Research on Work-Family Balance
Research on Work-Family Balance
The mastering of a foreign language opens the roads for the transit of citizens whether for work, business, or tourism purposes, as well as for cultural and informational exchanges of all kinds. In this light, the status of English as a global language in politics, economics, education and the media, especially the Internet, is widely acknowledged. Typically, ESP has functioned to help language learners cope with the features of language or to develop the competences needed to function in a discipline, profession, or workplace.(Helen. Basturkman. 2006:6) Learning, as a language based activity, is fundamentally and profoundly dependent on vocabulary knowledge. Learners must have access to the meanings of words which is technical, related to their subject matter. …knowing the technical terms…is not a sufficient condition for successful reading of specialized material. It was, in fact, the non-technical terms which created more of a problem. (Cohen et al. 1988:162) For many people vocabulary, particularly specialist vocabulary (or terminology), is a key element of ESP.
Despite this, vocabulary studies and, in particular, the teaching of vocabulary appear to have been somewhat neglected in ESP( Laufer p-167, Swales p224). Reading, for students of English for specific purposes (ESP), is probably the most important skill in terms of acquiring new knowledge. It does, however, often pose learning problems, especially with respect to vocabulary. The psycholinguistic model of reading widely favoured in linguistics and cognitive psychology in the 1960s and 1970s considered that the main constructs underlying reading are making predictions and deducing meaning from context (cf.Goodman 1976:127). However, during the 1980s, the interactive approach to reading became dominant, in which it was proposed that successful comprehension is achieved by the interactive use of two reading strategies: the top-down approach (i.e. making use of the readers’ previous knowledge, expectations and experience in reading the text) and the bottom-up approach(i.e. understanding a text mainly by analyzing the words and sentences in the text itself: cf. Sanford &Garrod 1981; Van Dijk&Kintsch 1983; Carrell 1988.
Research in ESP reading (e.gSelinker& Trimble 1974; Cohen et al. 1988) provides empirical support for the interactive framework, finding morphonographemic word-processing skills to be a major component of reading. It has also, since the 1980s, been broadly agreed among researchers (cf. Kennedy & Bolitho 1984; Trimble 1985; Cohen et al. 1988) that for non-native ESP readers the most problematic element in comprehending scientific and technical (ST) texts is a set of vocabulary items that has been variously labeled technical and semi-technical. Whatever the name given to the words in this group, if they appear to hinder students of ESP in comprehending texts in their discipline, it is worthwhile for language teachers and ESP practitioners to seek ways in which learners’ lexical repertoires can be raised to at least the threshold level of skilled readership in their chosen fields.
It is known to most second language learners that the acquisition of vocabulary is a fundamental and important component in the course of their learning. A good mastery of vocabulary is essential for ESP/EFL learners, especially for those who learn for specific purpose or expect to operate at an advanced level in English. ‘It is wise to direct vocabulary learning to more specialized areas when learners have mastered the 2000-3000 words of general usefulness in English’ (Nation, 2001:187). I will identify the types of vocabulary in ESP texts and their relative importance. I will provide an overview of some key issues relating to the teaching of ESP vocabulary.
Types of vocabulary
In teaching and learning vocabulary, it’s essential to distinguish between different types of vocabulary because different types of vocabulary need different focus and treatment or some types of vocabulary will be given priorities and emphases in teaching and learning according to leaners’ different aims of learning.
1. Core and non-core vocabulary
One way of looking at the status of words in lexical fields is to consider whether some words are more core, or central to the language, than others. The idea that there might be a core or basic vocabulary of words at the heart of any language is quite an appealing one to language educators, for if we could isolate that vocabulary then we could equip learners with a survival kit of core words that they could use in virtually any situation, whether spoken or written, formal or informal, or any situation where an absolutely precise term, might be elusive and where a core word would do. (McCarthy.1990:49) As the word ‘core’ suggests, core vocabulary refers to those words that are more central to the language than other words and tend to be the most frequently occurring ones. ‘People prefer to use such words because they do have core meaning-potential’ (McCarthy, 1990). They are thought to be more ‘core’ because it is easy to find an antonym, also they are neutral in formality and usable in a wide variety of situations. Furthermore, an important point is that such words can be used to paraphrase or give definitions of other words.
