Presentation on theme: "Richard West Moscow November 2014. WHAT is engineering vocabulary? WHO should teach it? HOW do learners learn/teachers teach it? WITH WHAT? What."— Presentation transcript:
Richard West Moscow November 2014
WHAT is engineering vocabulary? WHO should teach it? HOW do learners learn/teachers teach it? WITH WHAT? What resources are available?
The terms of one field/a group of closely- related fields Unfamiliar to the layman (pendlandite) Includes confusing terms that look familiar but are not (pillar, plug, pond) Not included in a general ELT dictionary Small vocabulary (mining = 400 terms)
Non-specialist Some common specialist terms Included in a general ELT dictionary Known to the advanced learner 25,000-35,000 words
There is, of course, a vast vocabulary of technical words, but the problem is not so frightening as it looks..... Much more difficult are the semi-scientific or semi- technical words, which have a whole range of meanings and are frequently used idiomatically... words such as work and plant and load and feed and force. Words like these look harmless, but they can cause a lot of trouble for the student. (Herbert 1965: v)
Items which express notions general to all or several specialised disciplines, e.g. factor, method and function.
Items that have a specialised meaning in one or more disciplines, in addition to a different meaning in general language. Bug in computer science, for instance, is different from bug as we know it in everyday use. Solution has different specialised meanings in mathematics and chemistry, in addition to its general language meaning.
Items which are not used in general language but which have different meanings in several specialised disciplines. Morphological, for instance, means different things to linguists and botanists.
Items which are traditionally viewed as general language vocabulary but which have restricted meanings in certain specialised disciplines. In botany, effective simply means “take effect”; it carries no evaluative meaning. In the same discipline, genes which are expressed have observable effects, i.e. are more apparent physically, as opposed to being masked. Expressed in botany is therefore not associated with emotional or verbal behaviour as is the case in general language.
General language items which are used, in preference to other semantically equivalent items, to describe or comment on technical processes or functions. For example, a recent examination of a corpus of biology textbooks revealed that photosynthesis, and other processes such as digestion, do not, apparently, ever happen’; they overwhelmingly take place and occasionally occur. Take place and occur can therefore be regarded as sub-technical vocabulary.
Items which are used in specialised texts to perform specific rhetorical functions. These are items which signal the writer’s intentions or his evaluation of the material presented. Johns and Dudley-Evans (1980) give the following examples of expressions used in Plant Biology lectures: “One explanation is...”, “Others have said...” and “It has been pointed out by...” (Baker 1988: 92)
ESP teacher Can assume that general/common-core vocabulary has been taught Can be expected to know/teach sub-/semi- technical vocabulary Should not be expected to teach technical/ specialist vocabulary Can be expected to teach technical vocabulary recognition and learning strategies
Technical vocabulary or specialist terminology has a low frequency in most academic or professional texts – a figure of under five per cent is often given.
Specialist terminology varies not only from discipline to discipline, but also between different areas within the same discipline. Therefore, the terminology in a paper in one area may be very different from that in another area within the same discipline.
New specialist terminology is always being invented, so there is no way that it can all be learnt by an ESP student, let alone an ESP teacher.
The ESP teacher can get the terminology wrong, giving his/her students the wrong definitions and getting into trouble. (Dudley-Evans & St John 1998: 81)
rankstrategyuseusefulness 1Bilingual dictionary85%95% 2Guess from textual content74%73% 3Ask classmates for meaning73%65% 4Analyse any available pictures or gestures 47%84% 5Ask teacher for an L1 translation 45%61%
rankstrategyuseusefulness 6Ask teacher for paraphrase or synonym 85%95% 7Monolingual dictionary35%77% 8Discover new meaning through group work activity 35%65% 9Analyse part of speech32%75% (Schmitt 1997)
Recognise definitions or glosses Recognise paraphrases, synonyms, examples Efficient use of bilingual dictionary or translation Efficient use of monolingual dictionary Efficient guessing from context Analyse pictures, diagrams, etc Analyse word function and structure
ELT dictionaries Online ELT dictionaries Native-speakers’ dictionaries British Council’s Word Family Framework
Possible Anglo-Russian project Specialist glossaries e.g. Mining (mining/metallurgy/geology, management) Mining – ESP teachers, mining engineer & mining journal Electronic version only Customisable
Electronic glossary Cooperation between - ESP teacher - professional mining engineer - professional journal Northern Miner - Russian specialist? Legal/copyright granted & acknowledged Available online through central host Customisable – users can personalise
Proposed sub-technical dictionary project: Words with semi-technical meanings Different meanings Examples Related parts of speech/word-family members UK & US varieties Customisable – users can personalise Approximately 4000 items