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Location: Osnabrueck, Lower Saxony, Germany

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Message: 8502 From: Received: Do Apr 28, 2005 9:27
Subject: Re: Scott''s alter ego and the ''lexically challenged''
Rob - I'm not sure I'm talking to Scott after his insinuations about alternative forms of marriage :-)) (1) This talk of 'words' , I got posh and started calling them lexical items. I think, personally, (can one think impersonally?) that it helps a lot to know which are the most frequently used lexical items, and that graded readers, based on word frequency counts, can also be put to great use. One key point, though, is what it means to 'know' a lexical item - and I think the list is long. (I believe there is one in Nation's book, Learning Vocabulary in Another Language, Cambridge, 2001), If 'knowing' is expanded into meaning things like - can understand key meanings of when spoken, can recognize key meanings when reading, can use appropriately in spoken or written communication - then to say a person 'knows' 3,000 words would be equivalent to saying something like they have a very sound command of basic English. (2) Very many learners of English use "grammar" to mean something like "whatever it is that is not so good in my English." They aren't trained linguists. My German university students always used to say in the first couple of weeks: "I need more grammar". After a few sessions they began to differentiate, and, surprise, surprise, hardly any of them wanted grammar at all. "We had enough of that at school!" Dennis


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