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to present

Presenting vocabulary Usingtranslation a o o o Presenting vocabulary How to illustrate meaning How to explain meaning How to highlight the form How to involve the learners


'e ing,


r gr s :ion ys

In the last fwo chapters we looked at possiblesources of vocabularyinput, including vocabulary books,readers, dictionariesand corpora.A motivated and selFdirected learnermight be ableto acquirealargevocabulary simply by using these resources. However, many learnerssign up for language coursesin the expectationthat, at least some of the time, they will be presented with language, rather than having to go out and find it for By presentation, themselves. we mean those pre-plannedlessonstagesin which learners are taught pre-selectedvocabulary items. Of course, incidental vocabularyteaching can occur at other times of the lesson,as when a text or a discussionthrows up unfamiliar vocabulary. In this chapter, however,we will be mainly concernedwith waysvocabularycan be formally presentedin the classroom.But many of the issuesare relevant to the informal teaching of vocabularyas well. As we sawin Chapter 2, at the very leastlearners need to learn both the meaning and the form of a new word. We shall deal with each of these componentsin turn. But it's worth pointing out that both theseaspects of a word should be presented in closeconjunctionin order to ensurea tight meaning-and-formfit. The greaterthe gap betweenthe presentationof a word's form and its meaning, the less likely that the learner will make a mental connectionbetweenthe two. Let's say the teacherhas decidedto teach a related set of words - for jacket, socks, jeans. The example, items of clothing: sbirt, trousers, dress, question teacher hasa number of optionsavailable. First, thereis the of how many words to present.Tiis will depend on the following factors: ' the level of the learners(whether beginners,intermediate,or advanced) ' the learners'likely famlliarity with the words (learnersmay have met the words before even though they are not part of their activevocabulary) ' the difficulty of the items - whether, for example,they expressabstract 75

How to Teach Vocabularv

rather than concretemeanings,or whether they are difficult

' whether items are being rearnedfor production (in speakingand writing) or for recog^nition onlylas in listening ,.^di"gj.'s;;;;;. time wilr Deneedecl for the former, the number""d of items iJfikely to be fewer than if the aim is only recognition. Furthermore, the number of new words presented should not overstretch the learners'capacity to remember them. Nor shourd ah.- ir.r..rt"tio' extend so far into the lesson that no time is avalrabre to put tl. *ord, to work (seethe next chapter). Coursebooks tend to. operate on the principle . t3, " vocabulary presentationshould include at most about a doze" it'.-". H.r",-for exampli are the items listed in the presentation of clothes irr"" elementarycourse6ook(from SoarsL and "o."u"i"iy ".rrr.rrtty I:Hrr;;;;'El,mr,tn y, b"g;tit
a jumper a jacket trousers a shirt a suit jeans a T-shirt a tie trainers a dress shoes a skirt boots


wheth.rlfo,."u-ple, they.;" b.;;ritlxptained or

to pronounce

subscribe to p.tror t."r"i"g'i rri.r, and "reorgi """"i*"i"Tr"ining method first devel6ped by G L;r;;; '^thl::r il B ufariaf ;lgg::::p:Si(a followingthesemethods^use iechni{u.s oi i.t*ution and
teaching methods underestim ate rhe learner'scapaciryto retain .; ;;;;ft ng into lessons someof the basii principlesof hu-"r, -*fr/ ;.'I';;rp.rati (-as-o.rtlined in chapter 2) ryaybe a meansof extending the somewh"r.orir.rr,"r;ve targets set in coursebooks. ^{aving decidedon the number of items to teach,there is then the choice of the sequenceof presentation, either: : meaning first, then form, or ' form first, then meaning
reacnercourcr, could,for tor example, example, "'" 'rDL vpuurr rrre teacher hold hold up picture of up a a pi*ure of a a shirt shirt ):; ):.*._tt:,r::"i:1. (the meanrng), and then say lti a shirt (the form). Ii a ,form first'

However, claims for the desirabiliry of much higher vocabulary learning targets.have been made,especialry by proponents 6f teachine methodsthat 'whole

oiwords in asession. So_.oiir,.r"-.r"i_, *ry n be 1*gl':.llllllydieds excessrve' but it may also be a fact that conventional

suggesfion'rn order to,predisposethe learner to massive amounts of input,

b.rt*h*1h. *ord, p;.;;;,J;::# 9:f I'l t1111ntatio1wor$ so that the r""r".r, .* ;il";;; "r. th#.;ning for H:1":1.:"-'text, themselves.

rne appropriate mentarfires" the and making the ^approp'ate mental p^resentation both more efficient and more memorable. on On the the other other hand. hand.