For example, (McCarthy, 1990) the following instruction is given : [decide which is the core word in the set of words: slim, slender, thin, emaciated and scrawny and we can easily figure out that ‘thin’ is the core word] Core vocabulary: words of neutral meaning in any lexical set; core words collocate more readily with a wide range of words, they may be used in a wider range of registers, and are usually involved in the definition of non-core members of their set. In ESP teaching, we may come across subject-specific vocabulary, which is non-core as far as the language as a whole is concerned. ‘This is because it is not neutral in field and is associated with a specialized topic’ (Carter, 1988:172).They are subject-specific core vocabulary; conglomerate, sandstone, siltstone, limestone and dolomite, gypsum, phosphate, iron, oxide, crude oil, hydrocarbons-compounds, hydrogen, sulpher, oxygen and nitrogen, gaseous fuels, methane, synthetics, fossil fuels, igneous rocks, metamorphic rocks.
In fact that the need of ESP students is to learn such above mentioned core vocabulary in written and spoken language in their profession, ESP students with specific and academic purpose may need to acquire technical and semi-technical words in their specialist texts which are in need for them to learn and use it in speech and writing documents. Specialist vocabulary can be core in the job establishment where specialist use it frequently and in need, as well as during the ESP classes where ESP teacher and student’ fruitful interaction and it is very central for communication, especially, writing documentations where specialist uses core-specialist vocabulary as well as ESP student may learn that core vocabulary in texts which are full of technical and semi-technical vocabulary and which is central to learning.
2. Spoken and written vocabulary
The spoken text is an example of what Ure(1971) calls ‘language-in-action’, that is , people are using language as an accompaniment to the action they are engaged in, and the feeling of lightness or heaviness of vocabulary is what Ure calls ‘lexical density’(McCarthy:1990:71) The written text is less dependent on physical context and its words make specific reference to items in the situation. Speaking versus writing is one important dimension affecting lexical density, but some spoken modes(e.g. oral narrative, or a formal lecture) might be lexically quite dense.(McCarthy.1990:71) Although most of the existing literature on vocabulary has grown out of the study of written texts. spoken texts seem less ‘dense’ than the most written texts in vocabulary items, which is characterized in language-in –action texts; repetition and lexical negotiation occur much more often in spoken discourse than in written texts; vague and rather general words are more frequently used in everyday talk than in written texts.
Spoken vocabulary is what we got from written vocabulary to use orally, by contrast we can’t use full written information in speech as well as possible, there are a lot of written information in the past and in the present, for using significant ideas, at first, we should consider which is more available and more demanding for job and for daily life to use. ESP students who study the written texts, based on technical and semi-technical vocabulary, consequently, will product spoken vocabulary which is resulted from the information of written vocabulary. That’s why spoken and written vocabulary is essential in ESP courses.
3. Procedural vocabulary
Vocabulary used to explain other words, to structure and organize their meaning. Procedural Vocabulary consists of words with a high indexical potential, which means that they can be interpreted in a wide range of ways. Identifying items in the lexicon that seem to carry a heavy work-load(e.g. the core vocabulary) must include a consideration of how some words are characteristically used to talk about other words, to paraphrase them and define them and to organize them in communication. Widdowson(1983) describes this kind of vocabulary as ‘procedural’. Robinson (1988) refers to ‘this simple lexis of paraphrase and explanation’ to illustrate procedural vocabulary and calls the procedural words ‘the main element in our interpretation and categorization of specific frames of reference’:Ver-mic-u-lite-type of Mica that is a very light material made up of threadlike parts, that can be used for keeping heat inside buildings, growing seeds in, etc.(McCarthy.1990:51) We need sense (relations between words) and denotation (relations between words and the world) in conjunction.
