English vocabulary in the secondary classroom
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English vocabulary in the secondary classroom. Arthur McNeill The Chinese University of Hong Kong. How can ‘vocabulary skills’ lead to vocabulary growth?. A new English vocabulary curriculum for HK schools. EDB/CUHK collaborative project. Growing interest in students’ vocabulary.

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English vocabulary in the secondary classroom

English vocabulary in the secondary classroom

Arthur McNeill

The Chinese University of Hong Kong


How can vocabulary skills lead to vocabulary growth

How can ‘vocabulary skills’ lead to vocabulary growth?


A new english vocabulary curriculum for hk schools

A new English vocabulary curriculum for HK schools

EDB/CUHK

collaborative project


Growing interest in students vocabulary

Growing interest in students’ vocabulary

  • Recent evidence of inadequate vocabulary of HK university entrants.

  • Most 2004 entrants to CUHK knew between 2000 and 3000 English words only.

  • International research suggests that students need at least 5000 words to cope with university study in English.


Strong support for setting and raising lexical targets

Strong support for setting (and raising) lexical targets

  • New EDB collaborative project with CUHK to develop a vocabulary syllabus for schools.

  • To strengthen the vocabulary components of the NSS curriculum.

  • Proposed vocabulary targets set for each KS.


Vocabulary now occupies a more important position in assessment

Vocabulary now occupies a more important position in assessment

  • Latest IELTS performance band descriptors for Writing and Speaking have identified Vocabulary as one of the four ‘strands’.

  • Will standards-related assessment in HK follow the same direction?


How is english vocabulary acquired during secondary education

How is English vocabulary acquired during secondary education?

  • Native English speaking students acquire about 3000 words per year at secondary school.

  • Hong Kong secondary pupils acquire about 300 words per year.


English vocabulary development

English vocabulary development


Curriculum guides stress the importance of vocabulary

Curriculum guides stress the importance of vocabulary

  • Synonyms

  • Antonyms

  • Collocation

  • Register

  • Idiom

  • Formulaic language

  • ALL recommended in official curriculum guidelines


Quality yes quantity no

Quality, YES. Quantity, NO.

  • Curriculum guidelines stop short of identifying lexical targets.

  • Main concerns about inadequate vocabulary come from the tertiary sector.

  • Students enter university with around 3000 English words, which is inadequate for successful study.


Proposed vocabulary targets

Proposed Vocabulary Targets


Proposed vocabulary targets1

Proposed Vocabulary Targets


Vocabulary as output

Vocabulary as Output

Lexical Richness


What is lexical richness

What is lexical richness?

  • Quality of vocabulary content of learner output

  • Difficult to define

  • Different approaches to defining LR are provoking heated debate among scholars (see references on handout)


Does lexical richness matter

Does lexical richness matter?

  • Judges are influenced by lexical content, even when they are not asked to focus on vocabulary.

  • High correlations between lexical richness and other measures of second language proficiency.


Issues in lr debate

Issues in LR debate

  • Assumptions about “lexical coverage”

  • The most frequent 2000 words of English account for about 80% of most texts, so low L2 vocabulary targets were set for learners


Vocabulary size and text coverage

Vocabulary size and text coverage


Impact of first 2000 words plus awl 570 academic words

Impact of first 2000 words plus AWL (570 ‘academic’ words)


Indicators of lexical richness

Indicators of lexical richness

  • amount of “low frequency” words in the text

  • type/token ratio

  • range of vocabulary

  • command of different semantic fields


What vocabulary skills are involved

What vocabulary skills are involved?

  • avoiding repetition of words (e.g. by lexical and pronominal substitution)

  • knowing how to combine words (e.g. collocation; compounding)


Features of hong kong student writing

Features of Hong Kong student writing

  • Repetition of key words (need for lexical substitution

  • The under-use of superordination

  • The need for lexical enrichment (adjectives and adverbs)


What vocabulary skills help learners with lexical richness

What vocabulary skills help learners with lexical richness?