*.^y*l:il __: is - an argume"t r . rthai u4r y presentini r r D r r r l r . r r B ri;;;;"-g L l l c I l l e a n l n g hriJ.r# llr . fher; ,dles, the *rv rurr'r torm, upc'urg opening

t'-:';!;;;,r,.',,i,a".,,srepeat l;:':^:i:i'"::n::f 1*:r:!:il,^."To.t"f ',"1y thenpoint to.the pi.t,r.. B;th dpp;;ffir';;";ffi:

a need for

5 r Howto present vocabulary

tounce ned or riting) newill :r than itretch rtation rrds to bulary rmple, nently tnmry,

The next set of choicesrelatesto the means of presentation- whether to presentthe meaning through: ' . ' . . ' translation real things pictures actions/gestures definitions situations

And whether to presentthe word in its: . spokenform, or . written form and in what order (e.g. spokenbefore written) and how soon (e.g. delaying the written form until the spoken form has been thoroughly learned). There are also decisions to be made concerning the degree of learner involvement. For example: . . . . should the teacherprovide both the meaning and the form hersel0 should the teacherpresentthe meaning and attempt to elicit the forml should the teacherpresentthe form and attempt to elicit the meaning? should the learnersrepeat the form, and if so,whenl

arrung ls that g and garia). n and input, ls may ethods rrating ned in targets choice

We will addressall these issuesin this chapter. Using translation Traditionally, translation has been the most widely used means of tanslation has presenting the meaning of a word in monolingual classes. the advantage of being the most direct route to a word's meaning assuming that there is a close match between the target word and its L1 equivalent. It is therefore very economical, and especially suitable for dealing with incidental vocabulary that may crop up in a lesson.However, aswe have seen,an over-relianceon translation may mean that learnersfail to develop an independent L2 lexicon, with the effect that they always rather than direcdy.AIso, access L2 words by meansof their L1 equivalents, learnersdorit have to work very hard to access the meaning,it may because 'no mean that the word is lessmemorable. A caseof pain, no gain'. However, there are a number of different ways of incorporating translation into the vocabulary presentation.Here, for example,are three imaginary extractsin which the Spanish-speakingteacher is teaching her Spanish-speaking studentsclothing vocabulary: 1 rBecnen: En inglspantalones sellaman trousers.Trousers. Ahora, todos juntos ... lln English pantalonesare called trousers. Trousers. Now; all together ...] sTuDENTS: Trousers. No? Listen, 2 rnRcnnn: Does anyone know the English for una camisa? it's a sbirt. Shirt. Repeat. sruoBNrs: SZirl. 77

a shirt r first' rePeat valid. :ed for Lg the 'hand,


ng for

Vocabulary How to Teach

3 rnecnrn:

what's this? fpointing to picture of a dress]Do you know Repeat. Dress. what this is irriinglishl No? Listen, it's a dress. stuoeil'rs: Drsss. in Spanish?Marta? TEAcHER: How do you saydress MARTA: Falda. TEAcHER:That's right. In the first extract ali the teacher's talk is in Spanish. This effectively is made a"ori*, learnersof valuable12 inpt.Moreover, not much attempt the word' ,h;-l."rr,.rr, apart frorn simply getting them to rePeat ;i;;* (the language), target In the secondextract,the teacher,rt.J only English They. are thus meaning. iniroduie to used are words L1 when froup"rt ;; lot -or. English than simply the target vocabularyitems' In ;;d " the preseitationis entirlly in English. Spanishis usedonly iiri ifrita .",ract, to check that learneri harteunderstood' for opinion is very much divided asto the merits of eachapproach.Here teachers ir ur &.h"r,ge on the subject of translation, between ..#;i;; I.riernet discussiongroup (IATEFL Teacher tainers or, 'S "r, ""rii.'i"",i"* p..ii Inte-restGroup Mailing List: ttsig@listbot'com): find speaker,,frequently fDerrin] On the L1 question.I, a nativeEnglish to the as doubts students' Catalan my mvself usine L1 to q,li.kly clar:fy point little I,see are theyin texts *'."ni"g of'.rnkno*n lexis i" *"ff.i""g around a room acting like a chicken for half an hour when you can say'po11o'. it (and areyour students fDennis] well, half an hour would be overdoing ,1o* on the uptake?).But although-thereare clearly occasions rHnr when a short,sharptranslationis the most eftectle method ot conveylng -."rrirrg, is it necessarilythe most effective method of encouraging actinglikea chicken,even I bet ifyou did walk around the ro_om il;t# 'I'm a chicken. I'm a chicl<en.'your students for fivJ minutes, sayingl ;;"ld never forget ihe"English word for'po11o'.And if you acted laying an egg,your fame would sPread' ... which remindsme of the lGulfem] Thanks to Dennis for his support L1 translation cannot be Surely Learneis-. *hot. issueof teaching Young a chicken who lays become have in this .ur.]I actuilly acceptable and much to their students'benefit the and the Beanstalk)for and well "uur'Ct".f. middle-aged female, I'm ;?hhl, t;, that's maybe because like! .orrid"d' call it rype casting if you