However, learners at all levels will need to confront the procedural lexicon of the language they are learning (McCarthy.1990:52) Widdowson (1983:92) makes a distinction between words which are schematically bound and words of high indexical (or procedural –they are synonymous) potential. The schematically bound words narrow the frames of reference and identify particular fields; ‘hydrometer’ has low indexical potential and will occur in a narrow range of texts identifiable within certain scientific and technical fields (McCarthy.1990:51) Procedural vocabulary is characteristically used to talk about, paraphrase, define and organize words in communication. They are commonly used in dictionaries to give definitions.
Students of Petroleum engineering may find them useful when learning other words for the accumulation of their vocabulary. It is true that students are required procedural vocabulary that helps them understand the technical vocabulary used in the process of establishing word meaning. The important role of procedural vocabulary lies, therefore, in the assumption that meaning is not static, but can be negotiated through interaction between participants hence, demanding when? and why? Because of unknown technical and semi-technical vocabulary, which is quite complicated to understand, and is the main tool in the texts to apprehend their own specialty.
ESP teachers should give definitions by using procedural vocabulary, which may give a specific description of the word. On the other hand, to use procedural vocabulary, ESP students need to know, approximately 2000 vocabulary words. After having gained them, students are able to define the technical and semi-technical vocabularies which are very complicated to comprehend and to predict. However, with the help of procedural vocabulary use, I believe that ESP teachers, after having used the procedural vocabulary, could give the exact definition of the unknown word. Consequently, ESP students may guess what it is in L1. That’s why the use of procedural vocabulary is essential in ESP classes.
4.Technical and semi-technical vocabulary
Many ESP teachers have found that vocabulary can be one of the major problems that effect students’ understanding of scientific and technical texts. According to Kennedy & Bolitho (1984), Trimble(1985) and Nation (1990), the difficulty lies not with technical vocabulary as such but, as Cohen et al. (1988: 153) put it: …even students with mastery over the technical terms become so frustrated in reading technical English that they seek native-language summaries of the English texts, or native-language books covering roughly the same material, or do not read the material at all, but concentrate rather on taking verbatim lecture notes. ESP students generally find their difficulties in reading Petroleum engineering texts because of not knowing technical and semi-technical vocabulary in L2, and this does indeed appear to be one of their major problems in comprehending texts of their subject area, especially during second and third years of study.
Many of the problems that the students encounter in using English are related to comprehension, and are caused by their limited knowledge of vocabulary, including crucially, a lack of awareness of polysemy. Increasingly researchers have favoured the view that such an area of vocabulary creates significant barriers to students’ understanding of (ST) texts, but the discussion has been complicated by the use of several different terms for what appears to be the same intermediate-level area of difficulty, for which commentators such as Cowan (1974), Robinson (1980), Trimble(1985) and Tong(1993a, 1993b) use the term sub-technical vocabulary, while others use non-technical with or without (cf. Barber 1962; Nation 1990; Tao 1994), and still others use semi-technical (St John & Dudley-Evans 1980; Farrell 1990; McArthur 1996b). We cannot teach our scientific and technical students the whole of the scientific vocabulary: this is beyond the capacity of any individual.
Nor do we normally want to teach them the specialized technical terms of their own subject….what the English teacher can usually hope to do is to teach a vocabulary which is generally useful to students of science and technology-words that occur frequently in scientific and technical literature of different types. Some of these words will be technical ones, but many will not. The real justification for having highly specialized texts is to achieve face validity. Learners may be more motivated by them, because they make the language seem more relevant. But learners can be fickle. And if the use of such texts makes work in the classroom difficult, learners will soon lose their liking for such texts (Tom Hutchinson and Alan Waters.1995:162) Coxed and Nation(2001) categorize vocabulary for teaching and learning into four groups of words: high frequency words, academic vocabulary, technical vocabulary, and low frequency vocabulary.
