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B @ K SF O R
series editor
A l a nM a l e y

JohnM organI MarioRinvolucri

Titles in the Resource Books for Teachersseries
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Grundy Colin andHanna
Campbell Kryszewska
Classroom Dynamics Letters
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Sheila andMario
Conversation Rinvol
RobNolasco Listening
Cultural Goodith
BarryTomalin Stempleski Literature
Dictionaries AlanDuffandAlanMaley
Jonathan MusicandSong
Drama TimMurphey
Charlyn Newspapers
ExamClasses Peter
May ProjectWork
D r a n aL .t n e 0 - b o o l n
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Sampedro RolePlay
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Gillian Ladousse
Ruth 2ndedition
Homework Morgan
John andMarioRinvolucri
Lesley Writing
TheInternet Tricia
ScottWindeatt, Hardisty,

Primary Resource Books

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AndrewWright DianePhillips,
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Assessing with Children
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ravtou VeryYoung Learners
Storieswith Children
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AndrewWright Writingwith Children
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Jackie andVanessa
Phillips Young-Learners
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Gordon Bedson
Resource Booksfor Teachers

J o h nM o r g a n


Great Clarendon Street, Oxford oxz 5op

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The authors and publisher are grateful to thosewho havegiven
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vi I Acknowledgements

The authors and series editor


Activity Level Time Aims Page


I Pre-text activities
1.1 What'sinthetext? Elementary 20-30 Tomotivatestudentstoreadatextby
to advanced getting
1.2 Predictingmeanings '10-20 toworkoutfrom 15
Elementary Toencourage
to advanced themeanings
context ofunfamiliar
1.3 Predictingwords Intermediate 2O-25 Toreviewareasofvocabularywithwhich 16
to advanced thestudents
alreadyhave some familiarity,
sothatnewitems intheseareas canmore
easily in'andremembered;
be'slotted to
stimlate ina dulltext.
1.4 Criminalrecords Elementarv 30-40 Tofocusthestudents'
onthe 19
to advanced ways words
theyassociate bymeaningor
context, onthepositive
1.5 Ungrammaticalgender Intermediate 30-40 Toencourage students
their 20
to advanced preconceptions
beforemeetingthemina context,
1.5 Look,remember,and Elementary 30-40 Tofocus attention
thestudents' onhow 22
completethe set to advanced theytrytorememberwords,
1.7 Wordson a map lntermediate 20-30 Tomotivate
andfocus thestudents' 23
to advanced ofa textbyfirstexploring
reading the
connectionsofsome ofthe
andohrases used.

I vii
Activity Level Time Aims Page

1.8 Cardson the table Intermediate 20-30 Toqetthestudents

theirideas 25
to advanced abouta topicor attitudebeforereading
basisfordiscussionor essay-writing.

2 Working with texts

2.1 Customizinga text Intermediate 20-30 1 Tofocusthestudents'attention
by 28
to advanced giving
thema specific
thansimply them toreadthetext.
2 Toencouragethem tolookclosely
atwordsandphrases incontext.
2.2 Favouritephrases Beginnerto 15-30 Togivestudentsachancetosharetheir
advanced feelings and,perhaps,
overcome dislikes.
2.3 Cotrecttheteacher Elementary 25-35, 1 Togiveatask-basedfocustolistening
toadvanced 45-60 2 Toencouragestudentstobuildupa
2.4 Deletingwords Post-beginner 15-20 Tofocus
onwhethera wordisnecessary33
to advanced ornotasa wayofexploring
2.5 Marginalia Intermediate 20-45 Togetstudents
to lookclosely
at 33
to advanced vocabulary
ownunderstandings meanings
2.5 Huntthe misfits Intermediate 20-35 Todevelop
of 34
to advanced meanings
2.7 Ghostdefinitions Elementary 20 Tofocusontheexact
oflexical 37
to intermediate items,
2.8 Patchworktext Elementarv 2040 Toscan
text 38
to advanced fragments.
2.9 Thewords in your past Elementary 20-30 Tomake newvocabularymemorable
by 39
to advanced linkinq
it to imoortant
students'own lives.
2.10 Towardslearningatext Beginner 15-40 Toencouragestudentstoremember
by heart (a) to advanced contexts
2.11 Towardslearningatext Beginner 15-30 Toencouragestudentstoremember
by heart (b) to advanced aswellassingle
contexts words
2.12 Cross-associations Elementary 15-25 Tousecreativeword-associationasan
to advanced aidto memorv.

viii I Contents
Activity Level Time Aims Page

2.13 Be someoneelse Intermediate 30-40 Togetstudents about

thinking wordsand 43
to advanced phrases context.
2.14 Emaillanguage Upper-intermediate
40-50 Togetstudents from'informal',45
to advanced native-speaker
unconected texts

3 Writing activities
3.1 Invisible
writing Elementary 10-20 Togetstudents
onanduse 47
to advanced andto learnfrom
eachotherbyreading what

3.2 Theoracle 15-20

Lower-intermediate Topractice vocabulary
newlv-learnt in a 49
to advanced widerangeof contexts

3.3 Addingwords to a story Elementary 30-40 Togivethestudentsanopportunity

to 49
to intermediate creativelv
startwritinq within
a safe,
3.4 Expandinga sentence 10-15
Lower-intermediate Togivethestudents to
anopportunity 50
to advanced startwriting
creatively a safe,

4 Bilingual texts and activities

4.1 Sensoryvocabulary 40-50
Lower-intermediate Tomaketarget-languagewordsmore 52
choices to advanced byevoking
memorable personal
associations themothertongue.
Thestudents to useall
their inthis.
4.2 Changingthe order of Elementary 15-20 practice
Toglveguided incontrastive 53
the words to upper- translation.
4.3 Focusingon difficulty Intermediate 40-50 Toprovoke awareness
contrastive of 54
to advanced intwolanguages
4.4 Culturalkeywords 40-50
Lower-intermediate thecultural
Toexplore of
resonance 55
to advanced andtheways
vocabulary, inwhich
vocabulary canrepresent
ofa culture
4.5 How many letters Beginner 10-20 Togetstudents thelookofa
tovisualize 56
in the word? to intermediate wordonthepage,
asanaidto memory
4.6 Two-language
texts All 15 Todeduce oftarget-language
themeaning 57
froma mother-tonque
words context.

ContentsI ix
Activity Level Time Aims Page

4.7 learning by associating Beginner

to 15-20 Tointroduce toa practical
students wayof 58
elementary quickly
learning ontheirown.
4.8 Two-facingwords 10-15
Upper-intermediate Toexplorelexical
ambiguityinafocused 59
to advanced butamusing athomonyms,
homophones, thatcanbeused
asdifferent ofspeech.
4.9 Onthe walls Beginner
to 15 Topractise
andscanning 61
elementary target-language forequivalents
texts of
4.10 Translationreversi Elementary 20-30 Touseasimpleboardandsomepieceso62
to advanced. cardasavocabulary inwhich
accurately of

5 Using corpora and concordances

5.1 Reciprocalverb phrases 30-40
Upper-intermediate Toshowhowcorpus canhighlight65
to advanced patterns
'Tend Intermediate 3G40 Topresent
thelanguage 67
5.2 to': using
concordances with to advanced patterns withparticular
associated words
students andPhrases.
'tend Intermediate 40-60 todiscover
Toworkwltha corpus the 68
5.3 More on to': using
a corpusand softwarein to advanced patterns
language with
class particularwords
5.4 Whichword are we after? Elementary 10-20 Toshowhowcorpora andconcordance 71
to advanced software (andstudents)
to oreoare materials.
5.5 Barefacts,nakedtruth Intermediate 20-40 73
to advanced more
apparentsynonyms toa
5.6 Workingwith student Elementary 2C-4:5 Toshowhowconcordancesoftwarecan 76
texts to advanced beused owntextsto
orhighlight ofvocabulary
5.7 Quarryingthe lnternet Intermediate 30-60 students
Toencourage howwords 78
for words to advanced andphrases

x I Contents
Activity Level Time Aims Page

6 Words and the senses

5.1 Wordsandoutsenses Lower-intermediate
25-40 Tomakestudentsawareoftheirown 82
to advanced preferences
sensory through
theychoose theyrespond
5.2 Notionpictures Beginnerto 20-30 Toreviewandrecallvocabulary.83
6.3 Machinesand scenes Elementary 30-40 Toprovide
ways of 84
to advanced presenting newvocabulary.
6.4 Elephants Elementary 40-50 85
to advanced andoflexis.
6.5 Exploringvocabulary Beginnerto 15-30 vocabularythrough
Tolearn movement 87
kinaesthetically advanced
5.6 Coinsspeak Elementary 15-25 Toexplorethespatial
to advanced associations
6.7 Picturegallery Elementary 35-50 1 Togetstudents
to useknown (orhalf- 89
to advanced known)vocabularyinnewsituations,
vocabulary fromeach other.
2 Togetstudents
willwantto read.
5.8 Listeningincolour Elementary 15 T o l e a r n v o c a b u l a r y t h r o u g h s p9e0c i f l c
to advanced visual associations.
6.9 Getas muchwrongas Upper-intermediate
10-20 Tomeet
oflinking 91
you can to advanced themeanings
5.10 OHPlists Beginnerto 10-15 T o b r e a k u p t h e o r d e r a n d v i s u a l9 3
advanced monotony oflistsasanaidtomemory.
5.11 Wordsroundthe circle Beginner
to 10-15 Topractise
thefull 94
intermediate vocal
5.12 Fillinga landscape Beginner
to 3,10 Toencourage
todiscover 95
advanced forthemselves
vocabulary andtoteach
5.13 Fishyadjectives Intermediate 30-40 ina creative,
Touse, memorableway, 96
to advanced thatdescribe
adjectives people.
5.14 Objectsroundthecircle Beginnerto 10-12 Toencouragestudentstoexpress 98
upper-intermediate meaning them
through etc),
movement, and
6.15 Picturingwordsand Elementary 20-30 Tousedetailed, visualization
creative to 99
phrases to advanced withtheEnglish
associate words

Contents xi
Activity Level Time Aims Page

7 Word sets
7.1 Intelligencetest Beginnerto 10 Toexploretheideaofa'wordset'and
intermediate themanvdifferent
7.2 Unusualword families Elementary 10 Toencourage togroup
students words
in 102
to advanced unusual,
7.3 Chains Elementary 20 Toencouragestudentstogroupwordsi
to advanced imaglnative
7.4. Collectingcollocations Intermediate 5,30-40 Toexpandstudents'understanding
and 104
to advanced ofabove-the-word
acquisition vocabulary.
7.5 How strongis the Upper-intermediate
20-30 Toexpandstudents'
and 105
collocation? toadvanced acquisition
7.5 Diagonalopposites Beginner
to 10 Togetstudents
to lookclosely
atthe 107
intermediate semantic
7.7 Theegg exercise to ,
Beginner 20 Toexplore
and 107
advanced ofawordorphrase.
7.8 Prototypes Beginnerto 20-30 Togetstudentstoconsiderhowword- 108
advanced setsarebuiltup,byasking questions
as'How stronglydoes
itsset?', toconsider
effective categorizations
7.9 Wotdsfrom the Beginnerto 2-3, Toprovide
a simple toolfor
research 110
homestayfamily advanced 20-30 students
7.10 Mappingone'smood Post-beginner 15-20 Todifferentiate
field', 111
to advanced whichmayeasilybeconfused
ina personal,
other; memorable
7.11 A hierarchyof association Intermediate 20-35 wordsetsasa hierarchy. 112
to advanced

I Personal
8.1 Yougivemytalk Elementary 5-10, Tomotivatestudentstolistento,and
to advanced 30-'45 learn
therefore from,each
8.2 lifekeywords Elementary 2540 Topractiseandsharevocabularywhich
to advanced personally
8.3 Turnoutyourpockets Elementary 20-35 Tousepractical,day-to-dayvocabular
to upper- personally

xii I Contents
Activity Level Time Aims Page

8.4 SCarS Elementary 40-60 Tomotivate

students lackof 115
to upper- whennarrattng.
8.5 Wordsmy neighbour Intermediate 20 Toencourage toteach
students each 116
knows to advanced otherandlearn
8.5 Aletterfromtheteacher Post-beginner 10-15 117
to advanced direct,'l-Thou'context.
8.7 Thesecretdictionary Elementary 15, Theprivateconnotationsawordor 118
to advanced 10-15 phrase
mayhave -
enough asa
8.8 PhrasesI like 15-25
Lower-intermediate Toencourage a wider 119
to advanced choice
8.9 Whathaveyougottenof? Beginnerto 15-20 120
lower-intermediate wordstoexpress thatareimportant

9 Word games
9.1 Circlegames Beginnerto 10-1
5 T o p r o v i d e a b a n k o f g a m e s w i t1
advanced oflearning purposes thatcanbeplayed in
circlesofthree toseven players.

9.2 Theprefix game Intermediate 30-40 negative

Toworkonthevarious and 123
to advanced prefixes
pejorative inEnglish,
forstudents foranexamination
9.3 Definitionsdictation Intermediate 20-30 game
Tousea guessing topractise
using 125
to advanced definitions
9.4 Crosswords Intermediate 20-30 Tointroduce to English-
students 126
to advanced andshow
language waysin
which andmade
9.5 Pivotwords 20-30
Lower-intermediate Toexplore semantic
thedifferent and 131
to advanced grammatical
words 132
9.5 Hidingwords 10-20
Lower-intermediate words
to advanced text.
9.7 Treasurehunt Intermediate 10-20 Topractise words
identifying withthe 133
toadvanced help
9.8 Storyboard Elementary 20-30 Topractise
relating tocontext.
words 135
to advanced

. l
LOnlents I x||l
Activity Level Time Aims Page

lO Dictionary exercises and word history

10.1Worddip Elementary 15-25 135
to advanced uses, ofdictionaries.
10.2 Fromword to word Intermediate 15-25 Togivefurther
intheuseof 137
to advanced withtheemphasis
dictionaries, onthe
languageused given.
10.3 Writeyourselfin Elementary 10-15 elementto
Toaddastrongpersonal 138
to advanced dictionary
10.4 Whatdolmean? 1G-l5
Lower-intermediate 139
to advanced phrases
used andexplaining
10.5 Borrowedwords Intermediate 20 140
to advanced across
andmeaning languages.
10.6 Commemorativewords Upper-intermediate Toexplorewordswithahistory 141
to advanced
10.7 Datingwords 15-30
Upper-intermediate more
Toexplore wordswitha history, 142
to advanced onmorerecent
10.8Thesauri 30-45
Upper-intermediate 143
to advanced meaning andcontext;to introduce
usinga thesaurus;and,
to showhowwordscanbe
usedto disguiseanddistortmeaning.

11 Revision exercises
11.1 Opencategorization to
Beginner 15-20 Toallowstudents
tocategorize 149
advanced inanywaytheywant.
11.2 Guidedcategorization Beginnerto 15-20 149
advanced andmemorablewordgroups,
deepen ofwords
theirunderstanding by
11.3 Wordson a scale Intermediate 15-20 Toconcentrate attention 152
to advanced onthewordsunder revision
11.4 Lexicalfurniture Elementary 15-20 inmemory
Tofixvocabulary 153
to advanced withfamiliar
connections obiectsand
11.5 Leapingwords Beginnerto 10-15 a
advanced simple wayofremembering
11.6 Findthe word a picture Beginner
to 20-40 Togetstudents andvisual 155
to linkwords
advanced imaqes.

xiv I Contents
Activity Level Time Aims Page

ll.7 Rhymingreview Elementary 20-30 156

to advanced vocabularv.
ll.8 Drawtheword Beginnerto 5,15-20 Togetstudentstovisualizewordsasa
advanced means
ll.9 Matchingwords Elementary 15-30 157
to advanced andcontext.
fl.l0 Giftwords Beginnerto 20 158
adJanced timetoestablish
withina group.
ff.f 1 Forcedchoice Elementary 15-25 Togenerate
bya fastand 159
to advanced energetic
I f .f 2 Questionand answer Elementary 15-25 Topractise
thevocabulary review 160
to advanced andinnewcontexts.
ll.l3 Wordstostory Elementary 20-30 Touseoral 151
to advanced
It.l4 Wordrush Beginnerto 10 Toreviewwords
inanenergetic, 161
intermediate way
t1.15 Comparingrandom Elementary 5,15 Toprovide
a somewhat
wayof 162
words to advanced words
f 1-f 6 Multi-sensoryrevision Elementary 30-40 Togetstudentstochoosewhether
to 162
to advanced revise kinaesthetically,
11.17 Writingto rule Elementary 30-40 Toencouragestudentstoextractas164
to advanced much astheycanfromwords

lrnotated bibl iography 155

Her 158

I xv
T h ea u t h o r sa n ds e r i e e
s ditor

John Morgan has worked in EFLsince 1966,as a teacher, teacher

trainer, coursebook and resource book writer, and lexicographer.
He has been associated with Pilgrims English Language courses since
rgZS. With Mario Rinvolucri he has written )nceupon aTime and
TheQBook,as well as contributing to many Pilgrims publications.
At present he divides his time between teacher training and
setting crosswords.
Mario Rinvolucri is founder member of the Pilgrims netvvork and
e dits IIum anisingLanguageTeaching,htt p ://www. h It m a g .co. u k, a
webzine for teachers. In addition to this title, Mario has co-authored
LettersandVideo in the ResourceBooks for Teachersseries,as well as
Challengeto Thinklwith Berer and Frank, OUP,r98z). A frequent
contributor t o TheTeacherTrainer, h tt p ://www.tttj o u r n a l.co. u k,
Mario's most recent publications arc Ilumanising your Coursebookand,
with Sheelagh Deller, UsingtheMother Tongue(both with ETp-Delta,
Alan Maley worked for the British Council from 196z to 1988,serving
as English Language Officer in Yugoslavia, Ghana, Italy, France, and
China, and as Regional Representative in South India (Madras). From
1988 to r99g he was Director-General of the Bell Educational Trust,
Cambridge. From 1993to 1998he was Senior Fellow in the
Department of English Language and Literature of the National
University of Singapore, and from 1999 to zoo3 he was Director of
the Graduate Programme at Assumption University, Bangkok. He is
currently a fieelance consultant. He has writtenLiterature,inthis
series, BeyondWords,SoundsInteresting,SoundsIntnguing, Words,
Variationson a Theme,and Drama Techniques in LanguageLearning
(all with Alan Duff), TheMind's Eye(with Franqoise Grellet and
Alan Duff ), Learning to Listen and Poeminto Poem (with Sandra
Moulding), TheLanguageTeacher's Voice,and Shortand Sweet.

Theauthorsand serieseditor | 1

'vVhen the first edition ofVocabulary appeared in 1986, some of

the ideas it presented seemed outlandish to many teachers. It is a
measure of the successof the book that these ideas have now entered
the mainstream. What was then considered out' now forms part
ofaccepted practice.
Vocabularyhasplayed its part in the more general movement
towards giving greater prominence to the teaching of
vocabulary that has taken place since its initial publication.
Current thinking, based in large parl on the analysis of computer
corpora, has emphasized the importance of collocation, and
therefore the fact that vocabulary is largely phrasal. Words hang
together in typical clusters rather than exist in splendid isolation.
Lexico-grammar-the zone where syntax and lexis cooperate to forge
meaning-has become a key consideration in the way vocabulary is
Another trend has been the revival of interest in the role of the
mother tongue in the acquisition of a second language. Bilingual
associations in vocabulary in particular clearly have a part to play.
Perhaps the other single most important development has been
the recognition of learner differences, as evidenced through work in
learning styles, multiple intelligences, and neurolinguistic
progrumming (NLP).Learners apprehend the world differently, have
different preferred modes of learning, and therefore need learning
materials which take account of these differences.
Altogether we are now better placed to understand the nature and
functions of vocabulary what it means to know a word, and how best
to acquire vocabulary.
This new edition builds on its former strengths by incorporating
activities based on the ideas outlined above. If anything, this has
tended to reinforce the beliefs of the authors tfrat learning takes
place through the personal associations formed by learners. It is
of processing' that matters most. The activities included here
all seek to promote the key quality of engagement. The authors have
retained their freshness and originality of approach, and have again
challenged teachers to renew themselves. This new edition should be
at least as influential as the old one was.

Foreword| 3

Forty thousand schools, institutions, and teachers have bought the

1986 edition of this book since publication, which means that several
million students will have experienced actMties from its pages.
Many teachers will have used it, too, and will have brought its
approaches into their own teaching of vocabulary. t986 is a long time
ago, however, especially in a fast-changing field such as language
teaching and learning, which is influenced increasinglyby new
thoughts, new practices, and new disciplines. We greatly welcomed,
therefore, the invitation to revise and update this book.
But first, what was our thinking behind the first edition of
Vocabulary?When we asked students back in the r98os about their
feelings on learningvocabulary two-thirds of them said theywere
not taught enough words in class.Teachers seemed keen to teach
grammar and pronunciation, but learning words-particular words
that they needed in everyday life-came a very poor third. There
seemed to be an assumption that it was enough for teachers to
specify which words wete to be learnt-the when and the how was
up to the students.
'vVhyshould this be so?Whenwe 'do' a reading passageor a
listening comprehension with our students, surely we are teaching
vocabulary? Sadly, in many classrooms this is not the case.
Encountering and a word are seldom enough; as
when we meet people, depth and interaction are necessary if the
encounter is to be meaningful and memorable.
If teachers have not always recognized the need to devote time to
the teaching of vocabulary students themselves feel a very real need
to devote time and effort to the process.Many students, indeed,
develop their or,rrnmethodologies for making words stick. \Mhether it
is that of listening to successivenews broadcasts on television or
keeping words in matchboxes-examples we cited in the
introduction to the first edition of this book-students intuitively
bring to bear the commonsense understanding that for something to
be effective it must be effective for them.Attention must be paid not to
a generalized view of learning but to the variety of the individual
process of learning. This book has grown out of our attempts to work
with that process,and this second edition seeksto incorporate new
understanding of the factors that influence it.

Introduction| 5
Making new
Howhave things changed,then, in the two decadesthat separatethe
editions of this book?We still seea need for practical activities of the
kind offered here, and still hold to our view that vocabularylearning
is best carried out interactively within the classroom,but we no
longer feel tlat we are mapping uncharted waters.Many new
theoriesand insights have emergedwhich have direct impact on
what it is to 'know' a word. To stick with a nautical metaphor,we
havein the past sailedbefore the wind of many new trends and ideas,
and someof the new chaptersin the book continue to stem from this
Onereasonwhy somestudentsexperiencelanguagelearning asa
chore is becausethey find themselvesaskedto do againand again
what they are alreadyable to do with their eyesshut in their mother
tongue.We strongly maintain, aswe did twentyyears ago,that a
good secondlanguageexercisewill offer the student an experience
that is to someextent new that they have never found themselves
doingin their Lr.
When this kind of freshnessand element of surprisecropsup in
lessonafter lesson,then the languageclassroombeginsto be an
interesting place.We alsofeel that a good Lz activity, at leastfrom
elementarylevel up, is one that would alsowork adequatelyand
maintain a reasonablelevel of interest among studentsif done in
their mother tongue.This is why you should put this book in the
handsof the teachersof tJe mother tongue in your staflroom.

A relationship with words

Another principle that underpins this book is the realization that
Iearningwordsis a relationalprocess.You could describethe processas
makingfriendswith thewordsof thet argetlanguage. We do not sub scrib e
to the view that a word is merely a 'signifier' that actsasa label for a
'signif,ed' in the real world.
It is much more than that. If a word is
simply a label, whywill secondlanguagelearnerspick up and
remember one word apparently effortlessly,while another word, met
at the sametime and place,will be refuseda placein their mind?Just
asa look, a movement, a chanceremark, a tone of voice.or
somethingin the setting can influence our flrst impressionsof a
person,so our perception of a word can be affectedby, for example:
- its sound
- the kinetic sensationofthe lungs, throat, mouth, tongue, and nose
when sayingthe word
- its tune
- its pitch
- its speedof enunciation
- the other word companyit keeps(collocatingability and breadth)

5 | Introduction
- its spelling
- its shape on the page or screen
- conventional associations: semantic and syntactic categories to
which the word appears to belong
- literary associations ('pail of water' in the context ofJack andJill)
- the associations the word has for the individual learner
- the circumstances of meeting the word.

All these factors play a part in'learning' a word. If you take them all
into account, then meeting a word is a process of befriending, of
coming to terms with a complex, self-standing reality.
We would like to round offthese opening paragraphs with a
paraphrase of part ofAlan Maley's foreword to the 1986 edition:

The acquisition ofvocabulary is:

o a branching process rather than a linear one. Words are not learnt
mechanically, as little packets of meaning, but associatively;
. an intensely personal process.The associationsand vibrations
depend on our own past and present felt experience;
. a social process, rather than a solitary one. We expand our
understanding of word meanings by interchanging and sharing
them with others:
. not a purely intellectual, effortful process, but an experiential
hands-on process too. An over-intellectual approach causesthe
language to be seen as an object, rather than to be incorporated
within the subject-the learner.

New trends
In the years between the flrst edition of this book and today, there
has been-as we have already suggested-signiflcant work done
which impacts upon the lexical component of language. This has fed
into curricula and coursebooks, while mainstream teaching has been
influenced by work on a host of theories: multiple intelligences,
learning styles, neurolinguistic programming (NLP),and so on. It is
easy,too, to forget, or not take account of, the fact that back in the
r98os computers had yet to have a major influence on our thinking.
The computer explosion and the Internet have transformed the
environment in which language is used and learning takes place.
These are some of the factors that have informed the updating of
this book. We will conclude this introduction by summarizing under
three headings how they have advanced our understanding ofthe
teaching ofwords.

Introduction| 7
The relationship of the mother tongue to
the foreign language
Overthe pastten yearsthe EFLcommunity, particularly in the UK,
hastalked increasinglyof the major importance of the mother
tongue in the learning of a secondlanguage.There is a growing revolt
againstthe belief, held by proponentsof the Direct Method, that the
mother tongue shouldbe excludedfrom the secondlanguage
classroom.In our view this revolt is common sense.In the caseof
adolescentsand adults,the mother tongue is the launch pad for the
secondlanguage.Theselearnersnaturally referencenewwords in Lz
via the mother tongue.To take an example:a rz-year-oldTurk
meeting the Englishwordhousewill not go direct fiom his feelings
about his home, from the sightsand soundsof his home tohouse;he
will go fiom the conceptand feeling to the Tirrkish word evand from
there make an equivalencewith house. This is natural, inevitable, and
linguistically effi.cient,sinceevis for him a brilliant, zipped-up
synthesisof all his thoughts and feelingssurrounding the conceptof
Interestingly,the UK EFLvoiceswho haverecently advocated
sensibleuse of the mother tongue include university academicsand
practisingteachers.On the one hand you haveinfluential writers like
ProfessorGuy Cook from ReadingUniversity writing articleswith
titles like 'Is there Direct Method in our Madness?'( ELGazefi.e,Isste
239,19gqand on the other Andrew Morris, a teacherin Bangladesh,
writingwhat follows:
I can't seethe problemwith judicioususeofthe students'mother
tongue-especially at lower levels....asa learner of other
languagesmyself I find it necessaryat times to clarify a point of
vocabularyor grammar in English,againespeciallyat beginner
level.It is absurdto operateall the time in a new secondlanguage,
and ignore the many rich and valuablepoints of comparisonthere
maybe with their own.
(ELTeCS-L Digeston the British Council website
http ://www.b ritishcouncil.org)
In Chapter4, 'Bilingual texts and activities',we celebratethe lifting of
the Direct Method ban on the mother tongue by offering you some
exercisesthat we hope will pleasethose of your studentswith strong
linguistic intelligences.When we look back, we are amazedthat we
only included a coupleof exercisesin the first edition of this book
which included the use of the student'smother tongue.We paid little
attention to our own natural, contrastiveway of learning other
languages.If you flnd the exercisesin this chapter useful and would
like somemore, consult the large vocabularysectionin Deller and
Rinvolucri zooz.(Seethe Annotated Bibliographyat the end of this

8 | Introduction
Thesensorybasis and
ofboth experience
Work with the technology offered by neurolinguistic programming
hasmadeus much more awarethan we were before of the fact that it
is through the flve sensesthat we experiencethe external world and
the internalworld ofwords. Takethis sentence:
Themanwenttothewindowandlooked out.
Wasyour flrst 'representation'of the man, a picture, a feeling, or a
sound?What sort ofwindowwas it?\ /hat sort of house?Wherein
the world did it happen?Did you get a feeling of the light, the
weather, the temperature that da12Or was it night? Were there
backgroundnoises,sounds?As he looked out, what was outlike?
Were you inside the 'space'of the scene,or did you seeit asan
external picture?
As we use our mother tongue we are continually making
unconsciouslexical choicesbasedon sensorypreferencesthat come
from our deepprogramming. If you want to expressthe idea that you
got angryyou might say:
I suwred. (visual)
Ilostmy rag. (kinaesthetic)
Iflew offthehandle.
I reachedscrearrnng (auditory)
All the abovephrasescar4rthe intended meaning,but they do soin
sensorilyvery different ways.To expressourselvesin language,we
haveno choicebut to make continuous sensorychoicesaslarge areas
ofthe languagesystemare basedon seeing,hearing, orfeeling
through the body. This awarenessleadsto a slew of emotionally apt
activitiesin the courseofwhich studentsdiscovera whole new area
of themselvesand their relationship to words. So,for example,
dictate a set ofwords tfrat the students have alreadv studied and ask
them to classify them into four columns:

eye ear bodilyfeeling taste/smell

With the word sock,for example,in which of thesecolumnswould

you get your first representation?And the word mother?Somepeople
hear their mother, others know her through bodily feeling,while
othersget a mental picture of her. At a later stagein this exercise
studentscomparetheir sensory,categorization of the words dictated
and the room is fllled with animated,sometimesamazedvoices,as
they discoverthat their friend's sensoryprocessis different from
theirs. (Herewe chosean auditory representationof the classroom
There are, of course,plenty of abstractwords in the languagethat
are only etymologicallysensory$ituation,for example,from the Latin
word situsmeaningplace)but the cuffent meaning has cometo mean

something similar to ciramntance, which in turn originally meant
whatstandsaround).But if you go to 6.15you will flnd an activity in
which the teacher dictatesabstractwords and the studentsdo a
quick drawing for each.After the first shock of being askedto
studentsfind they can easilyvisualize
visualizea word llke integritry,
analoguesfor or illustrations ofabstract concepts.It is in this
way that we 'domesticate'what is abstractinto our own personal
Neurolinguistic programming has a great dealto sayabout
languageand words that goeswell beyond the sensorysystembut in
this bookwe have confi.nedourselvesto this small areaof NLP's
insights.To flnd out more, seeO'Connorand Seymour1990.