How to illustrate meaning

of An alternative to translation and an obvious choice if presenting a set or illustrate is to somehow items .o".r"," objects such as clothes , (called Jl-orrrrr"r.'them. This can be done either by using real objects realia) or pictures or mime. The use of realia, Plcqres and demonstratron techniqueof the Direct Method. The Direct Mltno!, in ;;defi'ning "use of tianslation, developed as a reaction to such ltgnty rejecting the to languagelearnihg asGrammarlTianslation. Here, i",rd approaches





vocabulary 5 o Howto present

know 3Peat.

for example,is advicefor teachersfrom a popular Direct Method courseof the 1940s:


The usual procedureis as follows. ti""ly made word. rage), : thus ns.In I only re for chers riners rfind .o the point nyou


The teacherfirst selectsa number of objects,in batchesof sayfrom 10 may be to 20. [...] The objects (a) those that are usually found in the place where the lessonis given, e.g.door, window, knife, match, book; or parts of the body or articlesof clothing. (b) those collected speciallyfor the purposesof the lesson,e.g. a sticlq a stone, a nail, a piece of wire, a piece of string etc. (c) those represented by pictures,such as those printed on picture cards or wall charts, or by rough drawings on the blackboard. The teacher shows or points to each object in turn and names it. He saysthe name clearly (but naturally) three or four times. [...] When the pupils have had sufficient opportunity to ltear the words and sentences (and to grasp their meaning) they are called upon to say them. In the first instancethey m y re?eatthem after the teacher ...
(from Palmer H, The Teacbingof Oral English, Longman)

dents sions

{"s 4Sng
, even dents ay-lng f the .ot be rlden their well

Such an approachis especiallyappropriate if teaching beginners,and with where translation is not an option. It is also a mixed nationality classes, technique that has been reclaimed by practitioners of Total Physical Response (TPR), a method that promotes initial immersion in a high quantity of comprehensible input. In making use of the immediate environment of the classroom,and of things that can be brought into the classroom,the intention is to replicate the experienceof learning o-r,re's mother tongue. A TPR lessontypically involves the teacherdemonstrating actions,using real objects,and then getting the learnersto perform the same or similar actions in responseto commands.Typical classroomcommands might be: Pointto the apple. nextto the apple. Putthe banana Givethe appleto Natasha. to Maxim. Offerthe banana etc. (Plastic fruit and vegetables are ideal for this kind ofactivity.) Visual aids take many forms: flashcards(published and home-made), wall projected on to the board or wall using the overhead charts, transparencies projector, and board drawings. Many teachers collect their own sets of flashcardsftom magairnes,calendars,etc. Especially usefirl are pictures of interiors items belonging to the followingsets:food and drink, clothing,bouse of transport plus a wide selection of andfurniture, landscapes/exteriors,forms pictures of people, sub-divided into sets such asjobs, nationalities,sports,

;et of
te of

:lled etion 'd, in ighly Jere,

\ z '

How to Teach Vocabulary

(ta//, strzng,sad,healtby,o/d, etc).Not only can such activitiesand appearance picturesbe used to presentnew vocabularyitems, but they can be used to practisethem. teachingcan be The use of picturesor objectsas prompts for vocabulary enhancedif some basic principles of memory are taken into account, including the principle of distributed practice(seepage 24).In teachinga set of say, ten clothing items, it is important to keep reviewing the previously introduced items, preferably in a varying order - something like this: presentshirt presentjacket Dresenttrousers revew shirt review trousers present dress revrewjacket Presents-weater revlew qress revtew shirt presentsocfu etc. Another principle underlying effective memorisation is, as much as is possible,to allow learnersto work at their own pace.In this way they can form associations and think of mnemonic devices that are personally relevant, and appropriate to the degree of difficulty the word is causing them. This is more likely to happen if they are working on their own or in the small groups.But by building pausesinto a teacher-ledpresentation, with time to'catch up'and to reflect. teachercan provide learners Here, by way of example,are some activities using flashcards: & The teacher shows cards one at a time, and either elicits or saysthe As a rule of thumb, about ten unfamiliar words is word it represents. probably sufficient. Periodically the teacher backtracks and changes the order (seeabove).Finally, stick all the cards on to the board, and (or asklearners to comeup and write them). write the words alongside Stick a collection of picture cards (e.g. clothes) on the board and number them. (If you areworking round alarge table,placethe cards face up on the table.) Invite learnersto ask you about the words they are unfamiliar with. For example: What'snumber 6? Check to see if someone else knows before giving the answer.When students are sufficiently famlliar go through them all, asking, What\ number8? etc. As a check, turn the cards around, one at a time, so that they cant be seen,and again ask I{hat! numberB? Finally, write the words on the eachpicture. board alongside

., i


vocabularv 5 . Howto oresent

Stick a selection of cards on the board and a1low learners to use ,Kbilingual They can then dictionaries to find the words they represent. write the words adjacentto the pictures. Give pairs or groups of three a selection of cards each.They can use ,R bilingual dictionaries to find out the word for each picture. Then, 'teach' the rest of the class the repreientativesfrom each group can using the visual aids. words they have discovered,

