Academic Vocabulary



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Academic Vocabulary

Academic Vocabulary

  • If your goal is to read academic writing (college textbooks, etc) and write academic papers (essays, etc), you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by focusing on academic vocabulary

What is Academic Vocabulary?

  • Academic Vocabulary is a specialized vocabulary of 570 word families that commonly appear in all academic textbooks, regardless of major field of study

Academic Vocabulary Learning

  • In general vocabulary learning, to go from 80% understanding to 86% understanding would require you to learn 2,000 more word families
  • In academic vocabulary learning, to go from 80% understanding to 86% understanding would require you to learn 570 more word families

Do you think studying academic vocabulary will be helpful?

Academic Vocabulary

  • In each unit this semester, approximately 100 word families from the academic word list will appear.

Keeping 4 principles in mind will help you develop your vocabulary as much as possible this semester

Vocabulary Learning Strategies

In order to develop your vocabulary, you should keep 4 main principles in mind

4 Main Principles

  • Number 1
  • You should be active in developing your understanding of words and ways to learn them

Active Learning Strategies

  • Semantic Mapping:
  • Making a graphic representation of the relationship between words

Semantic Mapping

  • desertification
  • deforestation
  • global warming
  • air pollution
  • water pollution
  • extinction
  • of species
  • climate change
  • erosion

Active Learning Strategies

Active Learning Strategies

  • Grouping:
  • Recognizing the relatedness of a word
  • to other words

Grouping

  • Words that
  • Describe Large
  • Scale
  • massive
  • huge
  • enormous
  • immense
  • extensive
  • vast

4 Main Principles

  • Number 2
  • You should personalize your vocabulary learning

Personalized Learning Strategies

Personalized Learning Strategies

  • Choosing words:
  • Identify important terms you need to learn

Personalized Learning Strategies

  • Choosing words:
  • Identify meaningful similarities and differences among the concepts / words being studied

Personalizing words

  • Node Acquisition and Integration Technique (NAIT):
      • Students identify key concepts or important terms they need to learn within a text.
      • Students construct a semantic network around each of the selected key concepts.
      • Students think of examples or potential applications of the key concepts and record these examples on the definition worksheet.
      • Students identify meaningful similarities and differences among the different concepts being studied.

4 Main Principles

Immersion in Words

  • Opportunities:
  • Put yourself in a word-
  • and language-rich environment

Immersion in Words

  • Opportunities:
  • Become aware of words and how they are used in the input you receive

Immersion in Words

  • Opportunities:
  • Try to use new / interesting words
  • in your speaking and writing

4 Main Principles

Repeated Exposure

Repeated Exposure

  • Opportunities:
  • Read newspaper / magazine articles
  • related to the topic on environment

Repeated Exposure

  • Opportunities:
  • Discuss environment-related topics with friends, family, classmates, etc

Summary 4 Principles of Vocabulary Learning

  • You should be active in developing your understanding of words and ways to learn them
  • You should personalize your word learning
  • You should be immersed in words
  • You should use multiple sources of information to learn words through repeated exposures

Keeping these 4 principles in mind will help you develop your vocabulary as much as possible this semester

Two important elements of vocabulary learning

  • Quality:
  • How well do you know each word?

Quality

  • Goal:
  • To improve how much you know about each word

Quality

  • Spoken Form:
  • What does the word sound like?
  • How is it pronounced?

Quality

  • Written Form:
  • What does the word look like?
  • How is it written?

Quality

  • Meaning:
  • What meaning does this form
  • of the word have?
  • for example:
  • consider vs. considerably
  • individual vs. individualism

Quality

  • Concepts:
  • What things can the concept refer to?
  • for example:
  • fertile soil
  • fertile mind

Quality

  • Associations:
  • What other words does this word make you think of?
  • for example:
  • fundamentally - basically
  • vast - massive - huge - extensive

Quality

  • Grammatical Patterns:
  • In what patterns does the word occur?
    • transitive vs. intransitive verbs
    • two-word verbs: opt out of
    • prepositions: interest in, responsible for
    • relative clauses: suggest that, conclude that

Quality

  • Collocations:
  • What words or type of words occur with this word?
  • for example:
    • complex problem
    • complex issue
    • complex person
    • complex idea

Quality

  • Restrictions on use (register differences):
  • Where, when, and how often would you expect to meet this word?
  • for example:
  • ethos, kin, institutionalize =
  • formal academic words

Quantity

  • Goal:
  • To increase the number of words you know

Quantity

  • Educated adult native speakers of English know approximately 20,000 word families

Quantity

  • College freshman ESL students know approximately 2,000 - 3,000 word families

Quantity

Quantity

  • If you know the most frequent 2,000 words of English, you should be able to understand 80% of the words on the page of a book, newspaper, or magazine

Quantity

  • If you know the most frequent 3,000 words of English, you should be able to understand 84% of the words on the page of a book, newspaper, or magazine

Quantity

  • If you know the most frequent 4,000 words of English, you should be able to understand 86% of the words on the page of a book, newspaper, or magazine

Quantity

  • In order to understand 95% of the words on a page of a book, newspaper, or magazine, you need to know approximately 12,500 words
  • In order to understand 99% of the words on a page of a book, newspaper, or magazine, you need to know approximately 44,000 words


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