  • Synonymy

  • Giving definitions

  • Knowing the name of the superordinate

  • Knowing the name of the member (e.g. “item”, “piece”, “article”, etc.)

  • Using metaphor (e.g. using known words in a metaphorical sense)


Text written by a local 16 year old under exam conditions

Text written by a local 16-year old under exam conditions

Many students strive for academic exellency, but what is the motivation behind their hardwork? In this essay, I am going to explore the different aspects of learning, and analyse the pros and cons of each motivating factor.

The hunger for knowledge and wisdom can motivate students to learn. They hope to widen their horizons through reading, watching educational programs, travelling and other ways. To them, the world is a fascinating place, full of wonders and mysteries to unravel. Their love of learning motivates them to seek knowledge in all areas, from science and mathematics to arts.


Teaching implications

Teaching implications

  • Encourage self-management of vocabulary learning by students

  • Websites which offer frequency-based words in mini-contexts can provide some short-cuts to incidental (random) vocabulary growth.

  • Process writing can develop awareness of lexical richness.


Useful websites

Useful websites

  • Tom Cobb (University of Quebec at Montreal):

    www.lextutor.ca

  • Paul Nation (University of Wellington):

    www.vuw.ac.nz/lals/staff/paul-nation/nation.aspx

  • Some articles, references, wordlists:

    www.cuhk.edu.hk/eltu/ENG5600.arthurp.htm


A typical english teacher s vocabulary dilemma

A typical English teacher’s vocabulary dilemma:

Quality v. Size


Pre requisites for a vocabulary building

Pre-requisites for a vocabulary building


Topic strand paradigmatic

Topic Strand (paradigmatic)

  • Deliberate organization of words into hierarchies.

  • Develops associative networks.

  • Encourages efficient vocabulary learning.


Teach the names of the superordinates

Teach the names of the superordinates


What is the missing word

What is the missing word?


Encourage the development of associations

Encourage the development of associations

  • Paradigms are fixed (but ‘open’)

  • Other associations are more personal (e.g. accoustic, visual, ‘linkword’)


Assumptions about paradigmatic arrangement

Assumptions about paradigmatic arrangement

  • Allows for efficient vocabulary growth because the system is ‘open’ and allows for additions

  • Associated with Receptive vocabulary knowledge in particular

  • Retrieval of words operates through the “cohort” principle


Syntagmatic arrangement

Syntagmatic arrangement

Topic: transport

Car – drive – fast – wet – road

Brakes – skid – collide - accident


Assumptions about syntagmatic arrangement

Assumptions about syntagmatic arrangement

  • Associated with Productive vocabulary because it is based on the words which tend to occur together in sentences.

  • The associations are based on collocations rather than semantic categories


Word associations in l1 and l2

Word Associations in L1 and L2

  • Same or different?


Associates with king

QUEEN 44 0.45

KONG 18 0.19

CROWN 4 0.04

PIN 3 0.03

CHARLES 2 0.02

COLE 2 0.02

GEORGE 2 0.02

MAKER 2 0.02

THRONE 2 0.02

BEE 1 0.01

CARD 1 0.01

CARDS 1 0.01

CASTLE 1 0.01

CHAIR 1 0.01

CHESS 1 0.01

CHRIST 1 0.01

COUNTRY 1 0.01

CROSS 1 0.01

DAY 1 0.01

JUDGE 1 0.01

LOUIS 1 0.01

ME 1 0.01

MONARCHY 1 0.01

ORDER 1 0.01

ROAD 1 0.01

SIZE 1 0.01

SNOW 1 0.01

Associates with “king”


