Articles on vocabulary

Discover a broad range of ideas on teaching vocabulary and different vocabulary types in our articles below.

Word Family Framework

The Word Family Framework (WFF) places 22,000 words on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Lexical notebooks or vocabulary cards?

Few would doubt that students should leave a lesson with some kind of transcript of it: be it a notebook or, if technology allows, pages from an Interactive WhiteBoard (IWB) emailed to your students – in order to be able to go over the material covered in class.

Getting down to business

Meetings 1: Getting down to business

The beginning of a meeting presents a major dilemma: is it better to get straight down to business, or is it important to allow or even encourage small talk? The texts in this lesson present arguments from opposing viewpoints, which may help students to question their own assumptions. The lesson goes on to introduce useful language for both small talk and getting down to business, with practice in the form of role-plays.

Vocabulary and autonomy

This article looks at ways to improve your students' abilities to both explore, store and use vocabulary.

Revising lexis: quality or quantity?

This article discusses how much attention language teachers should pay to vocabulary acquisition research, particularly with regard to repeated encounters with lexical items.

Grammar vs lexis or grammar through lexis?

In this article, informed by the Lexical Approach, I reflect on grammar instruction in the classroom, including my own teaching, and make suggestions on how it can be 'lexicalised'. I consider the problems with 'traditional' grammar teaching before arguing that what we actually need is more grammar input as well as showing how lexis can provide necessary 'crutches' for the learner.

Flashcards

How do you use flashcards in your class? Watch Vikki, and then let us know how you use them by leaving a comment below. Remember to check out our flashcard maker too!

Other cultures

One of the good things about migration is the opportunities it brings for learning about other cultures. In this speaking and discussion activity students will be able to share their views and knowledge of other cultures. The activity is based on themes from the British Council OPENCities project www.opencities.eu

Energy and renewable resources

This activity is about energy and renewable resources. It builds awareness of different energy solutions which will be necessary in the future and is aimed at learners aged 10 years and up.

Presenting business vocabulary to beginners - speaking article

Presenting business vocabulary to beginners

Pre-selecting, grading and presenting business vocabulary - Is this the way forward? 
Traditionally curriculum developers and materials writers have assumed it would be worthwhile to make a selection out of a set of to-be-learned vocabulary items that they would then grade (which in effect means that some words would come before other words) before presenting them.

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A Handful of Poems by Tony Mitton

The four poems in this collection are all by Tony Mitton, and the materials are the first to be designed by BritLit for the age range 9 – 11 year olds.

Analysing Language - methodology article

Analysing Language

In a previous article, I emphasised the importance of checking understanding in the process of teaching new structures and lexis, particularly through the use of concept questions.

a house

Choosing a house

I use this activity with higher-Elementary level students, primarily to practise vocabulary and collocations related to house and home, but also as an early confidence builder for speaking skills.

Christmas Games

Here are some games which we associate with parties and Christmas celebrations in UK schools. These games can be adapted for language learners of all ages and levels.

Collocation with advanced levels 1 - not entirely...proper/appropriate/good? - vocabulary article

Collocation with advanced levels 1 - not entirely...proper/appropriate/good?

This article gives an overview of the topic of collocation in English language teaching and shows how this is a key area of study for advanced level students.

Collocation with advanced levels 2- classroom activities - vocabulary article

Collocation with advanced levels 2- classroom activities

This article gives an extensive list of classroom activities that focus attention on collocation. This is the second of two articles on the topic.

Context developing activities

It is widely recognized that second language (L2) mental lexicon must be independent of its first language (L1) counterpart, if learners are to use the target language effectively and fluently.

Conveying meaning - methodology article

Conveying meaning

When teaching any language whether it is a word, a phrase or a verb form, at some point it will be essential to convey and check that your students have understood the meaning.

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The noun phrase

For too long now the verb phrase has been the dominant focus of attention in course books, syllabuses, and teacher training programmes.

New words in English

New words enter the English language all the time - the exact number is uncertain but there are thousands appearing every year.

Lexical exploitation of texts

Reading and listening texts are often used in the ELT classroom to practise receptive skills and / or as the introduction to a topic or language point.

a house

Choosing a house

I use this activity with higher-Elementary level students, primarily to practise vocabulary and collocations related to house and home, but also as an early confidence builder for speaking skills.

Other cultures

One of the good things about migration is the opportunities it brings for learning about other cultures. In this speaking and discussion activity students will be able to share their views and knowledge of other cultures. The activity is based on themes from the British Council OPENCities project www.opencities.eu

Presenting business vocabulary to beginners - speaking article

Presenting business vocabulary to beginners

Pre-selecting, grading and presenting business vocabulary - Is this the way forward? 
Traditionally curriculum developers and materials writers have assumed it would be worthwhile to make a selection out of a set of to-be-learned vocabulary items that they would then grade (which in effect means that some words would come before other words) before presenting them.

Seven steps to vocabulary learning

Have you ever considered why a learner (even an advanced one) can hear a difficult English word or phrase literally thousands of times and still not use that word in the way that a native speaker does?

Context developing activities

It is widely recognized that second language (L2) mental lexicon must be independent of its first language (L1) counterpart, if learners are to use the target language effectively and fluently.

Pages