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    • Join Date: May 2007
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    Unhappy counting vocabulary

    Dear all:
    Thank you for all your replies regarding the using of ppt. Now, I have another question.
    I have been reading something about vocabulary teaching recently. One set of questiones is always in my mind: If you were counting words that your learners needed to learn, what would you consider?
    For example,
    1) what are words? Do you consider the names of people--Elizabeth, Philip, Charles, Anne--to be vocabulary? What do learners need to learn about them? Should the names of products like Pepsi, Vim, Big Mac, and Totota be counted as part of a learner's vocabulary?
    2) Are the words in italics the same words or different words?
    Should neutral as in neutral gear be counted as the same word as neutral as in a neutral country?
    Should hard work be counted as a part of hard or work or as a separate piece of vocabulary?
    I am wondering...

  1. Editor,
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    Re: counting vocabulary

    1 It might help learners to know a few names, but they will naturally come across them in texts, etc. It could be useful to know the gender of some names, but I wouldn't teach names. Names of products are part of vocabulary- you need to know Big Mac to order one. However, I don't think I'd bother counting the number of names someone knew as part of their vocab if I were trying to work out how many words they knew.

    2 I don't see much difference in the meaning of neutral there. It's work modifed by an adjective to describe it- the adjective could be replaced by many others.

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    Re: counting vocabulary


    I'm new to the forum and have just come accross your request. I agree with the member above that names definitely don't count towards someone's vocabulary knowledge. I also strongly agree that it is enough to talk about names once you come across them in texts, but that - especially when you read texts about people from other countries - it might be useful to tell your students whether the name is likely to be male or female (in case the text stays unclear about that).

    Regarding words with several meanings I wouldn't count them as two different words as in fact it is only one word which simply has several meanings. Students have to understand how much one word can differ in meaning depending on the context it is used in. It's the same in any other language, too, isn't it.

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    Re: counting vocabulary

    This is in a way the job of lexicology (the study of words) and lexicography ie what to include in a dictionary. Popular proper names and names of some products have become part and parcel of dictionaries. Neutral is part of the entry or lexeme neuter. But nowadays dictionaries give neutral and neutrality separate entries. A dictionary entry is called lexeme because the concept of "word" is ambiguous. You really need to define what a word is. That's why there are different types of dictionaries. OED for instance is based on historical principles and tells you when a word was first recorded. Lexicography has changed a lot lately. In addition to basic information like meaning and pronunciation they now provide a wealth of information (encyclopedic knowledge depending upon the size): frequency, defining vocabulary, collocations, False Friends, confusables, grammar/usage/cultural notes in addition to thesauri. So you can expect much more from dictionaries nowadays.
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 28-May-2007 at 12:25.

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