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Vocabuild 29 June 2010 Jeanine Treffers-Daller (UWE Bristol)

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1 Vocabuild 29 June 2010 Jeanine Treffers-Daller (UWE Bristol)

2 Is vocabulary important? What do you think? What does it mean to know a word? The link between vocabulary knowledge and school success Vocabulary and reading ability Edgar Allan Poes – the pit and the pendulum Being bilingual: the good and the bad The Simon Task Bilinguals vocabulary knowledge Supporting bilingual learners A teaching+research agenda?

3 Researchers may not necessarily be delving into the area that the teacher needs to inform his or her practice. The research agenda is being set almost entirely by the research community (Macaro 2005: 3) What kinds of research are most useful for teachers? 1 = useful 4 = not at all useful

4 N=80

5 vocabulary1.73 social interaction2.10 sentence structure3.57 pronunciation4.74 phonics5.10 grammar5.22 literacy5.60 What areas of speech, language and learning do you feel are most important when supporting a bilingual child? Rank in order of priority with 1 being the most important and 7 being the least important. N =143 (21 June 2010)

6 Recommendations: Defining and explaining word meanings Arranging frequent encounters with new words (at least 6 exposures to a new word) Encouraging pupils deep and active processing of words and meanings in multiple contexts

7 Bilingualism is an asset, and the first language has a continuing and significant role in identity, learning and the acquisition of additional languages. Source: Supporting children learning English as an additional language. Guidance for practitioners in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Primary National strategy (2007)

8 What is a front wing post?

9 What is a …. front wing post?

10 Why do IKEA products have names…? GRANÅS dining table $ GRANÅS dining table $ KAUSTBY chair $54.00 KAUSTBY chair $54.00 GRANÅS chair $35.00 GRANÅS chair $35.00 IVAR chair $35.00 IVAR chair $35.00 FORSBY dining table $ FORSBY dining table $ ARON chair $69.00 ARON chair $69.00 BJURSTA dining table $ BJURSTA dining table $ ODDVAR bar stool ODDVAR bar stool

11 A words pronunciation Different forms (give, gives, gave, given) Meaning (giver, receiver, something is given) Syntactic frame (give X to Y, give up, give in, give away, etc.) Formality (register) – give is different from donate Frequency: how common is the word? Collocations/idioms: I dont give a toss if…; give-and- take Associations: what other words does this word make us think of?


13 Vocabulary is the core component of all language skills (Long and Richards 2007: xii) Without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed (Wilkins 1972: 111; in Milton 2008: 333).

14 The properties of lexical items shape the sentence (Cook 1998). Vocabulary is everywhere: it connects to the systems of phonology and orthography, morphology, syntax, grammar and to meaning systems.

15 The word is not an easy concept to define, either in theoretical terms or for various applied purposes (Read 2000: 17). … anything between two spaces…? Door Doorstep Door-to-door Doorkeeper Front door

16 behind closed doors See someone to the door Slam the door in your face Through the back door

17 In a nutshell / it is important to note that /a large part of communication / makes use of fixed expressions. / As far as I can see / for many of these at least / the whole is more than the sum of its parts./ However, /it is appropriate to say at this point / that much work remains to be done. Wray (2002: 24)

18 Are the following all different words? Work, works, working worked (inflected forms) Worker, unworkable, rework (derived forms) Workaholic, work force, workmate (compounds) Word family: word with inflected forms and derived forms (not compounds) Total English: 54,000 word families (Nation and Waring)

19 I can give a definition I know some aspects of its meaning (partial knowledge) I have seen the word before without knowing what it means I dont know this word at all

20 Educational studies in L1 acquisition: expansion of lexicon is key to educational success (Dickinson, Flushman and Freiberg 2009). Individual differences Difference of 4000 root words between between highest and lowest performing 6- year-olds (Biemiller 2006).

21 By failing to support vocabulary effectively, we overlook the most pressing needs of many children who are most at risk of later reading failure (Dickinson et al 2009: 23). The basic dimension of school literacy may not be technicalities of recoding letters into sounds and blending them into words and sentences, but mastery of the academic language and its associated specialised vocabulary and grammar (Leseman and van Tuyl 2006: 214).

22 Importance of early language abilities End of pre-school vocabulary strong predictor of reading ability in grade 4 (Tabors, Porsche and Ross 2003; Sénéchal et al 2006). Pre-school vocabulary strongly correlates with fourth grade vocabulary (r =.77) (Dickinson et al 2009: 28)

23 Language threshold for reading is largely lexical (Laufer 1992; Hu and Nation 2000). How many words do you need to know in order to read a text? 98% of words need to be known for independent reading 95% minimally acceptable comprehension (Laufer 2010).

24 Optimal threshold 8,000 word families yielding the coverage of 98% of words in a text (including proper nouns) Minimal threshold 4,000–5,000 word families resulting in the coverage of 95% of words in a text (including proper nouns) Source: Laufer and Geke C. Ravenhorst-Kalovski (2010)

25 My outstretched hands at length encountered some solid obstruction. It was a wall, seemingly of stone masonry -- very smooth, slimy, and cold. I followed it up; stepping with all the careful distrust with which certain antique narratives had inspired me. What are the difficult words?