They argue: ‘when learners have mastered control of the 2,000 words of general usefulness in English, it is wise to direct vocabulary learning to more specialized areas depending on the aims of the learners’ (p. 252-253).( Helen. Basturkemn.2006:17). According to Bloor and Bloor(1986), teaching a specific variety of English (ESP) can start at any level including beginners. Moreover, learning from the specific variety of English ( for example, English for doctors, English for hospitality), is highly effective as learners acquire structures in relation to the range of meanings in which they are used in their academic, workplace, or professional environments (Helen. Basturkmen. 2006:17) Sager(p-98) writes: terminology is an applicable field of study concerned with the creation, collection and ordering of the vocabulary of special languages…..this work is carried out by relatively few people for the benefit of all users of special languages. Sager notes the assumption that specialized communication can be made more effective If terms are formed according to certain prevailing patterns which have a predictive value.
Alber-De Wolf( p-167) suggests that a good knowledge of term-formation processes improves the reading skills necessary for reading foreign LSP but most work in terminology is aimed not at teachers but at translators and, increasingly, at machine translation and the development of term banks( Ross, Thomas). Sager makes the important observation that terminology is not so fixed as might be supposed. (Pauline Robinson. 1991:27) Voracek compares terminology across the natural sciences and social sciences. He suggests that because political terminology can never be emotionally neutral, it can be hardly accurate and unambiguous and it will always cause problems for translators and interpreters. Economic terms, while emotionally neutral, also cause problems of translation across economic systems (Pauline Robinson.1991:27). In fact, technical terms which are used only in a specialized field are sometimes less troublesome than vocabulary that looks familiar.
Students recognize the need to find meanings for technical terms, and most dictionaries define them. On the other hand, students assume they already know the meaning of an ordinary word, so they do not try to find a specialized meaning for it (Virginia French Allen.1983:88). Technical vocabulary is words or phrases that are used primarily in a specific line of work or profession. Similarly, engineer of petroleum engineering field needs to know technical words such as organic decay, conglomerates, clay schist , siltstone, limestone, dolomite, gypsum, phosphate, iron, oxide, crude oil, hydrocarbons-compounds, hydrogen, sulpher, oxygen and nitrogen, gaseous fuels, methane, synthetics, fossil fuels, igneous rocks, metamorphic rocks and may acquire technical and semi-technical vocabulary in the Petroleum engineering texts where they come across frequently, and words which most people outside of that industry never use.
In terms of language content, there is little reason why , say, a Biology text should be more useful to a Biology than, say, a Physics text. There is no grammatical structure, function or discourse structure that can be identified specifically with Biology or any particular subject. Such things are product of the communicative situation (lecture, conversation, experiment, instructions) and the level (engineer, technician, manager, mechanic, university)there are only two ways in which the subject has any kind of influence on the language content We can distinguish four types of vocabulary:
-structural: are, this, only, however;
-general: table, run, dog, road, weather, cause;
-sub-technical: engine, spring, valve, acid, budged;
-technical: auricle, schist some, fissure, electrophoresis.
Technical vocabulary was used far less frequently than the non-technical. These technical terms are also likely to pose the least problems for learners: they are often internationally used or can be worked out from knowledge of the subject matter and common root. (Tom Hutchinson and Alan Waters.1995:166) Comprehension in the ESP classroom is often more difficult than in real life, because texts are taken in isolation. In the outside world a text would normally appear in a context, which provides reference points to assist understanding (Tom Hutchinson and Waters.1995:16) In terms of teaching in ESP, it is most important to make a distinction between the two types of vocabulary: technical and semi-technical because they are of great importance for learners to study English for specific purposes and academic purposes. Baker(1988) lists six categories of vocabulary, all of which relate to EAP.
They are: 1. Items which express notions general to all specialized disciplines; 2. General language items that have a specialized meaning in one or more disciplines; 3. Specialized items that have different meanings in different disciplines; 4. General language items that have restricted meanings in different disciplines; 5. General language items that are used to describe or comment on technical processes or functions in preference to other items with the same meaning, for example occur rather than happen. 6. Items used to signal the writer’s intentions or evaluation of material presented (Dudley-Evans and St John. 1998:83). Dudley-Evans and St John (1998:83) suggest resolving the overlapping six categories (Baker, 1988:91) into two broad areas: A) Vocabulary that is used in general language but has a higher frequency of occurrence in specific and technical description and discussion.
