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How to learn

vocabulary effectively?

Difficulties in vocabulary learning


There are too many words to learn. I dont know how
to cope with them.
The words are like eels ( ). They are too slippery
( ) to be kept in our memory.
I know its meaning if I can see the word, but I feel
puzzled when I hear the word.
When I come across new words, I dont know how to
deal with it. Should I consult a dictionary or guess it,
or ignore it?

Questions for discussion


What is a realistic goal in our vocabulary
learning?
How do we achieve our goal in vocabulary
learning?
How do we deal with new words in reading?
How can we avoid forgetting what we have
learned?
How can we know our vocabulary size?

Question One
What is a realistic goal in
our vocabulary learning?

An American university student


about 20,000 words.
(Receptive vocabulary:

Different types of vocabulary


Receptive vocabulary

Listening vocabulary

Reading vocabulary

Productive vocabulary

Speaking vocabulary

Writing vocabulary

They overlap considerably and they are used in


slightly different ways.

Four types of vocabulary


Reading vocabulary
contain common words but many more big
words
recognize them by their context
do not use all of them in speaking and writing

Listening vocabulary
contain many common words
contain some technical words
understand them when you hear
do not use all of them in speaking and writing

Four types of vocabulary


Writing vocabulary
contain simple and common words
Technical words

Speaking vocabulary
can be simple or sophisticated depending on
the audience and the subject to be talked
about

A flexible vocabulary

What is a realistic goal for us?


Dont need a BIG vocabulary
Need the right vocabulary.
Speak and writing powerfully by
using small words effectively
Einstein used very simple language
to express the most complex ideas

Frequency
3,000 words most frequently used words
4,000 words

quite frequently used words

13000 words

less frequently used words

Two-stage goal
Stage One
3000 words
Reading, listening, writing & speaking
Stage Two:
4000 words
Reading and listening

Stage One: 3000 words


Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
Cover 90% of the text
Read simplified novels and talk about daily life
One new word in every 10 in reading
(Nation, 2001: 17)

Stage Two: 4000 words more


Cover about 95% of the text
(3000+4000)
Read original novels, magazines,
academic books
One new word in 15 words

Question Two
How can we achieve the
two- stage goal of our
vocabulary learning?

Achieving our two-stage goal


by different ways
Stage One: 3000 words
Learning each of them carefully, patiently
and effectively

Stage Two: 4000 words more


finding short cuts to learn them

Stage-one goal
Learning 3000 words carefully, patiently
and effectively
What should be learned?
How should these 3,000 words be
learned?

What should be learned?


Form ( )
Meaning ( ): senses (

Use ( )

Form
Spoken form
What does the words sound like? (listening)
How is the word pronounced? (speaking)
Written form
What does the word look like? (reading)
How is the word written and spelled? (writing)
Word parts
What parts are recognizable in this word?
What word parts are needed to express the meaning?

Meaning
Form and meaning
What meaning does this word form signal?

Associations
What other words does this make us think of?

Use
Grammatical functions
In what pattern does the word occur?

Collocations
What words or types of words occur with this
one?

Constraints on use (Register, frequency)


Where, when, and how often would we expect to
meet this word?

You can tell the meaning of the word


when you read it in a text.
You can understand the meaning of the
word when you hear it.
You can write the word correctly.
You can use the word in speaking.

experience
n (U). n(C)
v.

experience
ex: out of
perience: tested

Longman dictionary of CE
Experience n
1. Knowledge /skill [U]
[+of/in/with]
previous experience had/gain/get experience
practical experience
first-hand experience
2. Knowledge of life [U]
3. Something that happens [C]

Learning a foreign language was


one of the most difficult yet most
rewarding experiences of my life.
Although at times, learning a
foreign language was frustrating, it
was worth the effort.