The discoveries made by

corpus linguists
The growth of corpuslinguistics over the pasttwenty-five yearshas
led us to new waysof understandingwords.We can now study them
in their collocationalenvironment. and we can do this on a massive
scaleand acrosshectaresof text. We consciouslyrealize how this
coloursand changestheir meaning.Let us take the verb to cause.lt
turns out that this is not the neutral unbiasedword you might think.
Accordingto one large corpus,ninety per cent ofthe things causedare
to causeembarrassment
to causehavoc
to causechaos
to causedistress
to causepainto
When we first heard thesefactsduring a presentationin 1999,given
by Ron Carter,we were assurprisedashe saidhe had been at flrst. He
went on to add that corpusstudy had led him to doubt the accuracy
of native-speakingintrospection about words.
Another example,this time fiom Michael Rundell:his article
onlytheyd askeda linguist' (http://www.hltmag.co.uk,zoozlshows
how wrong the UK PostOff,cewas to re-nameitself
yearsago.(In zoozit decidedto go back to calling itself 'The Royal
Mail'.)Accordingto the British National Corpus,the verb consign is
massivelynegativethrough collocational association:
consigtrtothe of alloccurrences,of which half were the
to oblivion(5%)
Rundellwrites, 'It is almost impossibleto flnd a singlecontext in
appearsin a positive light'. Indeedthe LK PostOfflce
which consign

10 | Introduction
shouldhave consulteda linguist before renaming themselveswith
one of the most negativelycollocatingwords in the language!
In Chapter5 we offer two types of exercise:one where students
work with evidencefrom corpora,set out on the pagein front of
them, and the otherwhere the studentslearn to use concordancing
programssothey can make their own discoveriesfrom raw data.This
chapterinvites you into the vast new thinking spacethat corpus
linguists havebeen creating over the pasttwentyyears.

Other changesto this edition

Readers of the flrst edition will notice that the book is now
considerably longer, and is divided into eleven chapters instead of
seven. This has enabled us to present the activities in a clearer way
and we recommend a close study of the table of contents as a way of
flnding what you want. The inclusion of Aims for each activity should
further facilitate this process.Some of the favourites'have been
updated with new texts and examples.
The development of the Internet has led to the inclusion of some
net-related activities and to a number ofvariations and additions to
others. Web addresses(unrs) have been provided for software
sources and sites relating to dictionaries, corpora, and the like,
though we cannot of course guarantee that all these unrs will
remain valid. The Internet also provides us with an opportunity to
establish a dialogue with you, our readers. This book is among the
first to be supported by a website devoted to the Resource Books for
Teachersseries,to be found at http://www.oup.com/elVteacher/rbt,
and we welcome your feedback. There you will find, too, extra
activities, downloadable worksheets, author articles, competitions,
etc. And there is more still at the OUP Teachers' Club at
http ://www. o u p.co m/e lVg Io ba l/teacherscIu b/.

And one other thing ...

All the materials in this book are offered as suggestions for
exploration and modiflcation by the teachers and students who
might use them. We aim neither to present a method to be rigorously
followed, nor to specifywhat to teach. We hope on the other hand to
provide a rich sourcebook of ideas to be dipped into, transformed,
and added to. If you would like to share your ideas and experiences,
please contact us via http ://www. o u p.co m/e lVteacherlrbt.

John Morgan
Mario Rinvolucri

I n t r o d u c t i o|n1 1

Although vocabulary may be learnt flom many sources, for the

'reading passage'found
majority of students the in the coursebook or
supplied by the teacher is the most usual. Such texts have the
advantage that they can be speciallywritten or adapted to suit
curriculum needs, to present a steady progression of grammar and
vocabulary to be learnt, to form the basis for student assessment and
grading, etc. On the other hand, they cannot address the huge variety
of individual student needs, even among those who are the same
level'. Learners differ in their experience of life, in their beliefs, in
their attitude to themselves and others, in their'learning style', in
their aspirations, and in countless other ways. Many of these
differences will be reflected in how and to what extent, they will
learn vocabulary from the text placed in fiont of them.
The activities in this chapter have two principal aims: to motivate
the students to read the text, and to get them to review and organize
their thoughts and language resources before reading. It should be
remembered that they concentrate onvocabularyuse and
acquisition, not on furthering good reading habits, and that an
actMty that is powerful enough to enable the students to learn
language from a dull text may also interfere with or swamp the
reading ofa rich text.

1 . 1 What'sin the text?

Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 20-30minutes
Aims To motivate studentsto reada text by getting them to speculate
beforehandabout its content.
Materials One copy of the text for eachstudent.

Chooseand make copiesof a text and from it selectflve to eight items
of vocabularyfor presentationasa 'word rose'.(Seethe sampletext
below for the kind of text that would be appropriateat upper-
intermediate level.)Thevocabularyitems shouldbe neither 'context-
free' (for example,structurewords, neutral or very general
adjectives),nor 'keywords' that would closelytypify the main

activities| 13
meaning of the text: the airn should be to allowthe studentsa
reasonablechanceof coming closeto the text without restricting
their imagination.

1 Put up the word roseon the blackboard.
2 Tell the sflldentsthat they are going to read a text in which these
words appear(not necessarilyin the order presented).
3 Ask them, in groups of four, to speculateon the content of the text.
4 Give out copiesof the text for comparisonand discussion.

of a wordrose,based
Example An example on thesample
ignore polite
writing updated
driver carriageway

Sampletext Thelanguageof road-signs

Signsare a greatway of telling peoplethings they don't know,
pretend not to know, forget or simply ignore. However,there is a
problem with signs,and that is that most of them havebeen around
for so long that we're beginning not to notice them, and for a sign
that is a fate worse than death.
Signswith writing on are particularly at risk becauselanguage
changesa lot fasterthan pictures.For example,crvE wev. This
phraseis straight out of the era of coachesand horseswith an
undercurrent of gentle submission.If this sign were at a polite
cocktail party it would sayswooN. Thesedays,no one givesway
unlessthey absolutelyhaveto. This sign shouldtherefore be updated
to No wAY.Orjust No.
Duer cannrAcEwAyis anotherdesignaiionstraightout of the r8th
century.Americansthink it is asquaint aswe think their turnpikes
are quaint. We all know what one is, but it's very diff,cult to think of
what elseit couldbe called.Dousrn IANE or src noao?The
metatextof ouer cARRTAGEwAv AHEADis clearlycHANcETo
FRUSTRATIoNAHEAD.Sadly,the one thingyou can never, ever do
with a road sign is give permission, or even imply, that you can go fast.
Even nnrucE spEEDNow is suspect,and sounds like a driving
instructor's instruction. This should be updated to slow DowN Now
or, a bit oxymoronically, srow DowN quICKry. Maybe we could
have them in sequence:srART BRAKTNGNow. BRAKENow. BRAr(E.
ron Gop' s sAI(E, BRAI(E! It's an unnecessarysign. Telling people to
slow down because there's something in their way is getting
perilously close to teaching them to suck eggs.
Punctuation can also drift past its sell-by date. One of the most
common all-purpose signs is the exclamation mark. This is clearly the

14 | Pre-textactivities
same as cosH ! It implies that something moderately interesting
could happen ifyou're easilyinterested. What is needed is Or
something flom Captain Haddock like Becausethat's what we
all say when we round a bend at 7o miles an hour and flnd a modern
art installation in the middle of the road.
(Guy Browning. 'You talking to me?', TheGuardianWeekend,g June

Followr and z above, then ask the classto shout out anywords
suggested by the words you have written up. When you hear words
that are in the text, add them to the words already on the blackboard.
rv\Ihenyou have written, say, twenty more words on the board, carry
on with 3 and 4 above.

1 . 2 Predictingmeanings
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 10-20minutes
Aims Toencouragestudentsto work out from contextthe meaningsof
Materials One copy of the text for eachstudent.

Selectfiom the text that you have choseneight to ten words that you
think will not be familiar to your students.The sampletext below is
an example of the kind of textyou might choose.

1 Put up the unfamiliar words on the blackboard.
2 Tell the classthat you have selectedthe words fiom a text that they
are about to read and give them a briefoutline ofits content.
Ask them to take a sheetof paper and rule it into two columns.They
shouldwrite dovrn eachof the words on the blackboardin the left-
hand column, and then in the right-hand column write three or four
other words that are suggestedby eachleft-handword. Tell them that
the words they write can be suggestedby sound,spelling,possible
meaning, or in any other way.
Ask the students,in groups of three or four, to comparewhat they
Giveout the text. As the studentsread,encoutagethem to work out
from the contextwhat the unfamiliarwords mean,before checking
with you or their dictionary.

Sampletext Magweta
After World War II, Magwetafi.ndsitself with a small foreign
exchangesurplusand rudimentary armed forcesand police force.

activities| 15
The country's economyis basedon agriculture, predominantly small
farms run by one family, but alsoincluding a few large estates
primarily producing cashcropsfor export. A civilian political
grouping hasrecently cometo power with a policy of rapid industrial
development,basingits appealon nationalistic sentiment amongst
the people.
To transform the country the ruling group startsto import large
quantities of machinery including small amounts of arms, although
the cost of the latter is reducedby a grant of military aid from a
Westernpower.Many of the ruling group havebeen educatedin the
West and have acquireda Westernlifestyle; they set the paceby
purchasingcars,radios,and similar luxuries which others in the
higher echelonsthen seekto acquire.The politicians make patriotic
speecheswhich justify the expansionand re-equippingof the
ffier a fewyears the foreign exchangeposition has seriously
deterioratedand a loan is obtainedfrom the IMF.Exportsare
encouragedand a major effort is madeto expandthe production of
cashcropsthrough the use of improved agricultural techniques.
Selectiverestrictions are placedon imports in order to stimulate local
productionbut arms imports continue to increase.
Although there is a short-termimprovement helped by somedirect
foreign investment, a steadydeclinein the price of cashcrop exports,
relative to manufacturedimports, results in a secondapplication for
a loan. This is granted on condition that the currencyis devaluedand
import restrictionsremoved.This the government reluctantly
accedes to.
The result of this policyis the destructionof embryonic local
industry aslarge foreign concerns,relying heavily on advertisingand
the lure ofWestern image,flood the market. Severallarge tracts of
land, someof which were previouslyfarmed under the traditional
system,are bought up by a few individuals and fi.rmsand converted
to producemore cropsfor export. Employment in traditional
agriculture stagnates,and the most vigorousyoung peopleleavethe
land to move into the urban areaswhere most of the wealth is
concentrated.Rural societydeclinesand shantytowns grow in the
shadowof the westernisedcities.
(Bombs for Breakfast,
CampaignAgainst the Arms Trade,r98r)

1.3 Predictingwords
Level lntermediateto advanced
Time 20-25minutes
Aims To review areasof vocabularywith which the studentsalready
havesomefamiliarity,so that new itemsin theseareascanmore
easilybe'slottedin'and remembered; to stimulateinterestin
a dulltext.
Materials One copy of the text for eachstudent.

16 | Pre-text
Preparation q
Choosea text with a fairly narrow and predictableset of vocabulary,by
virtue of its content and/orstyle.Examplesof suitabletexts might be:
o advertisements
. passages flom coursebooks
. news items with a well-known therne (armstalks, earthquakes,
o fairy storiesand folk talesknown to the students(for example,
Cinderella,Washington and the cherrytree, Nasreddinstories)
o instructions, recipes,product descriptions
. popular songs
The sampletexts below provide examples.

Tell the studentsthat later in the lessontheywill be readinga
text/listening to a tapeihearinga story.Givethem a very rough idea of
what the piecewill be about:for example,in the samplesbelow tell
them they are going to read a short article about the stressesof
working for an international companyihearan Ametican cowboy
songabout whisky.
Ask the students,in pairs,to predict someof the vocabularythey
might encounterin the text. Tell them to producea list of eight to ten
items.Allow dictionariesand give assistancewhen asked.
3 Ask the studentsto form larger groups (eight to twelve) and explain
their lists to one another.
4 Giveout the texts/playthe recording/tell the story.

Sampletexts Theinternationalcommuter
'Euro flyer' who commutesbetweenthe UK and
An interview with a
the continent everyweek showsthe specialchallenges.This manager
gavethe following account:
'I feel l can copewith the demandsofbeing in different placesall
the time. I have alwaysbeen ableto work strangehours and to juggle
a lot of balls in the air, but I can alsoseethat my family needsmore
reassurance. They find it probably more difficult to copewith my
frantic life. In terms of the company,I would have expectedmore
support.They do not realize the effect of short-terminternational
travel, despitebeing an international company.Ideally,I would
expectfrom my companymore flexibility but alsomore trust. I
would expectthe companyto treat me asa mature individual.
'What helped me personallyto adaptto short-term internationa-
work are the following personality characteristics:independence,
selFdiscipline,cultural sensitivity,being open and light-hearted,
being positive,being assertive,and not being arrogantbut humble.
'My careerexpectationshavecompletely changedasI now think
much more globally.I think nothing of picking up the phone and
arranging a meeting in another country or on another continent,

Pre-textactivities| 17
whereasbefore this itwould never have occurredto me. The only
negativeeffect of my frantic lifestyle is that I havebecomemuch
more aggressiveand lesspatient and peoplehavein fact commented
on this. I do believeI havebecomelesstolerant of peoplewho want
to wastetime and in such situationsmytemper hasbecomeshorter.
On the other hand, I believeI have developeda deeperand better
understandingof people.
'Another areathat I need guard
to for my own developmentis the
private life/professionallife distinction. BecauseI have a highly
stressfulinternational job, I find it difficult to switch offand
therefore my lifestyle hasbecomeextremely paceyand adrenalin-
driven. I now find it quite hard to slow down in my personallife and I
want to pack in all the socialactivities in a very short spaceof time.
There is definitely not enoughbalancein terms of relaxation in my
life. This is obviouslya risk in terms of long-term stressbut it also
puts a certain pressureon my personalrelationships.'
(Elisabeth Marx. Br eakLng throughCulnre Sho ck London: Nicholas

I'11eat when I'm hungry Jacko' diamonds,Jacko' diamonds,
I'll drinkwhen I'm dry; I knowyou of old.
If the hard times don't kill me, You'verobbed my poor pockets
I'11laydown and die. Of silverand gold.
Beefsteakwhen I'm hungry Oh, whiskey, you villain
Redliquorwhen I'm dry You'vebeen my downfall.
Greenbackswhen I'm hard up, You'vekicked me, you've hurt me-
And religion when I die. But I love you for all.
They sayI drink whiskey, Ryewhtskey, ryewhiskey,
Mymoney'smyown; Ryewhiskey,lcry.
All them that don't like me If youdon'tgwemeryewhtskey,
Canleaveme alone. Isurelywilldie.
SometimesI drink whiskey, (TraditionalUScowboy song)
SometimesI drink rum;
SometimesI drink brandy,
At other times none.

A Polishcolleague,MalgorzataSzwaj,suggestsputting up the first
part of the title of the piece,and then askingthe classto suggestways
of completing it, and what their suggestedtitles might refer to.

18 | Pre+extactivities
1.4 Criminalrecords
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 30-40minutes
Aims Tofocusthe students'attentionon the waysthey associate words
by meaningor context,and especially on the positiveand negative
connotationswords havefor them.
Materials One copy of the text for eachstudent.

Choosethe keywords from a text.

Write up on the blackboarda skeleton'criminalrecordcard'of the
type shown below (column r only)
2 Fill in an example 'criminal record' asin column z.
3 Point out that words could alsobe saidto havecriminal records,
and give a fairly concreteexamplein column 3:
1 2 J

Name John Smith fat

Place of residence 3 PackerStreet,West Croydon body
Iftrown associates PeterTackson,Arthur Baines carbolrydrates,
Crfuninal record robbery terrorism, kidnapping heart disease

Write up on the blackboard the list ofwords fiom the textyou have
chosen. For the intermediate text overleaf this could be:
land value
belong rent
market commodity
Ask the students to make out'criminal record cards' for each of the
words you have written up.
Ask the students to form small groups (three to flve) and tell each
other what they have written and why.
7 Ask the classto read the text.
8 As a follow-up, they might like to consider whether they have
changed their minds about any of the words after reading them in

Examples In one group,studentsproducedthe followingthreeexamples:

Name value commodity rent
Placeof residence jewellery,safe shop Cambridge
Known associates money,investment sell,buy landlady
Criminal record stealing,cheating greed dirtyroom,badfood

| 19
Sampletext Land
To us in Africa land was alwaysrecognizedasbelonging to the
community. Eachindividual within our societyhad a right to the use
of the land, becauseotherwisehe could not earn his living and one
cannot havethe right to life without alsohaving the right to some
meansof sustaininglife. But the African's right to land was simply
the right to use it; he had no other right to it, nor did it occurto him
to try and claim one.The foreigner introduced a completely different
concept-the conceptof land asa marketablecommodity.According
to this system,a personcould claim a pieceof land ashis own private
propertywhether he intended to use it or not. I could take a few
squaremiles of land, call them 'mine', and then go offto the moon.
AII I had to do to gain a living from 'my' land was to chargea rent to
the peoplewho wanted to useit. If this pieceof land was in an urban
areaI had no needto developit at all; I could leaveit to the fools who
were preparedto developall the other piecesof land surrounding
'my' piece,and in doing so automaticallyto raisethe market value of
mine. Then I could come down from the moon and demandthat
thesefools pay me through their nosesfor the high value of
land-a value which they themselveshad createdfor me while I was
enjoying myself on the moon! Sucha systemis not only foreign to us,
it is completelywrong.
(JuliusK. Nyerere.Ujamaa.Oxford University Press,1968)

1.5 Ungrammatical
Level Intermediateto advanced
Time 3G40 minutes
Aims Toencouragestudentsto exploretheir preconceptions about
particularwords beforemeetingthem in a context,so that their
readingbecomesmoredirectedand critical.
Materials One copy of the text for eachstudent

Choosea text and list ro-rz words and phrasesin it that the classare
likely to flnd hard. In the following exampletext thesecould be, for
intermediate learners:
rush-hour crowded carchases trafficlanes oavement alleyways
performing s i tu p a n d b e g display ploughing equation Jam

1 Put up your list on the blackboardand askthe studentsto check (with
dictionaries,from eachother, or by askingyou) that they understand
all the words.
2 Ask the students,working individually, to divide the words into male
and female.Tell them that this has nothing to do with ideasof
grammaticalgender or'dictionary meaning' but should expresstheir
ownfeelings about the words.
20 | Pre-text
Invite the students to discuss in pairs why they sexed the words as f
they did.
4 Give out the text for the class to read.
5 Ask them to discuss in pairs if the context has led them to change
their minds about any of the words and phrases.

Example Hereiswhat one studentproduced:

Male Female
rusn-nour pavemenr
carchases trafficlanes
sit up and beg crowded
equation alleyways
performing jam

Sampletext Movie chase

All week people sit in traffi.c jams. Sometimes, on a Friday night, they
go to the movies. On the way they sit in more traffic jams, they miss
the first part of the movie because they can't flnd a parking place.
Then they sit in a dark cinema and watch a man drive a car through
rush-hour traffi.c, clear across a city at eighty miles an hour. If the
man had turned into a six-foot banana we would say it was a stupid
movie, but a man driving a car through a crowded city at eighty miles
an hour we not only accept but remark to each other how brilliantly
done the car chaseswere.
Nothing can stop the hero in his car. If he meets another car, he
drives round it, or maybe over it, or just possibly through it. He goes
on the pavement, he crossesinto opposing traffic lanes, he hurtles
down empty alleyways. His car can jump, his car can roll over, it is
more like a performing dog than a ton and a half of lifeless metal. If
you offered it a biscuit it would probably sit up and beg.
The fact that this display ... was shot at 5.3oa.m. on four successive
Sunday mornings, means nothing. The fact that if you actually tried any
of that stufffor real you would not get twenty yards before ploughing
into a bus queue and killing thirry innocent pedestrians, is not part of
the equation. The fact that Moses may have been able to part the Red
Seabut could not do more than ten miles an hour in London, doesn't
matter. Movie car chasesremind us of how much we love cars.
\Mhen the movie is over, everybody goes and sits in a jam again.
(Ben Elton. Gridlock.Macdonald, r99r)

Many teachers might be horrified at the idea of encouraging students
to associate English words with gender-it's hard enough to stop
Gaston saylng'When I picked up the cup, she broke.' But quite aparr
from the grammar, manywords are, for some of us at least, gender-

activities| 21
1.5 Look,remember,and completethe set
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 30-40 minutes
Aims Tofocusthe students'attention on how they try to remember
words,and on how contextmight influencetheir memory.
Materials Onecopyof the text, and one copyof the'word jumble'for each

From a narrative or descriptivetext which you wish the classto read,
selectz5-3o of thosevocabularyitems which for you bestreflect the
mood and action of the passage.Setout the words you have chosenas
a word jumble like the one below, which is taken from the sample
text, and prepare sufflcient copiesfor eachpersonin the group.

1 Give out the word jumbles facedown to eachmember of the group.
2 Tell the classthat theywill haver5 seconds(or more if you have
chosena long list) to look at the jumbles, then tell them to turn over
their sheetsand read.
\Mhenthe time limit is up, tell the classto turn the jumbles face
down again.Then askthem, working individually, to write out all the
words they can remember.
Then ask them to wdte down any more words they think might fit
the sceneor action suggestedby the words they haveremembered.
They could use a different colouredpen for this.
Ask the studentsto discussin pairs the words they havewritten
down, and the text they imagine containsthem.
Give out copiesof the text.

22 I Pre-text
\Mhen the students have flnished reading the text, ask them to
discuss in groups of three to flve a)which words they found hard to
remember in step 3, and b)which words they think theywill now
remember, andwhy.

Sampletext Moving house

It took the upheaval of moving house to bring home to me again that
I could not see.This may sound odd. But having Emma I could see:
not in a visual sense, obviously, but I knew what was going around
me as she reacted to her surroundings. All her feelings and moods
transmitted themselves through the harness. I could always tell if
there was an obstacle ahead because of the way she slowed up and
hesitated ever so slightly. I knew when we were passing another dog,
because I could feel her looking, and her tail wagging.
But around the house itwas different. Moving in a room, or from
one room to another, a blind person is always mentally planning. And
moving to a new house, you have to start all over again. Don helped
me move in, and we had a hectic time: he put up curtain rails and
changed electric plugs, while I carried on the endless business of
unpacking. Emma and I collapsed into bed at about two in the
morning. In next to no time, it seemed, I heard someone knocking
outside (it was, in fact, Don) and I quickly got out of bed. Then I
realized I could not remember exactlywhere the door was. I felt I was
in a fitted wardrobe. After trying another wall, and coming back
again to the fltted wardrobe, I finally found the right door. Pausing
only to collide with the settee that I had forgotten had been put in
the middle of the living room, I got to the front door. There was no
one there. Then I remembered there was a back door as well, where
Don was patiently waiting. It took me a long time to become
accustomed to all the different doors, after being used to my flat with
its one entrance and fewer rooms.
(Sheila Hocken. Emmq andI. Gollancz, tg77l

This idea was suggested by a picture recall exetcise presented byAlan
Maley at the IATEFL Conference in Decembet 7979.

1 . 7 Wordson a map
Level Intermediateto advanced
Time 20-30minutes
Aims To motivate and focusthe students'readingof a text by first
exploringthe personalconnectionsof someof the words and
Materials Onecopyof the text, and one copyof a mapor drawing,
for eachstudent.

I 23
Choosea passage and pick out 10-12wordsand phrasesfrom it to
focuson. For the passagegiven below we suggestthese:
variations to runrnto
componenr mobility
+^ nanarrfo daringto change
expenment justifications
in one'sownvoice standard rules
Choosean image (amap of a well-known country picture of a well-
known person,a symbol)and be readyto show it to the students,for

Showthe classthe image and give them the list of words.Ask them to
decideindividually which words apply in someway to the image.
Alternatively,give out copiesof the image and askthem to write the
words on it in appropriatepositions.
2 Ask them to comparenoteswith their neighbours.
3 Give out copiesof the text.

Sampletext Childrenat play

Watching children play, I decidedthat if one presentsyoung children
with the componentsof games,theywill generategamesthemselves.
Children experiment with different ways of doing things, whereas
adults get accustomedto believing there is one right and one wrong
way to do things. Creatinga gameis much like discoveringhow to
write in one's own voice.Making games,writing, building are all
waysyoung peoplecan discoverthat they can put things into the
world, that they can have somecontrol over life.
The other day I ran into somechildren who were playing their own
version of chess.The knights jumped two squaresat a time, since
they gallopedlike horses.The queen,rooks, pawnsand bishops
moved in their regular ways,though the king was given the mobility

24 | Pre-text
of a queen. \vVhenI came upon the game a young student was telling
the kids how wrong they were in daring to change the rules of the
game, that theywould never be chess players if they didn't play
the rules. One of the kids said she didn't want to be a real chess player
but was curious about what happened when you changed the rules.
The new game was interesting but the student teacher insisted it
wasn't a game and forced the kids to play by the standard rules.
\Mhen I mentioned to him that there were dozens of variations of
chess played throughout the world, he claimed that the only
justiflcation for letting children play games in school was to
accustom them to learning to play by the rules. I disagree.
(H.R.Kohl. Wnting, Maths and Games.Methuen, 1977)

1 . 8 Cardson the table

Level Intermediateto advanced
Time 20-30minutes
Aims Toget the studentsto clarifytheir ideasabout a topic or attitude
beforereadinga text, especially one that will be usedasthe basis
for discussionor essay-writing.
Materials One copy of the text for eachstudent;one set of 24 word cardsfor
eachgroup of sixto eight students.

For the first class:preparea set ofz4 cards,eachbearing a different
word. Choosethe words from a fairlywell-defi.nedareaof human
concern,for example:

Thingsand ideascloseto the individual

d t I animal enemy boy mind father child per

)3:'l soul family baby friend heart daughter morner
:,cd stomach group head woman girl adult blood

Sscialconcernsand ideas
-ome scnool neighbourhood NCSI f riends garoen nouse language
-atron estate conversatron properry land flat socrety country
:ceech hospital institution belongings f a m i l y wife corrage locality

2 For later classes:choose a passage,preferably one expressing a strong

theme or point ofview, and pick out z4words and/or phrases from it
which typify its content. Prepare a set ofz4 cards, each bearing a
different word or phrase, for every six to eight students in the class.
From the text below we have selected these:

activities| 25
threat scnoor psychiatrist police nursed neighbour
home perpetrated suicide iil teenager mother
statistics socialservices hospital mentally snop theft
refuge magistrate community ACCUSCO vandalism anorexta

Alternatively,you could dictatethe list to your studentsand get them

to preparetheir own cards.

Arrangethe classroomsothat the group(s)ofstudents can stand
round a tableor tables.
2 Layout a set ofcards faceup in random order on the table(s).
3 Ask the group(s)to arrangethe cardsin groupsof three (or four, or
six) accordingto meaning.Stressthat a)the group must agree
unanimously and b) all the cardsmust be used.
Invite the group(s)tojustifytheir card affangement.If there is more
than one group, get them to circulate and seewhat other groupshave

Follow the sameprocedureasabove,but usecardsbearingwords
derivedfrom a text. The studentsmay read the text beforeworking
on the cards,afterwards,or both. The exercisecan thus be usedasa
lead-into a text and/or asa way of passingcomment on it and
stimulating criticism and discussion.

Sampletext My mother
About fi.veyearsbefore her death my mother ceasedher threats
of suicideand embarkedon a life of persistenttheft. It must have
been a sweetmoment when a shopassistantI had onceflned in the
magistrate'scourt for shoplifting asked:"vVhatare you going to do
aboutyour mother's shoplifting?'
The local shopsfrisked my mother's pocketsand shoppingbag,but
never bargainedfor the capacityof directoire knickers with strong
elastics.Soshestill got awaywith a great deal,although once she
shedonions and carrotsasshewalked.
'Youmustn't do that sort of thing,' saidthe psychiatrist,now being
chasedup by the police and the socialservices.Shewas now in deep
depressionat being accusedofstealing, and he took her into hospital
for a courseof electro-convulsivetherapy.It lifted the depressionand
shewas quite a h"ppy shoplifter, and the only place shewas safein
was the bank.
Next cameillegal entry. Shewould go into housesand take
anything portable.During the hours of darknessmy mother, then 83,
fell over a wall betweentwo houses,sufferedappalling lacerations,
and left a trail of blood back to her home.

26 | Pre-textactivities
they will be obliged to take her in!' said the GP.With a
suitcase in the boot I drove her to the clinic.
have made a mess ofyourself,' said the psychiatrist. I drove
her home-my home- and nursed her for six weeks.
With great resilience she became as active as ever, and the
community was beset by teenage vandalism. The police visited
schools, and my mother's neighbour, after several bouts of damage,
bought a huge Alsatian, which, he assured me, would tear to pieces
anyone who touched the car.
Watchers, some time after that, witnessed the car vandalism. My
mother selected the car. went into the house for an instrument, and
perpetrated the damage. A frustrated policeman told me: And to cap
it all, the ruddy dog was helping her!'
time she will be taken in,' said both GP and social workers,
but she was not. Her last refuge was anorexia neryosa.
is time you had some relief,' the psychiatrist told me. He
proposed taking her into the psycho-geriatric ward for three weeks.
Before that time came she had another fall. Lacerated and shocked,
she was taken into the local general hospital. The following morning
I was told by the ward sister that she was much improved, and eating
her breakfast as if she had not seen food for a month. A few minutes
later she rang back. My mother had choked to death. She had joined
the statistics of those mentally ill who are successfully maintained
withinthe community.
(Clarice Maizel. A little old thief', TheGuardian,19 December 1983)


The activity can also be used after reading a text, as a way of

expressing the reader's understanding or reaction.