B) Vocabulary that has specialized and restricted meanings in certain disciplines and which may vary in meaning across discipline. It is quite clear that the first area would be referred to as semi-technical and the second area would be regarded as technical vocabulary. We can examine the following text to illustrate the difference among them below. Some extracts are taken from the texts of Petroleum engineering field, to analyze which is technical and semi-technical and what students of this area study during the class and what kind of information a ESP teacher should provide within the class. These texts are central in the heart of learning and there is a need, lack, desire of students to be competent with. In the second and third year courses, students of the Petroleum engineering field, in Karshi Engineering-Economics institute, the faculty of Oil and Gas, in Karshi, Uzbekistan, study this specialty in English during English classes.
How may we inform them about the specific knowledge of their profession if we are not subject matter teachers? We are English language teachers who did not study the specialty of these students at all. Consequently, only the job for us to do is to teach these texts, which are written in English and specially contain technical and semi-technical vocabulary. 1. The thickness of the layers of sedimentary rocks may vary greatly from place to place. They can be formed by the mechanical action of water, wind, frost and organic decay.
Such sedimentary as gravel, sand, and clay at the beginning and conglomerates, sandstones and clay schists later are the result of the accumulation of materials achieved by the destructive mechanical action of water and wind (extract from the text ‘Sedimentary Rocks’ M.Ya. Barakova.1977:74-75) 2.The most principal kinds of sedimentary rocks are conglomerate, sandstone, siltstone, limestone and dolomite. Many other kinds with large practical value include common salt, gypsum, phosphate, iron oxide and coal (extract from the text ‘Sedimentary Rocks’ M.Ya. Barakova.1977:74-75)
3. Fossils are usually found in sedimentary rocks, although, sometimes they may be found in igneous and metamorphic rocks as well. They are most abundant in mudstone, shale and limestone, but also found in sandstone, dolomite and conglomerates (extract from the text ‘Fossil Fuels’ M. Ya. Barakova.1977: 108-109)
4. Liquid fuels are derived almost from petroleum. In general, natural petroleum, or crude oil, as it is widely known, is the basis of practically all industrial fuels. Petroleum is a mixture of hundreds of different hydrocarbons-compounds composed of hydrogen and carbon together with the small amount of other elements such as sulphur, oxygen and nitrogen. Petroleum is associated with water and natural gas(extract from the text ‘Fossil Fuels’ M. Ya. Barakova.1977:108-109)
5. Of gaseous fuels the most important are those derived from natural gas, chiefly methane or petroleum. Using gaseous fuels makes it possible to obtain high thermal efficiency, ease of distribution and control. Today, gas is widely utilized in the home and as a raw material for producing synthetics. (extract from the text ‘Fossil Fuels) (extract from the text ‘Fossil Fuels’ M. Ya. Barakova.1977:108-109)
The technical vocabulary is quite obvious. The items are: organic decay, conglomerates, clay schist , siltstone, limestone, dolomite, gypsum, phosphate, iron, oxide, crude oil, hydrocarbons-compounds, hydrogen, sulpher, oxygen and nitrogen, gaseous fuels, methane, synthetics, fossil fuels, igneous rocks, metamorphic rocks, and etc. The semi-technical vocabulary items are as follows: mechanical action, liquid fuels, petroleum, industrial fuels, natural gas, raw material, layers, abundant, accumulation, destructive and chiefly, ease of distribution and control etc. As every specialist has their own specific vocabulary to use in speech and writing, the technical and semi-technical vocabulary is also the main source for Petroleum engineering students to go through. In fact, to succeed in comprehending the written vocabulary and spoken language in this area, ESP students should have access to these technical texts where they can find a way to know about this specialty in English.
Technical and semi-technical vocabulary is the main instrument for survival in this area of study. As we can see from above, learners who will do academic study in English must focus on academic vocabulary which is variously known as ‘general useful scientific vocabulary’ (Barber, 1962) and semi-technical vocabulary (Farrell, 1990), because they need to exhibit a wide range of academic skills like reading about research papers in their own fields, listening to teachers speak about their work, writing academic papers and presenting oral or written evaluations of methods or results in many cases, or writing documentations of the industrial company where the learner may use technical words , which is very needful , and use it for communication with foreign company by doing export or import business.
