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Week 2 Defining unfamiliar words – Vocabulary in Context This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States.

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Presentation on theme: "Week 2 Defining unfamiliar words – Vocabulary in Context This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States."— Presentation transcript:

1 Week 2 Defining unfamiliar words – Vocabulary in Context This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit nd/3.0/us/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

2 The importance of Vocabulary It is very important to enhance vocabulary in order to improve your language skills. Crow and Quiglly point out that a native speaker of English has acquired approximately 150,000 words by the age of 18 (Crow and Quiglly, p. 72). In order to learn these many words it would take a very long time. “…if ESL/EFL students learned 40 lexical units every day for four years, they still wouldn’t match the vocabulary of a native speaker! (Crow and Quiglly, p. 72).

3 Improving vocabulary One way to improve your vocabulary is using the context. Context refers to the words surrounding an unfamiliar word. For example in Tommy Tales #1, if you are unsure of what the word surprise means, look at the context: Tommy was very surprised. He stood still for a moment with his mouth open. If you look at the word surprised and you can’t figure out the meaning, look at the words and sentences around it. Tommy was standing with his mouth open. How do you feel when you stand with your mouth open? If you look before the first sentence, it says, “When the smoke cleared, Lucy and Taffy were gone”. How would you feel if the people around you were gone? You would be surprised or felt astonishment because something occurred so fast.

4 Context Clues Types of Context Clues: 1.Examples 2.Synonyms 3.Antonyms 4.General sense of the sentence or passage

5 Context Clues: Examples Sometimes unfamiliar words are followed by signal words. Signal words are words that show an example of the definition. Some signal words include: for example, including, for instance, such as, like, etc. Example: The garbage bin was stinky. For example, there was piles of old food and trash. When you look at this example notice it gives you examples, ‘old food and trash’. How does ‘old food and trash’ smell? It is stinky, therefore stinky can be defined as something that has ‘bad’ odor or smell.

6 Context Clues: Examples Example: Tommy doesn’t like squishy things such as mud. The word squishy is something like ‘mud’. ‘Mud’ is soft and wet. When you look at the example given in this sentence you can guess that squishy is something soft and wet.

7 Context Clues: Synonyms Synonyms are words that have a similar meaning with another word. When words in a context are synonyms, the context provides a word that is similar to the unfamiliar word. Example: Jack was a horrible monster. He was mean to all the people in the town. In this example, Jack is described as a horrible monster. When you read the second sentence, an example of horrible is given. It describes Jack as being mean. Example: Tommy observed the clicker. He looked at all the buttons and keys on the clicker. In this example, Tommy observed the clicker. In the second sentence it says that he looked at the clicker.

8 Context Clues: Antonyms Antonyms are words that have opposite meanings. When words in a context are antonyms, the context provides a word that is the opposite of the unfamiliar word. Example: Tommy introduced evidence that relevant to the case. But RK-5 said the evidence was unrelated. The unfamiliar word is the opposite of unrelated. Therefore relevant must mean related. Example: When writing the main ideas of a story it should be in sequence. If they are out of order it will confuse the readers. The unfamiliar word, sequence, is the opposite of ‘out of order’. Therefore the meaning of sequence is ‘in order’.

9 Context Clues: General Sense of the sentence or passage General sense context doesn’t contain examples, synonyms, or antonyms. In this type of context, the reader should use their own experience with the situation being described and any other clues that may come from the context. Example: As a consequence of Tommy’s actions, Tommy and his friends always end up in trouble. Consequence is a ‘result’. The result of Tommy’s actions is getting him and his friends in trouble. Example: At the animal shelter, Tommy and his friends met a monkey. They felt there was no alternative but to take the monkey home with them. Alternative is a ‘choice’. Tommy and his friends felt they had no choice but to take the monkey home with them.

10 Resources Broderick, Bill (2000). Groundwork For College Reading. New Jersey: Townsend Press. Crow, J. and Quigley, J A Semantic Field Approach to Passive Vocabulary Acquisition for Reading Comprehension. TESOL Quarterly Vol. 19, #3.


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