Aspects of Modern Language Teaching in Europe

By Wolf Gewehr; Georgia Catsimali et al. | Go to book overview
Save to active project

12

LEXICAL HIERARCHIES AS A STRATEGY OF TEACHING VOCABULARY

Catalina Jiménez Hurtado

Introduction

For many years, vocabulary was not given the recognition and attention it deserved in the foreign language classroom. This was undoubtedly related to the fact that in linguistic theory, the lexicon was mainly considered to be a list of irregularities unable to be explained by syntax. In the last decade, however, the lexicon has come to have an increasingly prominent role in linguistics and, not surprisingly, greater emphasis has also been placed on vocabulary in foreign language teaching.

One of the paradoxes in vocabulary teaching in the FL classroom is that despite the amount of time devoted to explaining and defining words, vocabulary is rarely presented to students in a systematic way. If students are lucky, they are given a context in which the word can be inserted, but this is often not the case, and such examples are invariably a source of confusion.

Our objective in this chapter is to offer a coherent form of lexical organization and presentation which will help students to understand vocabulary better. In order to introduce a maximum of relevant information, words are presented in terms of how they are related to other words with a similar meaning.

The importance of vocabulary in language learning cannot be overstressed, if only because of the fact that foreign language learners believe that knowledge of words is essential. In other words, the lack of lexical competence gives them a feeling of insecurity and eventually leads to the breakdown in communication, something which can be avoided if words are explained to students in a structured way. An example of this type of structure is given in Table 12.1. This is in line with what Morgan and Rinvolucri (1989:5) mean when they write: ‘We conceive of vocabulary learning as a relational process; it could be described as making friends with the words of the target language.’ All the examples and exercises in this chapter have been used in the teaching of

-176-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Aspects of Modern Language Teaching in Europe
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 238

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?