I 27
Workingwith texts

As in the previouschapter,we are concernedhere with the useof

texts asa sourceof vocabularyand asan aid to learning vocabulary:
we are not offering strategiesfor effi.cientreading.For that reason,
we concentrateon shorter texts, which can be worked through
during a single classsession,and have alsoincluded activities that
canbe usedwith oral texts (for example,2.3,'Correct the teacher',
and 2.r3,'Besomeoneelse').The emphasisthroughoutis on getting
the studentsto connectthe words and phrasesthey meet in the text
with what they alreadyknow and with their own experienceof life
and language(for example,2.9,'Thewordsin your past').
The context in which one meetsa word or phraseis important in
establishingits exactmeaning and connotation, and due attention is
paid to this throughout, but it is alsoimportant in terms of
memorability-an item met in one context maybe remembered,in
another forgotten. This appliesalsoto the 'context of situation'-the
setting (place,people,mood and soon) in which the text is
read/heardand discussed.To this end, we havetried to make
activitiesthat are both interactive and memorablein themselves.
'sampletexts'. These
Many of the activitiesin this chapter include
are intended purely asexamples,to make the instructions more
concreteand to give the teacherand studentsa ready-madepackage
with which to try out the coreideas.Choosingyour own texts, or
getting the studentsto choosethem, will almost alwaysbe
preferable.For this reason,we have avoideddesigningactivities
round specifictexts, and in those few caseswhere instructions relate
to specificfeaturesof a sampletext (for example,2.r4, 'Email
language':'4 Ask them to make a list of all the two- and three-part
verbs.'),it shouldbe a simple matter to substitutea task basedon the
actualtext you are using.

2.1 Customizinga text

Level lntermediateto advanced
Time 20-30minutes
Aims 1 Tofocusthe students'attentionby givingthem a specifictask,
ratherthan simplytellingthem to readthe text.
2 To encouragethem to look closelyat words and phrasesin context.

28 | Workingwith texts
Materials Onecopyof the text, and one copyof the'Alternativewords'
sheet,for eachstudent.

From the next readingpassageyou proposeto usewith your class,
selectro-r5 words and phrasesto focuson. Write thesedovrn.Then
preparea sheetof z5-4o different words and phrases(not only
synonyms)fiom which alternativesto thosein the text canbe
chosen.(Seethe examplebelow, at intermediate level.)

1 Givethe studentsthe readingpassageto look through.
2 Slowly saythe words and phrasesyou have chosenwhile the students
underline them in the passage.
3 Giveout the sheetof alternativewords and phrases.
4 Ask the studentsto selectsubstitutesfrom the sheetfor the words
5 In pairs the studentslook at and discusseachother's choices.

Sampletext Separation
I was about to start my secondyear of university and was determined
to be on my own, a fact my mother had refusedto acceptall summer.
One sun-wornAugust morning I carried my boxesof books down to
the damp coolnessof the cement parking garageand loadedup the
car.My mother retreatedbehind the closeddoor of her bedroom.
Only when I'd carried out the last box and was really leaving did she
emerge.Grimly sheprepareda parcel of food, and somethingwas
lost betweenus, irrevocably,the moment that plasticbag passed
flom her hand to mine. Overthe years,the absurdpackage-enough
for a singlemeal, to stop hunger for a second-was handedto me at
the threshold at the end of eachvisit. Until it hurt lessand lessand
the bag was simply like the roll of candymy mother passedto me
from the front seaton our Sundaydrives.
The first night in my own apartment, I lay in bed only a few miles
acrosstown and let my mother's phone callsring into the dark. I
didn't call for a week, then weeksat a time, though I knew it made
them ill with worry. When I flnally did visit, I sawthat, though my
parentscontinued in their separatesilences,my defectionhad given
them a new intimacy, a new scar.My mother still bent towards me
with confidences,but only in order to withdraw them. At flrst I
thought shewas punishing me for her needof me. But my mother
wasn't angry.My effiortsto free myself had createda deeperharm.
Shewas afraid.I believethat for moments my mother actually
distrustedme. Shewould begin a story and then fall silent.
nothing that would interest you.' When I protested,shesuggestedI
go into the living room andjoin my father.
(AnneMichaels.FugitivePieces. BloomsburyPublishing,997)

withtexts| 29
I Words and phrasesfor dictation (in the order they appearin the text):
wasdetermined worry
on myown Inilmacy
retreated freemyself
emerge created
a deeperharm
irrevocably protested

Alternativewords sheet
Alternative words and phrases(in random order):
withoutchanging rejection hadmadeup mymind hurthermore
alone comeout caused moreserious
damage uselessbreakaway
showherself familiarity for ever attachment ridiculoushid
refused develop withdrew haddecided escape permanently
independentanxiety closenessobjected fear understanding

In step4 aboveyou can,ofcourse, allow the studentsto substitute
items not on the sheet.This givesthem more freedom,but may
alsorestrict their choiceto what they already'know they know',
insteadof leadingthem to explore other possibilities.

This derivesfrom an idea proposedby Gail Moraro, an Adult
Migrant Educationteacherin Melbourne, inESlTeachers' Exchange,

2.2 Favouritephrases
Level Beginnerto advanced
Time 15-30minutes
Aims Togive studentsa chanceto sharetheir feelingsabout vocabulary
Materials Coursebook.

Dealwith the coursebookunit text in your normal ways,and then
askthe studentsto work on their own and underline three or four
phrasesor words in the text that they speciallylike.
Ask studentsto read out a phrasethey like and then explain their
reasons(in a beginners'classthis will happenin the mother tongue).
Ask if anybodyelseunderlined the samephrase.Ask them for their
leasons:it is the students'own preferences,not yours, that
determine how deeplythey can extract meaning from a text.
Repeatthe processwith ro-r5 students.

30 | Workingwith texts
Ask half the classto underline phrasesand words they do not like,
while the others underline onesthev do like.

We learnt this simplestof techniquesfiom Lonny Gold,and have
usedit with grumpy teenagers,with illiterate adult immigrants,
with English for teacherscourses.We haven't had it failyet!
Thankyou, Lonny.

2 . 3 Correctthe teacher
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 25-35minutesin the first lessonand 45-60minutesin the second,
Aims 1 Togive a task-based
focusto listening.
2 Toencouragestudentsto build up a wider set of vocabulary
Materials One copy of the text and one word cardfor eachstudent.

Write out an anecdotein short sentences.Pick ro-r5 words fiom it
that you want the studentsto focuson and write paraphrasesof
them. Substituteyour paraphrasesfor the words in the text, then
write out the original words on cardsto be given out to the class.You
will need one card for eachstudent, soifyou havepicked out ten
words and your classis thirty strong, put eachword on three cards.
The Sampletext providesan exampleanecdoteincorporating

1 Readthe story oncethrough sothe studentsget the outline of it.
2 Give out the cardsto the students.Givethem a chanceto checkthat
they know the meaning of the words on them.
Tell the classthat you are going to read the story again,but that this
time they should stopyou assoonasthey hear a paraphraseof a word
they have on their cards.After stoppingyou they are to repeatyour
sentence,substituting the word on their cardfor yours.
Readthrough the story again.

Onceyour studentshave done two or three exerciseslike the one
above,ask them to produceanecdotesoftheir own:
Put the studentsin groupsofthree and ask eachgroup to write an
anecdoteof their own.

withtexts| 31
t 2 Ask the groupsto prepare6-rz paraphrasesof interesting words in
their texts and to put theseon cardsor slips ofpaper.
3 Ask eachgroup of three to join with another group.
4 Within eachpair of groups,ask one member of group A to read
her/his group anecdoteslowly to the membersof group B.The cards
shouldthen be given out to the members of B and the activity
proceedsasin the flrst class(above).
5 Repeatthe activity, using group B's anecdote.

Sampletext He was a hefty man in his mid-fifties.He had a large stomqchwhich

lookedjust right behind the wheel of his 3o-tonlorry.
Oneday,driving alongabendycountry road, he sawa bridge over
'Maximum height: r4ft' he read onthenohce.
the road aheadof him.
He stoppedandgot out.He looked from his lorry to the bridge,
scratching his head thoughtfully.
'My lorry's t4feettinch,' he thought to himself, 'never get through
fust at tfiat moment a motor-bikepohceman roaredup and asked
whatthe oroblemwas.
'Can't get through,' the trucker told him.
'Easy,'saidthe other.
Just letyour tyres down an inch or two and
havethem re-inflatedon the other side.'
The driver thought about this attentivelyfor severalminutes.
use,'he saidweighnly, at the top it won't get through, not at the
The original words are put on cardsfor the students:
Paraphrases in text Originalwords on cards
sromach paunch
lorry rrucK
bendy twisting
notice stgn
stopped pulleduP
got out of climbeddownfrom
thoughtfully pensivelY
policeman cop
oroblem trouble
re-inflated PumPed uPagain
attentively carefullY
weightily ponderously

With beginnersand very elementarystudents,give out copiesof the
text, then simply dictate somewords extractedfrom it: they should
underline the words they hear.In a later class,mix in a few
paraphrasesofwords or phrasesin the passage.

We owe this activity to Lou Spaventa.

32 | Workingwith texts
2.4 DeletingWords 4
Level Post-beginnerto advanced
Time 15-20minutes
Aims Tofocus on whether a word is necessaryor not as a way of
exploringits meaningin context.
Materials Coursebook.

Ask the studentsto re-reada passagefi:om the coursebooktwo or
three units back.
Tell them that texts are often improved and given more impact by
cutting words out. Ask them to underline ro-u words in the passage
that they feel can usefully go, noting any grammatical changesthat
might alsobe necessary.The studentswork on this task in pairs.
Group the studentsin sixesto read their reducedversion ofthe
Sharewith the classthe words you think are best left out and briefly
explain why. Givethem an opportunity to (dis)agreewith you.

Working individually, studentswrite a short composition.They then
pair offand swapcompositions.StudentA deletesall the unnecessary
words in B'swork and vice versa.They comeback together to discuss
the deletions.

2 . 5 Marginalia
Level lntermediateto advanced
Time 20-45 minutes,dependingon the texts chosen.
Aims To get studentsto look closelyat vocabularyin context,and to
expresstheir own understandings of specificmeaningsand
Materials A different text for eachgroup of students:five copiesof eachtext.

Choosea number of short but completetexts: poemsare ideal.You
will need a different text for eachgroup of students.
Make copiesof eachtext: one for eachmember of the group plus one
additional copy.

Ask the studentsto form groupsof four members.Make sure each
group has accessto at leastone dictionary.
Give one copy ofthe flrst text to group A, one copy ofthe secondtext
to group B, and so on.

withtexts| 33
I Tell the studentsto read and discusstheir text within the group. Say
you are availableto answersimple questionsabout language,but you
would prefer them to flnd out from eachother or from the
After ten minutes, ask eachgroup to divide up thefutext sothat each
member choosesa different word or phrasefrom it. Not everyword
or phrasein the text needbe chosen.
Give out the remaining copiesof the texts, sothat eachstudent has
hisiher own copy.
Ask the studentsto underline, on their own copies,the word or
phrasetheyhave chosen,and then, in the margin, to make a
comment on it. Explain that this can take any form they like: a
paraphrase,an example sentenceto show how it can be used,a
responseor criticism, a better alternative,evena picture.
Tell the studentsto circulate their texts around the group and to read

The sameactivity works well with texts generatedby the students

'Publication' is an excellentway to encouragestudentsto respectand
enjoyboth their own work and that of others:
Put all the marginalia for eachtext on a sheetof paper together with
the original text and make enoughcopiesfor the whole classto read.
If you and your studentsare familiar with, and have accessto,
computersand browser software,make a simple websitefor each
text: the original text should be on one page(or asthe main frame of
a page)with eachselectedword or phrasemadeinto a link and the
commentsto it placedin a separatepage(or frame) to be displayed
when the link is clicked.

2.6 Huntthe misfits

Level lntermediateto advanced
Time 20-35minutes
Aims Todevelopstudents'criticalawarenessof meaningsin contextin a
Materials One copy of the original text and one copy of the doctoredtext for

Choosea short passageyou think will be easyfor your students.
Changesomeof the words in it sothat it no longer makesproper

34 | Workingwith texts
In classyou will need copiesof both the original passageand the l[
doctoredone. (Seethe Sampletexts below.For the second,you will
needto make your own doctoredversion.)

Givethe studentsa copy eachofthe doctoredtext and askthem to
read it. Don't tell them what you have done to the text-let it dawn
on them. Eventuallyone or more studentswill point out there is
somethingwrong, and you can askthem to make corrections.
'vVhenthey havecorrectedasmuch asthey can,askthem to check
eachother's work.
Give out the undoctoredpassage.

\Mhenthe studentshavedone two or three editing exerciseslike the
one above,give them an undoctoredtext and invite them to doctor it:
somestudentstake evenmore pleasurein constructingthe texts
than in'correcting' them.
Choosefor this purposea text that presentsfew comprehension
problems and make surethat the studentshave dictionariesto hand.
Aboveall, the studentsmust know enoughto feel the text is within
their grasp.(Thetext 'Viaduct Rescue'below would be appropriate
for a fairly advancedgroup.)

Put up the following sentenceon the blackboardand invite the class
to correct it:
Now put up this sentenceand invite them to introduce a similar,
Ask them, in smallgroups,to deform other simplesentences, for
EJena askedmetofeedthecats.

withtexts| 35
I Sampletexts


( T h eT i m e s1, 8F e b r u a r1y9 8 0 )

Gharlie Gairoli
dies aged 70

(TheTimes,18 FebruarY


(TheGuardian,23 FebruarY

l5 | Workingwith texts
2 . 7 Ghostdefinitions 4
Level Elementaryto intermediate
Time 20 minutes
Aims Tofocus on the exact meaningsof lexicalitems,and how they can
be expressedby definitions or paraphrases.
Materials One copy of the text for eachstudent.

Choosea text, and underline eight to ten words and phrasesin it.
Then, at the foot of the page,write deflnitions of thesewords, in no
particular order,togetherwith deflnitions of two to four otherwords
not in the text, but related to the overall context. Make one copy of
the annotatedtext for eachstudent in the class.(Seethe Sampletext

1 Explain howyou preparedthe deflnitions.
2 Give out the text, and askthe studentsto match the definitions to the
underlined words, and then to find words to suit the remaining
3 Ask them to look at the work of two or three other studentsin
the class.

Sampletext CrossingMorecambeBay
There is no route or path which can be taken regularly, in safety,over
the sandsof MorecambeBay.In Novembert963, sixteenRoyal
Marineson a route march from Hest Bank to Barrow-in-Furness
nearly got themselvesinto serioustrouble before I rushed out and
put them back on to a safecourse.They had startedout one hour
before I had suggested,and sowere headingstraight for deepwater.
Then there was a lad who tried to crossthe bay on a bicycle,but soon
found how hopelessit waswhen he had to be rescuedin mid-channel.
Changes to dirr"tr" and sofrequent. Eachtide shillg the sandin
"t" or another,and along the coast,quite large chunks of
one direction
rock can be moved great distances.Evento someonewith
experience,suchconditions are not alwayseasilypredicted.
(CedricRobinson.SandPilotofMorecambeBay. David & Charles,r98o)
a youngman half-wayacross thewater
often of differentkinds
thick,solidlumps keptawayfrom
way takenfrom one place movingin a particular
to another changesthe Positionof
naturalstreamof water intervals
at evenly-spaced
longjourneyon foot made known in advance
by soldiersin training

Workinowith texts| 37
I 2.8 Patchworktext
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 2040 minutes
Aims To scanand re-contextualizetext fragments.
Materials A collectionof 'sourcetexts'(see below).

None,exceptto ensurethat you have sufficient copiesof the 'source
texts'to be used(coursebooks,anthologies,handouts,newspaper
cuttings, etc.).

Ask the students,singly or in groupsof two to four, to riffIe through
the sourcetexts and selectlines or shorter fragmentsof text. From
thesethey should constructthe opening paragraphof a novel or
short story.

Variation 1
More advancedstudentscan constructtheir texts from poetry
anthologies;beginnersto lower-intermediatestudentscould use
fragmentsof coursebooks,readers,pattern sentences,course

Variation 2
There is a vast body of text, including poetry now availableon the
Internet. You or your studentscould usea searchengine suchas
Googleto flnd sourcesof favourite authors or themes,or go directly
to one of the anthology sites(for example,the University ofvirginia's

Variation 3
The activity alsoworks using texts written by the students

This is both a readingand a writing (or at leastan editing) exercise,
but is included here becauseit dependscrucially on the way we
recognize,interpret, and respondto speciflcwords and phrases.In
choosinga fragment of text, the student is not only decidingon its
meaning in a particular context, but is reviewing its potential
meaningsin other contexts.In assemblingthe 'patchwork text', the
student is re-contextualizingthe fragmentsin new and,we hope,

This activity was suggestedby a competition in the NewStatesman.

38 | Workingwith texts
2.9 Thewordsin your past r
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 20-30minutes
Aims To makenew vocabularymemorableby linkingit to important
memoriesin the students'ownlives.
Materials One copy of the text for eachstudent.

Chooseand make copiesof an emotionally chargedtext, like the
Sampletext below. Only do this exercisein a group where there is
plenty of mutual trust.

Give out copiesof the text, and askthe studentsto pick out six or
sevenemotionally strongwords and phrases.In the Sampletext, ask
them to look at all thosethe writer usesto describethe way Prue
treats her father: exploitI victimizeI talceadvantageofI play thelitrlegirl I see
howfar onecangoI indulge.
Ask them to think back to a period of their lives in which thesewords
might flt, or for which they would be usefully descriptive.
Then askthe studentsto explain to one another,in pairs,how the
words they havechosenflt or describethe period they havebeen
thinking of.

Sampletext Daddy
Prue,puttingthe phone down, thought: I exploithim, I knowl do. Or
victimize him even.Now Mummy's different: hearing her voicejust
nowthere was no tug-of-war.Perhapssheprefersthe boys,always
did; or maybeshejust acceptsme asanother grown-up woman. But
DaddyI can take advantageof, evenmore than I usedto. I simply
can't avoid it: an irresistible impulse to playthe little girl, to seehow
far I can go, to what length of selFindulgencehe will allow me to
sink. Gavinwon't. Gavinwon't put up with my nonsense.It simply
doesn'tappealto him. He'stough.
It's extraordinaryhow quickly Daddy'sforgiven me. Amazing,
when I remember how angry he was.But he hasn't forgiven Gavin.
Not at all. He can't even mention his name.I'm rather glad.That's
wrong of me, I know. I shouldwant tlem to like eachother, but I
don't, not if I'm really honest,and I alwaysam, to myself.They both
love me: that's enough.I don't really needthem to love eachother as
well. And if they did it might somehowdiminish their love for me. I
might not be quite sucha specialpersonfor either of them if they
drew together over me. They might seeme too clearly.Or they might
like eachother too much, and where would I be then? Squeezedout
by all thosethings men like to talk about,whatever they are,when
they're alone.It's bad enoughwhen Gavin'sfriends come round.
(AndreaNewman.ABouquetofBarbedWire. Triton Books,r.969)

Workinowith texts| 39
I Variation
Insteadof askingthe classsimply to think back, askthem to draw a
life line, and to label it first with datesand events,asin the example
below, then with the words they have chosenfrom the passage.

Examplelifeline 1949 1955 1962 1966 1974 etc.

went to live started hitch-hikedin got married met Mario

'big Denmar& k
withGrandma school'

2.1O Towardslearninga text by heart (a)

Level Beginnerto advanced
Time 1540 minutes,dependingon the lengthof the text.
Aims To encouragestudentsto remembercontextsas well as single
words and phrases.
Materials One copy for the text for eachstudent.

Chooseand preparecopiesof a short text that you would like your
studentsto learn by heart. Alternatively, choosea suitablesection
from their coursebook.

Pair the students.Tell them that one is A and the other B. Make sure
that everyonehas a copy of the text to be worked on, then askthem
to changeplacessothat no one is sitting next to their partner.
Ask all the As to copy out the text in this manner: they leavea blank
for the fi.rstword, they write the secondword, they leavea blank for
the third and write the fourth, etc.Tell them to include any
punctuation and to leaveblanks ofroughly the right length for each
word left out.
Ask all the Bsto copy out the text but leaving out the evenwords and
writing in the oddwords, r, 3, 5, etc.
lVhen they havefinished writing, tell them to turn face-downor put
away the original text and to exchangewhat they have written with
their partners and, still sitting apart, to flll in the blanks.
Tell everyoneto put awaywhat they havewritten. Bring a student to
the board to write out the whole text fiom memory helpedby the
rest of the class.Do not intervene if mistakesgo up on the board.At
the end ofthe exerciseget one student to read out the original text
while the 'secretary'coffectswhat is on the board.

40 | Workingwith texts
Comments 4
Current EFLmethodologyrarely encouragesthe student to learn text
by heart, and yet, for somelearners,this canbe a happy and
rewarding activity. Sometexts (proseaswell aspoetry and song)have
a music and sonority that make tJem a pleasureto recite,while
others,suitably chosen,can constitute a valuableinner resourcefor
'lexical grammar',
vocabularylearning. Recentwork in the areasof
'above-the-wordlexis', collocations,etc.hasunderlined the needfor
learnersto remember and recall much larger'chunks' of language
than tJ.esingleword.

2.11 Towardslearninga text by heart(b)

Level Beginnerto advanced
Time 15-30minutes
Aims Toencouragestudentsto remembercontextsas well assingle
words and phrases.
Materials A blackboardor whiteboard is essential.

Choosea short text that you would like your studentsto learn by
heart. Alternatively,choosea suitablesectionfrom their coursebook.
Beforethe lessonstarts,put the text up on the board.NBAn overhead
projector or flip-chart will not work for this activity.

Ask a student to read the text on the board aloud to class.Silently
underline any bits shemispronouncedand askher to re-readthem.
Ask a secondstudent to read the paragraphaloud.
Rub out three or four words or phraseson different lines.Ask another
student to read out the whole text, including tJrewords that are no
longer there.
Rub out another three or four words and againask for a readingof
the whole text. Continue until there are onlv a few isolatedwords left
onthe board.

Rub out first the words and phrasesyou want the studentsto
concentrateon most.

Workingwithtexts| 41
I 2.12 Cross-associations
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 15-25minutes
Aims To usecreativeword-associationas an aid to memory'
Materials One copy of the text for eachstudent.

Chooseand make copiesof a short text. An examplewill be found

Ask the studentsto read through the text and note down any words
which they don't know or which interest them. Ask them to find out
meanings,uses,etc.ofthe words.
2 Ask the group to build up a list of professionson the blackboard.
3 The studentsassociate,in any way they wish, the words they have
chosenwith the professions.
4 Invite them in pairs to explain to eachother their associations.

Example Thefollowinglistof professions byonegroup:

electrician joiner accountant bus-driver baker
clergyman foreman butcher teacher apprentice
businessmansocialworker farmer fisherman politician
beach,sand,sea teacher (because thebeachisthebestplacefor
paddock farmer (connectionwith cattle)
squatting electrician (fromthe positionthesepeople
joiner often haveto work in)
horizon politician (because you can't seewhat isoverthe
horizon,and you don't know the f uture
you will get if a politicianiselected)

Sampletext Goblins
I never had clean beach sand to play on when I was a kid' In fact
never saw the seabefore I was nine, so I used to build things out of
mud. I can see myself now squatting in a corner of the big paddock,
small and thin and brown in my patched khaki pants and shirt, lost
in the creation of a remembered town. I always built in this same
place, shapingwalls of mud, doors and roofs ofbark, and all around
among untidy lumps of mud I made tower things flom sticks above
holes in the ground. In my mind's eye the houses were all painted
dazzling white, and the big hotel on the corner was red brick with a
cast iron balcony and corrugated iron roof. The other things were
mines and slag heaps and pitheads, and stretching away from them

42 | Workinqwith texts
I would seethe sparedesertscrub shimmering to a flat horizon and
the whole land panting with heat under a bleachedblue sky.
When the other kids found me they usedto laugh and break up my
mining town. Then I beganbuilding towns full of white goblins and I
stampedthem into the ground in a rage.
(ColinJohnson. WiId CatFalling.Angus and Robertson,1965)

Other categoriesmay be usedto build the list of associations,for
example,furniture (chair,table, settee,wardrobe, ...),landscape
features(hill, valley,wood, field, river, ...),famouspeople,peoplein
the group itself.

2 . 1 3 Besomeoneelse
Level lntermediateto advanced
Time 30-40 minutes
Aims Toget studentsthinking about words and phrasesin their
Materials One copy of the text for eachstudent.

Chooseand make copiesof a short text that is fairlyrich in modern
vocabularyand dealswith a contemporarysubject,asin the example

Ask the studentsto read through the text and note down words that
they would considerparticularly relevant to today'sworld.
Ask eachstudent to selectfor her/himself a historical role (for
example,an r8th-century peasant,an EgyptianPharaoh,his/her
'tlinking into'
own grandmother/father)and to spenda few minutes
the role.
Ask the studentsto form pairs.One student should then read out
his/her list of words one by one to the partner, who free-associates
with the words asif s/hewere the historical personchosen.After
this the student then explainswhythese things cameto mind.
The studentsthen reverseroles and repeatthe exercise.

Workingwithtexts| 43
Example Fromthetextbelow,onestudentproduced
firemen drive-thru restaurant car apparatus
detectives tapedoff forensic corporate manager
Hispartner,seeinghimselfasa 16th-century
firemen menwhostartfires?
drive-thru somekindof gate?
restaurant an Inn
car no toea
breathing lungs,butwhysayso?
detectives no idea
tapedoff ropedoff
forensic somethingto do with the law
corporare body
manager somekindof official,perhapsa bailiff?

Sample text Drive-thru destroyed by inferno

TWo flremen narrowly escaped injury while tackling a blaze that
gutted the McDonald's drive-thru restaurant on the Sturry Road in
Canterbury on Monday.
Nearly 3o flremen from Canterbury Sturry Whitstable and
Faversham were called to the scene shortly after 3 am and battled to
get the blaze under control.
It is believed that a car parked in the drive-thru section was set
alight and the fire spread to the building via a canopy. Flames quickly
spread through the roofvoid, destroying the centre ofthe building.
Leading fireman Keith Dabson said two firemen who had gone into
the buitding with breathing apparatus came out seconds before the
could see the flames spreading into the restaurant and as we
pulled the men out the roof fell down,' he said.
we hadn't pulled them out at that moment they could have been
cut offand injured. We are trained to look for flashovers. There is no
point in losing a life trying to save a building.'
Mr Dabson said that the restaurant was smoke-logged when
firemen arrived and within zo minutes the building was ablaze.
'The fire went up the walls into the eaves and whistled through the
roofvoid,'he said.
Detectives are investigating the suspected arson attack. The area
has been taped offand forensic experts and flre investigators were
examining the scene on MondaY.
Robert Parker, corporate affairs manager for McDonald's, said the
company would have a better idea of how much rebuilding was
necessary once its construction manager had assessedthe damage.
15 March zooz)

You can also use this activity with audio recordings or live

44 | Workingwith texts
2.14 Emaillanguage
Level U pper-intermediate to advanced
Time 40-50 minutes
Aims To get students to learn from 'informal', uncorrected native-
speaker texts.
Materials A copy for each student of the email text below.

Make a copy for each student of the email text below. Alternatively,
choose and make copies of an email you have received, and make any
necessary changes or additions to Steps 3 and 4.

Give out the text below and ask the students to read it through
quickly and then to write a three-sentence reaction to it. Tell them
you will be available to help with unknown words and expressions.
Tell the students to underline all the features that make this piece of
writing feel like an oral text. Then ask tJ.em to underline (in a
different colour) all the features that come from the frame
Ask them to copy out all the features of the text that indicate the age
and gender of the writer.
4 Ask them to make a list of all the two- and three-part verbs.
5 Ask them to list flve to six phrases or stretches of language that they
would feel happyusing in their ownway of speaking/writing English.
Group tfie students in fours to share their first impressions (as
expressed in the three sentences they wrote in Step r), their later
impressions, and their lists.
7 Round offthe lessonwithvour own comments on the hardertasks

email text Well. Here's the travelogue

Was firll of merrybable when I arrived.; managed to recognise my aunt

and cousin very happily, exclaimed several times how strange it was to
be here, and thought my Spanish was going brilliantly until I realised
so far everything I d said had been practised to myself on the plane.
After a couple of hours my invention sadly gave out, as did my
grarnmar, and I fell asleep. But everybody in Santiago seemed very well
and jolly and I had a funtime tryingto followthe latest going on in
of Love' (or something ), the smash-hit soap opera. And trying
to help my cousion Daniel with his biology revision. And watching
NellyFurtado onMTV
That was Wednesday. Thursday morning I waved everyone offto school
and went offwith Ximena, (my aunt) to the bus station ( hooray, my
trusty Rough Guide meant I knoewwhich one to go to and she didn't!)

to get to Coquimbo, about six horus north of Santiago. Committed an
abominable error on the way, though: rnanaged to leave my cash card
in the machine until some very angry bleeping called us back... Ximena
not very impressed at all and my desperate attempts to laugh it off/
claim it had never happened before ( er...)in suitably casual
comfortably complicitous Spanish failed miserably due to poverty of
Spanish vocabulary. I think I impressed her with my diziness though.
Managed not to ask her not to tell my mum. Just.
The bus was absolutely fantastic. Chile is a brilliant country:
enough to be cheap, rich enough to make travelling massively
enjoyable. My six hour journey largely consisted of me chuckling to
myself at the bed-like qualities of my chair and the enornous footrest
in front, nad the several miles of legroom provided for a mere 5
quid...and just when I was thinking perhaps only bringing water with
me was a bit stupid, the conductor turned up with my lunch. TWo rolls,
rice and huge chicken nugget, and oh my word,, hoiw tasty is the
chicken here?... even a plastic-style nugget tastesjust like a good roast
chicken smells. I so nearlylaughed out loud.