:, e

Show the classa wall chart or a large picture containing many different ,Kitems (e.g.a streetsceneor an airport) for a short period of time, say ten seconds.Individually or in pairs, the learners then have to write down as many words - in English - asthey can rememberhaving seen representedin the picture. Al1ow them to use dictionaries. Show the to let them extend their lists of pilture again for another few seconds, stage:the individual or pair for the checking Reveal the picture words. is the winner. words most correct with the How to explain meaning Of course,relianceon real objects,illustration, or demonstration,is limited. It is one thing to mime a chitken, but quite another to physically rePresent or trustuorthy. Also, words the meaningbf a word hke intuition or becorne the teacher wont have for which words incidentally, up frequently come the meaning of conveying way An alternative hand. realii at visual aids or is the principle This words. other to use words is simply of a new word of clarifying means verbal Non-visual, difinitions. behind dictionary meaning include: . . . ' providing an examplesituation giving severalexamplesentences giving synonyms,antonyms,or superordinateterms giving a fulldefinition



q .D



,d ). rd ls jy

re c. )e 1e

All of the above procedures can be used in conjunction, and also in combination with visual meanssuch asboard drawings or mime. Although a verbal explanationmay take a little longer than using translation,or visuals are that the learnersaregetting extra'free'listening or mime, the advantages made to work a litde harder to get to the meaning of practice,and, by being engaged.Obviously, it is important, more cognitively i word, they may be words, that the defining words define other in order to when using words range. Doctor Johnson's current learners' within the themselveJ are of what not to say example is an famous dictionary net in his definition of a zuith egual distances at reticulated or decussated Anytbing in the classroom: -interictionsl the betueen interstices A situational presentation involves providing a scenariowhich clearly the target word (or words). Here, for example,is a situation contextualises sing : sed/ ernbarras arras for teaching ernb


Vocabulary How to Teach

Catherine saw a man at the bus stop. His back was turned but she was sure it was her brother, so she tapped him on the shoulder with her 'Look out! The police are after you!' The man umbrella and shouted turned around. He was a complete stranger.


(from O'Neill R, Englishin Situations,OUP)

Reinforcing a situational presentation with pictures, board drawings, or gesture *uk , it more inftlligible, and perhaps_more memorable. More iremorable still is the situation that comes directly from the experienceof In other words, the peoplein the room - whether the teacheror students. and then was embarrassed, when she the ieachercould tell her own story of 'free' speaking and the extra Again, invite the students to tell their own. listening practicejustifies the relativelylong time spent on just one or tlvo items of vocabulary. An alternative io the situational approach is to provide students with eachone being a tipical instanceof the target.wordin examplesentences, canbe used(seepage conteit. This is not dissimilarto the way concordances should be able students the 70). From the cumulative effect of the sentences the induction: using word to hypothesise the meaning of the target _teacher giving is a Here examples. -.rri"l processof hypothesisingfrom for the wordfancy: sentenceexamples r: Listen to thesesentences and seeif you can work out what the verb ifancy means:Number one:He'sreal/ynice,but I don'tfancybim. lpauseJ Two: Ifancy ealing out nnight. Don't you? fpause]Three: Do yoifonclt a-cupof cffie? fpause] Four: Fancya drink? lpause] Five: That [u1t on tle d.aryce himself lpause] And six: I neoeiieally Jl9or he reallltfancie_s ltolidaysmuch.fpausel OK, talk to your neighborrr a.rd fonciedpackage then I'll read them again... Allow the students as many hearings of the sentencesas they think they need before they are confident enough to venture an answer. (For particularly difficult words, it may help if the learnerswrite the sentences down.) Depending on whether the classis monolingualor not, the teacher can then elicit a mother tongue translation of the target word, or, alternatively,a synonym or definition. is that the learners One advantage of this approach hear the word several times,increasing the likelihood of retentionin memory.Another advantage is that they hear the word in a variety of rypical contexts (rather than just one) so they can start to get a feel for its range of usesas well as its typical (e.g.fancya drink). Finally,they get information on the word's collocations form and grammar - whether, for example,it is irregular or transitive (if a verb), or countable (if a noun). It may seem to involve quite a lot of preparation for the teacher,but consulting dictionaries and corpora for examples of the targetwords in contextcan help reduceplanning time. 'like), Very often a quick explanation, using a synonym(frrty'- it means

vocabulary 5 . Howto present

a supefordinate \h!, introverted) or_ antonym ('outgoing'- it\ the opposite.of ;hrring'"it a kind bi in. incidental especially will (a term 7tn1,,serve, (explaining) when glossing useful is Thir paitiiularly vocabulary *otf.. texts. up in words that come More elaboratedefinitions, such as those in dictionaries, require more effort on the part of both teacher and learner. Lexicographers(dictionary writers) ,p.rrd u greatdeal of time agonisingover definitions,sothere is no Fortunately,learners' will find them any easier. reasontoihink tf,at teachers offers teachers a that language in definitions their dictionaries phrase is the definition for foi eximple, Here, one. need they reliable -od.l, should and, second, dictionary a conventional first, petrify from two dictionaiies dictionary: a learners'
p6'trifi u. l. r.t. changc into stone; 1fig.) paralrsc or rtupcfv with astonishmcnt, tcrror, ctc.. l!.lrwd uth deprive (mind, doctrinc, ctc.) ofvitality' 2' lrai ' . i . r"ti.\: u r n ' i . t o s r o n c 1 l i t .o r f r + . ) . l f - E p i l i j e r I m c d . L pctriftcarc t. L f. Ck pe*a rock; see-rv]