Difficult experiences of my life


Rewarding experiences of my life

A difficult experience
rewarding/frustrating /valuable/good/
bitter/pleasant
Difficult experiences of my life
That experience was
rewarding/frustrating/painful/valuable
work experience/life experience/business
experience
Teaching experience
Journalistic experience

exercise n.
physical exercise
exercise-book
exercise v.
use sth
Exercise their right to do sth
Exercise some control over
(imagination, restraint, power, patience,
perseverance

How should these 3000


words be learned?
Strategies for planning vocabulary
learning
Strategies for learning vocabulary

Planning vocabulary learning


The strategies in this category
involve deciding on where to focus
attention, how to focus the
attention, and how often to give
attention to the form
Choosing words
Choosing aspects of word knowledge
to focus on
Choosing strategies

Choosing words
Reasons
Impossible to learn all the English words
Too many new words to learn in a text

Steps helping you decide if a word is worth


learning
Important or not? If not, guess it or
ignore it.
If important, check in a dictionary to find
out whether it is common.
If common, learn it. If not, guess it from
the context or ignore it.

Choosing aspects of word


knowledge to focus on
Reasons
Too many aspects of word knowledge to learn
Cannot learn all the aspects of knowledge of one
word at one time

Steps helping you decide which aspects of


word knowledge to focus on
Form: recognition first, production second
Meaning: learn one by one if there are several
senses
Use: learn patterns and collocations one by one

Choosing strategies
Reasons
Different learning styles
Different proficiency levels

Three learning phases


Memorizing
Using
Recycling

Vocabulary learning strategies


Memorizing
Using
Recycling

Memorizing
Say the words you are learning
Record the words/phrases you are learning
on tape and play them to yourself whenever
you have time
Write the words you are learning on pieces of
paper or stick-it notes and put them round
your room.
Put the words into sentences.
Use your knowledge of the parts of words.

Using
Create sentences of your own.
Write a story that includes all the words
you have learned.
Learn words for a certain topic or
situation, and then write about the topic
using vocabulary learned or have a
discussion or conversation with a
partner.

Recycling
Follow a news story that is printed or
broadcast every day for several weeks (e.g.
war between Israel and Palestine)
Focus on one type of news story (e.g.
crime, disasters, sports, weather)
Watch movies or read books on particular
topics (e.g. travel, business)
Read several books by the same author

Stage-two goal
Finding short cuts to cope with
the 4000 more words

Stage-two vocabulary learning


Learning strategies for dealing with
these words since the words
themselves do not deserve learning
time

Why do the stage-two words


not deserve learning time?
The stage-two words are low-frequency words
and there are too many low-frequency words.
Learners will meet many of these words only
once or twice.
Any effort spent learning them will not be
repaid by meeting them on other occasions.
It is far better to spend time on strategies that
you can use to deal with these words than to
spend time on individual words.

Importance of vocabulary
strategies
Most vocabulary strategies
applicable to a wide range of
vocabulary and useful at all stages of
vocabulary learning.

Using prefixes, roots and


suffixes
One half of general words and two thirds of all
academic, technical, and low-frequency words
are derived from Latin, French (through Latin),
or Greek. This indicates the importance of
learning the meanings of roots and affixes
(Nation, 1990: 19).

Word analysis
Prefix( ), root( ), suffix( )
place (root)
replace (prefix+root)
replacement (prefix+root+suffix)

unwisely
wise (root)
unwise(prefix+root)
unwisely(prefix+root+suffix)

Word analysis
It is the process of separating a word into
its parts and then using the meanings of
those parts to figure out the meaning of
the original word.
Retrospect
Retro: back
spect: look

Effective in guessing the meaning of


words but not always correct
The sum of the meaning of their parts =
the meaning of the word

inspect

inspector

inspection

speculate

speculator

speculation

speculartive

speculator

spectacular

spectacle

Question Three
How do we deal with new
words in reading?

Options for dealing with new


words

Ignore it
Guess it from the context
Consult a dictionary
Guess it first and then consult a dictionary
Look for clues to meaning in the word
itself
Ask the teacher or a friend for assistance

Question Four
How can we avoid forgetting what we
have learned?

Suggestions
Learn words repeatedly, with increasing
intervals between learning sessions.
Have the words you want to learn with you
whenever you go.
Set aside a regular time for vocabulary
learning
Spend more time on the words you find
difficult.

Suggestion One
Research in psychology shows that we do not
forget things gradually. (See the graph)
Most of our forgetting occurs within 20 minutes
after we have first learned something.
More is forgotten with one hour.
Still more within 8 hours.
After 8 hours, the rate of forgetting stays
surprisingly steady.