Emails (even more than handwritten letters) share characteristics of
both written and spoken language, and many can be seen as valuable
records of native speakers'informal, uncorrected style, which
students can learn from as they can learn from overheard
conversations. It must be stressed that there is no particular
style' -emails varyfrom the formal office memorandum to the
electronic equivalent ofa note stuck on the fridge. Daniela passed
five A-level exams, each with grade A, and went on to study at Oxford
University. The email above, writtenwhen she was zo, shows just one
of her manywriting styles.
In addition to personally addressed emails, there are many public
newsgroups and special-interest'lists' accessible through the
Internet, the aim ofwhich is to exchange news andviews with
others. To receive and send messagesvia a newsgroup, you can either
'newsreader' (usuallypart ofyour email software) to connect
use a
with a news server-many Internet Service Providers (Isrs) run their
own news servers, from which you can download a list of available
newsgroups-or you can search, read, and send messageswith your
web browservia http://wmv.google.com/groups . are private
groups to which one subscribes by sending an email request to an
automatic list-server or to the human who runs the list: a very good
of lists' can be found on the web at http://www.liszt.com or by
sending a blank email to liszter@bluemarble.net .

Thanks to Daniela Cammack for the email text.

46 | Workingwith texts

Short writing tasksform part of many of the activities in this book.

Writing is not only a useful skill in itselfl it canbe usedin the
classroomfor a number of purposes:to focusthought, to provide an
interval of privary, to shareideasquickly, and so on. Visually oriented
studentsmay needthe written shapeof a word beforethey can learn
it, while thosewho are stronglykinaesthetic (seeChapter6) may
beneflt from the simple physicalprocess,especiallywhenaskedto
make wall-chartsor take notesat the blackboard.
The activitiesin this chapter show a spectrumof writing tasks,
from 3.2,'The oracle',where writing is simply a convenientway of
gathering the questionsto be used,through 3.4,'Expandinga
sentence',which aims to widen vocabularyby looking at certain
rhetorical featuresof written English,to more creativewriting in 3.r,
'Invisible writing'.

3.1 Invisiblewriting
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 10-20minutes
Aims To get studentsto reflecton and use'known'vocabulary,and to
learn from eachother by readingand discussingwhat others have

1 Ask the studentsto sit in pairs.Eachstudent should havea pen and a
blank sheetofpaper.
2 Tell the studentsto look at their sheetof paper and to imagine that
they have alreadywritten a text on it of about roo words.You may say
that this can be any kind of text-essay, description,letter, etc.-or
you can specifya particular kind oftext.
3 Ask the studentsto begin by picturing the whole text on the page,
and to draw a rectanglearound it. They shouldthen try to make out
individual words in the text, and asthesebecomeclear,they should
write thesewords, and only thesewords, in exactlythe positionsthey
occupyon the page.Ask them to choosewords that are widely
separatedin the text.
4 Tell them to stopwhen they havewritten six or sevenwords.

| 47
Get the membersof eachpair to exchangetheir piecesof paper and,
working alone,to write out the whole text asthey imagine their
partner would havewritten it. Tell them they haveten minutes to do
this. (It may help somestudentsempathizewith their partner if they
alsoattempt to imitate their handwriting.)
Givethe studentsa further five to ten minutes to exchangetheir
papersagainand to read and discusswhat their partner haswritten
for them.

The exerciseis repeatable,and indeed studentsmaybenefit from
experimentingwith different partners,different types oftext (see
Variation r below),and different ways of selectingthe initial six or

Variation 1
Randomlypairyour studentsand make surethe paired studentsare
not sitting next to eachother.
Eachpersontakesa moment to mentally preparea one-pageletter to
their partner. They think about tfie beginning of the letter, the
'say' the letter to
middle, and the ending. Somestudentswill want to
They then take a cleanpieceof paper and write down six to ten key
words on the blank page,placing them where they would comein
the text.
They exchangepaperswith their partner, then go back to their seats
and write the letter addressedto themselves.
The partners meet up and comparewhat they havewritten.

Variation 2
This type ofexercisecan alsobe done by individual students:each
student imaginestheir own text, writes in six or sevenwords, and
then completesthe text. In this case,though the mechanicsare
almost the same,the characterof the exerciseis very different: most
importantly, the text, oncewritten, lacks a motivated reader.We
havefound this soloversion useful, however,for particular students
who 'can't flnd anything to write' or who genuinely suffer from
writer's block.

This activity encouragesstudentsto write in the knowledgethat they
haveat leastone interestedreader.To write with no expectationof
being read,other than by the teacher,can be highly demotivating'

48 | Writingactivities
3 . 2 Theoracle
Level Lower-intermediateto advanced
Time 15-20minutes
Aims To practisenewly learnt vocabularyin a wide range of contextsand
Materials Make sureyou have plenty of slipsof paper(approximately4cm x
12cm):you will needat leasttwice as manyasthereare studentsin
the class.Also makesureyou havetwo empty containersin class-
cardboardboxes,waste-paperbins,even large hats will do.

1 Give out two blank slips of paper to eachstudent.
2 Tell the studentsto think of a question,either personalor more
general,and to write it on one of their blank slips,for example,
'Will there be a war in the Middle Eastagain
I get married this year?',
soon?'Collectup the completedslips and put them in Containerr.
Now tell the studentsto think of an Englishword that they have
recently learned,and to write it on their secondblank slip. Collect
theseand put them in Container z.
Passthe two containersround the group, telling the studentsto close
their eyesand take one slip at random from eachcontainer.(If they
happento take their own slips,it doesn'tmatter.)
In groups offour to eight, eachstudent in turn should read out first
their question slip and then the word on the other slip, and discuss
how the word might be interpreted asan answer,by the
the question.For example,if, to the question I be rich?', the
replies, 'globalwarming', the questionermight interpret the
answeras 'Yes,ifyou stop smoking'.

This is a writing exercisein the sensethat t}le studentsput their
questionsin written form, but not perhapsin the senseof
'composingwritten discourse'.We believethat activities suchasthis
canbe a great help in overcomingmany students'fearsof
committing themselvesto paper.

3.3 Adding words to a story

Level Elementaryto intermediate
Time 30-40 minutes
Aims Togive the studentsan opportunity to start writing creatively
within a safe,controlledframe.

Choose,or makeup, a very short story and write it out asfour to eight
Alternatively,usethe lower-intermediateexamplebelow.

Writingactivities| 49
Thiswas avillagewith[sracn] wallsand [snecE]roofs.
Ask the studentsto add a few words in eachof the spaces.
It hadnot r ainedfor marry,manymonths.Soonthew ellswouldrun dry.
Thevillagersdesperately neededlsytcnl.
Ask the studentsto completethe sentencewith two or more words.
Themenofthevillagewentto the[srec n] mosEueto pr ayfor r ain.And
Ask the studentsto add two or more words in the spaceleft.
4 Dictate:
Thewomenofthevillagewentto theIsra c r - add the same words as
last timel mosquetopr ayf or ther ain cloudst o come.Onelittlegirl stayed
Ask the studentsto draw a quick sketch of the little girl they imagine
and to addthe caption: Shewas...+threewords.
onherowntopr ay
Thenextdaythelittlegtfl wentto the[srac r ] mosque
for rain.Shetookhergrandfather's umbrella.
Tell the studentsto end the story in not more than three words.
Group the studentsin threes.In turn they read their storiesto each
Put up walls,roofs,mosque, etc. on the board.
Get the studentsto comeup and write the words they usedto qualify
thesenouns on the board under eachheading.
I Ask studentsto copyinto their notebooksthe newwords theytake a

3.4 Expandinga sentence

Level Lower-intermediateto advanced
Time 10-15 minutesfor eachworksheet.
Aims To give the studentsan opportunity to start writing creatively
within a safe,controlledframe.
Materials One copy for eachstudent of the Worksheet+ Exampleanswers.

Prepareand make copiesof a worksheet.An exampleis provided
below,but you may find it more useful to write your own, or use
sentencesdrawn from your coursebookor createdby you or your

S0 | writingactivities
Give out copiesof the worksheet and the Exampleanswersand ask
the studentsto notice the expansionofthe original sentenceson the
answersheets.Explain, if necessarytlat there are three kinds of
expansionin the examples:sequencesof action, restatements(the
sameor similar in otherwords), and insertedcomments.
Ask your studentsto expandthesesentencesin a similar way:
o Hepickedup hishat.
o Theskyisdeepblue.
o Notreally.
. D'youthinkyoupossibly could?
. Thelightfaded.
o Yeah,I really
o Cutuothetomatoes.
r Thetreeisnotwhatyouthink.
Group the studentsin sixesto comparetheirwork. Ask eachgroup to
put two or three oftheir best sentencesup on the board.

1 Hegot up.
2 He leanedover.
3 H es m i l e d .
4 Hewasa writer.
5 We went to a restaurantin GreekStreet.
1 Hegot up.
Hegot up,yawned,and
Hegotup,opened bay.
2 He leanedover.
Heleanedover,clutchedhisside,andfelldeadon thefloor.
Heleanedover,pickedupthebook,ondthrew itonthefire.
3 H es m i l e d .
Hesmiled,ortried tosmile,or of it.
4 Hewasa writer.
Hewasa writer,ascribbler,apen-pusher.
a manof words,
Hewasa writer, nota manofdeeds.
Hewas,orhadbeen,or issaidtohave been,awriter.
5 We went to a restaurant in GreekStreet.
Wewentto a restaurant, a smallplace,iust

Photocopiable @ Oxford UniversityPress

| 51
B i l i n g u at le x t sa n d a c t i v i t i e s

Translation is a special skill, and one that many otherwise competent

users of a second language, includingbilinguals, flnd difficult. It has
been attacked as a teaching tool for many decades,not least for
producing generations of students who may know a great deal about a
language, but who cannot useit effectively.
To extend this criticism to any :useof the mother tongue in class,
however, seems to us both unjustified and unrealistic. No amount of
urgmg students to leave their mother tongue outside the classroom
door will prevent them, in the privacy of their own thoughts, from
comparing, contrasting, and translating languages, or, despite our
best efforts, fiom making target-language errors in the process. A far
better approach, we think, is to accept that for most students the
mother tongue is the of expression, and to design
exercises that draw on the wealth of experience of life and language
that has come to them through the language theywere born into.
This does not mean a return to endless. unmotivated translation.
The activities in this chapter include reflective and interactive
exercises that aim to turn mother-tongue experience into target-
language competence.
Most of the activities that follow are best suited to classesthat
share a common mother tongue. Those that can be used or adapted
for use in polyglot groups are so marked.

4,1 Sensoryvocabularychoices
Level Lower-intermediateto advanced
Time 40-50 minutes
Aims To maketarget-languagewords more memorableby evoking
throughthe mothertongue.The
studentsareencouragedto useall their sensesin this.

Ask the studentsto think of a placethey really like, be it their home,
someoneelse'shouse,or a placeoutdoors,and the season,the time of
day,the weather, etc.in which they like it best.

52 | Bilingual
textsand activities
Ask them to write a list of ten mother-tonguewords or phrasesthat
describethe smellsof the place;ten to describethesounds of the place;
ten to describethe way the placelook; and ten to evoke t}l'efeelingthe
Group the studentsin fours, with dictionaries,to translatethe words
into English.They help eachother and you help them.
Ask eachstudent to write a free descriptionof this placein English
mixing sensoryimpressions.
Group the learnersin sixes:t1ey read their piecesto eachother.

4.2 Changingthe order of the words

Level Elementaryto upper-intermediate
Time 15-20minutes
Aims To give studentsguided practicein contrastivetranslation.
Materials One worksheetfor eachstudent.

Choosesix to eight sentencesfrom a unit later in your coursebook
than the pointyou are at now. (SeeCommentsbelow.)Translatethe
sentencesinto the students'mother tongue.Write eachof the
English sentencesasjumbled strings of words.

Wir milssenmorgensehrfrilh aufstehen.
earlyup tomorrowhaveveryto weget
Copythe pageofjumbled strings so eachpair of studentscan have a
sheet.Leaveplenty of spaceunder eachline ofjumbledwords.

1 Give out the sheetofjumbled words to eachpair of students.
2 Tell the studentsthat you are going to readthe first sentencein their
mother tongue and they are to write it under the first English string
ofwords asa coherentEnglish sentencewith correct word order.
Explain that they needto useall the words in the string.
3 Continue this way until they havetranslatedall the sentences.
4 Ask different studentsto read out their translations.Givefeedback.

In this and other activitieswe suggestusing text from a coursebook
unit that the studentswill not be working on until laterin the course.
There at leasttwo good reasonsfor this:
'stretch'the studentswhile still remainingwithin
It enablesyou to
the overall curriculum for the year.
It givesthe studentsan idea of where they are going: coursebooksare
necessarilylinear, but learning a languageis not.

textsand activities| 53
I 4,3 Focusingon difficulty
Level lntermediateto advanced
Time 40-50minutes
Aims To provokecontrastiveawarenessof vocabularyin two languages.
Materials One copy of the text for eachstudent.

Chooseand make copiesof a short text. The Sampletext is an example
ofwhat would be appropriateat an upper-intermediatelevel.

1 Put the studentsin pairs,then give one copy ofthe text you have
chosento eachpair. (Thisencouragesco-operation.)Tell them to work
with their partner and decidewhich words, phrases,or sense-groups
in the Englishtext are hard to render into their mother tongue.
2 Ask different pairsto tell the whole group which phrasesthey have
chosenand the solutionsthey havecomeup with. Shareyour own
solutionswith the class,but not beforethe studentshavehad their say.
3 The pairs now translatethe text into their mother tongue.
4 The pairs form sixes.They read out and discusstheir translations.

Sampletext The Elephantin the Room

There'san elephantin the room.
It is large and squatting,soit's hard to get around it.
Yetwe squeezeby with 'How are you' and 'I'm flne',
And a thousandother forms of trivial chatter.
We talk about the weather.
We talk aboutwork.
We talk about everything-except the elephantin the room.
There'san elephantin the room.
We all know it is there.
We are thinking about the elephant aswe talk together.
It is constantlyon our minds.
For you see,it is a very big elephant.
It hashurt us all.
But we do not talk about the elephantin the room.
Oh please,sayher name agarn.
Oh please,say'Barbara'agarn.
Oh please,let's talk about the elephantin the room.
For ifwe talk about her death,
Perhapswe can talk about her life?
CanI say'Barbara'to you and not haveyou look awal2
For ifl cannot, then you are leaving
In a room ...
With an elephant...
Sa I gilinoual
variation @
Another way of getting studentsto focus on specificdifferences of
vocabularyacrosslanguagesis to get them to produce,in the other
language,a fairly detailedparaphraseofthe text flrst. This is best
done from memory, for example,after hearing the text read to them
rather than reading it, using whatever languagecomesto mind. They
then comparetheir paraphraseswith the original and decidewhat
changesthey needto make to producea more accuratetranslation.

Focusingfirst on the problem areasin a text discouragesthe students
from simply plunging into a translation and, paradoxically,
encouragesthem to standback and seethe text asa whole.

in theRoom,by Terry Kett ering. Bereavement

4.4 Culturalkeywords
Level Lower-intermediatetoadvanced
Time 40-50 minutes
Aims To explorethe cultural resonanceof vocabulary,and the ways in
which specificvocabularyitems can representimportant aspectsof
a culture.
1 Ask the studentsto work in small groups(4-6) and chooseone or two
words that pithily sum up major valuesin their home culture (for
example,resignaci6n (resignahon) for southern Spain;saudade
for northern Portugal; kirei (clean)for
2 Tell them they have four minutes to representthe most important
'living statue':a static
word they have chosenasa tableau or
illustration or symbolicrepresentationmadeby the bodiesof someor
all of the group members.
3 Eachgroup then presentstheir'statue'to the class,holdingthe
position for r5-zo seconds.Let the other studentsaskthe
questionsabout their representation,if they want to.
4 Allow five minutes' quiet for studentsto write themselvesnotes
about their reactionsto the statues.
5 Ask the studentsto work in new gtoups, and to comeup with one or
two cultural keywordsabout English-speakingcountriesthey have
studiedor been to (for example,individuality for the USA'hyltocrisy
for the UK, can-do forAustralia).
5 Givethem four minutes to organizetheir statues.
7 Eachgroup presentstheir statueto the whole group.

and activities| 55
I Allow five minutes for writing up reactionsto the ideaspresentedin
the statues.
Roundoff with feedbackabout the statue-making.

An indirect way of exploring culture through vocabularyis to askthe
studentswhich of a suitably chosenset of Englishwords and phrases
haveone-wordequivalentsin their language(s). For example,
airingcupboard bungalow croft aufaitwith
standard(= ordinary) creamtea savoury semi-detached
cosy daddy limo pflvacy
myoldman Speaker (ofthe Houseof Commons)

In one of our classesthe whole group made statuesaround the
Portuguesekeyword saudade(yearning-longing-nostalgia), after a
Portugueseparticipant had explainedit. We presentedour statues
and sheanalysedfor us how closewe seemedhavegot to a genuine,
full, Portuguesefeeling for the word. It was a thrilling classin terms
of learning cultural awareness.
This activity can be usedin polyglot, multicultural groupsasa way of
sharingtheir cultures aswell asapproachingthe culture(s)of the
target language.

4.5 How many lettersin the word?

Level Beginnerto intermediate
Time 10-20minutes
Aims Toget studentsto visualizethe look of a word on the page,asan
aid to memoryand spelling.
Bereadyto dictatero-r5 words from the bilingual list at the end of
your coursebookunit.

1 Explain to the studentsthat they should write the words you are
going to dictate in a vertical list that will look like this:
c . . . . . . . . . . . .5. . . k o d o m o
d . . . . . . . . . . .5. . . y. u m e
2 Tell the studentsto write down only thefrsf letter of the word you
dictate,followed by the number of letters in the word, and a mother-
tongue translation (Japanesein the exampleabove;the two English
wordsin the exampleare childanddream\.
3 Dictate all the words you have chosenfrom the vocabularylist in the
4 Pairthe studentsand ask them to flll in the missingletters.
They then checkwith the coursebook.

S6| eilingualtexts
This can be ofparticular importance to peoplewhose mother tongue
is not written in the Romanalphabet.

We cameacrossthe idea of counting letters inwords in Swanand
Walter, CambridgeEnglishCourse,Book r, 1984.

4.6 Tvvo-language
Level All
Time 15 minutesper sessionover severalclassmeetings.
Aims Todeducethe meaningof target-language words from a mother-
tongue context.
Materials Copiesof the two-languagetext for eachstudent.

Takean Englishtext your studentswill find gripping and translateit
into their mother tongue.Leaveone word or soper sentencein
English:choosewords that canbe guessedfairly accuratelyfrom the
sentencecontext. Choosewords that are repeatedin the text.
Pick a fairly long text that the studentscan work on for a few
minutes per sessionover severalweeks.Leaveprogressivelymore of
the text in English,including phrasesaswell assinglewords, but do
not be tempted to put too much in Englishtoo soon,or the reading
willbecome heavy.
For obviousreasonswe cannot provide materialsfor your students:
instead,seebelow for a text that assumesyou are a beginner in
Modern Greek.

In class or as homework
Hand out the day'sinstalment and let the studentsread.After the
studentshaveworked through severalsessions,they may feel a need
for discussionin their mother tongue.

Sampletext TheBarbarians comein the night...

rvVhenthe telephonekudunistinthe middle of the night, something
unusual is happening.Justsuchatilefonimawokeme up at dawn on
the zrst ofApril 1967.From the other endtisgramisthe journalist,
GeorgePapachristophiloutold me in a trembling voice:
'There'sbeen a coup-there are tanks everywhereand they're
surrounding everything-leave your spiti!'
'Areyou serious?'I r6tisal:Lim.
Nd,I tellyou, I can seerifles, machine-guns,helmets, soldiers,get
out while you canl-I put down thetil1fonoand stayedsilent for some
seconds.Then I begandialling arittmrts.Nlgramdsto the centre had
been cut off.

| 57
Somehl€fona in the suburbswere still answering.I managedto
speakto a very few of my fllus and tell them the terrible news.
By now myln€kahadwoken up. As shegot my clothestogether
'But who's behind the coup?Is it going to go on a long time?
You'veonly just comeback and nowyou fdvgtsagain.Thank Godyou
managedto comeback home from prison ...You must filefonisis
me after lunch to let me knowyou're OK.You mrstn'tniizese about
us-look after yourself and be careful ...And let me know how I can
""#Jllt *, xipnrsemytvvodaughters,Eva,who was in her second
year at primary school,and Iro who still went to nipiagogio.
thought they had to go to schoolearlier.I explainedto them that it
wasn't yet 5ra andthat I was going to haveto be awayfrom spttifor
quite sometime.

This exercisetype is designedfor classessharingthe samemother
tongue,and particularlyfor thosewho are aiming at a reading
knowledgeof English.We havefound it an excellentway of getting
beginnersgraduallyto assimilatenew vocabularyby setting it in a
context that has not been denatured,asin somany target-Ianguage

The idea of using bilingual texts in the way describedcameto us from
readingAnthony Burgess's196znovelAC'lockwork Orange:aftet
readingthe book you will find that you have absorbedaround roo
words and phrasesof the (mainly Russian-based) slangBurgess
invented for his characters.(Fora glossary see
http ://www.cIockworkorange.com.) A good,sustainedexamplethat
mixes Germanand English is Werner Lansburgh'sDearDoosie, Fischer

4.7 Learningby associating

Level Beginnerto elementarY
Time 15-20minutes
Aims To introducestudentsto a practicalway of quicklylearning
vocabularyon their own.

Let us show you the procedureby teachingyou two or three words of
Zonka,the languageofBhutan.
and rule or fold four
1 Takea pieceof paper,turn it landscape-wise
vertical columns.Here are the column headings:

SSI eilingual
2 Write down the word dumrain the first column (TL= translation).
3 Now write your associationwith the soundand shapeof the word in
Column z (word association).It can be a word associationor a picture.
The more fanciful the association.the better.
Now write the translation of dumrain Column 3 (mother-tongue):
Comparethe meaningyou now know, garden,with the association
'bridge association',which goes
that you had before,thus creating a
in Column 4. As an example,here are one person'sassociationswith
a newword:
bha 'exclamationof surprise' cow 'I seea cow in my bedroom and

Follow the proceduredescribedabovewith around zo words of
Englishyou needto teachyour beginners.(If you know little of the
students'language,here is a chanceto learn somemore!)The words
chosenwill probablybe from a coursebooklistening or reading.
Work on the listening or readingpassagethe words were taken from.

Not all students,of course,will havethe right mindset for this. Since
this activity is largely individual, and the teacherhasno need to
monitor the associationprocessesof the students,it can be easily
usedin polyglot groups.
This is aversionof tlle so-called'keyword'technique, which hasbeen
shown to be effective(for somelearners)in the short-term
acquisitionof one-to-oneword pairings, and is particularly useful in
preparing studentsfor quizzesand examinations.It may alsobe
helpful in laying a temporary foundation for deeperlanguage
PaulMeara,of the University of Walesat Swansea,haspointed out to
us that to build the languagehouseyou needplenty of bricks before
you start. The bricks are the words. He suggeststhat with rooo words
you will begin to be able to get someof the gist of normal target-
Other activitiesin this book which employ similar visual mnemonic
'Picturingwordsand phrases',tt.5,
devicesare 6.ro,'OHPlists',6.rS,
'Leapingwords', and t.8, 'Draw the word'.

4.8 Two-facingwords
Level Upper-intermediateto advanced
Time 10-15minutes
Aims Toexplorelexicalambiguityin a focusedbut amusingway, looking
at homonyms,homophonesand words that canbe usedas
different parts of speech.

textsand activities| 59
Materials One copy of the Dictationsheet(below) for your own usein class,
and one copyfor eachstudentto be givenout after the lesson.

Tell the studentsyou are going to dictate someEnglish sentencesto
them, which they are to take downintheir mothertongue.
2 Dictate the sentencesfiom the Dictation sheet,slowly.
3 Pair the studentsto comparetheir translations.If you have an
international class,pair the studentsaccordingto their mother
'international groups' for thosewho have
tongue,with one or more
no common mother tongue.
As you move round the classassurethe studentsthat all the original
sentenceswere ambiguous.Givehelp here and there, when pairs get
Roundoffby checkingthat everybodysawall the ambiguities.

Dictatethe sentences printedin italics.Thenotesin (brackets)
referto the ambiguities, andthusto the differentpossibilities
of translation.
Ithinka lot of ltalianmen.(l appreciatethe men/they are often in
my mind/asan answerto the question:'Who camehere
ThiswastheonethingI did right/writein theworkshop.
Canyoumakesuppertomorrow night?(cometo supperas a
guest/prepare supper)
Well,aren'tyou hernearest (relationalor geographical
You'recrackingup-hang onl(your voice is becomingunclearon
the phone/you are burstinginto laughter/youarestartingto
Thisdeskismadeof cypress/Cyprus wood.
Didyouhearaboutthecookwhodoespotatoesandpees/peas in the
Madcowdiseasewosformerly/formally knownas BSE.
lhad thisamazingexperience andIkeeprelatingitto people. (relating
canmeantelling or connecting)
Crackfound in lceland.(crackin the earth/crackcocaine,the
lsthebookdated?(is it out of date?/doesit have a date of
(l'll talk to him on the
upstairsphone/leadhim upstairs)

Photocopiable @Oxford UniversityPress

50 I Bilinoualtexts and activities

As homework ask eachstudent to hand in betweenthree and six
ambiguousmother-tonguesentences.Usetheseto do the same
exercisethe other way round, from tfre mother tongue into English.

This activity is suitablefor polyglot classesproviding the studentsare
This activity stressesthe fun aspectof linguistic ambiguity,aswell as
giving a practicaldemonstrationof how important contextis in
determiningmeaning.Over-serious studentsin particularshouldbeneflt.
You will find more ambiguous material in Davis et a\.MoreGrarnmar
Games. CambridgeUniversityPress,1995,pageazz.Above,we work
on lexical ambiguity, but evenmore fascinatingare grammatical
I don'thkeyoubecause I workwithyou. (I dislike you because
you're a colleague./Itisn't just your being a colleaguethat makes
me like you.)
DomensellbetterthanwomenT (Arethe men sellingsomethingor
being sold?)

4,9 On the walls

Level Beginnersto elementary
Time 15 minutes
Aims lio practiseskimmingand scanningtarget-language
equivalentsof mother-tongueexpressions.
Materials Posters,maps,other target-languagetexts.

Get together a collection of posters,maps,and other textual realia,
and pin them up round the walls of the classroom.Then chooseten
or sowords containedin the texts on the walls and preparea list of
their translationsinto the students'mother tongue.
Put the list of translationson the blackboard.Tell the studentsthat
'somewhereon the walls',
their English equivalentsare to be found
and askthem to look for them.

This very simple activity can becomean on-going,ever-changing
feature of the classroom.It encouragesstudents,especiallythose
remote from an English-usingenvironment, to find vocabularyfor
themselves,using cluesand contexts,rather than waiting to be
We learnt this technique fromJean Cureau.

and activities| 61
4 . 1 0 Translationreversi
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 20-30minutes
Aims To usea simpleboardand somepiecesof cardas a vocabulary
exercise,in which the playerwho cantranslatemostaccuratelyhas
the bestchanceof winning.
Materials Board,counters,translationcardsetc. Seebelow.

Straight Reversi
The traditional gameis playedbytwo players('vVhiteand Black)with
64 counterson an 8 x 8 squaredboard.A chessboard is ideal.
Countersare white on one sideand black on the other.
Eachplayer in turn placesa counter on the board,with her/his own
colour uppermost.A captureis madewhen one has placeda pieceat
eachend of a line of opposingpieces(row column or diagonal):the
capturedpiecesremain in placebut are turned over to reversetheir
In the flrst four movesthe four centre squaresare filled; thereafter,
eachmove must be a capture.If a player cannot make a capture,s/he
losesthat turn.
The gameendswhen neither player has a legal move and/orthe
board is full. The winner is the player with the most pieceson the
boardat the end ofthe game.(Seepage65.)

Translation Reversi
This is playedin exactlythe sameway asthe traditional game,but
with a few extra rules:
Smallpiecesof cardareusedinsteadof counters:on one sideof each
card is written a word or phrasein English,on the other an
appropriatetranslation into the mother tongue.Insteadof '\Mhite'
and 'Black',one playeris 'English',the other'Mother Tongue'.
Beforebeing allowed to capturea single opposingpiece,the player
must be ableto translatethe word on it before completing the move.
In capturing longer lines of pieces,s/hemust translateat leasttwo
words in the capture stringbeforemoving.
The player who successfullytranslateshis/her opponent'spieceor
piecesthen placespiecesat the end of the line, asin normal Reversi.
Sourcesfor the words and phrasesusedin the gamecould include
current topic or text material, revision material, and problems
thrown up by students'work.

Variation 1
The gamemay be shortenedby using a 6 x 6 board (36cards)or a
7 x Tboard(49cards).

62 | Bilingual
textsand activities
Variation 2
Insteadof translations,other paired items canbe used:synonyms,
antonyms,word + definition, orthographic/phonemicspelling,etc.

Variation 3
Eventhough, when introducing the game,it may be simpler to use
materialsproducedby the teacher,the activity hasgreatereffect
when the studentsproducematerialsfor themselvesor for eachother.

This is the old gameof Reversi-or Othello-which is now alsoan
establishedcomputer game.A computer version of TrarslanonReversi,
and other languagegames,canbe found on the cD RoMMindGame,
by Mario Rinvolucri and IsobelFletcherde Tellez,publishedby
Clarity, availableat htt p ://www.cIarity.com.hk .

o a) aa
o a) o

Theopeningmoves s firstcapture.