(from the Concise Oxford Dictionary)

petrlfy /pgtrrfar/, petrlfles, petrllylng' petrl' perlllec you,it ma*es you teel v+o fled. I tl something perhaps so trigitened tl?t lif;*"ry very frightened ind-eed, youcannot move. ro The warning whistle started to ru,Sl4n btow. The soundpetrtfied,liirn. G petrllled' s ll I o - terrilied iadnl bel";natoni t wouldn\ trsvi bcen neerly so petrltied. it gradlally v-ao I tyben somethitg dead Ptltlllet, * Tbe mowtatn grlsctr.str: chanres iDto stone. o ftrlllcd' nngi lamed menacingTyli*e *me petri-tied ptehie Atrrn ot{utrcffI|t taric$onsteiopctrlllctlloo/pgtrlftk9$a'n/. t It something such &5 a soclety or lnstitution vERo * sisgntle Delrlfl3 or it dmething else Fetrlller il it *ease3 tc go and usf' Militatism formal a and develop; lhsnee petifrx the ficial order... ...i1 clviliza' xenoihobia r*l 0 xursunr tron was aof to niil:er or petrity. n pttrltlcttlot. *3ttgn'tl6n Iirese stalenrerf" aken" tw iit*tdtly, lead to dl petrillc,tiar ot meaain$,

(from the Collins COBUILD Engluh Dictionary)

A variant of the definition approachis to presenta layereddefinition that eachone including short statements, inio several is, one that is segmented the target l"o.J. Thir is similar to the example sentences approach of are discretecomponents but in this casethe sentences mentioied above, alarger definition. For example: r: If you feel petrified you are Yery very frightened. Someone can be peirified by'feai. peirifed literaliy -ir.rr turned to stone. Petrifed '*oo"a ir #ood that has become stone.In some placesyou can see petrifed forests. In this way, the meaning - and shadesof meaning of a word are built up that the learnershear the target piece by piece,with tho added advantage -ord nliorrly in context, but repeated(in the aboveexamplefive times).


VocabularY How to Teach

In realiry most teachersdraw on a range of situations, of word meanlng' etc.- in their presentations examplesentences, Svnonyms, teacherusesa the which in lesson a from,'for ."^-pi., is an extract familiar apeady are students the that including words A -."ri, "^rl"q, with to introduce Petrifed: if T: oK is anyonevery frightened of ghostst would you be frightened I saw if know if I saw,for example' you 'u saw a ghost?i+;gitrnra. OK,I feel. I would feelfrightened. would I feelingis on"e tf,ere ghort, wo,rld you feel if you saw thanlfrightened,holv more even i*?it"r]'B,rt ghotil Mor e thanfr ;I htun; d, stronger,thanfrig ht ened' " Tbrrified. S: T' Coo'a, terrified. fwrites] Tbrrified' An1'thing even stronger than terriftd? Aword in English. Even, really,you'resoJrtgbtenedyoure"' S : Scared? it utt not, that's the same asfrightened. There's something that's stronger. Astonished. Astonishedis a little bit more lTke surprisel' I think T : Astonished. i'rrified; there's an even stronger word, which would be Petrified' e sgfrightgnedthat you 91n.ts^peak, fwrites] And it meanswhen you-ar ,ror, ."rr, think, and you ."rrt -on". You'ri absolutely2etrif'ed'And I if,inf. if I saw , ghort I would probably be ilaughs] probably be petrif.ed,beingthJrather patheticsoul that I am' of a word - or that learning the meaning. Finally, it's worth emphasising -gradualapproxlmatlon' learning anything,for that matter is a-process.of before we of.'fuzziness' period a lbng_ Erre' iri oui firstiungrrage,it may take too much asking is probably If words. feel comfortable abo"utiting ..ri"in at meaning word's a nuance of every of teachersto expect themlo chrify general the in learners their first encounter. better that they orientaie while equippingthem with the skills and the Jir..,io' of a word's meaning, motivation to continue er,"plotittgtire-iurther reaches of that word's 'semanticspace'.

