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  • An inductive approach to teaching language starts with examples and asks learners to find rules. It can be compared with a deductive approach that starts by giving learners rules, then examples, then practice.ExampleLearners listen to a conversation...
  • Intrusion is a feature of connected speech. When two words are said together, an extra sound is sometimes placed between them in order to make them easier to say.ExampleWhen a native speaker says 'I am not happy' there is an intrusive /j/ sound...
  • Ice-breakers are speaking activities used with a new class in order to give the learners an opportunity to meet each other. In order to complete an ice-breaker task learners must talk to each other.ExampleThe teacher gives each learner a sheet with...
  • Intonation is the way the pitch of a speaker's voice goes up or down as they speak. Intonation can be rising, falling or flat and is used to communicate how a speaker feels.ExampleAn English language speaker uses a rising intonation in spoken...
  • Interactional language is the language we use to build and maintain relationships. It can be compared to transactional language, which normally carries a message and is the language used to get things done. To maintain interaction, speakers use...
  • Intransitive verbs do not have a direct object. They can be compared to transitive verbs, which need one.For example:'I lied', 'She is crying', 'We left on Tuesday' are all examples of intransitive verbs.In the classroomStudents can explore which...
  • The interlocutor is a person who is actively involved in a conversation.ExampleIn some oral exams, there is an interlocutor, who talks with the candidates, and an assessor, who marks them.In the classroomSuccessful communication in another language...
  • Interlanguage is the learner's current version of the language they are learning. Interlanguage changes all the time but can become fossilised language when the learners do not have the opportunity to improve.ExampleA learner who has lived in an...
  • Idioms are expressions whose meanings are different from the words that make them. Understanding an idiom requires some other knowledge than knowing the words used. Idioms normally cannot be modified or the words within them changed.Example'I lost...
  • Inference is the technique of finding answers from clues and from prior knowledge rather than directly.ExampleLearners listen to a discussion between two unidentified speakers and must infer their relationship from what they hear.In the classroomThe...
  • A jigsaw listening or reading activity is an information gap exercise. Learners hear or read different parts of a text, then exchange information with others in order to complete a task.ExampleLearners in three groups hear different versions of an...
  • A lexical set is a group of words with the same topic, function or form.Example'Cat, dog, tortoise, goldfish, gerbil' is part of the topical lexical set pets, and 'quickly, happily, completely, dramatically, angrily' is part of the syntactic lexical...
  • A lingua franca is a language that is used widely outside the country where it is spoken as a native language.Example:French, Greek, Portuguese and Latin have all been major lingua franca at some point in history. The current lingua franca of...
  • A lexicon is often used to describe the knowledge that a speaker has about the words of a language. This includes meanings, use, form, and relationships with other words. A lexicon can thus be thought of as a mental dictionary.ExampleA successful...
  • Long vowels are vowel sounds that are longer than normal, or short, vowels. In RP English the long vowel sounds are those in 'seat', 'suit', 'sort', 'shirt' and 'start'. Phonemic symbols for long vowel sounds have a /:/ to indicate length.ExampleThe...
  • Learning strategies are tools and techniques that learners develop as they learn. Learning strategies are an important part of developing autonomy.ExampleA learner keeps a small notebook in their pocket and records interesting new language when...
  • L1

    L1 is a speaker's first language. L2 is the second, L3 the third etc.ExampleA learner whose L1 is Spanish may find Portuguese and Italian easy languages to learn because of a fairly close connection between the languages.In the classroomL1...
  • The lexical approach is a way of analysing and teaching language based on the idea that it is made up of lexical units rather than grammatical structures. The units are words, chunks formed by collocations, and fixed phrases.ExampleThe phrase '...
  • Methodology is a system of practices and procedures that a teacher uses to teach. It will be based on beliefs about the nature of language, and how it is learnt (known as 'Approach').ExampleGrammar Translation, the Audiolingual Method and the Direct...
  • To monitor is to watch and listen to learners while they are doing an activity but not to lead them in the activity. Teachers monitor to find out what problems the learners are having, and to identify the type of errors learners make as they produce...
  • A mingle is a short activity where learners walk around the classroom and talk to each other. An ice-breaker, where learners get to know each other, is a type of mingle.ExampleThe learners are talking about attitudes to marriage. They prepare a...
  • A morpheme is the smallest single unit of language that has meaning.ExampleThe word 'uneconomical' has three morphemes, 'un-', 'economy' and '-al'. 'un-' is a negative and a bound morpheme (appearing only with other morphemes), 'economy' is a free...
  • A model is an example of the target language a teacher shows learners to help them notice language patterns, or to encourage them to imitate. This could be a sentence, a model of an intonation pattern, or an entire text, such as an example of a...
  • Multiple Intelligence Theory says that there are at least eight different kinds of intelligence, and that human beings possess all of them to different degrees. Learners' profiles of intelligences will affect their preferences when learning. ...
  • A mind map is a visual record of new vocabulary, or other content. Vocabulary mind maps are also known as word maps or spidergrams, and are organised in a way that shows groupings or relationships between the words.ExampleThe teacher writes a list...
  • Students in a monolingual class speak the same first language, and will share most aspects of a culture. Monolingual classes can be compared to multilingual ones, where there are a variety of first languages.ExampleMonolingual classes are typically...
  • Metaphors are words and phrases that are not used in their literal meaning, but are used to describe something else.Example'I have a lot on my plate', 'Sales really took off' and 'He's a real couch potato' are all metaphors.In the classroomMetaphors...
  • Meta-language is the language teachers and learners use to talk about the English language, learning and teaching.ExampleWords and phrases such as 'verb', 'noun', 'present perfect continuous', 'phrasal verb' and 'reported speech' are all examples of...
  • A multilingual class is a class where the learners speak a variety of first languages. Multilingual classes can be compared to monolingual ones, where all the learners speak the same first language.ExampleMultilingual classes are typically found...
  • Neologisms are words or phrases that are invented to describe either new things or to give a new name to an old idea. Neologisms occur in the English language very frequently.ExampleNeologisms may become accepted language or disappear through lack...

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