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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?

This semester,
we will focus
on learning
academic
vocabulary

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

Active Learning Strategies


Definition Mapping:
Working with grammar, meaning,
and sample sentences

Active Learning Strategies


Grouping:
Recognizing the relatedness of a word
to other words

Grouping
massive

extensive

Words that
Describe Large
Scale

huge

immense

enormous

vast

4 Main Principles
Number 2
You should personalize your vocabulary
learning

Personalized Learning
Strategies
Choosing words:
Identify key concepts and the words
required to understand these concepts

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
Number 3
You should be immersed in words

Immersion in Words
Opportunities:
Put yourself in a wordand 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
Number 4
You should use multiple sources of
information to learn words through
repeated exposures

Repeated Exposure
Opportunities:
Watch television news / programs that are
related to the topic of environment

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
1 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

Unknown

Known

If you know the


most frequent 1,000
words of English,
you should be able
to understand 72%
of the words on the
page of a book,
newspaper, or
magazine

Quantity

Unknow n

Know n

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

Unknow n

Know n

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

Unknown

Known

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