I O a o o a)
oO a) ^ o t C o
- n a) r) a) o o o a)
a) a) a) (- o o
a) o
Whites response Positionequal.

textsand activities| 63
-) ooooooo
C a) rf r) C r) a) a) a) a) a)
o o o C r)r-\ a) l t a) a) a) o a) -
o o o C o a) a) a) o a) o a) ( a)
o a o a) a) a) a) a) o a) o a) a) -
a o o o o a) o a) a) o a) o - n o
aoo n oo C f-)
o a) a) o a\ l

a) - a) a) ^ a\ a a) a) : ) a) a\ C I

WhiteclosesinI W h i t ew i n s4 7 : 1 7 .

64 I Bilingualtexts
Usingcorporaand concordances

Put simply, a languagecorpusis a body of texts, selectedaccordingto

explicit principles, and organizedto facilitate the discoveryoffacts
about language.Early corpora(or corpuses)were usedfor biblical
and literary studiesand in philological research(for example,the
completecorpusof Otd Englishtexts),but over the past 25years
their usehas grown enormously,not only among linguists,but in
many other fields.At the sametime, the computer explosionhas
both madepossiblethe creation of very large corpora (5oomillion
words and more) and generatedthe need for ever more complex
searchand analysistools (concordancers,indexers,parsers,and
so on) to dealwith the sheervolume of information flowing around
the planet.
In this chapter,we try to show how corporaand their associated
softwarecan benefit langUagelearnersand teachers.Most Blitish
dictionaries,and an increasingnumber of grammar books,are now
corpus-derived, and 5.r, 'Reciprocalverb phrases',and 5.2,
show how the insights ofcorpus lexicographycan influence both
'More on fendt0', illustrates someof the
what and how we teach.5.3,
basicsearchand displaytechniquesthat teachersand studentscan
'\Mhich word are we
apply directly if they have accessto a corpus.s.+,
'Barefacts,naked truth', show how corpuswork can
after?',and 5.5,
'Working with student
help in producing classroommaterials.S.6,
texts', givesideasfor applylng concordancingto the students'own
'Quarryrngthe Internet for words', looks at
written work, and 5.7,
,the biggestcorpusof all'. Somefurther guidanceand referencesare
provided in the Commentson this final activity'
Corpuslexicographyis a rapidly developingfield, and new
methodsand applicationsare appearingall the time. David Lee's
frequently updated corpuswebsite at htt p://devoted.to/corpo ra gives
a comprehensiveannotatedlist of corporaand the softwareneeded
to work with them.

verb Phrases
5.1 Reciprocal
Level Upper-intermediateto
Time 30-40 minutes
Aims Toshow how corpusanalysiscanhighlightpatternsof grammar
and meaning.

| 65
Usingcorporaand concordances
Materials Copiesof the Worksheetfor eachstudent.

Readthe Commentsbelow and make copiesof the Worksheet.If you
and your classsharethe samemother tongue,be readyto help them
find good translationsfor the phrases.

Givethe studentscopiesof the Worksheet.Tell them to complete
the worksheet in groupsof four, using dictionariesand any other
referencematerial they have.Tell them to call you over when they
need further help. As the studentswork, go round helping to clarify
meaning, offering translationsand contextsfor the phrases.

1 Lookthroughthisphraselist:
battleit out chewthefat comparenotes crossswords
burythehatchet do battle do business fall in love
changeplaces gohandinhand shakehands gotowar
haveit off haveit out settleaccounts havewords
hititoff holdhands joinforces linkarms
lockhorns losecontact losetouch makecontact
makefriends makelove makepeace mendfences
part company passthetimeof day seeeyeto eye
2 Writedown all the phrasesyou do nof knowthe meaningsof.
3 Writedown all the phrasesthat haveto do with repairinga relationship.
4 Writedown allthe phrases whichinvolvenegativefeelingbetweentwo
5 Write down all the phrasesthat basicallymeantotalkwith,tochatwith.
6 Lookat theseexamples:
Wemadecontact. lmadecontactwithhim.
Theylosttouch. Helosttouchwithher.
All the phrasesabovecanbe usedin thesetwo patterns.Chooseten of them and
makeyour own examplesentences for each,addingcontextand details,for
Aftershemovedto London,Peterlosttouchwith her.

Photocopiable @ Oxford UniversityPress

In Chapter 6 of Collins Cobuild's corpus-derived GrammarPatternsl.
Verbs(t998),'reciprocal verbs' are defined as those that
actions and processesin which tvvo or more people, groups or things
do the same thing to each other, have a relationship, or are linked
because they are participating jointly in an action or an event'. They
are used with either a plural subject and no object (WemadecontacLIk

66 | Usingcorporaand concordances
qndlbattledfi out.)or with a subjectfollowed by with + object (Imade 4
contartwrthhim.Theymadefriendswith her.).
The deflnition combinesmeaning and grammar in a way that
makesvocabularylearning hrghly effective,and enablesus language
teachersto introduce them asa memorableand learnablegrouping
to our students.It is a typical product ofcorpus lexicography,which
usescomputersto extract from examplesof natural languagenot
simply a meaning for a word or phrase,blutfhe patternsassociated
with it.
In the next activity (5.2)we showwhat the output of a corpus
search(often calleda concordqnce) can look like, and how this output
maybe used in class.

5.2 'Tendto': usingconcordances

with students
Level lntermediateto advanced
Time 30-40 minutes
Aims To presentand practisethe languagepatternsassociatedwith
particularwords and phrases.
Materials Copiesof one or more concordanceprintouts for the word(s)or

Make copiesof the Exampleconcordancebelow.Alternatively,ifyou
have accessto a corpusand appropriate software,make your own
concordanceofa word or phraseyou or your studentshave chosen.

Explain to your studentsthattendto is extremely frequent in spoken
English,and that second-language speakerswho useit tend to sound
more English than they really are!Tell them that this verb tends to
expresshabit and regular occurrence.
Give out copiesof the Exampleconcordanceand askthem to read
through and seehow many of the excerptsthey can make senseof.
Givehelp where required.
Pair the studentsand askthem to chooseone utterancethey like and
to producea four-line dialoguethat it could be part of. Givethem this
e: Shoppingpretty good down your way, innit?
s: That's right. Yeah,the shopstend to open about eleveno'clock.
a: Bit late really.
s: We're never up before eleven.
Ask the pairs to learn by heart what they havewritten, and to decide
where the speakersare,how they are standingor sitting, and what
their relationship is.
They turn their books over and bring the dialoguesto life for the rest
ofthe class.

Usingcorporaand concordances
| 67
5 Get them to createanother dialoguewith a new excerpt and act this

tend to
ch Erm yeah but we don't tend to go very often because I mea
quite far away Mmbut I tend to like to save my money and sp
the drift The thing is I tend to borrow things off Tim and he
tend not to use names I tend to use direct names very IitLLe
nhl- tn l-rcd Yceh i^lhat I tend to do is read or watch tefevisi
s right Yeah the shops tend to open about eleven o'clock
Ily i f I do buy bacon we tend to have ir for a funch you know
six grood glasses but we tend not to use them She was sayin
couple of times and you tend to find that a lot of the Londo
that a bit down or that tends to go back I don't quite know

The Exampleconcordanceabovewas edited down from a cANcoDE
output cited in Michael McCarthy.SpokenLanguage
Linguishcs.Cambridge,1998.(cANcoDEis a speciallypreparedcorpus
of transcriptsof spokenEnglish.)

5.3 More on 'tend to': using a corpusand

software in class
Level Intermediateto advanced


If this is the first time you have useda corpus,work through
Procedurebyyourselfto get usedto the technique.In later sessions,
very little preparationwill be needed.Wherever possible,encourage
the studentsthemselvesto formulate the queriesat eachstage,and
to suggestthe words and phrasesto work on.
To getyou started, we have prepared the Example concordance
below, using the cD-RoMSof the British National Corpus (nllc) and
query soft\^/are, sARA-32.

68 1 Usingcorporaand concordances
Procedure il
Make surethat the corpusto be usedis accessibleto eachworkstation
(this maybe through a local network or the Internet, or asa copy
installed on eachmachine)and that the appropriatequery or
concordancesoftwareis up and running.
Divide the classinto groups accordingto the number of computer
workstations available: the optimum group sizewould be two to four
studentsat eachworkstation, sothat everyonehas at leastone other
personto talk to but is still ableto seethe screen.One member of
eachgroup shouldbe responsiblefor operatingthe keyboard.
Ask the groupsto searchthe corpusfor instancesof the phrasetend
to.Dependingon the corpusand softwarebeing used,the query may
take one of severalforms:
a searchontend:this will produceeveryinstanceof tend(but not
tends,tending, etc.),including all the caseswhere tendis not
followed by to;
b searchon the phrasetendto:this will excludenot only such
examplesasTheytendthevlawnbrfialsoShetendsto worry;
'wild card' symbol (usuallythe asterisk):tend*
c searchusing a special
will include tends,tending,tended, but alsotendency,tender,etc.i
d specifya maximum number ofwords between the elements tend
and to: this could be used,for example, to pick up instancesof tend
e if the words in the corpusare marked ('tagged')as<noun>,
<verb presenttense>,and so on, searchfor tend
+ <infinitive marker>:
f if the word or phrasebeing queried is fairly common, it will
alsobe necessaryto restrict the number of instancesoutput by
the software,for example,by askingfor'the first 5o hits'
or '5o random hits', and/orby limiting the searchto texts
ofa particular type.
Tell the studentsto look at the results oftheir query and to consider
ways in which the examples can be grouped by grarnmar, meaning,
context, etc. If any of the listed examplesis hard to understandfrom
the limited context given, they can usethe softwareto increasethe
amount of text shown. (seeExpandedoutput below).
Ask the studentsto chooseone of the groupsof examplesthey have
decidedon, and to make a further searchto obtain more examplesof
this group. For example,the item is tendingtoincrease may suggesta
searchfor more examplesof tendtousedin a continuoustense,while
I wouldtendnotto may prompt the question tendnotto usedmore in
written than in spokenlanguage?'(Fromthe evidenceof the BNC,we
cannot saythat there is a signiflcant differencehere.)

I o9
the whole of global warming does tend to come to mind when you see
tend to get too too friendly and not keep it on a on a business
Yes, and they tend to be larger cars. Welf it stops the top
Transport, of course, 1s tending to increase aff the time
inhs in thc indrrstri:l are: and fheru wiff tend tO be offiee iohs
This is how they er, tend to compromise with it.
In many of the ruraf areas, however, reform tended to be uneven.
T wou-Id tend not to until the scheme was actually in management
It, it tends to be men, yeah, it' s more men
very often development programmes tend to ignore er therr
and you tend to sort of say welf what do you really want Eo tal-k

for the tenth linein the example
I want us to think for a moment about the rights and needs of aff
those miffions of chifdren who do not qo to school, who are invisibfe
<pause> because very often development programmes tend to iqnore
<pause> er therr needs.

Onceyou and your studentshavegained someexpedencein working
with a colpus and its associatedsoffware,you can add them to the
classreferencelibrary alongwith the dictionaries,thesauri,
referencegrammars,and so on. Here are somemore suggestionsfor
using a corpusasa referencetool:
Ask the studentsto think of other expressionssuggestedby or similar
to tendto(beinclinedto,be proneto,andhaveatendency to cometo mind),
and then to explore them in the sameway.
Give out a text and askthe studentsto selectthree to five words and
phrasesthat are unfamiliar, or usedin unfamiliar ways.Tell them
that they will be ableto look theseup in a dictionary but that first, in
small groups,they shouldget a list of examples(no more than ten) of
eachfrom the corpus,and then try to work out a deflnition or
paraphrasefrom the lists.\vVhenthey've flnished, they can check
tfieir answersin the dictionary.(Sincedictionariesare not infallible,
this can alsobe seenascheckingthe dictionary againstthe corpus
evidencethey haveobtained.)
Write on the board, or ask the studentsto choose,one or more pairs
of words that havevery similar meanings.(Examplesarefreedom:
Iiberr.y, prime:premier,triple:treble.)
choice:option, Tell them to usethe
corpusto discoverhow closein meaning the words in eachpair are,
and whether there are any 'rules' for decidingwhich word to usein a
given situation or context.Hopefully, their work will give you an
opportunity to introduce the idea of collocation,
the tendencyof words
to associatewith particular otherwords: for example,we tend to say
of thought.(Seealso5.5 'Barefacts,naked truth'.)

70 | Usingcorporaand concordances
The BNC, in common with many other corpora, consists of text files
'marked up' or 'tagged' to give a great deal of information
that are
aboutthe text and its constituent parts. Each word is marked as
<verb>, <adjective> and so on, and each textbegins with a header
that includes, among other things, details of authorship, publication
or composition, text domain (imaginative, science, leisure,
commerce, and so on), and, for spoken texts, details of the
participants' gender and age, and the situation in which a
conversation took place. So, for example, you could askyour students
to list words that they think are more commonly used in speech by
women than by men, and to test their predictions by searching the
spoken dialogues ofthe corpus fi.rst for instances in utterances tagged
<male> and then in those tagged <female>.

The Example concordance was produced ftom TheBritish National
Corpus(WorldEdthon),available on two cD-RoMS from the Humanitres
Computing Unit, Oxford University (htt p //www. h cu. ox. ac.u k/B NC)
using the program sARA-32byTony Dodd, a copy of which is on the
same cD-RoIr,rs.(The SARA-32help flle/manual is rather sparse, and
anyone learning to use sARA-32is advised to look atTheBNCHandbook,
by Guy Aston and Lou Burnard, Edinburgh University Press1998,
which includes an excellent sARA-32tutorial' The second edition of
this, updated to take account ofrecent revisions ofboth the corpus
and the software, is expected to appear in late zoo4.)

5,4 Whichword are we after?

Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 10-20minutes
Aims To show how corporaand concordancesoftware can help teachers
(and students)to prepareclassroommaterials.
Materials Worksheetsfor eachstudent;accessto computers,software,the
Internet,etc. as circumstances

Choosea word or collocationthat you would like the classto look at
in detail.
Ifyou have accessto a corpus,use a concordancerto extract ten
examplescontaining the word or phraseyou have chosen.
Alternatively,you can get your examplesfrom one of the siteson the
web which allow limited free accessto a text database,suchas
CollinsCobuildat http://titania.cobuild.collins.co'uk (upto 4o hits
returned) and the Bdtish National Corpusat
http ://sara.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/lookup.htm | (upto 50hits, and rather
more context).

| 71
Usingcorporaand concordances
3 Import the examplesinto a word processorand deletethe chosen
word/phrasefrom eachexample,leaving a gap,asin Example
worksheet r below.
4 Print and make copiesfor eachgroup ofthree to five students.

I Divide the classinto groups of three to flve students.
2 Give one exampleworksheet to eachgroup and tell them to work out
which word or phraseshould appearin the examples.(Exampler is
laundryand exampleziswarmest.)

--r^m Fh^ ^^11^^^
uuffsgs, ^rrr I ^^at
har r- h" oe - and found Gordie' s T-shirt covered
bur Europeans, seeing women kneading -at the river, adopted shampoo" to
f ^r l-hF f:mi lr; rn ni ck ^rrr ^f f ha -basket. Sometimes Lhey woulo need
pfastic pants. I've used my -service for three months now. They
in the other. Afso ideal for - (whites and coloureds) or for
To help you conceal your - q P l r n vn l l iar n aw a r u M gr T | ho- " ^| | -9 .9 i d ^ ---^^

da I i rzar ni nk rrn enrl nerr fnr rrnrrr l-\ai nd r-l-na i n tha na inhhnz i na f arrn

- r hr , ^Li
, . , L, ,
- ^
JU lLLorry ulrfrruJL yu ri _ h
r Lf U ^ I ha
Lrrc business in this country is
- fr i h- .iFtarnanj-q
l - n r am ^ \ 7a !r !au: _l t j l \/ tL^ u1 u1 Y^ rhr r La!1r r
+F- l
Lr r oL ^l^ne leave behind.

: nr l r i r - c nr r l i ti ani na fni r - anar r l a,4

-facifities are on che premises.

Lr nnl r : ^1r f - ^r r ^h f L^ dr-r ' th A rh-^ air urill lerrza rznrr
. ^A n r! ir J y e n
u hr aoz^

has now estab.Lished himself as the nerqnn:l ij-'z'n the Covernment."

friend Don Eduardo. He sends yol nis rcn:rdc Ha lhinlze thi < .Timm\/

r! hr _
cL r .ql r: rr r e
u LrhFn .timi un s^ a
- ^r r ^l -,,^^
f h^
Lrrs -sensurround sounds. Now that's
l-ia Ti:f arnr^^f tharr : ra ^r^hrl-il \/ t ha sn^rf q n l nrrcc .rOU' .Il eVer Wear !

Mr Ma'nr snoke ro Mps in che rarmc rTaF:h^irf fha hr^eha-l ^T r

For whatever reason you give, my - thanks. Yours sincerely,

or fari lv of those who were. I hanLc l- ^ a\/ar\z^na rrhnf c nhi nnad

1 . . - l ^ ^ r L ^ l - ^ ! , . ^ ^ - - ^ k ^ ^ l^^ Th:nLe t^ thA Crr'l f ql rarn

u u ! ! ] I 9 y c a l D l I o D

- - 1 . ^ ^ , , - ^ ^ ^ ^ l - ^ L ^ ^ I ^ ! L ^ - ( ( ^ f A a ar !r !r f \ 7 ^_h rl _ f \ / tL hr _a E
ywu! J, sst,!rrv ua\j Lr Lrrs _ Ywu , L u

72 | Usingcorpora
Ifyour studentshaveaccessto a corpusand can useit for simple
searches(seethe previousactivity for hints on this), encouragethem
to make worksheetsfor eachother: flnding and selectingthe
examplesis at leastasuseful as,and much more creativethan,
solvingthe przzle.

5 . 5 Barefacts,nakedtruth
Level Intermediateto advanced
Time 20-40 minutes
Aims To usea corpusto find out which of two or moreapparent
synonymsis appropriateto a particularcontext;to usea corpusto
Materials One copy of a concordance,frequent collocates,and a worksheet
and key for eachstudent,similarto the examplesprovided.

\Mhenpreparing your own materials:
Select,or get your studentsto suggest,two or more words with very
similar meanings.
Get a concordanceof the words you are investigating(on screen-
there is no needto print it out), and use the 'sort' option to group the
examplesfi.rstaccordingto the words searchedfor and then
accordingto the words that appearbefore or after.Make a note of the
commonestcollocations.(Somecorpussoffwarecan do this
automatically.)Selecttwo or three examplesof eachof the common
collocationsand deleteeverything else.Savethe resulting'thinned'
concordanceasa text file.
Import the savedtext flle into your word processor.Make a mixed
selectionof zo or soitems for the exampleconcordance,and a second
selection,with gapsreplacingthe headwords,for the worksheet.
Print theseout.

Giveout copiesof the Exampleconcordanceand askthe students,
working alone or in pairs,to seeif they can seeany pattern in the
way the headwordhasbeen chosen.
2 After a minute or two, give out the list of Frequentcollocates.
3 After another minute, give out the Worksheetand askthem to wdte
the most likelyword in eachgap.
'vVhenthey haveflnished, give out the Key.Point out that in eachcase
this showsthe word which actually appearsin the corpus,and that
there are severalcaseswhere eitherbareornakedmight havebeen
used.)Allow time for discussion.

Usingcorporaand concordances
| 73
(Thiscan be set for homework.)Tell the classto look againat the
frequent collocatesof bareandnakedand to mark thosewhere the
meaning is metaphorical (for example,barebones).They shouldthen
write a short paragtaphto illustrate how eachmay be used.

I afr hi c nrri:mac hohi nri :nn omorced srark naked, alt.hough noc seriously harmed.
I remembered the larder was bare and took a snap declsion to hit
I a^l ..d L,i ih th^ ,u, H^ Y
- av rr n
y q: r! rt vn f rho thi che naked, and hair like Marfene Dietrich!
T1,d t6lt:e fh^,,dh ha h:r'i haon ef ri..c.l naked and pushed out into a football crowd
th:f t:nLe Ah.l t r ^ ^ n .- , - 5 wref urri9 9urr5 arru naked bayonets were LnLrodLCed and qurIire
R i , l ^ . ^ r n i < : r i n n . h a r r e n n l v o i r r c t t s r h e bare bones of the organisation's structure
has differences that are invisible to t h e naked eye.
LoreLLa Peered at the bare facts of Puddephat's life. Willian Huqh
aa.l arnare-r_rcq Lo some extent, o u r naked intuitions of these properties are
drawer of his desk. The -oom was quiLe bare like a hospital.
chassis and car body were stripped L o bare metal, mudguards re-made. and woodwork
in most ilsects, t h e w i n g s a p D e a r t o b e naked, microscopical examlnation often
r/r t^ l cfF^c .' -Lo r econstruct i on wlch a bare m'n lmum of equ ipmenL yer maintai ned
I ^ l a c tA T^r fha?F/ c a -ower there and lt'S bare of trees.
there are lots o f bare people on the beach, right
-h6 -r:r i-r.ice fnrrno that Lhere was a bare possibillty of tire damage but' thaL
Fha d^\r6ynmant, < .af^rmc urara ronl:cinc 'naked racism and exploitation with subtle
fr^m tha h- 'i Pn J< rur yn w
u ru: -r ud 5
- naked save for a collar, probably of wood,
The floors were of the same wood, some bare, some covered ln linoleum. and
Borh men were armed, each carrying a naked sword and dirk.
' , .
r h o c r r i n
P v< Lo u: !r ve - h- r T' r ! - ^q- a ! ! y + r A a
m a f a a -
Though sti I L blind a n d naked, the chick manoeuvres itself inside
L ^ r - - ^ , - l ^ - - l ^ n ^ naked under a sheet.
slle tldu Ilcve 5eerl lytrrg o I vr c,

even'er a r m s , s h o w i n g bare where she had her sleeves rolled up

Frequentcollocates lbeforell ... ll afterl

ll bare llfooUfeet;hands;bones;minimum;walls;chest;
branch/es; room;leg/s;earth;essentials; skin;floor; necessities
half;found;stark;running;completely;caught;strip/ped;stand/ing/stood ll nakedll
body/bodies; eye; gun;truth; excepUbulb; aggression;ambition; flesh

74 | Usingcorporaand concordances
IHerneckand shouldersare - and coldlooking.lt'sa beautifuldress.
Shelooksso pretty.
2 KenLivingstonehad madea - graspfor powerthat mustnot be allowed.
3 Patrice[...]wouldassoonleavethehouse- aswithoutmake-up.
4 Thecorridorsbeyond,though,were stark, and ascoldand draughtyas
wind tunnels.
5 Manywere forcedto eke out a - existencein misery,and manyothers
5 Deciduous shrub,four feet tall,with f lowerson -, erectbranches.
7 HellenisticGreekkingswere frequentlyportrayed a devicesuggesting
superhuman status.
8 lt shouldbe visibleto the - eyeasafuzzy patch(withouta tail) two to
threetimesthe sizeof the Moon.
9 Theremaining- shellisthen cut up andsentoff to itsgravein the
l0 Somepeopledo the - minimum,justthe surfacethat shows.Butwhen
you dustbehindand underneath...
| 1 Everyone startsdiggingfrantically,somewith spades,otherswith pick-axes,
and otherswith their - hands.
12 AchilleBonitoOliva,commissioner of thisyear'sBiennale alsoappeared -
on the coverof a magazine.
13 TheystrippedPatsy- , coveredhim all overwith shoepolish,and locked
him out the front of the house.
14 No Britishgovernmentin the pastforty yearsand more hasbeenelectedwith
evena - majorityof the votescast.
15 Likea childshewantedto explore.Coolstonestepswere smoothbeneathher
- feet.
16 Lyingflat, my - chestagainstthe coldconcreteI foughtwith the thing till
my eyespoppedand my breathgaveout
17 Childrenand soon will exertinfluenceout of proportionto their -
18 lt will simplifymuchof the discussion andwill helplay- the inner
workingsof the market.
19 Verysadly,her motherdied a - two weeksafter Pat'smove.
20 StickthecardinanenvelopethatwillYes.fitit.[...]Mm.Ohyesitwouldn'tgo
- throughthe postwould it?

| 75
Usingcorporaand concordances
1 bare 8 naked 15 bare
2 naked 9 bare 16 bare
3 naked 10 bare 17 naked
4 bare 1"1 bare 18 bare
5 bare 12 naked 19 bare
5 bare 13 naked 20 naked
7 naked 14 bare

Looking at the co-occurrences of words in a corpus is a very profitable
way of finding out how words are actually used, how meaning
changes in context, how words may be linked to other words in only
a narrow tange of structures, and so on. For example, a BNC search
onplace throws up nearly48,ooo Ifyou download a random
selection of these. and then sort the results so that four-word
sequences containingplace appear together, you can see, almost at a
glance, the most frequent sequences:in (the)placeof, inthe nght place,
aII overtheplace,taketheplaceoJ and so on. Many of these will appear in
recent dictionaries, but manywill not, or will be given without some
of the useful information that the corpus search can reveal: time and
place does not appear in the dictionaries we looked at, but is
commonly used (theright time and place,this is not the time andplace
for . . .). Again, entries for inthe first place,tholugl:' they may give two
separateusesof the phrase ('flrstly ...' and'as things are/were at
the start ofa process'),fail to show that
o the second of these uses is eight to ten times more common than
the flrst,
o in this use the phrase alrnost always appears at the end of the
. even when people start a sentence or utterance with the first
place ...', they almost never cany on with the second place'.

5 . 6 Working with studenttexts

Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 20-45 minutes
Aims Toshow how concordancesoftware can be usedwith the studentt'
own textsto discoveror highlightfeaturesof vocabularyand style.
Materials Computers,students'texts in machine-readable form, concordance
software as needed.

Build up a small corpusof student-generatedtext. This is best done
over a period, in the courseof normal classwork,by askingthe class
to do their written assignmentson a computer,or to type fair copies

zO I Usingcorpora
'public diary' or 'blog'
of handwritten work. Asking them to keep a
(=web log) on computer is alsoa goodway to collect texts.
Organizethe texts in directories(folders),one for eachstudent,and
make surethat eachclassroomcomputer can accessthem and has
the necessaryconcordancesoffware.

Ask the studentsto make fi:equency-ordered wordlists, flrst of the
whole corpus,and then of only their own texts.
In groupsof three to four they should comparethe lists, and pick out
words which occur much more, or much less,in their own texts than
in all the texts taken together.(WordsmithTools hasa'keywords'
function which will comparetwo frequencylists and list the
Encouragethe studentsto look at thesewords in their original
contexts,and to suggestpossiblechangesto the languageused.

Variation 1
If the texts were collectedover a long period of time, saya year or
more, organizethem by date of composition,and askthe studentsto
compareword-listsmade from the earliestwith wordlists from the
Iatest,and to seeif there are interesting differencesin frequency.Are
there words or phraseswhich they onceuseda lot, but which they
now don't seemto be using at all?

Variation 2
In a mixed gtoup, askthem to make two wordlists, one fiom the
texts written by males,and the other from thosewritten by females,
and to comparethe two.

Variation 3
Dependingon the type and content ofthe texts, studentscanlook at
speciflcword typesor semanticareas.In a collectionof personalletters
or emails,for example,it might be instructive to comparethe relative
frequencyof Ilmelmyandyoulyour.A look at the usein descriptivetexts
of phrasessuchaslookslike,soundshke,feelslke,or at adjectivesof
colour,sound,and movement,may show cleardifferencesbetween
peoplewho are primarilyvisual, auditory or kinaesthetic.

Variation 4
Ifyou have accessto a large generalcorpus,suchasthe sNc, you can
askthe studentsto comparethe relative frequenciesof words and
phrasesin their own texts and in the larger corpus.If, for example,a
student discoversthat they haveusedthe phraseveryrncero times in
their own zooowords of text (i.e.o.s%)and that veryniceappeats7oo
times in the ca.ro-million-word spokendialoguesectionof the sNc
(i.e.o.oo7%),they may decideto look round for a few alternative

| 77
Usingcorporaand concordances
5 . 7 Quarryingthe Internetfor words
Level lntermediateto advanced
Time 30-50minutesin class,spreadout over severalsessions as
Aims To encouragestudentsto learn how words and phrasesare usedby
searchingthe Internetfor exampletexts.
Togive practicein usingcomputersand softwarewithout losing
sightof moreimmediatelanguagelearningneeds.
Materials Computers,Internet access,concordancesoftware as needed

Oneor two lessonsbeforeyou intend to do the activity, get the class
to selecta topic areathat intereststhem and to brainstorm words and
phraseswhich they expectto flnd in texts on the topic. Get them to
reducetheir list to fi.veor six key items.
Openyour browser and use a searchengine suchasGoogleor
AltaVistato find on the web texts containing the words and phrases
chosen.At this stagedon't download any of the texts themselves,just
the lists ofweb addresses (unrs).The first ro-zo addressesfor each
word or phrase,together with the textual context that is usually also
given,will be ample. Savethe lists if you need to intermpt the work.
Readthrough your lists of addresses: usethe context information (the
strings oftext that contain the searchwords)to selectrz-t5 texts.
Downloadthem and savethem to disk.
Usesuitablesoffware(for example,Wordlist inWordSmithTools)to
preparewordlists for eachtext, and a combinedword list for all the
texts: thesewill show the words usedin the texts togetherwith the
number of times they appear.Edit the word lists to excludewords
that occurvery frequently in the language,suchasarticlesand
pronouns.(Thesoftwarewill probablybe ableto do this
automatically.)Youmay alsolike to re-edit and/orre-format
the lists in a word processor.
Print out and make copiesof the original texts and the word lists.You
will needone copy or more of eachtext to put up on the walls or
spreadout on the tables,and eachstudentwill need one copyof one
of the individual word lists and one copy of the combinedword list.
You should alsohavea few extra copiesofeach text for the students
to readat home.
(Dependingon the availability of computersand Internet access,and
on the students'familiaritywith the equipment and soffware,some
or all of the abovecan be done by the studentsthemselves.Seethe
Commentsbelow for waysof making the variousprocessesinvolved
more efficient.)