Associations with boy

GIRL 78 0.78

CHILD 2 0.02

FRIEND 2 0.02

MAN 2 0.02

SCOUT 2 0.02

YOUTH 2 0.02

BARRY 1 0.01

BOYFRIEND 1 0.01

CAP 1 0.01

HEN 1 0.01

HOOD 1 0.01

MALE 1 0.01

RAMBLING 1 0.01

SCHOOL 1 0.01

SHIP 1 0.01

SON 1 0.01

VIGOUR 1 0.01

YOUNG 1 0.01

Associations with “boy”


Associations with car

WHEEL 9 0.09

DRIVER 5 0.05

BUS 4 0.04

DRIVE 4 0.04

LORRY 4 0.04

MORRIS 4 0.04

PARK 4 0.04

PETROL 3 0.03

RED 3 0.03

TRAFFIC 3 0.03

VEHICLE 3 0.03

AUSTIN 2 0.02

AUTO 2 0.02

BIKE 2 0.02

CRASH 2 0.02

ENGINE 2 0.02

MOTOR 2 0.02

RIDE 2 0.02

TRIP 2 0.02

VAN 2 0.02

WASH 2 0.02

ANTIQUE 1 0.01

BICYCLE 1 0.01

BLUE 1 0.01

Associations with “car”


Associations with table

CHAIR 36 0.36

CLOTH 13 0.13

TOP 9 0.09

TENNIS 5 0.05

MAT 4 0.04

BOOK 3 0.03

FOOD 3 0.03

FLAT 2 0.02

LAMP 2 0.02

SALT 2 0.02

BASE 1 0.01

BROWN 1 0.01

CHAIRS 1 0.01

DINNER 1 0.01

EAT 1 0.01

EATING 1 0.01

FAT 1 0.01

KNIFE 1 0.01

Associations with “table”


Associations for

FOOD 15 0.16

RESTAURANT 7 0.07

MEAL 6 0.06

YELLOW 6 0.06

CHINK 4 0.04

EYES 4 0.04

LAUNDRY 4 0.04

MAO 4 0.04

RED 3 0.03

WHITE 3 0.03

CHEQUERS 2 0.02

CHOPSTICKS 2 0.02

MAN 2 0.02

ORIENTAL 2 0.02

PEOPLE 2 0.02

CHINA 1 0.01

CHINKS 1 0.01

CHOP-SUEY 1 0.01

CHOPS 1 0.01

CHOW 1 0.01

COMMIE 1 0.01

COMMUNIST 1 0.01

CURRY 1 0.01

JUNK 1 0.01

LANGUAGE 1 0.01

LANTERN 1 0.01

Associations for “?”


Patterns of l1 and l2 word association

Patterns of L1 and L2 word association

  • In L1, HF words tend to have close and stable associations, which suggests that large vocabularies are stored in well organised networks.

  • In L2, words tend to be less systematically organised, at least at lower levels of L2 proficiency


Collocation strand syntagmatic

Collocation Strand (syntagmatic)

  • Word combinations are the key to productive use of English.

  • Focus on multi-word units.

  • Collocations:

    “Go shopping” “have a shower” “play football”

  • Multi-word units:

    “See you later” “Have a good trip!”


The generic textbook sentence

The “generic” textbook sentence

“In our town there is a library, a hospital, a swimming pool, a health centre, a cinema, a police station, a railway station and a bus station.”

GOOD VOCABULARY, BUT HOW ARE LEARNERS SUPPOSED TO USE THESE WORDS?


Lexical substitution piano

Lexical substitution: “ piano”

“I had learnt piano for five years. My mother encouraged me to take piano examinations until I was ten. Sometimes I was tired of touching the piano… After a bad experience, I never learned piano any more. I do not dare to play the piano even now.”


Too many pianos

Too many pianos?

“I had learnt piano for five years. My mother encouraged me to take _____examinations until I was ten. Sometimes I was tired of touching the _____… After a bad experience, I never learned _____ any more. I do not dare to play the _____ even now.”


Too many pianos1

Too many pianos?

