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2.1 The Definition of Vocabulary

Vocabulary in a language is one of the most vital aspects to be mastered by

the students of English. An explanation about vocabulary and its function in

language teaching is necessary. Vocabulary is defined as all the words recognized

and understood by a particular person, although they are not necessary to be used by

him. According to Oxford Learner’s Pocket Dictionary, “Vocabulary is: (1) all the

words that a person knows or uses; (2) all the words in a language; (3) list of words

with their meanings, especially in a book for learning a foreign language”.

From the definition, it can be concluded that vocabulary is a number of word

or a bunch of words that should be familiar with someone and have in his/her mind.

In other words, vocabulary is the words capacity of someone when he or she is

writing or reading a text, or when he or she is expressing own ideas in practical oral

communication. So, it would be impossible for one who does not have enough

vocabulary to communicate his ideas as clearly as he would like either in oral or


Usually vocabulary is quite important in practicing oral communication but

we found some students have limited vocabulary in improving their English. They

cannot enlarge any vocabulary because they rarely read some materials in English. It

is obstacle faced by the students who learn English. Besides that, vocabulary is

important in practicing listening, speaking, reading, and writing. And vocabulary is a

set of words known by a person or other entity or that are part of a specific language.
The vocabulary of a person is defined either as the set of all word that are

understood by that person or the set of all words likely to be used by that person

when constructing new sentences. For instance, “curse” is a regular part of

vocabulary of native English speakers but “imprecate” is not, even though the two

words are synonym. The richness of a person’s vocabulary is popularly though to be

a reflection of their intelligence or education level.

According to Collier (1991: 1), when a student has mastered the fundamental

grammatical patterns of language, his next task is to master its vocabulary, or at least

that of its vocabulary that he need. It is obvious that vocabulary is very important in

learning a language, especially English, because the English vocabulary is extremely

large and varies as well. Therefore, it is highly essential for English teachers to help

their students in mastering vocabulary.

Norbert (1992:177) gives the definition of vocabulary as follows. Vocabulary

is a basis of a language: it is very important to be mastered first. We cannot speak

well and understand written materials if we do not master it. Norbert states that no

matter how successfully the sound of the foreign language is mastered, without

words to express the wider range of meanings, communication in a foreign language

just cannot happen in any meaningful way. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary

English (1992: 450) defines vocabulary means all the words that someone knows,

learn of uses, or the words that are typically used when talking about particular

subject or a list of words with the explanations of their meanings in a book for

learning foreign language.

In English, vocabulary is considered a very important aspect beside the four


language skill for the student in studying English language. Without having

sufficient vocabulary, it is impossible to communicate effectively in English.

According to Langan (1993:451), a good vocabulary is a vital part of effective

communication. A common of words will make you a better speaker; listener and

students who work to improve a limited vocabulary, they are more successful at


From the above quotation, it is known that vocabulary is the vital part of our

activities. It included all the words we normally use in our daily activities of

listening, speaking, reading and writing. The vocabulary has determiner one’s

problems and difficulties in developing the language skills if they do not have

enough vocabulary. In line with this Alkhufaishi (1994:42) says that, vocabulary is

one of the major confronting EFL (English Foreign Language) learners. By

mastering vocabulary they can communicate them ideas as they would like to, and

they can grasp the transmitted ideas. They can read the columns of a newspaper or

popular magazine or even understand news broadcasted through radio and television.

Based on the Alkhufaishi’s argument, the researcher sees that whatever we

want to say we use words. So if we have poor vocabulary, we will also have poor

ideas and difficult in speaking, writing, reading and listening comprehension. Such

condition will be the handicap for us at school or college, on the job, at home or

elsewhere. Therefore, only by word we can express our ideas accurately. It would be

impossible for one who does not have enough vocabulary to communicate his ideas

as clearly as he would like either in oral or written, vocabulary plays an important

role in language acquisition. In other words, we cannot isolate the vocabulary from
that four language skills.

Without having rich vocabulary, it is difficult in language acquisition. Smith

(1995:71) noted that among all basic aspects of foreign language which should be

mastered by the students in teaching process, vocabulary in considered as the most

important one. Without mastering vocabulary it is impossible to use the foreign

language. The fact shows that, although the student could read the text with the

pronunciation and grammatical correctly, they could not understand the material read

and they were not able to express the main ideas of the text that reading.

