Using the dictionary


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A presentation by George Vassilakis, Language Certification Director at PeopleCert, on how to use monolingual dictionaries in the English language class

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Using the dictionary

  1. 1. Using the Dictionary George Vassilakis Director Language Certification PeopleCert Group
  2. 2. Vocabulary in Texts <ul><li>Jeff Black is broobsome, breedent and rortiful. He fruggered booling at the dorder lorg of gaif but his grond starf bialled when he gorded to teg a strone in the fibly stutar carbation tock slorbence Terbot Lartong groff stilbs ago. </li></ul> <ul><li>Who is this text about? </li></ul><ul><li>When did he frugger booling? </li></ul><ul><li>When did his grond starf bial? </li></ul><ul><li>What did he teg a strone in? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Vocabulary in Texts <ul><li>Jeff Black is broobsome, breedent and successful. He fruggered acting at the dorder lorg of nine but his big starf bialled when he gorded to teg a role in the fibly stutar television tock slorbence Terbot Matters two stilbs ago. </li></ul> <ul><li>What does Jeff Black do? </li></ul><ul><li>Does he work in the theatre? </li></ul><ul><li>Is he any good? </li></ul><ul><li>How long has he been acting? </li></ul><ul><li>What happened two years ago? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Vocabulary in Texts <ul><li>Jeff Black is handsome, confident and successful. He started acting at the tender age of nine but his big break came when he managed to get a role in the hugely popular television soap opera Family Matters two years ago. </li></ul> <ul><li>Does Jeff believe in himself? </li></ul><ul><li>How popular was he as a child actor? </li></ul><ul><li>Was it easy to get the part in the soap opera? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Determining key vocabulary <ul><li>Underline all words likely to be unfamiliar to your students. </li></ul><ul><li>Do the comprehension tasks your students will be asked to do. Circle the underlined words that they need to know in order to do the tasks. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider the words you have circled. Decide which ones your students can reasonably be expected to guess from the context. </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the circled words that are unguessable. Those are the key words. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Memory for Vocabulary
  7. 7. Memory for Vocabulary
  8. 8. The (Walking) Dictionary Syndrome <ul><li>All words are paid equal attention to. </li></ul><ul><li>Students do not know what to focus on. </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers end up neglecting the objectives of their lessons. </li></ul><ul><li>There is no way students can possibly learn all of the vocabulary explained. </li></ul><ul><li>No time is left to focus on the vocabulary that is worth focusing on. </li></ul><ul><li>No time is left for productive practice of vocabulary . </li></ul>
  9. 9. Vocabulary Knowledge ALL VOCABULARY Receptive Vocabulary Productive Vocabulary
  10. 10. <ul><li>Can we have a discuss, please? </li></ul><ul><li>I’ve got two siblings. </li></ul><ul><li>I’ve got three brothers: Yanni, Maria and Thanassi. </li></ul><ul><li>It was very interested film. </li></ul><ul><li>We went to a party and we enjoyed a lot. </li></ul><ul><li>Ok, George, I must put you down now, because the other line is ringing. </li></ul><ul><li>My wife and I fancy him very much; he’s really interesting character. </li></ul>Vocabulary Knowledge
  11. 11. <ul><li>Form: spelling and pronunciation </li></ul><ul><li>Word grammar </li></ul><ul><li>Meaning </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Denotation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Connotations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Colligation </li></ul><ul><li>Collocation </li></ul><ul><li>Style and register </li></ul>Vocabulary Knowledge
  12. 12. Techniques for Ignoring Vocabulary <ul><li>Never ask: Are there any words you don’t know? </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-teach key vocabulary. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask students to underline the words they do know. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask students to cross out any words they don’t know. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask students to work in pairs to choose five words they think they need to know </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage students to guess vocabulary meaning from context and morphology. </li></ul><ul><li>Train students in using a dictionary. </li></ul><ul><li>Only practise and/or test key vocabulary. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Information in the Dictionary excerpt from the Macmillan English Dictionary
  14. 14. Dictionary Activities Focus on pronunciation
  15. 15. Dictionary Activities Focus on polysemy
  16. 16. Dictionary Activities Focus on connotation
  17. 17. Dictionary Activities Focus on colligation
  18. 18. Dictionary Activities Focus on register