Strengthening vocabulary
Thread poster: lingomania
lingomania
Local time: 11:43
Italian to English
Oct 4, 2007

To whoever may be interested in finding a good way of teaching new English words to students, I have found that the following "method" works very well:
MAKE THE STUDENTS READ A MONOLINGUAL DICTIONARY...YES. ACTUALLY read a dictionary from page one letter A right on to the last page, letter Z. From 5 to 10 pages a day will do the trick. One of the biggest problems with teaching new English words is not so much the meaning of the words themselves, but how to REMEMBER those meanings. How many English teachers here recall students saying "I don't remember the words"...or "I don't know many words in English". Well, now we have a new "tool" to work with. Why a MONOlingual dictionary? Because students NECESSARILY have to avoid mental translations of English words to another language and vice versa in order to USE those words in sentences. They have to learn the new words within the context of the sentence and where else can they find those words if not in a GOOD dictionary that offers many examples on the use of the word(s) concerned??!
Comments welcome of course.
Robert.

[Edited at 2007-10-04 15:13]

[Edited at 2007-10-04 16:23]


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Ms.Straus  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 02:43
Member (2007)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
It works! Oct 4, 2007

Agree! It really helps with the vocabulary. And you also learn how to put something in other words (rephrase). I learned a lot this way.

If you can make your students see the benefits of reading a glossary or monolingual dictionary, they should progress quickly. Learner's dictionaries are the best for this purpose.


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lingomania
Local time: 11:43
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Oct 4, 2007

I'm glad you agree Eva. I spent too much time trying to figure out the best and simplest way of conveying vocab to students.

Rob


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Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 02:43
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I don't agree Oct 4, 2007

Using a monolingual dictionary is really useful, but only for advanced students, and those who study the language for the language itself and not as a means of communication.

Reading a dictionary from A to Z is pointless. It makes more sense to study a group of words, i.e. ones that belong to the same "family" of words, derived from the same root, having a similar ending, etc.

A much better and more powerful approach is learning vocabulary by concepts. 20 sea creatures, 20 ways of expressing "go" or "die", 20 colour shades, etc.

A very good source for this purpose is Longman's Language Activator, "The World's First Production Dictionary", first published in 1993.

This wonderful book lists the most commonly used English words by fields of concept. In each listing, the most frequently used word is listed first, the 2nd most frequent is 2nd, etc. All words are backed up by a large number of sample sentences and semantic cross-references.

Csaba


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Ms.Straus  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 02:43
Member (2007)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
You make some good points Oct 4, 2007

Csaba Ban wrote:
Using a monolingual dictionary is really useful, but only for advanced students,


Agree. Not good for total beginners.


and those who study the language for the language itself and not as a means of communication.


Disagree. Both groups can benefit from this method. Both need to build a strong vocabulary! AND reading a monolingual dictionary can teach you how to say stuff using different words.


It makes more sense to study a group of words, i.e. ones that belong to the same "family" of words, derived from the same root, having a similar ending, etc. A much better and more powerful approach is learning vocabulary by concepts. 20 sea creatures, 20 ways of expressing "go" or "die", 20 colour shades, etc.


Agree. Actually, that IS what I do when reading a dictionary. Something grabs my attention and I start surfing the dictionary like it was Wikipedia - you know, when you start following related links to learn more


A very good source for this purpose is Longman's Language Activator, "The World's First Production Dictionary", first published in 1993.


Thanks for the hint! I'll check it out.


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 19:43
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
NLP Oct 5, 2007

Good one, Csaba!

Another option is NLP.

We can learn languages and words of a new language if we choose a small group of verbs, for instance: touch, lift, write, pull. Then we relate them to a group of nouns included in a given space, like a classroom: chair, desk, book, balckboard.

The purpose is to associate 4 verbs to 4 nouns and reach 4^2 = 16 potential activities in a new language. Of course, after some months we shall try with larger groups of nouns and verbs, may be later verbs and adverbs, like: walk faster, walk slower, talk angrily, talk calmy, etc.


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