Learning vocabulary does not mean learning word separately. Words should

be learned in context because a word has different meaning in different context. In

fact, word is separation frequently do not match with the proposed meaning. The

meaning of the word will depend on the context. McCharty (1994:16) said that

vocabulary consist of the words that is used confidently by knowing their meaning

and usage. So, we should know the meaning of the word and the use of the word in

context because the meanings of the word depend on the context. Therefore, the

student must have sufficient words in order to understand easily what they have read

and listened in English.

Increasing the size of one’s vocabulary, also called vocabulary building, is

generally considered to be an important part of both learning a language and

improving one’s skills in a language in which one is already proficient. Therefore the

school students are often taught new words, informally referred to vocabulary words,

as a part of a particular unit or lesson in their learning material or subject matter.

2.2 The Importance of English Vocabulary


A good mastery of vocabulary helps the learners to express their ideas

precisely. By having many stocks of word learners will be able to comprehend the

reading materials catch other talking, give response, speak fluently and write some

kind of topics. On the contrary, if the learners do not recognize the meaning of the

words use by those who address them, they will be unable to participate in

conversation, unable to express some ideas, or unable to ask for information.

Considering the important of vocabulary role in learning foreign language,

the mastery of this element should be ensured and develop. Otherwise, the

vocabulary mastery of the children will be limited and consequence of it is that they

will find difficulties in learning the skills of the language. Therefore, schools have a

task to teach vocabulary to their students (Carol in Margaretha, 1997:01).

Although a considerable amount of vocabulary, learning is associated with

primary language learning in early years. The acquisition of most the vocabulary

characteristic of an educated adult occur during the years of schooling, and infects

one of the primary task of the school as far as language learning in concerned, as to

teach vocabulary.

Based on the explanation above, learning vocabulary is considered as a basic

task to learners. Those who have lack of vocabulary cannot express their ideas

clearly either in oral or written communication and they cannot read an English book

which the students want to read. For that reason, vocabulary plays as significance

role in learning a foreign language, including English.

The researcher aggresses that we cannot neglect teaching vocabulary to

young learners in teaching English. With limited vocabulary the students are hardly
to express the idea clearly as they want. Many experienced instructors know how

importance the vocabulary is. Krakowian (1994:18) aggressed that communication

oriented teaching the most presses concern for the learners is the need to master an

adequate foreign language vocabulary.

Pieter (1995:26) noted that one of the big problem is learning a foreign

language when reading materials written in that language is a lot of difficult words so

that the students do not understand what they read about a language relation and how

they are realized, but this would be like exhibiting the skeleton remained of the

dinosaur and believing that one had actually encountered the creature. Language is

not dry bones. It is a living, growing entity, clothed in the fresh of words.

In addition, Alkhufaishi (1992:42) also states about the importance of

vocabulary, there general agreement that the possession of large number of

vocabulary item is necessary to success in social, professional, and intellectual life;

that vocabulary is a vehicle for thought, self-expression, and communication. Based

the statement above, we have assumption that success in learning foreign language

depends very much on the mastery vocabulary. Without sufficient vocabulary of the

target language, the students face a lot of difficulties and problems in developing the

language skills.

The words mastery is to enable the learners to convey any of language skills.

In another word, vocabulary can be a key of success of language learning.

Introducing or teaching new vocabulary is not an easy task. White (1998: 9) states

that learning vocabulary is not a simply process of memorizing a number of words,

but if teacher can provide in a good technique, teaching vocabulary can be achieved.

Furthermore, this situation will encourage, motivate and release them from

boredom and shyness; Haggard (1996:340) states that English instructor should

encourage her learners to study vocabulary eagerly by providing an enjoyable

atmosphere. Related to this statement, the researcher thinks that matching words and

picture is enjoyable technique in teaching vocabulary. The teacher needs to create

and establish the student’s motivation by a technique.

2.3 Some Effective Techniques in Teaching English Vocabulary

In teaching and learning process, the teacher is not only use suitable method

for teaching learning language, but also use techniques to make his teaching more

interesting. In order the students can understand and more active in teaching and

learning process. Technique is special method or system used to accomplish

something or subject learning.

In teaching vocabulary, the teacher also uses techniques to enlarge vocabulary

and develop it for the students. Technique is used by the teacher depends on

teacher’s skill. According to Sumardi (1990: 13), “Technique depends on the teacher,

his imagination, creativity and composition of class. The certain problematic can

solve by various kind of technique e.g. to solve the students’ pronunciation, e.g. /p/

in word pot, the teacher can ask to the students to imitate and repeat what the teacher

pronounced. If the technique fallen, the teacher can use the other technique, e.g.

show the instrument of articulation picture and show what happen with it in process

of pronunciation /p/, that are two lips closed followed by explosion and sound cord

not vibrate using tape record, radio, disk, closed circuit, television, wall charts, flash

card etc, in teaching language are example of techniques”.