How to highlight the form

In Chapter 2 we noted the fact that the sound of words, as much as their r**ing, determinesthe way they are stored in the mental lexicon' The fact or fot trarnpolines, that fikJjsounding words are often confused(tambourines that suggests This this. of evidence for example) is chicken for kitche"n, |,igf.iign,i"g the spoken form of a word is very important .in terms of ..r"r,rriig it"is appiopriately stored. This in turn means drawing learners' attention to the way the word sounds. primarily accordingto their overall Words seemto bL stored and accessed easy to confuse tambourine and it ii syllable structure and stress.Hence irampoline because they have the same general-:hlP.t'. despite some ii'ff.'r.rr.", of individual'sounds. This suggeststhat highlighting_the stress as urrd q.rr.rul shapeof the word is a useful aid to retention and deserves mucf, attention as the individual sounds'

vocabulary 5 . Howto present

There are a number of ways of highlighting the spokenform of the word. theseare: Essentially ' listening drills . oral drills . boardwork Having establishedthe meaning of a new word, the teacher can model it using fistening drills. A drill is any repetition of a short chunk of language. the so as to accustom it is the teacherwho doesthe repeating, In tf,is case, takes the this Customarily, word. of the features phonological to the learners (or usually words), the word of nitural enunciation but cleir of a form by some sort of cue, such as'Listen ...'. This is repeatedtwo or preceded three times.To draw learners'attention to the syllablestructureand stressof by somekind ofvisual can be accompanied the word, this modellingprocess the different to represent hand of one fingers using the as such stimulus, syllables. The teacher can also ask the classto identif' the stressedsyllable'The is a good one for learnersto get usedto. One way question Where\thestress? - is to ask - in the first lesson, for example stress idea of the introducing of the learners to r"y how many syllablesthere are in their own names, and name, (Of course, if it's a one-syllable is stressed. which of these syllables will be on that one syllable.) the stress it would suchasaudiolingualism, In drill-and-repeattype methodologies, and in chorus both word, the new repeat to foriearners be customary then value of the recently, More it in memory. to reinforce in order individually, grammatical especially language introduced newly repeating simply Somewriters arguethat the requirement structures--has been questioned. from the cognitive work involved may distract round it' tongue to'get one's in Chapter 2 (seepage 23)^,'ye we saw it'.-As round mind one's in'letting or interruption of the any interference is if there quickly words forget on which working (the repetition of subvocal process lobp ti"ol"toty n This iuggeststhat allowing learnerstwo or three seconds memory depends). 'processing'-timebetween hearing a new word and saylng it might have 6enefits in tet-s of retention in memory. One way of encouraging subvocalisationis sometimesknown as a mumble drill. At a cue from the teacher,learners mumble or muttef the word to themselvesat their own that subvocalisationis a technique that_successful pace. Evidence suggests as (see page161),so it may be one worth establishing naturilly use i." classroom practice. standard However, to withhold production indefinitely is likely to frustrate learners, whose instinct is often to have a go at repeating a new word And nothing giveslearnersa better feel for the shapeof a word themselves. it - even iF ihe teacher'sintention is to teach the word for saying than to getlearnersto vocalise therefore, recogniiiononly.It may be appropriate, by meansof choral them, subvocalised ha-ve first they after new words, the i.e. drilling. repetition, individual or


How to Teach Vocabulary

Featuresof the word's pronunciation can also be highlighted using the board. Many teachersuse some kind of symbol - such as a small box - to indicate where the primary stressis placed.

Providing Tearners *j*.: transcrption of the word usingphonemic script is another way-o! highlighting the pronunciation visualy. The phonenic transcription of frigb tenedis /fratend/ . use of phonemic symbols also avoids the potentially negative effects of sound-spelling mismatches(but seebelow). of course,ihir learners "-rr.r-.r are familiar with phonemic script. If they are not, they may find the extra learning load daunting, especiallyif they are still getiing used to Roman script.(as may be the casefor learners whosemotheitongie usesa different script)._on the other hand, there is no great mystery t6 phonemic script, especiallyreading it (as opposed to writing it). Mbst of the consonant soundsare easily-decipherable so it is mainly a task of getting to know how - a taJk thuican be spread the many English-vowel soundsare represented over a number of lessons,if necessary. AIso, the fact that al1good learner dictionaries use a standardised form of phonemic script meanJthat further reinforcement can be provided by dictionary activities that focus on pronunciation (see page 66). (For a detailed reference chart of English sounds way they are produced, seeAppendix A in Gerald rJuyt Td !h: Horu to Teach Pronunciation,in this series.) How soon should learners meet the written form of a new word? taditionally, it was felt that meeting the written form too soon would interfere with correct pronunciation habits. This is specially the case in English. (it_was argued), where sound-spelling matc^hes arl notoriously unreliable. Learners who are pronouncing *otls like cupboard, ,uit, anA correctly, only heard them, often ,.gr.r, to',cuplsland..perfecdy Jlaving board','sweet'and'is-land', onie exposed -form to the written foim. on these grounds, presentationof the written used to be delayeduntil learners we_re thoroughly familiar with the spokenform. However, the counter atg..-,-ent t.,ns that - since learners are going to meet the written form.evenru?lly - i1 may be better to deal #th"uny sound-spelling mismatches_h-ead on, and get ihes. difficulties out of the way sooner rather than later. After all, learners are likely to form u -.rrt"l representationof the probable-spelling of new words as soon as they first hear them, so it is betier that this -ental representation is an accurare one. Moreover, the sound-spelling irregularities in English are often overstated. It is true that there are some.extremely unreliable s-pelling s (the -ough family being the mos-t commonly cited).Bui the vast majority 6fwords in'Englisii conform to a fairly small set of rules.Avoiding the issueby withholding'the written f,orq ma.ydeprive learners of the opportunity of observing tlese regularities for themselves.A useful strategy,therefore, might be"to ask learners,soon after hearing a newword, to atGmpt to rp.ll it. (or, if the first


