or notions) as possession or frequency or regret or manner. Simplyteaching learners a variety of structures, such as the present simple or thesecond conditional, is no guarantee that their communicative needs will be met.The present simple, for example, supports a wide range of meanings (presenthabit, future itinerary, past narrative, etc), some of which may be less usefulthan others. Wouldn't it be better to start with the more useful meaningsthemselves, rather than the structure?
Asemantic syllabus – i.e. one based around meanings – is likely to have a stronglexical focus. The following sentences, for example, all involve the presentsimple, but they express different notions. These notional meanings aresignalled by certain key words (underlined):
Doesthis towel belong to you? (possession)
Howoften do you go to London? (frequency)
Iwish I'd done French, (regret)
Exerciseis the best way of losing weight, (manner)
Wordslike belong, often, wish and way carry the lion's share of the meaning in thesesentences: the grammar is largely padding. A lexical approach argues thatmeaning is encoded primarily in words. This view motivated two coursebookwriters, Dave and Jane Willis, to propose that a lexical syllabus might be thebest way of organising a course. The Willises believed that a syllabus basedaround the most frequent words in the language would cover the most frequentmeanings in the language. Accordingly, they based their beginners' coursearound the 700 most frequent words in English. They used corpus data (i.e.computer banks of naturally occurring text – see page 68) to find out how thesewords 'behaved' – that is, the kinds of words and structures that wereassociated with these high frequency words.
Forexample, an extremely common word in English is way. According to COBUILDcorpus data, it is in fact the third most common noun in English (after timeand people). An analysis of corpus data shows that way is used to express avariety of meanings:

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