Many techniques can be used in teaching English vocabulary depend on the

teacher skill, such as:

2.3.1 Word Formation

To enlarge the vocabulary capacity of the students, the teacher can use word

formation technique, the teacher teach word formation, that are root and suffixes to

help the students know affix addition to root word and use of word in sentences.

According to Pieter (1992:5), “Affixes are a part of morphological study that belongs

to grammar. An affix is a letter or sound or group of letter or sound which is added to

word, and which change the meaning or function of the word”

Based on the statement, every word that added with affix will change the

meaning or function of word, e. g.:

Verb Noun

Compose Composition

Employ Employment

Educate Education

Manage Manager (a person)

Settle Settlement (a place)

Adjective Adverb

Slow Slowly

Clear Clearly etc. (Pieter, 1992:15)

Besides that, the word that added by an affix, such as prefixes, infix and

suffix. The word which added with prefix can change the word has negative


Possibility Impossibility

Responsibility Irresponsibility

Believe Disbelieve

Like Dislike, etc. (Pieter, 1992:15)

2.3.2 Using Picture

Using picture is one of the techniques in teaching vocabulary. Picture can

help make meaning clear and correct misimpression. Smith (1997: 183) states “A

very simple and effective way of vocabulary teaching technique – that is using

picture to reinforce vocabulary range”.

2.3.3 Using Dictionary

Using dictionary is important in teaching vocabulary to know the meaning,

spelling, pronunciation of word. If the students read a text, they will find the difficult

word. They can look up the dictionary to know the meaning of the word. According

to Closky (1991:220) “The dictionary is a valuable tool. To take the advantage of

using it, you need to understand the main kind of information that a dictionary give

about the word”. Based on the statement, the dictionary gives the information about

spelling, syllabication, pronunciation, part of speech and meaning.

2.3.4 Word Games

Game is one of the techniques in teaching vocabulary. The teacher can give

the students game in teaching and learning process of vocabulary, e.g. puzzle, using
card or picture, etc. Smith gives idea for building vocabulary in the intermediate

grade students which connected with word games as below:

1) Play “descriptive” games; take word such as “tree”. List all the
word that could be used to describe a tree – green, tall, stately,
taught, smooth leafy, twisted.
2) Make matching game with new word in one column and meaning
in the other.
3) Play guessing games, such as: I am thinking of a word that mean a
large tank or well in which water is kept. It begins with a “c” and
ends with a “d” (secure the letter on the board after it guessed).
4) Use picture cards with word cards to match a child/student who has
a picture must find the child/student with the matching word, and
then they sit together to study spelling word or for some other
paired activity (Smith, 1997:202).

Beside the technique above, there are still many techniques that can be used

by the teacher in teaching and learning vocabulary, it depends on teacher skill. The

success of teaching always depends on the technique that is used by the teacher. The

teaching and learning of English vocabulary will meet the success if the teacher uses

the suitable technique in teaching.

2.4 The Characteristic of Children as Learners

Slattery and Willis in Bahri ( stated that there

are some characteristic of children as learner:

a. They are developing quickly as individuals; it means that they have

difference in language acquisition.

b. Learn in a variety of ways, for example; by watching, by listening, by

imitating and by doing things. It means children learn their knowledge

through what they see, heard in their surrounding and then imitate it and

imitating by doing things (children learn by doing).

c. Are not able to understand grammatical rules and explanations about

language. Children are not understanding about the rule of language, they

only imitate what they are seeing and hearing.

d. Try to make sense of situations by making use of non-verbal clues. Children

will do imitate, it means learning by doing.

e. Talk in their mother tongue about they understand and do this helps them

learn. It means they use their mother tongue to understand everything.

f. Can generally imitate the sounds they hear quite accurately and copy the way

adults speak. It means they do imitation, memorization, practice and over

learning, what the people are said.

g. Are naturally curious. They have strong willingness to know what they see

and hear in their surroundings.

h. Love to play and use their imagination. It means they are learning while


i. Are comfortable with routines and enjoy repetition. It means they need habit

to learn.

j. Have quite a short attention span and need variety. Because they are learning

while playing, it is needed many ways to make them understand what the

teacher means.