“I had learnt piano for five years. My mother encouraged me to take Grade 3 examinations until I was ten. Sometimes I was tired of touching the keyboard… After a bad experience, I never learned the instrument any more. I do not dare to play the horriblething even now.”


Lexical expansion of a first draft

Lexical expansion of a first draft

“Every Sunday we visit the (adj.) home of my (adj.) grandparents. They live in an (adj.) apartment in a (adj.) housing estate in Shatin. My grandmother (adv.) cooks lunch. After lunch we walk (adv.) in the park.”


Developing a vocabulary curriculum for hk

Developing a vocabulary curriculum for HK

Step 1: Wordlists


Words and families

Words and Families

DRAW:

DRAWING

DRAWN

DRAWS

DREW

How exactly shall we count the target items?


Words and families1

Words and Families

DOUBT:

DOUBTED

DOUBTFUL

DOUBTING

DOUBTLESS

UNDOUBTEDLY

DOUBTS


Words and families2

Words and Families

DOCTOR:

DOCTORS

DR.


Hk english vocabulary curriculum sources

HK English Vocabulary Curriculum: Sources


Trialling of the draft materials

Trialling of the draft materials


Products of the three sources

Products of the three sources

TEXTBOOKS →PARALLEL CORPORA

FREQUENCYEDITED TO PROVIDE

WORD LISTS →TARGET LIST

TOPICS ANDFOR COMPARING

FUNCTIONS →AMENDING TARGET

LIST


Guiding principles

Guiding Principles

  • Frequency

  • Family (system of word formation)

  • Relevance to learners (now and later)

  • Usefulness

  • Combinability (collocations)

  • Word class distribution

  • Hyperordinates


Established wordlists

Established wordlists

  • The General Service List (West 1953)

  • The Teachers’ Word Book of 30,000 Words (Thorndike & Lorge 1944)

  • The American Heritage Word Frequency Book (Carol, Davies & Richman 1971)

  • Academic Wordlist (Coxhead 2000)


Established corpora

Established Corpora

  • The Brown (Francis and Kucera 1982)

  • LOB

  • COBUILD

  • The Bank of English

  • BBC corpus

  • CANCODE

  • British National Corpus (BNC)


Vocabulary size and coverage in teenage novels

Vocabulary size and coverage in teenage novels


Academic word list in texts

Academic Word List in Texts


English vocabulary in the secondary classroom

What is the BNC?

The British National Corpus (BNC) is a 100 million word collection of samples of written and spoken language from a wide range of sources, designed to represent a wide cross-section of British English from the latter part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.


Bnc 90 written text

BNC (90% Written Text)

The written part of the BNC (90%) includes, for example, extracts from regional and national newspapers, specialist periodicals and journals for all ages and interests, academic books and popular fiction, published and unpublished letters and memoranda, school and university essays, among many other kinds of text.


Bnc 10 spoken text

BNC (10% Spoken Text)

The spoken part (10%) includes a large amount of unscripted informal conversation, recorded by volunteers selected from different age, region and social classes in a demographically balanced way, together with spoken language collected in all kinds of different contexts, ranging from formal business or government meetings to radio shows and phone-ins.


English vocabulary in the secondary classroom

What sort of corpus is the BNC?

Monolingual: It deals with modern British English, not other languages used in Britain. However non-British English and foreign language words do occur in the corpus.

Synchronic: It covers British English of the late twentieth century, rather than the historical development which produced it.

General: It includes many different styles and varieties, and is not limited to any particular subject field, genre or register. In particular, it contains examples of both spoken and written language.

Sample: For written sources, samples of 45,000 words are taken from various parts of single-author texts. Shorter texts up to a maximum of 45,000 words, or multi-author texts such as magazines and newspapers, are included in full. Sampling allows for a wider coverage of texts within the 100 million limit, and avoids over-representing idiosyncratic texts.


Introduction to the decision making task

Introduction to theDecision-Making Task


English vocabulary in the secondary classroom

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