Technical and semi-technical vocabulary, which is used in this text, may not be occurred in the texts of other fields of study, for example, medicine, business, but it can occur in other parts of engineering areas. We may use general vocabulary in all fields of study where technical and semi-technical vocabularies of petroleum engineering field occur. With its importance shown above, technical vocabulary or semi-technical vocabulary should be given priority in teaching by ESP teachers because, according to Dudley-Evans and St John (1998:83), this type of vocabulary is used in general life contexts but has a higher frequency of occurrence in scientific and technical descriptions and discussions, especially in their specific field and conferences, meetings referring to specialty.
ESP teachers should teach learners general vocabulary as well as technical vocabulary that has a higher frequency in a scientific field such as: -general: thickness, place, wind, frost, value, common, and etc. -petroleum engineering: organic decay, conglomerates, siltstone, limestone, dolomite, gypsum, phosphate, iron, oxide, crude oil, hydrocarbons-compounds, sulpher, oxygen and nitrogen, gaseous fuels, methane, synthetics and etc. -verbs: vary, achieve, found, form, derive from, include, compose, associate, obtain, utilize, produce. -collocations: destructive mechanical action, organic decay, accumulation of materials, hydrocarbons-compounds, associate with.
The issue of teaching technical vocabulary
It is often claimed that it is not the job of the ESP teachers to teach technical vocabulary (Barber, 1964; Higgens, 1966; Cowan, 1974). In general, we agree it is not but it may be the duty of ESP teachers to teach vocabulary in certain circumstances.
Beyond the duty of ESP teacher
In discussing the teaching of ESP it has often been said (Hutchinson and Waters, 1987; Higgins, 1966)that the teaching technical vocabulary is not the responsibility of the EAP teacher and that priority should be given to the teaching of ‘semi-technical’ or ‘core vocabulary’. The technical vocabulary is rather more complicated than the simple notion that the ESP teacher should not touch it. While in general we agree that it should not be the responsibility of the ESP teacher to teach technical vocabulary, in certain specific contexts it may be the duty of the ESP teacher to check that learners have understood technical vocabulary appearing as carrier content for an exercise. It may also be necessary to ensure that learners have understood technical language presented by a subject specialist or assumed to be known by a subject specialist (Dudley-Evans and St John. 1998:81) In any ESP exercise which exploits a particular context, that context will use certain technical vocabulary.
It is important that both the teacher and the learners appreciate that this vocabulary is acting as carrier content for an exercise, and is not the real content of the exercise. However, students usually need to be able to understand the technical vocabulary in order to do exercise (Dudley-Evans and St John. 1998:81) How do we deal with this technical vocabulary? In some circumstances a term will be cognate with the equivalent term in the students’ first language and will not therefore cause difficulty. If the term is not cognate and is unfamiliar, then it may need to be introduced and explained before the exercise is tackled. In many cases there is a one-to-one relationship between the terms in English and the learners’ L1 and so it will be enough to translate the term into the L1 after a brief explanation (Dudley-Evans and St John. 1998:81) A technical word is one that is recognizably specific to a particular topic, field or discipline.
It is likely that they can only be learned and understood by studying the field. Such words are considered to be the responsibility of the subject teachers. Strevens (1973:223) claims ‘that learners who know the scientific field may have little difficulty with technical words; but a teacher who may not have a great deal. We can examine the examples in the given text. Technical words like organic decay, sedimentary, igneous, metamorphic rocks, limestone, clay schist, methane and others are specialized words in the field of petroleum engineering, which may be quite easy for a student in L1, who studies the petroleum engineering. However, it is a different matter for ESP teachers. There are some other technical words that are quite familiar to learners even if learners are not studying the specific discipline to which the technical words belong because the words are widely, even internationally, known.
