The Vocabulary Activities

The Vocabulary Activities
According Folse (2008) it is important to define what we mean by second language vocabulary. When  we  talk  about  vocabulary,  we usually  mean  words,  but  what  is  a word?  Most  people  think  of  words as  single  units,  such  as  cat,  dozen,  or reluctant. However, these single words are merely one part of the vocabulary load  that  our  students  face.  In  fact, a  “word”  can  be  one  of  five  types, namely  (1) a  single  word,  (2) a  set phrase,  (3) a  variable  phrase,  (4) a phrasal verb, or (5) an idiom.
Based on Afshar & Bagherieh (2013: 110) activities like modelling skilful word choice, promoting skilful word choice, encouraging word play and word lay books, offering instruction that is rich and robust, having students take part in novel explanation of words and providing instruction on words can be implemented by the teachers to help the students to become conscious of words and suggest five approaches to foster word consciousness including:
a.       Modeling, recognizing and encouraging adept diction: This approach includes using unfamiliar words to describe the concepts they are familiar with to make  them curious about the world of words. For instance, asking the students to close the door because it is ajar instead of asking the student to close the door because it  not completely closed. One approach to model adept diction is to use the "word-of-the-day" approach. Another approach in students' writing and speaking is to scaffold their use of new words.
b.      Promoting word play: This approach includes reinforcing the use of homophones, homographs, idioms, clich├ęs, puns and word play books.  
c.       Providing intensive and expressive instruction: This approach requires students to be immersed in a rich, precise, interesting and intensive use of vocabulary (i.e. using children's literature). It also requires students to work extensively and intensively with words. The third step in this approach, is writing extensive essays using much of the words they have learned. Finally, the last step involves discussions about the word choices they make, why they make those choices, and how adroit use of words makes speech and writing more precise, more memorable and more interesting.
d.      Involving students in original investigations: This approach involves students in systematic efforts (research done by the students themselves) to investigate different data sources including both written and spoken ones.
e.       Teaching students about words: This final step involves the knowledge of words, which teachers should have, and the possibility of explicitly instructing students in this knowledge.
In additionally nation (2001) explained the activities criteria in teaching vocabulary more specific ways at the classroom as follows:
  1. Quickly give the meaning by (a) using an L1 translation, (b) using a known L2 synonym or a simple definition in the L2, (c) showing an object or picture, (d) giving quick demonstration, (e) drawing a simple picture or diagram, (f) breaking the word into parts and giving the meaning of the parts and the whole word (the word part strategy), (g) giving several example sentences with the word in context to show the meaning, (h) commenting on the underlying meaning of the word and other referents.
  2. Draw attention to the form of the word by (a) showing how the spelling of the word is like the spelling of known words, (b) giving the stress pattern of the word and its pronunciation, (c) showing the prefix, stem and suffix that make up the word, (d) getting the learners to repeat the pronunciation of the word, (e) writing the word on the board, (f) pointing out any spelling irregularity in the word.
  3. Draw attention to the use of the word by (a) quickly showing the grammatical pattern the word fits into (countable/uncountable, transitive/intransitive, etc), (b) giving a few similar collocates, (c) mentioning any restrictions on the use of the word (formal, colloquial, impolite, only used in the United States, only used with children, old fashioned, technical, infrequent), (d) giving a well known opposite, or a well known word describing the group or lexical set it fits into.


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