THE LEXICAL APPROACH (Languageteaching) LEXIS/LEXICON • Referstothebeliefthatbuilding blocks of languagelearning and communication has nothingto do with: • Grammar • Functions • Notions
Nature of the lexis Nature of the lexis There is a distinction between vocabulary, traditionally thought to be constituted of single items, and lexis, which includes not only the single words but also the word combinations that we store in our mental lexicons.
The lexical approach Vs Theory of language and learning. • Chomsky´sTheory of languageemphasizedthecapacity of speakerstocreate and interpretsentencesthat are unique and haveneverbeenproduced. • The lexical viewholdsthatonly a minorityof spokensentences are entirely novel creations and thatmultiwordunitsfunctioning as “chunks”. (Pawly and Syder 1983)
Michel Lewis statesthat : Instead of words, we consciously try to think of collocations, and to present these in expressions. Rather than trying to break things into ever smaller pieces, there is a conscious effort to see things in larger, more holistic, ways” (1997a, p. 204).
Lewis and othershavecoinedtheterm Lexical ApproachTocharacterizetheproposalsfor a Lexis-basedapproachtolanguageteaching.NattingerPawly and SnyderKrashens LewisBahns
Lexical approach advocates argue that language consists of meaningful chunks that, when combined, produce continuous coherent text.. Michael Lewis present this taxonomy of Lexical items: • words (book, pen) • polywords (by the way, upside down) • collocations, or word partnerships ( community service, absolutely convinced) • institutionalized utterances (I’ll get it; We’ll see;That’ll do; If I were you . . .; Would you like a cup of coffee?) • sentence frames and heads ( That is not as . . . as you think; The fact/suggestion/problem/danger was . . .) and even text frames ( In this paper we explore . . .; Firstly . . .; Secondly . . .; Finally . . .) Taxonomy of Lexical Items (Lewis)
Collocation:referstothe regular occurencetogether of words. Collocations of VerbswithNouns my hairyourbed Do thelaundryMake a promise yourhomework a meal
CollocationReferstothe regular occurencetogether of words. Do Make My Hair Thelaundry Yourbest Yourbed A promise Thecoffe
LEXICAL UNITS Binomios Clean and tidy / Back tofront Trinomials Cool, calm and collected. Idioms Deaddrunk, / Torun up a bill Similes As old as thehills. Connectives Finally, Toconclude. ConversationalGambits GuessWhat!!
Even if the approach doesn’t present a clear theory of learning there are some hints about how the teaching looks like within the approach. Emphasis is on successful communication not grammatical mastery. Noticing and recording language patterns and collocations. Grammar is acquired by a process of observation. Grammar exploration instead of grammar explanation. Repetition and recycling of activities. Guessing the meaning of vocabulary items from context. The language activities consistent with a lexical approach must be directed toward naturally occurring language and toward raising learners’ awareness of the lexical nature of language. Working with dictionaries and other reference tools.
Teacher Roles • Teachertalkis a majorsource of learner input in demonstratinghow lexical phrases are usedfordifferentfunctionalpurposes. • Teacherneedstounderstand and manage a clasroommethodologybasedonstagescomposed of task. • Teachercreatestheenvironment in whichlearners can operateeffectively and thenhelpinglearnermanagetheirownlearning.
Role of learners • Ssdistinguish lexical phrases as specific social interaction. • Their produce dialogues • Havetomemorizespecialyyounglearners.
Procedure • Typicallyinvolvethe use of activitiesthatdrawstudents´ attentionto lexical collocations and seektoenhacetheirretention and use of collocations. • Activitiesthatenhablelearnerstodiscovercollocationsthemselves, both in classroom and outsideclassroom.
Conclusions The Lexical Aproach is not really a revolution but an evolution as it tries to develop principles already known by communicative language teachers. The aim of ELT is still the teaching of communicative abilities by focusing on successful language rather than accurate language. The originality of the approach lies in its claims about the nature of language. The distinction between grammar and vocabulary has become less valid and a more realistic view about language, based on the supremacy of lexis over grammar is advocated. The challenge that the approach is facing is how to convince teachers to change their mindset in favor of this new vision about language Taken from: Lewis, M. (1993). The lexical approach: The state of ELT and the way forward. Hove, England: Language Teaching Publications.