Thursday, July 1, 2010

Words from Context: of Logic & Connections

By marisa constantinides

June 15th, 2010

Understanding Logical Relationships in text

Guessing vocabulary from context is neither novel nor unfamiliar and most good coursebooks will nowadays have an exercise or two which will encourage the students to do just that. In posts, related to vocabulary teaching and learning, I have mentioned the need for this type of exercise and some exercise types myself.

Some of the typical suggestions to help train the learner include noticing the shape of the word (internal morphological analysis), noticing and understanding the function of affixation, of collocations as well as studying the linguistic and non linguistic environment around particular lexical items, what most people would call ‘guessing from context clues’

A different idea

The book containes a fantastic idea which I haven’t seen anywhere else, and which I have used for quite a while now with teachers and learners. It’s based on the notion of understanting the logical connections between different parts of the text and exploring them in order to deduce the meaning of new and unfamiliar lexical items or phrases.

In the example below, the learners are given an example of how to make use of the logical relationships existing in texts, within and across paragraphs, which make it possible to understand lexical meaning, simply by working out the way ideas or facts related to each other. Here is the training example from the book itself.

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