vocabulary 5 . Howto present

meeting is with the written form, to attempt to Pronounceit.) If they are by reminding them havingirouble doing this, the teachercan prompt the_m of fariiliar words wilh a similar pronunciation or spelling.In Chapter 9 we will look at some useful spelling rules that can be taught to learners. But there is an even mbre important reasonfor being introduced to the written form as soon as possible.Crucial clues to meaning are often much easierto identify in the #titt.n form than in the spoken form of the word. and police staiion comes out as plee station. In the absence of key morpiological information (like hand- andpolice) -'file' learnershave nothing to it - and therefore find it or nowhere to atta;h the- new word to difficult to understand and remember.So the effort involved in learning-it been labouring to make senseof. Depriving them form of a word they ha=ve of this form may be counterproductive.

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How to involve the learners 'presentation' has connotations of teacher as transmitter, and The word learnersas passiverecipients,of languagefacts. But, ls Yls pointed out in Chapter 2 (page30),'learners need t-obe activelyinvolved in the learning of words'. How ian learners be given more involvement in the presentation phase of word learning? ' One technique that has abeady been mentioned in this chapter _is elicitation. A siandardelicitation procedureis for the teacherto presentthe meaning of a word (" showing a picture) and asking learnersto supply the form: (showing picture of uaterfall) What's this? Tomas? Cataract? Not exactly.Elena? Waterfall? Good. Alternatively, the teacher can supply the word, and elicit a definition, synonym or example: T: What's a waterfall?Anyone? s: Like Niagara? T: Yes,exactly. of text-based This secondprocedure,going from form to meaning,is typic_al vocabularywbrk. It also occurswhen words come up naturally in classroom talk (see,ior example,the extract of classroomtalk on page 50). The rationale underlying elicitation is that:

. it actively involves the learnersin the lesson . it maximisesspeakingopportunities ' it keepsthe learnersalert and attentive


VocabularY How to Teach

'turn off' . it challenges better learnerswho might otherwise . i; ;;r;, I way of checking the leariers' developingunderstanding learners to use . in th. ."r. of form-firsi presentationsit encourages contextual clues of elicitation may be lost. First however,many of the advantages If overused, the only the better leainers may be irivolved in the procss'while of when (or "n, nominating) names The use of others r.rriain passivebystanders. do hottL eliciting is oneiay rorrnd this: What\ a waterfall?Etsuko?or Sylaia, in English? say'kolega' jou ' can end up b-eingvery frustrating for PrJlorrq.? eficitaiion sequences - a t.rlr,.r, i? tn.y simply dont koo* the answeisthe teacheris seeking Finally, if all or most -questiottt,., .io* b.r*.. n'a qu\i rho* and a police interrogation. tl. quality . of oi tt. teacher's'questions are elicitation in the outside all, After i"".h.-rtrrd.nt talk can become compromised. for aski,ng.questions time *"rfa, we seldom spend a lot of conv6rsational are times wate.rfall?) (like a What\ know the answer **rAready Jhele 'real'questions, such as what's the biggest *rr.r, t.urrr"rs rr.ed exposureto you\te everseen? uaterfa/l 'itii; ;ggests that another important way of.involving learnersis to have the ,r.* *ordr. Personiisation is simply the process.of them pers"nalise 'the the learnerpersonally'r he new word in a context that is real for using 'memory of new words can be ;;;? ;;t -ud., in Chapter 2 (page30), that ,lr'.d to &pi"t, personally relevant meanings'.There ii,fr.y i;l;;d "r. are many *uyt o? doing this. Here are some ideas: word' preferably 5$, Ask learners to write a true sentenceusing the new - more easilydone know they someone or ;;;1",t- it to th.-relves Iike frishtened and enbarrassidthan perhaps words like ":iit';;rdr a Tnt-enceframe, such as Tbe last time Ifelt *oirrfrtt.To help, p"rovide ... waterfallI ha,e e'er seen Thebiggest Or . . frighiened*ot *bri. incorporating the:rew .% Learners write questions for other learners, /l They^ Whar makesyou embarrassed/frightened? ;;;J. F". ."u-pl"' of the rest to report then exchangequestioirs,write the urr*Lrr, and the class. centred on the new k - Ask learners to make an association network that they associate words to other word the connect **a. That is, they manner of the the in a diagram drawing with it, however far-fetched, with those of networks thelr .orrrpit" then They ."u-pi" opposite. Here, for associations. the explaining, and atout, asking other'srudents, for the student one by produced network assoliation .*r-pl., is the word iron:


vocabulary 5 . Howto present

If teaching a lexical set such as food items, or forms of transport, or R t . jobs, or kinds of film, ask the learners to rank the items in order of personal preference - from most preferred to least preferred. For drama, horror mo'uie example, drama, thriller, musical,western, costume ... Then, in pairs, they compareand explain their rankings. Finally, an alternative to teacher presentation - and one that maximally involves learners - is peer teaching, i.e. learners teaching each other vocabulary. One way of doing this is through an information gap activity. This is an activity in which information is distributed between students in pairs or small groups. In order to complete a task, students must exchange 'fill the information gap'. If the information also information in order to includeswords whose meaning is known only to individual membersof the groupr the information exchangewill require members to teach each other those words.


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Vocabularv How to Teach

For example,imagine each member of a pair has one of the following pictures:



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vocabulary 5 . Howto oresent

information about the pictures in order to find The aim is to exchange the ten differences.At some stagethis will involve studentsusing the words that have been glossed at the bottom of their picture - for their partner doesnot havethe word examplejugin Picture A. Because for jug, (and in all likelihood will not know it) he or she will have to might go like this: ask for an explanation.A probable sequence sruDENT1: sruDENT2: sruDENT1: sruDENT2: sr,uDENT1: sruDENT2: sruDENT1: sruDENT2: etc. Is there a jug on the table in your picture? A what? A jug. What is jug'? A jug is a thing for keep water or milk. Ah. Yes.I haveone - what is called- judge? Jug.J-U-G. Yes,there is one jug on the table in my picture.

The extra effort put into negotiating the meaning and form of the unfamiliar words pays off in terms of learning. Note, for a start, how suggests that negotiation many times theword jugwas used.Research of word meaning in this way is a.very powerful learning tool, and is more memorable,on the whole, than teacherpresentation.In order to it may help if learnershave been taught some maximise its usefi,rlness, such as It\ a thing you use simple defining expressions, for .. . It's made like ... of ... It looks Other ways of setting up peer teaching tasks include: Give eachstudent in a group a card(or cards)with a different word on W I " it, the meaning of the word being provided in the form, for example, of a translation, synonym or picture. Students have to study their card(s) silently and learn their words. Then the group is given a task which involves using the words. For example, it might be a storyeach construction activity, in which students have to order sentences, of which contains one of the targeted words. To do the task, each student would have to explain to the other members of the group the words that they havejust studied. Alternatively, they are askedto categorisethe words on the cardsinto ,W ! ' groups, or to rank them according to some criteria. They might, for on example,be objectswhich are ranked according to their usefulness a desertisland. In order to do this task, studentswill first need to teach each other the words they have learned individually. Each student is given a list of six to eight words, with their translations W t ' or definitions. For example,one student may get the following: check in, boardingpass, duty free, luggage,security clteck,departuregate, etc, knife, rnatcbes, backpack, Another may get: campfire,fryingpan, pocket narrative. They then into a short have work these words They to etc. tell eachother their narrative,explaining any unfamiliar words as they go along. 91

Vocabularv How to Teach

which involve and procedures Conclusions ln this chapterwe looked at techniques

itemsof directteacherinterventionin the teachingof pre-selected when teacher to the available choices the Among vocabulary. presentation are the following: planninga vocabulary . how many words to presentat a time . whether to presentthe meaning of words first or the form first meaning,or . whether to usetranslationas the meansof presenting . whether to usesomeform of illustration, suchas realia,visualaids, or mime, or suchas an example . whether to usea verbal meansof presentation, or definitions synonyms, sentences, situation,example . how to presentthe spokenform and whether this should involve student repetition . how soon to presentthe written form . how, and to what extent, to involvethe learnersin the personalisation, and presentation, through the useof elicitation, peer teaching,for examPle reachedincludethe following: Someof the conclusions by factors . the number of words that can be learnedis constrained suchas word difficulty, but need not be limited to only a few words . establishing the meaningof a new word first and then presenting its form is a standardaPProach meaningbut may . translationis an economical way of presenting not be the most memorable r illustrating but is limited to certainkindsof meaningis effective, words but can be effective . explainingmeaningverballyis time-consuming are kept clearand simple if explanations o the spokenform can be highlightedthrough the giving of clear the useof phonemicscript,and repetition models, . the written form should not be withheld too long . learners shouldbe activelyinvolvedin the presentation

Looking ahead

To ensurethat learners words is only the tip of the iceberg. Presenting get to 'know' these words to the extent outlined in Chapter 2, they to engagewith thesewords in a will need plentiful opportunities 'put these words to work' - the theme of variety of contexts,and to the chapter that follows.