Some very frequently occurring words in computer science, such as browser, program, log, hypertext and internet, are quite familiar to learners and these technical words have a high frequency occurrence in the texts of computer sciences and in information. The English teacher is an ideal informant, who may inform the students of the petroleum engineering field with the information of their profession in L2 for non-native speakers. Even if it is the beyond of his/her duty, the English teacher should certainly explain the technical and semi-technical words in L1 or in L2 for successful learning. As a matter of fact that English teacher teaches texts, which are full of technical and semi-technical vocabulary. That’s why ESP teacher should know the subject matter in L1 and in L2, if not, not be able to teach the students of petroleum engineering field because of not knowing specialist knowledge.
Furthermore, even he/she can’t translate the text. As a result, no well-designed teaching will be done. A teacher of General English may not know the technical and semi-technical words because she/he is not a specialist of this area. For example, the English teacher who teaches medical students should know the medical terminology. If she/he does not know the technical vocabulary relating to medicine, how can she/he help the translation of meaning of medical treatments or drugs which is being manufactured in Foreign country, most medicine production instruction is written and explained, given information about medical drugs, and available devices in English. That’ why the role of Technical and semi-technical vocabulary is not only valuable in the Petroleum engineering field, but also important in other fields of study. The ESP teacher should corporate with subject matter teacher in order to know subject matter for successful teaching. Which vocabulary type should the ESP teacher teach?
According to Hutchinson and Waters, (1987) ESP should be seen as an approach to language teaching, which is directed by specific and apparent reasons for learning. The main of their vocabulary acquisition is surely academic vocabulary and they mainly learn technical and semi-technical vocabulary of their specialty in texts, which are main support for learning their specific field through unfamiliar words. The text is an informant where has full of special information for learners’ desire, and learners try to predict what the word is about with his/her specific background knowledge and define the word. Nowadays, a lot of Educational grant programmes demand English knowledge as well as with specific disciplines, where learners study subject matter in English. That’s why learner, who is willing to study in European or US, Foreign universities and desires to make a progress in profession, consequently, needs to learn technical vocabulary. Learning technical and semi-technical vocabulary is the most essential need for such desire, and teaching technical and semi-technical vocabulary is more demanding.
Ease or difficult in the learnability of vocabulary is not unconnected with the notion of frequency, since the most frequent words will probably be absorbed and learnt simply because they occur regularly. But words may be easy or difficult for a variety of other reasons, and may need special attention or focus in teaching. 1. Words may present spelling difficulties. Even native speakers of English have difficulty remembering whether single or double consonants appear in words like ‘occurrence’, ‘parallel’, and ‘beginning’. Languages with more regular spelling patterns present fewer difficulties of this kind. 2. Words may present phonological difficulties, either because they contain awkward clusters of sounds ( English ‘thrive’, ‘crisps’), or because spelling interfaces with perception of what the sound is (English ‘worry’ is regularly pronounced by learners as if it rhymed with ‘sorry’). Such words may be effectively learned in all other respects, but pronunciation may remain a long-term difficulty, especially where old habits are ingrained.
3. The syntactic properties of words often make them difficult. In English, ‘want’ presents fewer syntactic difficulties than ‘wish’, ‘want’ is followed by an infinitive and / or an object; ‘wish’ may be followed by a variety of verb patterns in ‘that’ clauses, as well as by the infinitive. 4. Words may be perceived as very close in meaning by the learner, and therefore difficult to separate one from another. ‘Make’ and ‘do’ are notorious in this respect in English. Learners of Spanish often find it difficult to separate ‘ser’ and ‘estar’, which to the English-speaker seem both to mean ‘be’. The difficulty, or lack of difficulty, a word presents may override its frequency and/or range, and decisions to bring forward or postpone the teaching of an item may be based on learnability.
Published materials handle features of learnability and difficulty in different ways.p-86 (McCarthy) Difficulty and learnability cut right across the notions of frequency and range. We cannot predict that just because a word is frequent it will be learnt quickly and thoroughly or, conversely, that, because a word is infrequent, it will not be easily learnt. Technical and semi-technical vocabulary has also difficulties for pronunciation and for communication to study.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 19 December 2016
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