2.5 The Ways How Teachers Can Teach Children.

Dynne (2001:68) stated several ways that can be implemented by the teacher

in teaching English vocabulary to the children. They are as follows:

a. Make learning English enjoyable and fun-remember you are influencing their

attitude to language learning. (Lower as affective filter). It means teacher has

to try in order to students are having fun in learning (learning by playing).

Remember teacher is influencing their attitude to language learning,

b. Do not worry about mistakes. Be encouraging – make sure children feel

comfortable, and not afraid to take part. It means teacher does not blame

directly to students, teacher must give support to students while repair their


c. Use a lot of gestures, actions, pictures to demonstrate what you mean. It

means teacher has to try to accompany his/her explanations with media in

order to students understand easily. Don’t force the students to use the

language directly, just give them examples by gestures,

d. Talk a lot to them in English, especially about things they can see. Teacher

must teach them by using English, especially about anything in their

e. Play games, singsongs, say rhymes and chants together. It means teacher has

skills in playing games, singsong etc to make them enjoy and interest in


f. Tell simple theories in English, using pictures, acting with different voices,

g. Do not worry when they use their mother tongue. You can answer a mother

tongue question in English, and sometimes recast in English what they say in

their mother tongue. It means if the students use their mother tongue, the

teacher translate to English and repeat again, again and again to make them

always remember what teacher means,

h. Constantly recycle new language but do not be afraid to add new things or to

use words they will not know. Teacher gives new language while remember

the last topic,

i. Plan lesson with varied activities, some quiet, some noisy, some sitting, some

standing and moving, it means teacher must demonstrate his teaching with

several activities (mobilling teaching), sometimes teacher sit, stand up in

front of or behind the students.

2.6 The Use of Games in Language Learning.

To increase the vocabulary we need media to be used. One of them is game.

The definition of game is “an activity that you do to have some fun” (Hornby,

1995:486). Games can make the students more focus in learning, because they do not

feel that they are forced to learn. Games can lower anxiety, thus making the

acquisition of input more likely (Richard, 1988:147).

They are highly motivating and entertaining, and they can give shy students

more opportunity to express their opinion and feelings (Hansen, 1994:118). They

also enable learners to acquire new experiences within a foreign Language which are

not always possible during a typical lesson. Games can be media that will give many

advantages for teacher and the students either.

The useful of games are attract the student to learn English because it is fun

and make them want to have experiment, discover and interact with their

environment (Lewis, 1999:47). Other useful of games are:

- Games add variation to a lesson and increase motivation by

providing a plausible incentive to use the target language. For

many children between four and twelve years old, especially the

youngest, language learning will not be the key motivation factor.

Games can provide this stimulus.

- The game context makes the foreign language immediately useful

to the children. It brings the target language to life. The games

make the reason for speaking possible even to unenthusiastic


- Through playing games, students can learn English while children

learn their mother tongue without being aware they are studying;

thus without stress, they can learn a lot.

- Even shy students can participate positively.

Based on the statements above, it is known that using game in teaching

vocabulary can give the differences to the lesson that is being taught in the classroom

to the students. The games also can give motivation the students in learning English
vocabulary. The game context makes the foreign language immediately useful to the

children. They can practice the language they find through the games in their daily

life interaction.

2.7 Improving Students’ Vocabulary through Matching Words And Pictures

There are many ways in teaching English vocabulary. One of them is by

using matching words and pictures. Matching words and pictures is one of the aids in

teaching English vocabulary. Its function is to make students easy to study the words

and their meaning. Most of students claim that a game they play is interesting if they

comprehend it. They always complain when the English teacher ask them to

memorize the words because they spend much time to accomplish it.

Most of them always spend the time on looking up of the meaning of the

words in dictionary. As a result, it makes them bored. There are many sachems that

tell about how to learn this vocabulary. Actually, if they want to learn the

vocabulary, in many times, this problem will be overcome in learning. We have to be

diligent to open dictionary if we find the words which is not familiar to us.

We can write the vocabulary into our notebook, and then it can be

memorized. As a result, we will be able to group what we read without spending

many times working up the words in dictionary. However it is a fact of life that every

person who wants to learn a language, the dictionaries are nice places to visit, but no

one to live there particularly for foreign language students. We can say that

dictionaries are vital things from which we can get great number of words.

We believe that the role of vocabulary is to comprehend the text and the

pleasurable reading depends on one having an automatically vocabulary upon any


reading situation. When someone wants to read the text, he/she should have a large

number of vocabularies and it must be used automatically because it will support

him/her group a text well. Furthermore, the ability of recognizing the vocabulary is

the important thing in reading.