Za I Usingcorpora
Put up one copy of eachtext on the walls, or on flat surfaceswhere
they can easilybe seenand read.In larger classes,you may needto
put up more than one copy of eachtext.
Give eachstudent one copy of tle word list for one of the texts. In
smaller classes,eachstudent should have a different word list.
Tell the studentsto look through their word list for a minute or two,
and then to walk round and try to find the original text from which it
was prepared.\Mhenthey have done this, they should sit dovrn and
underline on their list all the words or phrasesthat they don't know,
orwhich theywould like more information about.
As more and more studentsfinish stepsz and 3, get them to form
pairs or threesto discusswhether (a)they were sutprisedby the
Ianguageor content ofthe text they found, and (b)the texts, asa
whole, met the expectationsthey had when they first chosethe
searchwords or phrasesthat yielded them.
Ask the studentsto form groupsoffour to six and give eachstudent a
copy of the combinedword list. Tell them to usethe lists to help
them producea list of newwords or phrasesto searchfor, asin

Variation I
Insteadof producingword lists, print out the words and phrasesin
contextualizedformat. asin the concordanceextractsin activities
5.2,5.3,and 5.4.
Variation 2
If you have computersavailablein the classroom,the students,in
small groups,can look at a concordancelisting directly on screen,
speculateabout the wider context (vocabularysituation, etc.)of each
extract, and then expandit to checktheir predictions.If the listing is
basedon a number of different texts, the filenamesand line numbers
can alsobe shown, making it very easyfor the studentsto accessa
whole text that intereststhem and print it out for later reading.

To searchthe web, useyour browser to accessone of the many search
enginesavailable,type in the terms you wish to searchfor, wait to
receivea page(or more often pageupon page)of web addresses, and
then click to accessasmany papersasyou wish. However,you may
haveproblemswith the sheerquantity of information you haveto
wade through. How can you maximize your chancesof quickly
flnding what you want, and how canyou processit most efficiently
onceyou've got it? Here are a few pointers:
If you are only interestedin text, not pretty pictures, switch offyour
browser's'fetch imagesautomatically' option.
If you're fetching material for later study,and don't needto read it as
'Saveto flle' or 'Saveto disk'
it arrivesat your computer,choosethe

I zS
option; a lot of time can be wastedwaiting for the text to appearon
the screen.
If you're using an on-line searchengine, checkthe options it offers:
you may be able to restrict your searchto a particular topic area
('Science','On-lineNewspapers',and so on),to a particular language
and/or country, or to a range of dates(for example,only files updated
in the last year).
\Mhen searchingfor specificphrases,make sureyou usethe 'exact
words' option. (Thismay be a button, a check-box,or require you to
enclosethe phrasein quotation marks.)
Not all searchenginesusethe samesearchmethods:what one fails to
find maywell be listed by another.Usedifferent searchengines,or
try one of the 'metasearch'sites,which take your query passit on to
severalsearchengines,and combine the resultsbefore sendingthem
back to you. One site of interest to us is
http://webcorp.org.uk/wcadvanced.htm l, which canpresentsearch
resultseither asa normal listing or asa concordancedisplay.
Text is found on the Internet in different forms, and not all are easy
to processin word-listing concordancesoftware.Plain text files (.txt)
presentfew problems,and most concordancerswill dealwith normal
web pages,(.htmt,.htm).Word-processor flles(.doc,.rtf and soon)
may needto be loadedinto the appropriateapplication flrst and
savedasplain text, aswill PortableDocument Format (.pdf)and
Powerpoint (.ppt)documents.
Many web pagescontain the text you want, but a lot of other stuffas
well: advertisements,navigationlinks and so on. When
concordanced,suchpagesmay give a falseimpressionby showing
repeatedoccurrencesof goto top,buynow,and so on. If you haveto
work with thesepages,you will haveto useyour browser's'SaveAs'
or'Export' function to fiirn the file into plain text, and then, in a
word processor,edit out all the unwanted material.
The book in this seriesby ScottWindeat, David Hardisty,and David
Eastmententitled Thelnternet(zooo)givesextensiveguidanceon the
useofthe Internet for languageteachers.

80 | Usingcorporaand concordances
Wordsandthe senses

The sensoryemphasisin coursebooksand classroomsis mainly on

the visual channel of perception.Blackboards,wall-charts,book
illustrations, and printed texts combine to produce a feastfor the
learners'eyes,but at the expenseof those other channelswhich
mediate experience,imagination, and memory. Nor is perception
itself assimple asit might appear:at the neurologicallevel, the
sensorysignalsthat we receivefrom, for example,the retina in our
eye,make up lessthan a quarter of the information that our brain
'visual image'-the rest is
processeswhen presentingus with a
composedof memories,storedpatterns,and learnt procedures.In a
concretesense,what we perceiveand how we perceiveit are largely
the product of training and habit.
In the sameway, our memories,whether of sensoryimpressions,
procedures,or 'facts',will in turn be affectedby the ways in which
we have learnt to processreality. For many years,psychologists,
neurologists,and other researchersin the human scienceshave
'preferred channels' of
observedthat we vary widely in our
perception, and that this has marked effectson how we learn, and
on how we expressourselves.(Foran early,but still influential
account,seeBandler and Grinder rgzs, which draws heavily on the
work of the psychologistGregoryBatesonand the psychotherapist
Milton Erickson.)Others, such as Howard Gardnerat Harvard, have
'multiple intelligences'
gone further, arguing for the existenceof
within us to explain differencesof perception,behaviour,thought,
and creativity. (Seethe Annotated Bibliography sectionat the end of
this book for works by Gardnerand others in this area.)
The implications of this for us asteachersare far-reaching,if not at
presentvery clear.We can accept,however,thathow material and
information are presentedto and worked on by our studentswill
have a profound effect on their learning, and that in vocabulary
learning, for example,the memorability of a word or collocationwill,
for any particular learner, dependon the settingsin which it is
encountered,the channelsthrough which it is processed,and the
type of intelligence (in Gardner'ssense)into which it must be
integrated.In this chapter,therefore, we offer activities that range
acrossthe sensoryspectrum,and which allow the student to process
and practiselanguagein waysappropriateto their perceptualand
cognitive preferences.Theseinclude not onlyvisual and auditory

Wordsand the senses| 81

activities, but also those that involve space and movement
(kinaesthesia), as well as more abstract, logical exercises.

6.1 Wordsand our senses

Level Lower-intermediatetoadvanced
Time 25-40minutes
Aims To makestudentsaware of their own sensorypreferencesthrough
the words they chooseand the texts they respondmost stronglyto.
Materials A copy of the text for eachstudent.

Make copiesof the Samplesheetbelow, which consistsof three
descriptionsof the samecar accident,eachwritten from a different

1 Readthe three descriptionsaloud to your classand askthem what
differencesthey notice betweenthem.
2 Readagainand repeatyour question.

An accident
1 Swoopingdown to the right.Wet air rushingin throughthe
windscreen. Backon to the motorwaysurface-grinding,
shuddering alongthe centralbarrier.Overon two wheels.
I am high,high.We aretipping?We swayfor hours.
Oomph,ooomph,down on four wheelsand amazingly
I am in controlagain.Veeroveron to the hardshoulderand
find I havestopped.A tinglingof fine windscreen glass
undermy top skin.
2 | seethe phoneasit goes.Thenthereisa blank,likel'm not
there,until I seecarscomingthe other way close,overthe
barrier.Everythinglookstipped over-we are on two
wheels.Now I canseeeverythingclearly,the fog in my head
hasclearedand I steerusoverto the hardshoulder.In the
mirrorI seecarspullingup behind.How mustallthat have
lookedto the peoplefollowingus?
3 A sharpcrack.Metalon metal.Themuffledshattering
of the windscreen powdering.Normaltyre roarandthud,
thud, thud-we are backon the motorway.Screeching,
scratching, scrapingalongthe steelbarrier.Bangbang,back
on four wheels.And now likesilence, stillness
and wet
a i ra r o u n dm e .

Photocopiable @Oxford UniversityPress

82 | Words and the senses

3 Givethem copiesof the texts to read for themselves.
4 Ask the students,working on their own, to weavethe bits they like
from eachtext into a new one, addingwhatever they want
Tell them to circulatewhat they havewritten or to put it up on the
walls, and to go round and readwhat the others havewritten.

The languagethat we useoften reflectsthe way in which particular
sensesdominate our perceptionsand thoughts: those of us who are
primarily auditory for example,may usea high proportion of sound
words and metaphors.Similarly,we may respondbetter to language
that matchesour own sensorypreferences.(Skilledinterviewers and
counsellorsoften usethis to encouragepeopleto talk.) In this activity,
studentsare led to becomeawareof their preferencesand to use
them creatively.

6.2 Notion pictures

Level Beginnerto intermediate
Time 20-30minutes
Aims To review and recallvocabulary.
Materials Dictionaries.

Choosea notion srcf:'asjoining,waterthings,or protectionTakea large
dictionary with you to class,especiallyif Englishis not your mother

Exemplify the conceptchosenby drawing: for joiningthismight be,
say,a hinge, and a priest marrying two people.
Ask the studentsto draw asmany things and people that join asthey
can.Let them work either on their own or in pairs.
Oncethe studentshavegot a good number of drawings down on
paper,and not before,askthem to label their drawings.They can use
eachother's knowledge,dictionaries,andyou asan informant.
Ask the studentsto standup and work in pairs, showingtheir
drawingsand teachingtheir words to other people.'vVhenthey have
finished with one partner, they should move on to another,rather
than cluster in larger and larger groups.Stopthe exercisewhen each
personhasworked with about five partners.

| 83
Exampfe When we havedone this exercisewilh joiningasthe conceptword,
studentshaveproduceddrawingsof the following:
crowd river dividingline
audience apex shelf
engagementring breadand butter electricplug
cocktail border handcuffs
ofloge comma
studentshaveproduceddrawingsof the following
With waterthings,
sprinkler spiritlevel rap
ocropus starfish well
hosepipe whale nver
esrua irrigation spnn9
gumboots umbrella bathtub
goggles water meter swimmingpool

This activity is mainly visual.It is highly repeatable,especiallyif you,
or your students,arewilling to chooselessobvious

6.3 Machinesand scenes

Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 3040 minutes
ways of presentingahd learning
Aims To providevisualand kinaesthetic
new vocabulary.
Materials Dictionary.

Make surebeforeyou start that you are fully conversantwith the
words that may be calledfor by the students,sothat you can supply
them if asked.Havea dictionarv handv in class.

Find someonein the group who likes drawing and askthem to draw
or diagram a given scene/machine/situation/process on the
blackboard.Tell the artist to usethe whole of the board.
Oncethe drawing hasbegun to take shapeget someonein the
group with clear handwriting to come out and start labelling what
hasbeen drawn. This should be done with the help of the group.
As teacher,you should only supply a word when askedto: i.e. act
asinforr,nant only.
Tell the studentsto copythe board drawing into their notebooksand
to write the words in on the drawings:this makesmore sensethan
writing lists ofwords.
The words now needto be usedin a context beyondthe picture.
Threeways of doing this are suggestedin the detailedExamples
that follow.

84 | Wordsandthe senses
Examples Some word areas that lend themselves to this activity
1 Tell the artist to draw abicycle.Follow steps 1' z, and 3 above in order
to familiarize students with the necessaryvocabulary. Then ask the
students to look at the illustration below and to jot down all the
differences they can see between the two bikes there. Ask the
students to form pairs and compare the differences they have
found-this willbring oral production of the words being learnt.

Tell the artist to draw the peopleworking onabuildingsife,with

housesat different stagesof completion.ffier doing steps1, z and 3
above,ask the studentsa question such asCantheplastererworkonthe
housebefore thebricklayer? Then tell them to organizethemselvesinto a
line acrossthe classroom representingthe time sequencein which
building workers work on a house.Eachstudent (or pair of students
in a large class) is to assume the role of one type of worker. You
shouldtake no part in this organization, exceptto keep them
speakingin English.
TeIl the ar[ist to visualizethe dashboard qndcontrols of a car,as seen
from the back seat,and to draw them. After the group hasfollowed
steps1, z and 3 above,put two chairs out in front of them, sideby
side.Then invite one student to sit on one chair and play the part of a
driving instructor, while you sit besidethem and play the part of a
slow pupil: show nervousness,and askthe instructor what each
control is and what it is for. Then askthe whole classto act out the
learner-instructor scenesimultaneouslyin pairs.
As a follow-up activity, in a later class,askthe pairs to continue the
sceneinto the first stagesof a driving lesson:moving offand coming
to a stop.

The exercisesoutlined here maybe usedin any situation involving
the drawing and labelling of pictures,diagrams,plans,maps,etc.

Wordsand the senses| 85

6.4 Elephants
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 40-50 minutes
Aims To encouragepeer-teachingboth of subject-matterand of lexis.

1 Ask eachstudent to write down a list of 8 to rz words that are central
to their profession,or to a hobby or interest.
2 Ask the studentsto draw a picture of an animal, machine, etc.All the
studentsshould draw the samesubject:choosesomethingwhich is
clear,easyto draw, and which hasrecognizablydistinct parts (for
example,elephant, cat,bicycle).
Ask eachstudent to label the picture with the terms on their list from
step1:where to put the words on the picture is up to the student.
Form the studentsinto small groups.They should in turn give mini-
lectureson their chosensubjects,using their labelledpicture asa
visual aid.

Example Onestudentwho workedin photolithographic


This exercisemay at first sight seemstrange.Soit should, asit uses
the principle of 'making strange'what is familiar. Having to placethe
words from your list on the elephant forcesyou to look at them from
a new angle.Looking at and listening to another persondoing the
samemakeswhat theyhave to say,and the words theyuse to sayit,

85 | Wordsandthesenses
6.5 Exploringvocabularykinaesthetically
Level Beginnertoadvanced
Time 15-30minutes,dependingon classsize.
Aims To learnvocabularythrough movement.

With an upper-intermediateclassyou mlght chooseto teachthe
1 Bring the studentstogether in a big standingcircle. (Thismay haveto
be in among the desks,if they are fixed.)
2 Ask one of the studentsto bring to mind a tree. This must be a
particular kind of tree, and the student shouldtlen mime the way
thattreewould be: the student mimes silently and everybodyround
the circle mirrors the mime.
3 The student next round the circle mimes a tree they have in mind'
Everybodymirrors them. And so on round the circle, or if your class
is large,round part ofthe circle.
4 Goback to the flrst student,who mimes their tree againand
saysthe word for it in the target languageif they can, otherwise in
their mother tongue.(Youor the dictionary give the
5 Proceedround the group like this. Havea student at the board
writing down the words in both languages,until all the tree names
are up on the board.
6 The studentsreturn to their seatsand copythe words into their
notebooks,adding the mother-tongueword and, if they wish,
a quick drawing.

At beginner level you can have studentsdealwith a word fleld such as
lower-intermediatestudentscan dealwith weatherwords(fot
example,mist,breeze, gale,frost-how would you mime being
Advanced-levelstudentscanwork with abstractwords in a given
area,for example,truth,deception, sincerity, distrust.(This
producesmuch more revealingmimes than trees.)

This technique harnessesthe kinaestheticand the visual
abilities ofthe learners.It getsthe studentsout oftheir seatsand
allows them to move, somethingthatis essenhal for a minority of
them. In multiple intelligence terms (seethe beginning ofthis
chapter),it simultaneouslyactivatesthe kinaesthetic/spatial
and linguistic intelligences.

Wordsandthe senses| 87
6.5 Coinsspeak
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 15-25minutes
Aims Toexplorethe spatialand hierarchical associations
of words,as an
aid to understandingand memory.
Materials A collectionof identicalsmallobjects,suchascounters,coins,
buttons.Youwill needaroundten per student.Youwill alsoneed
one sheetof white paperfor eachpair of students.

Preparean introductorylist ofwords with a strong spatialor
hierarchical sensefor the studentsto practiseon, for example,
airpoft beach village field forest school qaraqe
c/ass crowd regiment queue party club junta
Preparea list or lists ofwords youwould like the studentsto work on:
theseshouldbe words with a strong emotional or controversial
content, for example,
guilt independence innocence revenge contradiction
ingratitude age stability sadness hostility death

1 Ask the studentsto form groups ofthree to four.
2 Givethem your list of spatiafhierarchicalwords. Make surethey
checkwith dictionariesor by askingthat they understandthem all.
Give eachgroup a pile ofr5-25 countersor coins,and a sheetofplain
white paper to affange them on.
Ask one student in eachgroup to selecta word from the list and then
without sayingwhich word they have chosen,to representthe word
by meansof an arrangementof countersor coins on the paper.
When the flrst student has done this, the others in the group should
try to guesswhich word was selected.
After eachmember of the group has selectedand representedone
word from the introductory list, introduce the secondset of
emotional words and asktfiem to continue working on them. Stop
the exerciseafter two or three more rounds.

88 | Wordsandthe senses
Examples q
co ^o.-,?
OC UV \J ..C O^
c gggg V CU^
v' !2 u^cc
r )
U L / o
J U N T Ap: n a l a n x MISERY: ONC IS S A D N E S ST
surrounded excludedfrom fallingfrom eye
MASSCS the group

Variation 1
After the introductory stage,askthe studentsto write their own lists
of words that are important or exciting or disturbing for them, and to
work in pairs on these.This exercisecan be repeatedmany times
during a coursewithwhatevervocabularyhappens to be under
consideration:evenabstractwords can havepowerful spatial
associationsfor many people.

Variation 2
The exercisecan equallywell be usedasa pre-readingexercise.
It then hasthe doublevalue of exploring vocabularyfrom the text,
and getting the readersto think through their own ideas/prejudices
before reading.

6 . 7 Picture
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 35-50minutes
Aims 1 To get studentsto use known (or half-known)vocabularyin new
situations,and to learnvocabularyfrom eachother.
2 To get studentsto write texts that other studentswillwant to read.
Materials A collectionof magazinepictures(seePreparation).

Collectmagazinepictureswith a strong direct impact, visually
uncluttered-portions are often more useful thanwhole pictures.
Selectenough picturesfor eachmember of the classto havetwo.
Make a varied selection:don't chooseonly pictures thatyou like. Take
Blu-Tack,or someother meansof fixing the picturesto the walls.

Split the classinto two equalgroups,one at eachend of the room.
Spreadout halfthe pictures for one group and halffor the other
Wordsandthesenses| 89
Ask eachstudent to choosea picture, but not to show it to anyonein
the other group. Removeany unchosenpictures.
Ask the studentsto write clearly on a piece of paper twelve words
suggestedby the picture they havechosen.Banadjectives.
When everyonehasfinished, take awayeachstudent'spicture and
ask everyoneto lay out their sheetsofwords at their end of the room.
Ask the studentsto changeendsand chooseone list from those
written by the other group.
Ask them to read their word lists and then to write a short paragraph
describingthe picture they imagine behind the words.
\Mhenthey have done this, put up the pictures around the walls, and
askthe studentsto look round for the picture that best corresponds
to the list they haveworked from and to put up their paragraphand
the word list next to it.
8 Invite the studentsto go round and look at the pictures and read the

Example A studentin onegroupchosea pictureof a detailcutfroma magazine

advertisement:theskinon a woman'sstomach glistening
withbeads of
moisture; handison herstomach, abovethenavel;a fine
goldchainencirclesherstomach.Thestudent wrotethislistof words
suggested bythepicture:
fingersmoothskinbath rednailswomanchain
stomachwaterplayhair navel
A studentfromtheothergroupwrotethisparagraph,
A womanwaslyinginthebath.Shehassmoothskin.Youcanseeher
witha chainandyoucanalsoseehernails

This is a mainlyvisual activity. See3.1,'Invisible writing'.

6.8 Listeningin colour

Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 15minutes
Aims To learnvocabularythrough specificvisualassociations.
Materials A posteror other large,colourful picture.

Choosea brightly colouredpainting or posterin which there is
plenty of action.It should not be too complicated.Prepareto describe
the picture without mentioning any colour.

90 | Wordsandthesenses
Put the picture or poster up somewherethe classcan't seeit. Tell
them that the picture is highly coloured,but that theywill have to
imagine the coloursfor themselves.Then describethe picture in full
spatialdetail, but without mentioning any colour.
Ask peopleto tell the classwhich coloursthey saw.They shouldbe as
Showthe classthe picture. Pointssuch asthesemay comeup in
o howthepainter feltwhens/hepaintedit
r whatkindof painters/hewas/is
o whatkindof roomit wouldsuit
e wouldyoulikeit inyourhouse?

Insteadofusing a picture, you can tell a story taking carenot to use
any referenceto colour in your descriptions.Then askthe studentsto
re-tell the story in colour,for example,Thedark-eyedgirlputonherblue

Our visual perception is very complicated,and eventhoseof us who
are 'highlyvisual' may differ markedly in howwe visualize.Colour,
for example,may be vitally important for some;for others line,
shape,or proporlion may dominate.

This idea appearedin an article by MalgorzataSzwajinModernEnglish

6.9 Getasmuchwrong asyou can

Level Upper-intermediateto advanced
Time 10-20minutes
Aims To meet head-onthe challengeof linkingthe meaningsof words
with their visualand auditoryrepresentations.
Materials A copy of the text for eachstudent.

Make copiesof the short passageincluded at step4 below.

Explain to the classthat you going to give them a dictation and that
everytime they hearlherea homophonethey areto wntelright down
the written version that is wrong for the context.

| 91
To make the idea of homophone clear, write up a few on the board:
l'll aisle isle
sort sought*
freeze frees frieze
or ore oar awe*
sees Cs seas serze
(Words marked " are homophonic only in those dialects where end-
of-syllable is not sounded, such as British RP.)
Offer a small prize for the student with the most
Give this dictation and do it slowly:
Homophones arean odd phenomenon. Takethe word site,whichcanmean
a location,or the abilityto see,or the actof quoting.We tendto excludethe
meaningthat is not contextually right lf you did not do this,you would go
barmy So,to be ableto shutout unwantedmeaningsis partof beingsane.
Group the students in fours to share homophones theywere
aware of.
Give out the homophonic text below for them to compare their own

Homophones area nod phenomenon. Takethe whirred

witch canmeana plaice,ore the abilityto sea,oar
the act of quoting.Weetend to excludethe meaningthat is
knot contextuallywrite. lf yew did knot do this ewe wood go
balmy*.Sow/Sewto beeableto shut out the unwanted
meaningsis part of beingseine.(asernenet, or the RiverSeine)

Photocopiable @Oxford UniversityPress

For homework, askthree or four of your more linguistically-
interestedstudentsto go to homophone siteson the web and then to
produceshort texts like the one above,which include plenty of
If four studentshave done this homework, divide the classup into
four groups,sothat eachgroup takes a homophonic dictation from
one of the students.A good site for this homework is
http://www.peak.orgl-jeremy/dictiona rylhomophones.htmI

For many classroomlearners,having to learn the spokenand written
forms of a languageat the sametime makesthings doubly difficult
not leastbecausethis involvesthe simultaneousexerciseof auditory
and visual skills, in either or both of which they may be deficient.
The principle of treating effors asinteresting rather than wicked is
fundamental to non-behaviouristteachins.

92 | Wordsand the senses

We learnt th e idea of unedictdesans centsfautes
fautesoar unedicl6.e
(diclationwithout mistakes,
or dictahon)
one-hrmdred-mistqke fiom the
fiches pddagogiques in Le dansle
FranEais Monde, February zooo.

6 . 1 0 OHPlists
Level Beginnerto advanced
Time 10-15minutes
Aims To breakup the orderand visualmonotonyof listsas an aid to
Materials Overheadprojectorand transparencies.

Make a list of ro-r5 target-languagewords or phrasesthat you want
your studentsto learn or revise,or ask them to glve you short lists of
words or phrasesthey are having difficulty in remembering,and
make your selectionfrom them.
Write the words on an overheadtransparencyin black, in two neat
Write the words againon another transparency,but this time scatter
them all over the sheet.Usedifferent colouredinks, different sizes
and stylesof lettering. Write someof the words at an angle,or
backwards.or around the circumferenceof a circle.
Preparethree more ffansparenciesasin step 3, using the same
words or phrasesbut writing them differently on eachsheet.

Put up the first transparency(the neat one in black lettering)'
Allow the studentsto look at it for ro-r5 seconds,then switch it off.
Ask the studentsto jot down any words they remember and for each
to add abrief explanation or mother-tongueequivalent,from
memory or by guesswork.
Givethe classfive minutes to compareand discussthe words they
havejotted down. If the words are new to them, you may want to join
in at this stageto give explanationsand examples.
Tell the studentsto put awaytheir written notesand to
concentrateon the screen.Flashup all five transparenciesin turn,
eachfor ro-r5 seconds.
Ask the students,in groupsof three to five, to recall eachword or
phraseand to discusswhich visual representationof it was the most

I 93
Insteadof an overheadprojector,you could use a computer + video
projector and presentyour lists using one of the many software
or Shockwave.(In these
cases,you could evenadd a soundtrack!)

This is a highly repeatableactMty. Oncethe studentshave
understoodthe process,you can get them to preparethe OP
transparenciesfor their own use,or to usewith studentsin other

For somepeople,words presentedin neat lists can be memorable.For
many, however,the very neatnessmakesit difficult to bring back a
picture of what they haveread:our visual mernory often dependson
the unusual,the unexpected.Scatteringwords on a pageor
blackboardor overheadprojector transparencycan be very helpful in
gving studentssignpoststo their memories.
This technique is particularlyuseful in preparing studentsfor

6.11 Wordsroundthe circle

Level Beginnerto intermediate
Time 10-15minutes
Aims To practisesayingwords usingthe fullvocal range.

Choosero-rz useful collocationsfrom your coursebookor elsewhere-

1 Get the studentsstandingin a large circle right round the classroom-
2 Numberthemoff 1 2 3 4 5 6 T 8... 7 2 3 4 etc.
3 Ontheboardwrite:
All 1sto whisoer.
All2sto callout loudly.
All3sto speakslowly.
All4sto soeak fast
All 5sto mouthwithoutsound.
All6sto sing.
All7sto soeakin a shrillvoice.
All8sto speakintheirmothertongue.
4 Explain that you are going to take one of the collocationschosenin
your handsand then both sayit andhandittothe personon your
right. This personholds out their handsand takesthe collocation,
then turns to the personon the right and givesit into their handsad
saysit in the way suggestedabove,whispering, singing, etc.... Thus

94 | Wordsandthesenses
the collocation goes right round the circle as an'object' and as an
ever-changing sequence of sounds.
Do the exercise round the circle. If any student makes a mess of
pronouncing the phrase, walk over to the person'downstream' of
them (to their right), and give the phrase back to the person on the
mistake-maker's left, who then again gives it to the mistake-maker.
This allows the person with the problem to hear the sounds twice
again before re-pronouncing them.
Any student unsure ofthe pronunciation ofthe phrase can cross the
circle and grve you the phrase. You give it back and say it to the
person, who then goes back to their place in the circle to continue
th-e chain.

This can also be done as a follow-up.
1 Get the students to work in circles of 6-'tz.
2 Ask them to work as in the activity above, but to choose for
themselves the best or most interesting way (shouting, whispering,
etc.) of saying each item.

This activity is both highly auditory and kinaesthetic, and has proved
very useful in teaching adult immigrants without literacy skills.

6 . 1 2 Fillinga landscape
Level Beginnerto advanceo
Time 3 minutesin the first class,10 minutesin the second.
Aims Toencouragestudentsto discovervocabularyfor themselvesand
to teach it to others.
Materials Photocopiesof a picturefor eachstudent.

Choosea picture with strong contrasts,suchasa Breughel
snowscape,that will photocopyclearly.Make a copy for eachstudent.

In the first class

Giveout the copies.Ask the studentsfor homework to write on the
picture anywords it suggests.Thesemaybe labellings of featuresthat
are there or they may be words suggestedby the feel and mood of the
picture. Encouragestudentsto use dictionariesto flnd the words they
want. Tell them they must be willing to teachany new words they

In the second class

Put the studentsin fours to comparethe words they havefound: a lot
of peer teachingwill follow.

Wordsand the senses| 95

Variation I
The sameexercisecan of coursebe donewith the students'own
pictures,but this often hasthe effect of lesseningthe peer teaching
aspect:one may be more interestedin the different way in which
someoneelsehas seenthe samepicture, than in their reactionsto a
completely different picture.

Variation 2
Insteadof askingthe studentsto focus on what they can seein the
picture, get them to speculateon what they cannot see:things which
maybe hidden behind other things, things which are outsidethe
frame of the picture, things or peoplewhich were there before the
picflrre was painted, orwhich the artist decidedto leaveout.

Peerteachingis an excellentway of learning.The activity is primarily

6.13 Fishyadjectives
Level Intermediateto advanced
Time 30-40 minutes
Aims To use,in a creative,memorableway, adjectivesthat describe
Materials Copiesof either Worksheet1 or Worksheet2 for eachstudent.

Ask the studentsto follow the instructions of whichever worksheet
yougive them.

We learnt this exercisefrom Lou Spaventa.

95 | Wordsandthesenses

reflective selective deluded paranoid outof her/hisdepth

ostracized redundant self-centred experienced condescending
hostile creative diffident gullible easilyinfluenced
marginal antisocial different troubled out-of-place
ill-at-ease discriminating victimized edgy deviant
intolerant unemployed questioning confused sentto Coventry
confused delinquent responsive proud too big for his/herboots
iil in a dilemma irresponsible disruptive divided
1 lf you were one of the f ishin the shoal,which one would you be?Puta tick by it.
2 What threethingsmight you sayto the restof the fish in the shoalaboutthe fish
in the bottom left-handcorner?Write your answers:

Pick10-15adjectives and phrases from the listbelow or from your head,to

describethe fishthat isout of the shoal.Lookup anywordsfrom the listyou
don't know or askyour neighbour.
Work in pairswith severaldifferentpeoplein the group to find how and why
they chosetheir adjectives.
Talkto your partnerabout anyoneyou know who is likethe fish outsidethe
shoal,and abouthow theyshowit.