Suggestion Two
Make full use of dead time
Vocabulary notebook
An electronic dictionary

Suggestion Three
Regular revision
Daily revision (10 minutes a day)
Weekly revision (One hour a week)
Monthly revision (One hour a month)

Suggestion Four
Spend more time on the words you find
difficult
Go down a list from the first to the last, trying to
memorize each one. Two problems:
The words at the top of the list tend to be remembered
better than the words further down.
Time is wasted on the words that have been learned.

daily
rewarding
frustrating
junior
positive
senior
opportunity
online
technology
participate
virtual

weekly

Richard Pemberton, 2000, version 2

monthly

daily
rewarding
frustrating

weekly

junior
positive
senior
opportunity
online
technology
participate
virtual

monthly

daily

weekly

monthly
rewarding
frustrating
junior
positive
senior

opportunity
online
technology
participate
virtual

Do you want to know your


productive vocabulary size?

Test A/ 2000 level


1. It is the de( )that counts, not the thought.
2. Plants receive water from the soil through
their ro( ).
3. The nu( )was helping the doctor in the operating
room.
4. Since he is unskilled, he earns low wa( ).
5. This year long sk( ) are fashionable again.
6. Laws are based on the principle of jus( )
7. He is walking on the ti( ) of his toes.
8. The mechanic had to replace the mo( ) of the car.
9. There is a co( ) of the original report in the file.

10. They had to cl( ) a steep mountain to reach the


cabin.
11. The doctor ex( ) the patient thoroughly.
12. The house was su( ) by a big garden.
13. The railway con( ) London with its suburbs.
14. She wan(
) aimlessly in the streets.
15. The organisers li( ) the number of participants
to fifty.
16. This work is not up to your usu( ) standard.
17. They sat down to eat even though they were not hu
( ).
18. You must have been very br( ) to participate in
such a dangerous operation.

Test A/ 3000 level


1. He has a successful car( ) as a lawyer.
2. The thieves threw ac( ) in his face and made him
blind.
3. To improve the country's economy, the
government decided on economic ref( ).
4. She wore a beautiful green go( ) to the ball.
5. The government tried to protect the country's
industry by reducing the imp( ) of cheap goods.
6. The children's games were amusing at first, but
finally got on the parents' ner( ).
7. The lawyer gave some wise coun( ) to his client.
8. Many people in England mow the la( ) of their
houses on Sunday morning.
9. The farmer sells the eggs that his he( ) lays.

10. Sudden noises at night sca( ) me a lot.


11. France was proc( ) a republic in the 18th
century.
12. Many people are inj( ) in road accidents every
year.
13. Suddenly he was thru( ) into the dark room.
14. He perc( ) a light at the end of the tunnel.
15. Children are not independent. They are att( )
to their parents.
16. She showed off her sle( ) figure in a long
narrow dress.
17. She has been changing partners often because
she cannot have a sta( ) relationship with one
person.
18. You must wear a bathing suit on a public beach.
You're not allowed to bath na( ).

Do you want to know the depth


of your vocabulary knowledge?

WORD ASSOCIATES
TEST
This is a test of how well you know the
meaning of adjectives that are commonly
used in English.
Each item looks like this:

sudden
beautiful
surprising

quick
thirsty

change doctor
noise
school

The words here on the left side may help to


explain the meaning of "sudden".
The words here on the right side are nouns
that may come after "sudden" in a phrase or
a sentence.
There are eight words in the box, but only
four of them are correct. You have to choose
which are the four correct words.

"Sudden" means "happening quickly and


unexpectedly", so the correct answers on the left side
are "quick" and "surprising".
We do not normally say "a sudden doctor" or "a
sudden school", but we often say "a sudden change"
and "a sudden noise", so "change" and "noise" are
the correct answers on this side.
e:
Note: In this example, there are two correct
answers on the left and two on the right, but in some
items there will be either one on the left and three on
the right or three on the left and one on the right.

1. beautiful
enjoyable education
expensive facemusic
free
weather
loud
2. bright
clever
famous
happy
shining

colour
hand
poem
taste

3. correct
easyfree answer
righttrue dream
enemy
time
4. hard
difficult gas
lowsolid hospital
unkind
moon
work

5. human
coldgreen beings
person bodylife
snowy
season
6. calm
open
quiet
smooth
tired

cloth
day
light
person

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