26 Blue: (most frequent words) Green: Yellow: academic word list Red: off-list words


28 High frequency words: 80% of running text Academic words 9% to 10% of an academic text (see Coxhead 1998) Technical words: words that are very closely related to the topic and subject area of a text (5% of the words in a text). Low frequency words: there are thousands of these: they form the largest group of words (5% of the words in an academic text).

29 95% coverage can be achieved by 5,000 word families with proper nouns: 78% (1K) 8% (2K) 3% (3K) 3% (4K–5K) 3% proper nouns. 98% coverage: add words from 6k-9k

30 First few thousand words: explicit vocabulary learning Remaining words: through incidental (implicit learning) (Huckin and Coady 1999) Learning from meaning-focused input can best occur if learners are familiar with at least 95% (but preferably 98%) of the running words in the input they are focusing on (Nation 2001: 390)

31 How can teachers use this information? Nation (2001: 16): The high frequency words are clearly so important that considerable time should be spent on them by teachers and learners. The words are a small enough group to enable most of them to get attention over the span of a long-term English programme.

32 The most effective way for English language learners to develop oral proficiency and literacy in English is by encouraging and creating a strong background in L1 (Cummins 1981; Hakuta 1986) Time spent on native language instruction does not take away from English reading in later years (Reese et al 2000) Strong vocabularies in L1 contribute to greater fluency in L2 (Proctor et al 2006).

33 Learning a word is a cumulative process involving a range of aspects of knowledge. Learners need many different kinds of meetings with words in order to learn them fully (Nation 2001: 4).

34 Children learn 10 words a day (after slow start) Vocabulary size at age 5: 4,000-5,000 word families Children learn 1,000 word families a year University graduate: 20,000 word families (Nation 2001) ============================ Word families: stem + inflected forms Work, works, working worked (inflected forms) Worker, unworkable, rework (derived forms)

35 The good: Bilingual children perform better than monolingual children on non-verbal tasks that require executive control and conflict resolution (Bialystok et al 2005). Simon task Lift your LEFT arm when you see a RED circle Lift your RIGHT arm when you see a BLUE circle

36 The bad: Bilinguals generally have a smaller vocabulary in each language than monolinguals (Oller and Eilers, 2002; Perani et al., 2003; Portocarrero, Burright and Donovick, 2007). Bilinguals are slower in accessing vocabulary, picture naming tasks, verbal fluency tasks They experience more tip-of-the-tongue experiences (Gollan and Acenas, 2004)

37 Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test scores of 971 children between the ages of 5 and 9 years Bilinguals: mean score of 95 Monolinguals: mean score of 105 (Bialystok and Feng 2009)

38 English should not replace the home language; it will be learned in addition to the language skills already learned and being developed within the language community at home. Supporting children learning English as an additional languagr. Primary National Strategy (2007).

39 In the US most ELL children are put in English-only classrooms, led by teachers who are monolingual speakers of English California, Arizona, Massachussetts: legislation to prevent bilingual education. Every child matters Green Paper (2003): develop strategies for supporting bilingual learners

40 In January 2008, only 5.7% of teachers in local authority maintained schools were from non- white ethnic groups, an increase of 0.3 percentage points over 2007 and an increase of 1 percentage point over the figure for Source: Ben Smith Ethnic Minorities in Politics, Government and Public Life (November 2008) ngs/snsg pdf

41 There is scant research describing how primary grade classrooms support growth of childrens vocabulary and language through conversations (Dickinson 2009). In schools, talk is sometimes valued and sometimes avoided, butand this is surprisingtalk is rarely taught. It is rare to hear teachers discuss their efforts to teach students to talk well. Yet talk, like reading and writing, is a major motorI could even say the major motorof intellectual development. (Calkins, 2000, p. 226)

42 Bialystok, E., Craik, F. I. M., Grady, C., Chau, W., Ishii, R., Gunji, A. & Pantev, C. (2005). Effect of bilingualism on cognitive control in the Simon task: Evidence from MEG. NeuroImage, 24, 40–49 Goulden, R., P. Nation and John Read (1990) How large can a receptive vocabulary be? Applied Linguistics 11 (4), Laufer, B. & G.C. Ravenhorst-Kalovski (2010) Lexical threshold revisited. Reading in a foreign language 22(1), r.pdf

43 Sénéchal, M., G. Ouellette and D. Rodney (2006) The misunderstood giant: On the Predictive Role of Early Vocabulary to Future Reading. In Susan B. Neuman, David K. Dickinson (eds.) Handbook of Early Literacy Research ( ). The Guilford Press. Winokur, J. And K. Worth (2006) Language Use In The Science Classroom: Looking At What Students And Teachers Need To Know And Be Able To Do. EDCs Center for Science Education Education Development Center, Inc.

44 Tidball, Françoise and Jeanine Treffers-Daller (in press) Exploring measures of vocabulary richness in semi-spontaneous speech of native and non- native speakers of French: a quest for the Holy Grail? In: Daller, Helmut, James Milton and J. Treffers-Daller (eds.) Testing and modelling lexical knowledge. CUP

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