Wordsand the senses| 97


"l Giveall thesefish nicknames

andwritethem down.
2 Whichfishwould you mostliketo be?
3 Whichfishwouldyou mosthateto be?
to describethe fishyou mostlike and ten to describethe
4 Jot down ten adjectives
oneyou likeleast.
Compare with your neighbours'.

Photocopiable @ Oxford UniversityPress

6.14 Objectsroundthe circle

Level Beginnerto upper-intermediate
Time 10-12 minutes
Aims Toencouragestudentsto expressmeaningin any way that suits
them (visually,through movement,etc.),and then to askfor and
learn the specificvocabularythey need.

None, sincethe purposeis to work on the students'own areasof
interest. (Youmay, however,find yourself doing quite a lot of follotu-
up work, especiallyif their interestsdiffer widely from yoursl)

Get the studentsinto a big standingcircle.Ask them to think of a
piece of sporting equipment and imagine they are holding it in their
hands.(It could be a baseballbat, a football, a golf tee, a fishing ro4
etc.)Thestudent with the object in their handsshould feel its weigfr.
texture, and temperature.
Ask one student,A, to showtheir object and then to hand it, withoru
sayrnganything, to B, their right-hand neighbour.

98 | Wordsand the senses

3 StudentB receivesthe object,guesseswhat it is, and passesit silently
on to C, who is one awayto their right. Alternatively B may change
the object receivedinto someother sporting object before passingit
on to C.
4 Continue on round the circle.
5 Havea secretaryat the board and askAwhat they gaveto B. If A
doesn'tknow the word in English,then they sayit in their mother
tongue and you or a dictionary translatesit. The secretaryputs either
or both words up on the board.
B now sayswhat they receivedand then what they passedon. C does
the same.
And so on round the circle.To get the studentsmore into the reality
of the objects,sometimesstopthe studentwho is speakingand ask
them about the weight, size,and colour of what they were receiving
and passing.
The studentssit down and an artistic one comesto the board and
drawsquick sketchesof eachitem. The others copy down the words
and the sketches.

5.15 Picturing
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 20-30minutes
Aims To usedetailed,creativevisualizationto associatewith the English
wordsthe studentsare learning.

Chooseeight to twelve words and phrasesyou want the studentsto
gointo more deeply.

1 (optional)Askthe studentsto shut tfieir eyesand notice their
breathing.Ask them to imagine that they arebreathing stressand
anxiet]aout and energyin. (Thefi.rsttime you do this with teenage
classesbe readyfor giggling and noise.)
2 Saythe words and phrasesyou have chosenaloud, leavinga ro- to zo-
secondpauseafter each.Ask the studentsto make picnrresin their
mind's eyeasthey hear eachword or phrase.
3 Bring the studentsback from their reverie,sayagainone of the words
and phrases,and ask a student of your choiceall or someof the
following questions.Tell the other studentsto note down the
questionsyou ask:
Howbigwasthe picture yougot?
Howclosewasthe pictureto you?
Wereyouinsidethepicture, or outsidelookingin?
Wasit in blackandwhiteor in colour?

| 99
Wasit movingor still?
What,exactly, did yousee?
During this stage,studentswho did not understandsomeof the
dictatedwords will havean opportunity to find out or askabout
Chooseanother word from the list and put the samequestionsto
another student.Repeatwith a third person.
Pair the studentsand askthem to explore the pictures they got for
tJ'ewords, using the questionsyou askedin step 3.

100 | Wordsandthesenses
Word sets

There are manypractical reasonsfor organizingwords (or,more

often, what the words refer to) into categories,or sets,or
fields'.A supermarketwithout shelf labelswould be a nightmare to
navigate,and it is a great help to the curriculum designerand the
coursebookwriter to split up the vocabularythe student is expected
to learn into 'topic areas'.Linguistsalsolike to work with word sets,
not only grammatical categories,but meaning groups (synoqrmsor
near-synonyms), ideasof 'concrete'and'abstract','animate'and
'inanimate', words of a particular origin or register,and so on.
In relation to learning, however,things work out rather less
efficiently.We do not alwaysagreeabout the categorieswe set up: we
divide up the world, and the words we useto describeit, in quite
different ways,accordingto our culture, our upbringing, our mother
tongue,and our personalexperiencesand thought processes.
Moreover,the categoriesthat we useto describethings, or to find
things in supermarketsand referencebooks,do not necessarily
correspondto the needsof learning and memory: very often we
remember things becausethey are unusual, and do not fi.tinto a
category and we forget things or muddle them up preciselybecause
they doflt into a category and lose distinctive, memorablefeatures
In this chapter,therefore, we have collecteda dozenor so exercises
which dealwith word setsin challenging,unorthodox ways,in which
the studentsare encouragedto question,compare,and build
vocabularysetsfor themselves.Someoffer newways of handling
ready-madesets(for example,7.r, 'Intelligencetest', and 7.8,
'Prototypes');others suggestpersonal,even surrealwaysofgrouping
words (for example,7.6,'Diagonalopposites',7.ro,
'Collecting 'Wordsfrom the
mood'),while z.+, collocations',ar'd7.9,
homestayfamily', suggestwaysin which the studentscan learn from
their own observationsof language.

Wordsets| 101
3 7 . 1 Intelligence
Level Beginnerto intermediate
Time 10 minutes
Aims Toexplorethe idea of a 'word set'and the many different ways in
which one cancategorizevocabulary.

Put up the following items on the blackboard,explaining or
illustrating where necessary.
pliers harrnner nail saw
Ask the studentsto write down the odd man out and give their
reason(s). \Mhenthey have done this, askfor their suggestions.Then
tell them that the 'right answer' is pliers,becauseit is the only one
with two legs.If there are many'incorrect' answers,a discussionon
the validity of suchtestsmightwell ensue.
3 Now askthe group to make asmany setsaspossibleusing two or
more of the items in the list pliers,hammer,nuil,saw.

Examples allmetal:nailhammer pliers

nailset:nailhammer pliers
couldbeverbs/are grammatically hammernailsaw
fools:hammer olierssaw
-erending(agent form):hammerpliers
Germanicoriqin: hammer sawnail

7.2 Unusualword families

Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 10 minutesfor mostof the suggestionsbelow.
Aims Toencouragestudentsto group words in unusual,memorable

Useonly one of thesestudent-directedsuggestionsin any given
a Work in pairs and list things found in an office but not in a home.
b Besidesthe sexdifferences,how canyou tell your father and
mother apart?List the most salient physicaland emotional
differences.Do the work alone,then explainyour list to a partner
you trust.
c Work with a parlner. List the differencesbetweenyour car/biryde
and theirs.

102 | Wordsets
d Hereis a list of commonverbs:
cleanlLstenheat tastesqueeze push tap open
Work in pairs and think of three typical doersof eachaction and
one atypical one.For example:
clean: typical: laundryman/painter/dentist
Compareyour lists witfi thoseof other pairs.
e Work together in fours. Oneperson should think of a place,
building, or room, and tell the others three things that would be
found there. The others shouldthen try and guessthe place.For
sruDENr e (thinkingofalibrary):shelf sunblind catalogue
sruDENTr:A lawyer'soffice?
sruDENTc: A supermarket?
sruDENTn: Here'san extraword:book...

7 . 3 Chains
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 20 minutes
Aims Toencouragestudentsto group words in imaginativeand
Materials One word cardfor eachstudent.

Preparea card for eachstudent.On eachcardwrite the name of one
man-madeobject (for example,sweater,book,sewing-machine).

Divide the classinto small circles(four to five members).Give each
student a word card.
Ask the studentsto look at the word on their card and to write either
the name of somethingtfiat went into the making of the object in
front of the word, or the name of somethingthat the object might
becomeafter the word. For example,if the word was sweater,orre
might write sheepbeforeit or paper after it.
Eachstudent shouldthen passthe card to their left-handneighbour,
who should againwrite a word before or after the two words now on
the card, for example,grasssheep sweater.

Wordsets| 103
3 Variation
Insteadof arranging the chain in a linear fashion,a tree could be
built, with eachstudent in turn adding a link, for example,:

'\ *\
cotton sheep


paper dishcloth

book parcel compost

7.4 Collecting collocations

Level Intermediateto advanced
Time 5 minutesin the first lesson;30-40minutesin the second.
Aims Toexpandstudents'understandingand acquisitionof above-the-
word vocabulary.
Materials EnoughEnglish-language newspapersand magazines
(old oneswill do) to be ableto give at leasthalf of one to each
student.A page or two is not enough for this activity.

Give eachstudent a newspaperor half a newspaper.Ask them for
homework to pick out adjective-nouncombinationswhere at least
one item is new to them, or elsetheir juxtaposition is. Ask them to
flnd six such combinationseachand to prepareto teach their
meaningsto the rest of the class.This may well mean bringing in the
context in which they found them. Stressthat they must be ableto
teach their collocationsclearly and briefly.

Divide the board into eight columns and invite a student to put one of
their combinationsin the first two columns and to teach it to the
class.Then askthe group to produceother nouns that combine well
with that adjective.Supposea studentvolunteersa combination such
asFORTHCOMIIVG EVENT-the columns might well look like this:
adjective noun noun noun noun noun noun noun
forthcoming event sale marriage issue publication strike? debn
If a personin the group comesup with a dubiouscompanionfor
FORTHCOMING llke strike.letthe studentsthrash it out asfar as
possibleamong themselves-do not make a ruling for them, ex
Invite different studentsto volunteer and teach one oftheir six
combinations.until the board is full.
104 | Wordsets
Many other combinationscan be worked on, using the samemethod'
Here are someof them:
noun-noun: taxburden
adverb-adjective: unforttntatelymisleading
adverb-verb greatlytoberegreLted
verb-adverb: varygreatlY
2 Put a list of twenty nouns and ten verbs on the board.The students
copy down the lists and supply eachnoun with a typical adjectiveand
eachverb with a typical adverb,for example:
an eccentricmilkonure
to kisslovinglY

Ifyou have accessto a corpusofEnglish and a concordanceprogram
(seeChapter5),you can usethis to check out the frequenry of word
combinations.Alternatively,you can use a good Internet search
engine (suchasGoogte)for the occulrenceof particular combinations
'exactwords' when you
in web pages:make surethat you specify
enter the searchphrase(for example,by enclosingthe phrase
between double quotation marks).

We learnt this technique from Mike Lavery.

7.5 How strong is the collocation?

Level Upper-intermediateto
Time 20-30 minutes
and acquisitionof above-the-
Aims Toexpandstudents'understanding
word vocabularY.

Choosea number of words closelyrelated in meaning and/or context,
and make a grid like the examplebelow

1 Put this collocationalgrid on the board and askthe studentsto copy it
out into their books.Write it up without the +/-/? marks you have
on the next page:they give you, the teacher,the key.

Wordsets| 105
unblemished spotless flawless immaculate imoeccable

performance T T T

argument T 7
complexion ) ? T

behaviour T

kitchen ? T

recoro T T ? T

reputatron T T T )
taste ? ) T

order ? T T

credentials T

Ask the studentsto look the adjectivesaboveup in their dictionaries.

Ask them to put someof definitions/translationsup on the board.
Pair the studentsand explain that:
spotlesscollocatesstrongly with kitchenand with record(+)
spotlesscollocatesweakly with complexion (?l
spotlessdoesnot collocatevnth order(-)
Pair the studentsand askthem to decidewhich of the adjectives
along the top collocatestrongly,weakly, or not at all with the nouns
down the left hand side.They mark (+)for a strong collocation,(?)for
a weak one, and (-) for zero collocation.
5 Put the pairs together in sixesto comparetheir findings.
5 Giveyour book to a student to put the key up on the board.

Variation 1
This activity can be supplementedwith web searchesand
concordancelook-ups,though in the latter casethere may not be
sufficient data to cometo film conclusions,asmany of the items will
be of comparativelylow frequencyin the corpusused.

Variation 2
Advancedstudentsmay benefit from deliberatelyexperimenting
with atypical collocations,asaway of generatingmore imaginative,
and lessclich6-ridden,text.

We owe this exerciseto a brilliant book by Mona Baker.In Other
Words,aCowsebookonTranslation Routledge,1992,from an original
ideain Rudska,etaI.TheWordsYouNeed. Macmillan,1982.

105 | Wordsets
7.6 Diagonalopposites
Level Beginnerto intermediate
Time 10 minutes
Aims Toget studentsto look closelyat the semanticand situational
associationsof a word, and thus fix new vocabularyvery firmly.
Materials A soft ball.

Put up on the blackboardthree or fourwords with clear opposites,
for example, cold,sad,rise.Ask the classto suggestoppositesfor them.
Add two or three words that do not have clear opposites,
for example,ball,typewriter,Wednesday. Suggestthat by using the
personalassociationsofwords one cangive these'opposites'
too. For example,ballfmouse are oppositesbecauseboth are cats'
playthings-the one dead,the other alive.
Ask the classto form circlesof six to ten people.Give eachgroup a
ball. The first player takesthe ball, shoutsout a word, then throws
the ball to another member of the circle.The secondplayer shouts
out an 'opposite',then a new word, and throws the ball to
a third player.Let the game continue until twenty words have

We learnt the ball-gameversion from an internal publication brought
outbyVolkshochschuleteachersof Frenchin Lower Saxony,

7.7 The egg exercise

Level Beginnertoadvanced
Time 20 minutes
of a
Aims Toexplorethe variousmeaningsand associations
word or phrase.

1 Ask the students,working on their own, to completethe following
sentencestemsasvariedly and in asmanyways asthey can: at least
sevencompletionsfor eachsentence:
An egg
Its hardto eggs
2 Havea student cometo the board and act asgroup secretary.The
studentsshout out aII the nouns and verbsthey have usedin their
completions.Fill the board with the students'lexis.

Wordsets| 107
3 In fours the studentsread out their sentencesto eachother.

This activity can be usedover and over againto explore or fix the
meaningsof newvocabulary.Simplyreplaceeggbythe newitem, for
example,Agrandmother [isa child'sbestfriend],It'shardto[oppose]

7.8 Prototypes
Level Beginnertoadvanced
(Theexampleset below isfor lower-intermediate.)
Time 20-30minutes
Aims Toget studentsto considerhow word setsare built up, by asking
suchquestionsas'How stronglydoesthis word belongto its set?',
and in so doing to considerhow effectivefor them such
categorizations are in organizingand rememberingvocabulary.

Find or construct setsofwords, asin the examplesbelow.

1 Ask eachstudent to take a clean sheetof paper and to writeweather
right in the middle of it.
2 They then draw flve or six concentriccirclesround the word, the
outer one reachingthe edgeofthe paper.
3 Tell the studentsyou are going to dictate a number of words to them
to do with weather.Ifthe studentsregardtheseasvery centrally
weatherwords, they put them in the inner circles.If they regardthem
asperipheral weather words, they put them in the outer areas.
Hereis a list:
to rain blusteryshowers drought barometer
ro Snow brightintervals storm outlook
temperature dawn overcast lull
ory unsettled bright fog
ro pour sunshine to blow breeze
to clearup lowpressure forecast force-eight
earthquake rainor shine damp scorching
flood downpour sandstorm hurricane
t h es u n cloud sky moon
Checkthat all the words vou dictatedare known to at leastsomeof
the students.
Group the studentsin fours to sharetheir placing of the vocabulary,
in terms of how centrally'weatherish' they feel the words are.The
words at the very centre of their circlescould be called 'prototypes'-
the membersmost typical of their set.

108 | Wordsets
1 Youcan do this 'prototype' exercisewith anyword set,for example:
Which malesin the following list are most male?
bull ogre dog stag tomcat drake boar ram
billygoat cock man elephant stallion gander cockerel
'vVhichare the most'foody' of thesefoods?'Whichthe least?
tapioca cheese rice potatoes lamb snake burger
cucumbertrout chips artichokebanana flour
A roleplay: choose,or get the students to choose,a set ofwords such
asbirds,houses,carnivores.Each student should then choose a different
member of the set and be prepared to speak on its behalf. For
example, lfbirds were the set chosen, one student might choose
falcon, another pigeon,a third chicken,and so on. The students then
each give a one-minute talk about the set member they have chosen,
in which they try to convince the rest that their choice is prototypical
of the whole set. This is done most effectively when the students give
their talks inrole, i.e. they might begin am a falcon. I am light,
powerful, and very fast' rather than chosen the falcon. A falcon
is light, powerful, andveryfast.'
(Advanced)The degree of of words may also become
apparent in a text. Ask your students, in groups ofthree, to read the
following extract and underline flve to eight nouns in it. Working
together, they should then write each underlined word down and
next to it the name of a set to which the word might belong, followed
by three or four other words that might belong to the same set. They
should then read and re-read the text aloud, replacing each ofthe
underlined words in turn by a different member of the set, and
discuss the effect of their substitutions.

Sample text 1 Frightened people never learn, I have read. If that is so, they certainly
have no right to teach. I'm not a frightened man-or no more
frightened than any other man who has looked at death and knows it
is for him. AII the same, experience and a little pain had made me a
mite too wary of the truth, even towards myself. George Smiley put
that right. George was more than a mentor to me, more than a fiiend.
Though not always present, he presided over my life. There were
times when I thought of him as some kind of father to replace the
one I never knew. George's visit to Sarratt gave back the dangerous
edge to my memory. And now that I have the leisure to remember,
that's what I mean to do for you, so that you can share my voyage and
ask yourself the same questions.

fohn le Carr6. TheSecretPilgrim.Hodder & Stoughton, r99r)

Try out different kinds oftext: newspaper article, coursebook
passage,business letter, etc. The students may also like to work with
texts they have written themselves.
Using the technique with poems can also bring unexpected
insights into the perceptions ofboth poet and reader:

Wordsets| 109
Sampletext 2 Homeis so Sad
Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped to the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back. Instead, bereft
Of anyone to please, it withers so,
Having no heart to put aside the theft
And turn again to what it started as,
A joyous shot at how things ought to be,
Long fallen wide. You can see how it was:
Look at the pictures and the cutlery
The music in the piano stool. Thatvase.
(Philip Larkin. ThelNhitsunWeddings.Faber & Faber, 1964)

In logic and mathematics, sets are deflned precisely in terms of the
common properties of their members. In the real world, the sets or
categories we construct are far less precise. Even conventional word
sets, such asfurniture andfruit, include and exclude members
according to criteria that are far from cleat Apear is obviously a fruit,
along with an apple,an orange,and abanana. For the botanist, so is a
tomato, though few tomato-eaters would agree. For them, it is a
vegetable,along with p eqs,potatoes,and cabbage.A cupboardis definite$
a piece of furniture, blttabuilt-in cupboardis definitely not. Becauseit
is immovable? Perhaps, but the seats one flnds in airports and
concert-halls, screwed to the floor and often to each other, are just as
mtchfurniture as the armchairs and dining-chairsin our homes.

We learnt the idea of fromAitchison (1994).

7.9 Wordsfrom the homestayfamily

Level Beginnertoadvanced
(Thevocabulary in the examplegivenisintermediate.)
Time 2-3 minutesin the first lesson;20-30minutesin the secondlesson.
Aims To providea simpleresearch tool for studentsstudyingin an
English-speakingenvironmentand living in host families.

Lesson 1
For homework, askthe studentsto get their hoststo take them into
the kitchen and teachthem the namesof all the utensils and the
variousverbs connectedwith cooking.Eachstudent should come to
the next lessonwith a substantiallist.

Lesson 2
1 Get the studentsto fill the board with their cooking words.
2 Get studentsto explain any of the words the others don't know

110 | Wordsets
Showthe studentshow many of the kitchen verbshave strong
metaphorical meanings:
Herangerboiledover. Hewassimmering withrage.
Coolasa cucumber. Tostewin yourownjuice.

Variation 1
There are many other areasin which the studentscan quarry
vocabularyfiom the host family, for example:
thewordsaroundthecar prvwords
gardeningwords of home-buying
the vocabulary

Variation 2
Peopleworking, but not living, in an English-speakingenvironment
(for example,employeesof British orAmerican companiesabroad,or
immigrants to an English-speakingcountry whosehome life is
conductedin their mother tongue)can do very similar'research
tasks'with their colleagues,etc.

7.1O Mappingone'smood
Level Post-beginnertoadvanced
Time 15-20minutes
Aims Todifferentiateitemsin a'word field',which may easilybe
confusedwith eachothen in a personal,memorableway.

Choosea lexical field appropriateto your students'level and
cultural background.The examplechosenhereis animak,for an

1 Ask one student to act assecretaryat the board and askthe group to
brainstorm all the animal words they know. Add a few more you
think they might want to learn.
2 Ask the studentsto work individuallv and write down the namesof
three classmatesof their choice.
3 Ask eachstudent to write down which animafanimals you, the
teacher,havebeen like during the lessonso far, and which animal
the student herself hasbeen like. Shealsochoosesthree animalsto
flt the three chosenstudents;for example,a given student might
decideshehasbeen a goat, the teacherhasbeen a boa constrictor,
and her three classmateshavebeen a cat, a dog,and a squirrel.
4 Group the studentsin fours to sharethe animals theyhave chosenfor
themselvesand for the teacher.
5 Roundoffthe exerciseby having half a dozenpeopletelling the
group the animal they have chosenfor you and why.

Wordsets| 111
You can do this exercisewith many setsof words, for example:
sunshine,showers, greysky,lightning,sharpfrost,monsoon,firstsnow
bassoon, piano,triangle,
violin,harp,flute,cymbals, piccolo

We learnt this technique from Christine Frank at Pilgrims.

7 . 1 1A hierarchyof association
Level Intermediateto advanced
Time 20-35minutes
Aims To organizeword setsas a hierarchy.
Materials Copiesof a text you or the classhavechosen.

Choosefive to six key words from a text that you want them to reaC

Explainto the classthat, when words are organizedin sets,a hierarchy
often emerges,representinglevelsof generalityin the variouscontexB
in which the words may appear.Church,for example,may appearhigh
in the order in contextssuchasClrurchandState.but much lower in Thc
Catholicchurchis onthecorner,opytosite
Beforethe studentsread the text put the first key word you have
chosenon the board.With a student secretaryat the board, get them
to brainstorm 1o-2owords they connectwith the key word.
In a different part of your blackboardspace,write up the key word on
the left-hand sidehalfway down from the top. Ask the classwhich
words brainstormed are of a lower level of generality,which of the
samelevel, and which of a higher level. If the key word were church,
here is how this board work might look:
Do the same with the other kev words and then havethe students
readthe text.
Allow time for the whole classto give feedbackon how thinking about
the key wordsbeforereadingmay haveinfluencedtheir readingof the

worship faith evil

building religious property
church chapel mosque temple community
arch font crypt roof

text. This canbe an excellentlead-into work on registerand style.

We receivedthe sparkfor this exercisefrom Linda Orr.
112 | Wordsets

The best conversationsare thosein which the participants are

motivated not only to talk but alsoto listen, and the best time
to learn vocabularyis when the needto expressor understand
is at its height.
The nine activitiesin this chapterencouragethe studentsto
exchangemore personalexperiencesand thoughts, including
thoughts about language.8.2,
'Life keSrwords', and 8.4,'Scars',focus
'Phrases I like', is more directly about
on experiences,while 8.8,
language.8.r, 'You give my talk', createsa more interactive frame for
listening. 8.6, A letter from the teacher',introducesthe vocabulary
you want the classto learn in a more personal,involving way.There
are other activities elsewherein the book, suchas7.1o,
'Lexicalfurniture', which coverthe samekind
one'smood', andu.4,

8.1 Yougive my talk

Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 5-10 minutesin the first classand 3G45 minutesin the second.
Aims To motivate studentsto listento, and therefore learn from,

1 Ask the studentsindividually to list five topics they would like to hear
a short talk on, and then in pairs to exchangelists.
2 Ask eachstudent to chooseand mark one item on their partner's list
that they would be willing to talk on.
3 Studentsshouldgive back the lists to their partners.
4 For homework, tell the studentsto preparea vocabularylist for the
topic their partner has electedto speakon.

1 Havethe studentspair up asin the previousclassand give their
vocabularylists to their partners.

| 113
2 Eachstudent should nowwork individually on preparing their talk;
they may usethe words on their partner's list or not, asthey choose,
but the list will provide someidea of their future listener's
knowledgeof and attitude towards the subject.
3 Ask one member of eachpair to give their talk to the other.
4 Ask the listener in eachpair to explain how they cameto construct
the vocabularylist, and what theywould have saidin giving the same
5 Repeatthe activitywith eachlistener now giving their talk.

'vVhilespeakersoften impose subjectmatter on listeners,listeners
seldomhavethe sameprivilege. Here the listener suggeststhe topic
and guidesits content by proposinga set of keywords.The words
chosenby the listener will alsogive the speakersomeidea of the
listener'slevel of knowledgeof the topic: for example,given the
topic 'Computers',the word-list keyboard, screen,
processor,spellingwottldconveya very different impressionfrom

8.2 Life keywords

Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 25-40minutes
Aims To practiseand sharevocabularywhich is personallyimportant.

1 Ask the studentswhat dateit is today.Write it on the board.Ask
them what the datewas sevenyearsago-put that on the board.Ask
three or four peoplehow old they were on that date, sevenyearsago-
2 Now askthe studentsto write down ten key emotional or ideawords
and phrasesthat sum up their lives now and a further ten to sum up
their lives then.
3 Ask the studentsto pair offand explain the words and their
significanceto their partners.Havethem changepartners three or
four times, not more, asthis kind of talking is very tiring.

Examples Inthisactivity.
of 39 cameupwith:
'Now'words 'Past'words
makingnew change
lettingfree hitch-hiking
conflictinside shadow theatre
commitment commitment
unease withworkgroup Chile
furure breakwithmother

114 | Personal
Another;an 18-year-old,
money marbles
university friends
family school
friends musrc
future father
engagement mother

8.3 Turnout your pockets

Level Elementarytoupper-intermediate
Time 20-35 minutes
Aims ,Tousepractical,day-to-dayvocabularyin personallyrelevant

1 Ask eachstudent to list someor all of the objectsin their handbag/
wallet/pockets:askthem to write their lists clearly.
2 'vVhenthe lists are ready,ask the studentsto fold them and give
them to you. ShuffIethe lists and let eachstudent pick one at
random. No student should end up with their own list.
3 Ask the studentsto guesswhose list they haveand to tell the
group why.

We learnt this exercisefrom Lou Spaventa.A similar one is found in
G.Moskowitz.CaringandSharingin theForeignLanguage Aass.Newbury

8.4 Scars
Level Elementarytoupper-intermediate
Time 40-50 minutes
Aims To motivate studentsto overcomelackof vocabularywhen

Bring back to mind the story of a scaryou have or that a closerelative
ofyours has.

1 Tell the studentsyour scarstory.If it is about a scarof yours that is
showable,let them seeit.
2 Invite the group to think of how they got whatever scarsthey have.
Givethem a few minutes to bring their storiesback to mind.

| 115
Ask a volunteer to tell their story.Help with words and write any
accident-relatedvocabularyup on the board, for example,wound,
bandage, stretcher,stitches,
Onlywrite up words actually needed
by the narrator.
Ask three or four more peopleto tell their scarstoriesto the whole
group, and build up further vocabularyon the board.
If the classis a large one, now askthem to work in threes and
continue telling scarstories,until everybodywho wants to has
told one.
Pair the students.Eachstudent is silently to imagine a scarstory for
their partner.At this stage,remind them of the words on the board.
Discouragethem from writing.
Eachstudent tells the partner the scarstory they have createdfor

There are many other themes that can be used,though at different
levelsofintensity and involvernent.lf scarsevokeshort stories,for
example,hair canproduceautobiographicalnovels.(Howwasyourhair
whenyouwereeight?Canyouremember thefirst timeyouvisiteda
Other themes for anecdotesthat we havetried include stairs,

As we noted in the introduction, vocabularyis best learnt at the
moments it is needed.Sometopics are intrinsically compulsive,and
will motivate the speakerto flnd ways of expressingtheir meaning
despitedeflcienciesof vocabulary.In steps3 and 4, the teacherhas
the opportunity of teachingvocabularywhen the students'attention
is at its height.

We learnt this exercisefrom Christine Frank.

8.5 Wordsmy neighbourknows

Level lntermediateto advanced
Time 20 minutes
Aims To encouragestudentsto teacheachother and learn from each

1 Divide the classinto pairs.

115 | Personal
Ask eachstudent to write a list of ten words which their partner I
a shouldknow,
b should know but probably doesn't,
c deflnitely doesn'tknow.
The partnersmust not communicateat this stage'
3 Then askthe pairs to check out the accuracyofthe predictions.

8.6 A letter from the teacher

Level Post-beginner to advanced
Time 10-15minutes
'l-Thou' context.
Aims To presentvocabularyto studentsin a direct,
Materials A copy of your letter for eachstudent (seePreparation).

Write a letter to your class,either about somethingpersonalyou feel
like telling them, about somethingfrom a previousclassyou want
them to think back to, or about something connectedwith the class
today.Having written the letter without thinking speciallyabout the
languageadd in all the slmonymsyou can, asin this exampletaken
from Mario's work with an advancedclassat Pilgrims:
DearMonday MorningPeoPle,
I hopeyouhada goodweekend, nottoo muchrice
withthe hostfamilyl
Howwasyourtripto theWestCountry, Celia?
excursion and Cornwall
ThismorningI hopewe willbeableto interviewa ladyat the
Students' Union,up on the UKCcampus. Haveyoubeenthereand
wandered across thathilltoP?
Marvellous viewsout overthecityandthegentle,orchard-covered
hillsthatsurround it.
areallaround side
Make a copy ofyour letter for eachstudent.

1 Givethe studentsyour letter and askthem to read it.
2 Go through those slmonymswhich presentdifferencesof register,for
example,in the letter aboveladylwoman,andsuyterlwonderful.
Ifyouwish, you can comment aloud on the factorsthat determined
your choiceof language for them.