Moreover Jeremy (2000: 35) verified that it is obvious that the ability to

understand the target language depends on one’s knowledge of vocabulary.

According to him, if someone has knowledge of vocabulary, he/she will be able to

learn about the language easily. And all concepts or ideas those are written in the

language can be understood well.

Improving students’ vocabulary through matching words and pictures give a

lot of advantages to the students. It can motivate the students in learning English

vocabulary. The teacher can divide students into several groups. Then the teacher

distributes the picture cards to the students. Word cards are also distributed to the

students. Then they have to match the picture and the words that have been given.

Hadfield (2008:8) stated that another technique that can be used by the

teacher in this game is pairwork matching game. In playing this game, firstly the

teacher could divide the class into pair. Then secondly, the teacher gives each pair a

set of picture cards and a set of word cards. The students should use the picture cards

first. They have to spread cards out, picture-side up, so that they can see all of them.

Afterwards, they should then take turns to pick a card up and name the

picture. They can check their answer by looking on the back. If they are right, they

can keep the cards, if not, they must put it back. The object of this part of the game is

to collect cards by naming the pictures correctly. The player who has collected most
cards at the end is the winner.

As a conclusion, it is known that the game context makes the foreign

language immediately useful to the children. It brings the target language to life. The

games make the reason for speaking possible even to unenthusiastic children.

Finally, the students need more vocabulary in their series but it would not be easy for

them to increase their vocabulary. Matching words and pictures should be one of

alternative ways to improve elementary students’ vocabulary acquisition.

2.8 The Advantages of Matching Words and Pictures Games

Matching words and pictures game can make the classroom a lively place

through the use of attractive wall displays, displays of students’ work, etc (Hansen,

1994:126). Language classroom is noisy with the language (English) is good because

it will make the classroom more alive in English (practice). Matching words and

pictures game also can motivate students to want to learn English by using

interesting and enjoyable learning activities. E.g., project work, games, drama. It

means learning by playing.

This game also create warm and happy atmosphere where teacher and pupil

enjoy working together. Teacher arranges good atmosphere in classroom and make

the students interested (Lewis, 1999). He added that it can help students to develop

personal reasons for learning English vocabulary. For example by encouraging out-of

-school class activities, e.g. pen friends, project, reading story books.

Other advantages of matching words and pictures are stated by Slattery and

Willis (2001:68). According to them, this game is a welcome break from the usual

routine of the language class. Some advantages of this game are as follows:

a. The game is motivating and challenging.

b. Learning a language requires a great deal of effort, so this game will be a

media in teaching English vocabulary to the students.

c. The game helps students to make and sustain the effort of learning English


d. The game provides language practice in the various skills: speaking, writing,

listening and reading.

e. It encourages students to interact and communicate.

f. It also creates a meaningful context for language use.

g. This kind of game is categorized as vocabulary games. Vocabulary games

bring real world context into the classroom, and increase students’ use of

English in a flexible, meaningful and communicative way.

h. The game also involves friendly competition and keeps students interested in

learning the language.

i. Games can help them (children) learn and hang on to new words more easily.

The other opinion about the advantages of the matching words and pictures

game as educational media for teaching vocabulary to the children quoted by Nation

(2006:68) in the following:

1. The matching word and pictures games make learning fun so your class and

children are willing participants and not just there because they have to be,

2. Playing this game has a purpose to it, an outcome, and in order to play

students have to say things – they have a reason to communicate rather than

just repeat things back mindlessly. Therefore, they want to know and learn

3. Students get to use the language all the time during the games,

4. The game involves a lot of repetition, and repetition is the mother of skill, it

can be boring, but thanks to this game, it is fun.

5. How do you expect your class or children to remember vocabulary if they

never use it? Repetition is the mother of skill.

6. The game lends themselves perfectly to quick bursts of revision. By using the

games, the teacher can revise a massive amount of vocabulary and grammar

in a few minutes.

7. The philosophy of encouragement incorporated into this game allows all

students, including the less good ones, to gain in confidence. Usually this

doesn't just mean they get better at a subject, but in all subjects. This makes

everybody, including teacher, more motivated and optimistic, and the teacher

can really make a difference by helping the students have more self-esteem so

they succeed in all areas of life.

8. This game is often used as short warm-up activities or when there is some

time left at the end of a lesson.

Derived from the quotation above, it is known that using game in teaching

English vocabulary can give the differences to the lesson that is being taught in the

classroom to the students. The games also can encourage the students in learning

English vocabulary. The game context makes the foreign language immediately

useful to the students. They can practice the language they find through the games in

their conversation.