I tt7
1 This is not a one-offexercise-we suggestthat you useit everylesson
or everyweek, sothe studentscometo look forward to a letter from
you. There are many techniquesyou can usewith the letter but we
feel it is enoughfor the studentsto simply read it. You maywrite less
well than Dylan Thomasor D H Lawrencebut the fact that the text is
yours and uniquelywritten for thoseparticular studentsmakesit
2 For more activitiesaround letters and letter-writing, seethe book in
this seriesby Nicky Burbidgeet al. entitled Letters(996\.
3 It is much easierto pick up languagefrom a personalletter than from
a third-persontext, written by and for nobody in particular.

8.7 The secretdictionary

Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 15 minutesin the f irst lesson;10-15 minutesin the secondlesson.
Aims To expressprivate connotationsof a word or phrase-strong
enoughto be usedas'definitions'.
Materials A copy of the definitionstexts for eachstudent.

Make copiesofthe deflnitions texts below, or, better, use similar texts
preparedby different studentsin previousclasses.

1 Ask the studentsto read 'The boy's definitions for his dog' and 'The
husband'sdefinitions for his wife'. (Seebelow.)Point out that these
havebeenwritten by the boy from the dog'spoint of view, and by the
husbandfi:om the wife's point ofview.
2 Tell them to write for homework similar deflnitions that encapsulate
their understandingof another person'sor creatule'sworldview. Tell
them to write the definitions on detachablesheets.

Ask the studentsto put their definitions up round the walls of the
room. Ask three or four peopleto read theirs out.

TheDevil'sDictionary(l.88:-;9o6),by Ambrose Bierce(availablefree
online from ProjectGutenberg),containsdeflnitions such asthese:
admiration, n. our polite recognition of another'sresemblance
to ourselves.
twice, adv.oncetoo often.
year, n. a period ofthree hundred and sixty-flvedisappointments.

118 | Personal
The boy'sdefinitionsfor hisdog
basket:home-place, placeto arrange,placeto bury bones
car:cat-cove4cat hiding-place
burrow:wafting spiralof scent;spaceto be enlargedand
lamp post/wall:doggielnternetchat room
walkies:a thousandsmells, tuggingat the leash

definitionsfor hiswife
The husband's
children:the centraltaskfacinghumans-bearersof one's
hopesand ambitions
money:somethingnecessary of which I am the recipient,
similarto rain.I am not surewhereeitherof them comef rom.
and which no one should
car:a luxurythat I seeasa necessity
havebecause of globalwarming
work: a generalexcusethat men offer to justify long absences
from the realityof homelife

Photocopiable @ Oxford UniversityPress

8.8 PhrasesI like

Level Lower-intermediatetoadvanced
Time 15-25minutes
Aims To encouragestudentsto acquirea wider choiceof expressions.

1 Group the studentsin threes.Tell the studentseachto think ofthree
phrasesthey like to usewhen speakingEnglish,and then to explain
the phrasesto their partners and tell them when they usethem'
2 Eachstudent then thinks of situationsin which they could usetheir
partners' phrasesand tells their partners about them.
3 Tell eachstudent to chooseone oftheir own phrasesand to outline
three to flve situationsin which they would useit. They now rehearse
the languagefor the situation butsubstthtteanewphraseinsteadof
their favourite phrase:help the studentswhere necessarytofind
equivalentphrases/paraphrase s.
4 Ask the studentsto fiIIthe board with the substitutephrasesthey
havefound, and to teach their phrasesto the rest ofthe class.

| 119
In our mother tongue,we show personalpreferencefor somephrases
over others.This activity asksthe students(andthe teacher)to extend
this freedom to the target language,and at the sametime to widen
the range of choicesmade.With advancedstudents,this is essential
in 'flnding one'svoice' in the other language.

8.9 What haveyou got ten of?

Level Beginnerto lower-intermediate
Time 15-20minutes
Aims Toget studentsto discoverand usenew words to expressthings
that are important to them now.
1 Get a volunteer student to askyou thesequestions:
Whathaveyougot tenof?
Givetruthful answers,for example, tendicttonanes, threeclosefrlends.
2 Now demonstratethe exercisethe other way round, with you asking
the questionsup to ten. Tell the student to respondin English,but if
they don't know a particular word to use their mother tongue.Put
the mother-tongueword on the board,with its English equivalent.
3 Group the studentsin threes.
4 Roundr:
StudentA asksthe questions(up to ten).
StudentB answersasmuch aspossiblein English.
StudentC notesdown any mother-tonguewordsB wasforcedto use.
5 Roundsz and 3: the studentsin the threesomeschangeroles and
repeatthe questioning.
6 Ask the 'secretary'to write on the board the mother-tonguewords
usedin the exercise.
7 Get the classto try and find translations-if they can't, then you
supplythem. Rub out the mother-tonguewords asthe English ones

The basicquestionrNhathave yougot x of?may becomelimiting after a
time. Here are someother productive patterns:
WhatthreethingshaveyougotthatI haven't?
Whatfivethingsdo youwishyoucoulddo without?
lf youwereX,whatthreeobjects wouldyouvaluemost?
Whatthingsto eatcouldyoumosVleast happily
do without?

As we have seenin previousactivities,the best time to teach
vocabularyis when a student reallywants to saysomething.
120 | Personal
Word games

The activitiesin this chapter servea number of purposes:they are

intended to appealto the students'puzzle-solvingside;they can be
usedto alter the mood or focus of a lesson;and they promote
experimentation.Oncestudentshave graspedthe rules, most of the
gamescan be playedin ro-zo minutes, and are repeatable.

9.1 Circlegames
Level Beginnertoadvanced
Time 10-15minutesfor eachgame.
Aims To providea bankof gameswith a varietyof learningpurposesthat
can be played in circlesof three to sevenplayers.

Letter by letter
PlayerA saysa letter. PlayerB thinks of a word beginning with A's
letter and saysits secondletter. C thinks of a word beginning with
the tvyoletters alreadygiven and saysits third letter, and so on round
the circle.The personwho, in sayinga letter, completesa word, loses
and must drop out (or lose a life). If a player,ontheirturn, thinks that
the combination offered so far cannot leadto a word, they may
challengethe previousplayer to saythe word they are thinking
of: if there is no suchword, that player losesa life, otherwisethe
challengeris penalized.The gamecontinuesuntil only one player
is left. For example:
A:d A: c
B:o(+isg; B:h(-rchange)
C:l(+ 4s1s1 C:r (-r 661;t1;
D :l ( + d o l l a r ) D: o (-r chromium)
E: That'sa word ! E:Thats notpossible: whats yourword?
D losesa life. D: c-h-r-o-m-i-u-m
Eloses a life.

Tail to head (1)

A thinks of a word and saysit aloud.B has to saya word that begins
with the last letter ofA's word, then C a word beginning with the last
letter of B'sword, and so on round the circle until someonemakesa
mistake, or cannot find a word. (A time limit of,,say,five secondsper
player makesthis more exciting.)

Word games | 121

More difficult: B hasto flnd a word beginning with the last two
letters ofA's word, for example:
table LEmonONly LYmphPHarmacy...

Tailto head (2)

A thinks of a word and saysit. B hasto find a word beginning with the
last soundofA's word, for example:
edgejoin noisyevil Iook catchcheese...

Theme alphabets
A choosesa category statesit, and namesone member beginning
with A, for example,buildings: A isfor Acropohs.
B must fi nd a building
beginningwith B, for example,BisforBank,and so on round the
circle. ('Hard' letters suchasQand X can be omitted if wished.)

A choosesa letter of the alphabetand givesa short sentencewhich
must not contain that letter. The other players,in turn, must make
A: 'S'.We'reallina circle.
B:lt mayraintomorrow.
D;Wrong!There's an 'S'in 'it's'.

Find all the professionsyou can startingwith Sand endingwith R
schoolteacher,...).Find all the verbsof soundcontaining the

Tonicsolfa (do re mi fa so la ti do)

Roundthe circle, eachplayer must make a word containing one or
more of the notesofthe tonic solfa,such as dortbt,Iitre,comic,isolate,
fat, place,institution.
Try exploring other areas-symbols from chemistry (reFer,CaNada)
and maths (rapid),initials and abbreviations(sTUCk,raCIAl)-
accordingto the backgroundand interestsofthe group.

Swapped syllables
Aproposesa polysyllabicword. B must changeone of the syllablesto
make a new word, and so on round the circle, for example:contain,

Tennis elbow foot

A saysa word. Within a strict time limit (saythree seconds),B must
saya secondword that connectswith the f,rst in someway.Then C
offers a third word to connectwith B's word. and so on round the
circle.At any point a player may challengethe connectionof another
player.For example:

122 | Wordgames
A: tennis
B: elbow ftenniselbowisan illness)
C:foot (elbowandfoot arepartsof the body)
D:baII foot+ball =football)
E:fall fallrhymeswithbal/)
F'.autwnn fqil isUSsynonymf or autumn\
A:hymn (thelast-nof hymnandautumnissilent)
In eachgroup, the membersdecideon 'acceptable'connections.

Rhyming definitions
Eachplayer in turn must think of a rhyming phraseand give a brief
definition of it; the others must then tly to guessthe phrase,for
example,large hog (bigpig),happy father (g;lad dad),falsepain (fake
ache),senior policeman (topcop).Welearnt this from Eugene
Raudsepp 1977.

9.2 The prefix game

Level lntermediateto advanced
Time 30-40 minutes
Aims Towork on the variousnegativeprefixesin English,especially
studentspreparingfor an examinationsuchas FCEor TOEFL.

Preparea list of words and put them on the board or make a poster.

1 Ask the studentsto push their booksaway,relax and shut their eyes.
Ask them to notice their breathing.TelI them to put their fingers on
one nostril while breathing in and out with the other, and then to do
the sameagain,but swappingnostrils. (Youmay alsochooseto play
calm, low-volume music in the background.)
2 With their eyesstill shut, tell them you are going to read them some
words.Tell them to just let the words flow over them, whether they
know their meaning or not. Readthesewords slowly and gently:
irrational immoral clockwise
incapable to misappropriate to misbehave
serviceman irresponsible inaudible
incautious illogical disapproving
inconceivable to apply ex-serviceman
to function inappropriate intuitive
legal unhappy impossible
non-violent caoable audible
logical responsible conceivable
unattractive to behave to misapply
to appropriate to malfunction at ease
counter-intuitive immortal
ill-at-ease mortal rational

Wordgames| 123
moral anticlockw
to pack verbal
fit to unpack
3 Read the words again twic,
4 Bringtwo students to the I
teams, and appoint one stt
team A a word that they hi
Give them ten seconds' co:
right, one ofthe secretarie
the other writes down the
5 Give teamB awordto matr
Back to team A etc. ...
6 At the end of the game, asl
the board in their noteboo
monolingual class check sr

Variation 1
1 Put up the following on th


2 Ask the classto suggestwc

to brainstorm other preflx
3 Invite the students,indivic
own containing the brains
words exist.

Variation 2
ffier the studentshavewc
someor allof theprefixesa
all the roots.They shouldtl

Variation 3
Insteadofprefixes and suf
nouns.This is particularly
regularly puts adjectivesal
Spanish.Eventhough thes
mistakeswith adjective+ r
noun + noun phrases,assc
1 Put up the following list ol
commonly usedin noun +
head house wot
chair money tow
clothes market car

124 | Wordgames
Ask the studentsto make newwords and phrasesby combining pairs
of words on the list or byusing one word from the list and one word
of their choice.Encouragethem to use everyword asboth the first
and secondelement in the combination, as,for example:townhall,toy
Tell them now to checktJ'e new words and phrasesin a dictionary.

The relaxation exerciseat the beginning can be usedasan
introduction to any activity demandingspeedand concentration.

9.3 Definitionsdictation
Level Intermediateto advanced
Time 20-30minutes
Aims Tousea guessinggameto practiseusingdefinitions.

Choosea very short text (r5-zo words) and preparedeflnitions, hints,
and cluesfor eachof the words in it, asin the upper-intermediate

1 Explain to the studentsthat you are going to give them a dictation,
but that, insteadof sayingthe words for them to write, you will give
them deflnitions and clues.Ask them to work in pairs with only one
person wTltrng.
2 Dictate as follows:
You say: Thestudents
The definite article. The
The word begins withf and means the same as last. final
\4lhen you walk you take many of these. In the singular. step.
That was the title of the poem; now for line one:
A two-letter word that expresses doubt and ends inf, A
Third person plural pronoun. The word ends iny. they
Past tense of a verb with a meaning very like do. made
Going head flrst into water. It ends with iing. ditting
The first word in the phrase and lodging'.
Here it's plural and meansyianks. boards
Start a new line of the poem:
Half a dozen. sxx
Anglo-American units of measurement, about
2.5 centimetres long. tnches
The comparative form of the opposite oflong. shorter

Wordgames| 125
Start a new line:
This is the verb that describes the main action of
philosophers. think
AnanagramofWHO. how
The word for many thatyolJtrse with uncountable
nouns, much
The flrst word in the phrase '- or later' sooner
Start a new line:
Second person pronoun. you
Thinkwhat trees are made of. Then think of a modal
verb with the same sound. Contract it and link
it to the word before with an apostrophe.
Hamlet was worried about this inflnitive. be
A two-letter word. The second letter is n. ln
Definite article. the
This word is wet and rhymes with shorter. waver
Ask one of pairs to read out the title and the poem:
The final step
If they made diving boards
six inches shorter-
thinkhowmuch sooner
you'd be in the water.
(Peter Hein. More Grool<s.Blackrvell and Mott. )

Onceyou haveusedthis technique three or four times, askfi.ve
students,for homework, to preparethis type of dictation. Eachof
them dictatestheir deflnitions etc.to a fifth of the class:the five
'dictators' working
simultaneously.They should keep their texts
short, asin the exampleabove.

We learnt this technique from Mitzi Powles,whose idea is quoted
by PaulRogersonin an article in the AISLImagazine,EuropaVicina

9.4 Crosswords
Level Intermediateto advanced
Time No morethan 20-30 minutesin any one session.
Aims To introducestudentsto English-language crosswordsand show
ways in which they can be adaptedand made more creative.

Crosswordsare not everyone'scup of tea, and they can be laborious
and time-consumingto compose,particularly if one has to restrict
oneselftocommonor'useful'words.The two exampleshere are
designedto make the teacher's,and the students',task a little easier.

126 | Word games

Materials Copiesof the crosswordsfor eachstudent.

A Anagram crosswords
Published crosswords, such as those in newspapers, can pose all sorts
of problems to the non-native speaker: the words used are often
obscure, the deflnitions maybe allusive, and the cultural references
maybe impenetrable. One wayto use them is to rewrite the
definitions, or to add anagrams of the solutions as an extra help. Here
is an example to getyou started: addyour own deflnitions ifyou

Eachclueisan anagramof the word you shouldwrite in the
diagram.Oneansweristhe nameof a well-knownwoman,
now dead.Anotherisan Englishcity.

10 11

I t4

t5 l7 t8


CluesAcross CluesDown
1 T H E NS C R E A M 1 M T O R YI S S U E
8 B U S HR I B 3 R A S HV E T
9 M E E TR E X 4 BSO
12 LIL 6 H O L YP I S H O P
1 4 GR I S S E T 1 0 E G GD A N E
1 6 I N D YG U N 13 DELLA
1 9 P E N N YC E D E D 17 CEI

Photocopiable@John Morgan

Wordgames| 127

M A N c H E s T E R

Y I A o v P

s A G R U B B I 5 H

E x T R E M E A t L

I L L T I G R E s 5

16 17
U N D Y I N G T o P

s L c E E H

D E P E N D E N c Y

Photocopiable@John Morgan

Write your own clues

Many studentsfind it much more fun to write the cluesthan to solve
them. Divide the classinto groupsof three or four and give each
group one blank diagram and one completeddiagram and one or
more dictionaries.Tell the groupsto choosea secretaryand to
composecluesfor the crossword,which the secretaryshouldwrite
under the blank diagram.\Mhenthey have flnished, the groups
should exchangethe blank diagramsand cluesand try to solvethe
Here are four completeddiagramsand fourblank diagramsto start

128 | Wordgames

F E W w A s T E V E R B A B L E

o E o P A E E 5 R v
u N D E R W E A R A D t E c T I v E


D I E D s T o P A c u T E L Y
s T T I s
B A D M I N T o N w H T E W A s H

U A M o N A o R N I
ta t3
s T Y L E R A Y N I N E s T o P

o D D M A N o u T G E T A c R o s s

T I M E P I E c E s A A c T E A

H A s R A N c K R N

E D G E T A L c G E T A R o u N D

D o s T H

o R G A N P I P E o U R A U D I o
t U A o R W c L U
11 10
E M E R G E N c Y N o R T H W E 5 T

lhotocopiable @John Morgan

C Software aids to crosswordsetting and solving

There are severalprograms available to assistin designing
and printing diagrams.Our favourite is Henry Casson's
Crossword Utihty, downloadable free from
http ://home.freeuk.neUdharrison/puzzles/utiIity.htm.
There are also programs to assistin finding words to fit into your
diagram: you can chooseyour own words, or ask the program to
searcha word list for words that will fit. More than one word list (or
phraselist) can be used,and you can write your own lists, or make

Wordgames| 129

8 t


n t1

l2 3 tz

2 I I

t0 I 9

1'l to

Photocopiable @John Morgan

one from a corpusoftexts usingconcordancesoftware.(See

Chapter5.)GoodexamplesareTlEA&Symytatlry from
htt p://bryson.ltd. uk and Crossw
ord Compiler6 ft om
http://www.crossword-puzzl e-maker.com.
Finally, students(andteachers)interestedin looking at how
'cryptic' puzzleswork will get a lot help from
of the surprisingly
effective crossword-solvingprogram Crossword Maestro,ftom
htt p://vrrvr,w
geni us2000.com.

130 | Wordgames
9.5 Pivot words
Level Lower-intermediateto advanced
(Theexamplehereis upper-intermediate.)
Time 20-30 minutes
Aims Toexplorethe differentsemanticand grammaticalusesof words.
Materials One copy of a worksheetfor eachstudent (optional).

'double sentences'(seebelow) at a level
Collecttogether 1o-2o
appropriateforyour class,type them out, and make copies.

Write this exampleup on the board:
lMhois thePrimeMinisterof thiscountryhotelsareniceto stayin,
Showthe studentstrow countryis a pivot word. It is the last word of
the flrst sentenceand the fi.rstword of the secondsentence:
tNhois thePrimeMinisterof thiscountry?
Countryhotelsareniceto stayin, dren'tthey?
Explain that you are going to give the studentsa dictation of
sentenceslike the one above.They are to take down your words and
underline the pivot word. Point out that in two of the examplesthe
'pivot word'will havetwo different spellings.
Dictatetheseten'double sentences' :
Oldpeopleneedquitea lotof helpmedownthesesteps, wouldyou?
Babies cankeepyouawakeat nrghtwatchmen keeptheneighbourhood
Smallkidslovea roughandtumbledriersareusefulinwinter.
Theydecided to sheartheewereally needa haircut.
Husbands areoftenlatehusbands canbea matterof regret.
Hetookhisclothes speeches
off-the-cuff arehardto make.
Maryhada littlelambstewison themenufor lunchtoday
Theoldwomanlivedin anexpensive housepriceshavegoneup recently.
Homeistheolaceto comebackto andtwo makefour.
Ourteamwonthegamepieisreally delictous.
3 Pairthe studentssothey can comparetheir answers.
4 Ask studentsround the classto read out the 20 sentences.
5 For homework askthem to cometo classwith six double
sentences each.
In the next class,group the studentsin fours to work on eachother's

Wordgames| 131
Variation 1
You canusethis technique to focuson phrasalverbs,for example:
Nevergweup themountaintheywent.
I'm afraidyouletme downtheroadqndthenrightandthenyou'rethere.
or on differencesof spelling,for example:
Addsomerosemary (thrye)
andtime travelisimpossible.
or on featuresof pronunciation, for example,liaison in
If I seea mouse,
I sream comes (icereaml
in manyJlavours.
(ForUSspeakers,and someUK speakers,there is alsoa differencein

Variation 2
A developmentof the aboveis to presentthe 'double sentences'with
the pivot words omitted. This is more difficult, but appealsto a
przzle mentality.

This idea comesfrom Milton Erickson'swork with hypnotic language

9.6 Hidingwords
Level Lower-intermediateto advanced
Time 10-20minutes
Aims Todiscoverwords'buried'in other words or surroundingtext,
Materials Dictionaries.

Put up the following words on the board:
Explain that many words can be found hidden inside other words:
oTHEr reCENTly
and eveninside phrases:
I took the BUSHome. Do you knoW HERE-mailaddress?
Put on the board, or askthe studentsto select,three to flve words.
Ask the studentsto hide them, one or more to a sentence,asin the
examplesyou gave.Tell them they can use dictionariesto find the
words for their sentences,but not to spendtoo long on this: if they
cannot easilyfind a way to 'hide' a word, they should discardit and
move on to another.
Get the studentsto exchangetheir sentencesand flnd their partner's
hidden words.

132 | Wordgames
Variation 1
Hide the words aseveryother letter of the newword or phrase,for
PIGEON + my speedkept sliPplnGbElOw Ninety kilometres an

Variation 2
Hide the words backurards:
KNIT + sTINKingfish

Variation 3
Useeachlefter of the word asthe first letters of the words of a
TEACH + TakeEverythingAnd ComeHome

Gameslike this appealto loversof logical puzzles,intelligence tests'
crosswordpuzzles,and so on. Many studentswill prefer constructing
the contexts to finding the hidden words.
Studentsmay be weak in English,but strong in puzzle-solving,and
vice versa.As a help to thosewho cannot spot the hidden word, add a
brief definition.

9.7 Treasure
Level lntermediateto advanced
Time 10-20minutes,orashomework.
Aims To practiseidentifying words with the help of definitions.

'word chain' like that shown below, in which eachword
Make a
overlaps its neighbours by exactly three letters. You will flnd some
more example wordchains at the end of this activity'
write a simple definition for eachword in the chain and put the
definitions and the number of letters in eachword on a worksheet, as
in the example below. To get the students started, give the first three
letters of the first word.

1 Write on the board the following string of letters:

Wordgames| 133
Using colouredchalk or markers,or by underlining, show that this is
a wordchain in which eachword overlapsits neighboursby exactly
three letters:
Give out the worksheet and let the studentsget on with it.
The exercisecan be done individually, in pairs or small groups,
or ashomework.
Studentsshould alsobe encouragedto prepareworksheetsfor each

As in a treasurehunt, eachquestionhasto be answeredbefore the
next canbe attempted.This can be frustrating for somepeople!

1 n. representativeof a group or category
2 adj.enjoyable ----(8)
3 adj.veryold - - - (7)
adj.feelingsick(inthe stomach)_ _ _ _ _ _ (6)
5 n. protectiongivenby a stateto a politicalrefugee
5 n. timber,wood for building _ _ (6)
7 adj.lacking, esp.in hopeor support _ _ (6)

Photocopiable @ Oxford UniversityPress

Suggested wordchains
Here are somemore word chainsfrom which you (or your students)
can prepareyour own worksheets:
(Thelast one is a word necklace!)

134 | Word games

9.8 Storyboard
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 20-30 minutes
Aims To practiserelatingwords to context.
Materials Word cards(seePreParation).

Choosea short text, preferably containing not too much new lexical
material for the class.write it out clearly on cardsmeasuring20 x 15
cm. one word to a card, so that eachword is clearly visible to the
whole class.On the back of eachcardwrite the sameword very small'

Stick the cardsto the wall or blackboardin the coffect text sequence,
with the large-print sidehidden.
Tell the classthat there is a text on the blackboardwhich they will
haveto uncover,one word at a time. Ask them to shout out any
words that come to mind: if you hear any of the words in the text'
reversethe correspondingcard immediately,using the smallprint
words asa rerninder.
From chancebeginnings,the text will graduallyappear,asmore and
more context becomesavailableto the students.

If you can memorize a short text exactly,then you can of course
dispensewith the cardson the blackboard.Short poems,especially
oneswith clear rhyme and rhythm, are ideal for this'

This was originally devisedasa computer game,but, with a little
preparationby the teacher,works evenbetter on the blackboard.

Wida Software,l98z'
John Higgins and GrahamDavies'Storyboard.

word games| 135

and word history

The first three activitiesin this chapter aim to familiarize students

with dictionariesand show how to usethem in enjoyable,creative
ways.1o.4,'\Mhat do I mean?',looks at the languagewe needto
explainand commenton howwe usewords,and to.8, 'Thesauri',
showshow a thesauruscan be usedto stimulate thought and
discussion.ro.5, 'Borrowedwords', and the two activitiesthat follow
cater for studentswho are interestedin the history of words.
The choiceof which dictionary to use dependsvery much on the
students'level,interestsand learning style.New dictionariesare also
constantlyappearing,which makesit hard to give concrete
Jon Wright's Dictionaries, in this series(1998),containsa number of
veryuseful suggestionsfor choosing,using, and flndingyourway
round dictionaries.

1 0 . 1 Word dip
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 15-25minutes
Aims Tofamiliarizestudentswith the structure,uses,and limitationsof
Materials Sufficientmonolingualdictionariesto haveone for eachgroup of
two to four students.Any monolingualdictionarywill do, though
for moreadvancedstudentsthe variouslearners'dictionaries may
be lessstimulating.Pocketdictionarieswill not be adequate.

Ask the studentsto form groupsof 3-5 playerseach.Make sureeach
group hasa dictionary.
Explain or demonstratethe game,then ask the groupsto play one
completeround. The gamegoeslike this:
a PlayerA opensthe dictionary at random.
b A choosesa word defined on the pagesopen and tells the other
playerswhat it is: this maybe awordA thinks the other playersdo
not know, or a known word which has a lesswell-known meaning,

136 | Oictionary
stschasfomtd(= establish,aswell asbeing the past tenseof find)' It
may be helpful to insist that A both pronouncesthe word and
spellsit out. A may alsogive other information, suchaspart of
speech,but not meaning.
c The other playersthen questionA on the meaning (or the specific
meaning chosenbyA) of the word. A may only answer/esor n0.
d A scoresa point if no one guessesthe meaning within, say,
zo questions.Otherwisethe flrst personto guessthe meaning
getsthe point.
Two or three rounds shouldbe tfie maximum to sustaininterest.
If the studentswish to continue, then repeatthe gameon a later

10.2 Fromword to word

Level lntermediateto advanced
Time 15-25minutes
Aims Togive further practicein the useof dictionaries, with the emphasis
on the languageusedin the definitions given.
Materials Sufficientmonolingualdictionariesto haveone for eachstudent.
It will be more interestingif you provide a selectionof different

Ask the studentsto work individually. Give eachstudent a dictionary
or make surethey havebrought one to class.
Write up a word on the blackboard.Chooseone which will produce
a rich set of paraphrases/synonyms.
Ask the studentsto look up in the dictionary the word you have put
on the board and to read through the definition(s).Then askthem to
chooseone of the words in the deflnition and to look that up.
4 Ask the studentsto continue in this way until they havelooked up,
say,a dozenwords.At eachstagethey shouldwrite down the word
they look up.
5 Ask them to form pairs and comparetheir lists.

Example Startingfromthe headword plant,onepersonproducedthislist:

-r + 1
plant vegetable organism structure + +
framework skeleton a bone
+ bobbin+ reel-t cylinder
+ tubular+ chamber
+ rise+ swell+ wqves), hair+ thread' cotton
plant-r grow) increase
-r understand

andwordhistory| 137
@ Variation
Studentswho sharethe samemother tongue can do the exercise
using a good bilingual dictionary,moving back and forth between
English and mother-tongueentries.

Follow-up 1
After working through steps1-4 above,askthe studentsto link the
words in their list into a paragraphor short story.

Follow-up 2
Ask the studentsto usethe technique aboveto 'quarry'words
relating to a particular subjector theme (for example,words
neededin writing a description,words usedby policemen).

1 0 . 3 Writeyourselfin
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 10-15minutes
Aims To add a strong personalelementto dictionarypractice.
Materials Dictionaries.

Select6-rz words from a text or other sourceofvocabularv.

Ask the students,working individually, to look up eachof the
selectedwords in their dictionary.'vVhenthey have read the entry
and any example sentencesgiven, they should construct an example
sentencefor that word including their own name, or a referenceto
themselves.So,if a studentwere to look tsptakeone'smindof and flnd
the exampleHqrdworkalwaystakesyourmindoffdomestic problems, they
might write Englishclassestake
my mind offwork.
In small groups,the studentscomp;rretheir examplesentences.

This exercisecan easilybe adaptedasa pair exerciseby asking the
pairs to write sentencesthat apply to both members,for example:
veal:Wearebothopposedto theproductionofwhiteveal.

138 | Dictionary andwordhistory

10.4 What do I mean?
Level Lower-intermediateto advanced
Time 10-15minutesin the first class;10-20minutesin laterclasses.
Aims To introduceand practisewords and phrasesused in defining and

Lesson 1
Invite one student to askyou a questionin front of the class.Instead
of answeringimmediately,pick out a word or phrasefrom their
questionand put a questionback to them, for example,
Student: rNhat\ yourfavouritecolour?
Student:Thecolouryouliketo wear.
Teacher:Inthat case, myfavountecolourisblue.
Ask the studentsto form pairs and to put questionsback and forth to
eachother in the wayyou have shown.
After five minutes, tell them to take a pieceof paper and,working
individually, to recall two or three of the questionsthey were asked.
They should then write their answersassingle sentencesincluding
the phrasebywhichlmean,for example:
MyfavourLte whichlmeorrthe
colortr,by colourlliketowear,isblue.

Lesson 2
Remind the classofthe previousactivitybywritingyour
original example sentenceon the board,underlining the phrase
Ivtyfavouritecolour,bywhichlmeonthecolourIkke to wear,isblue.
Teach,or get the classto brainstorm, other phrasesthat can be used
instead ofby wlnchI mecm,for example:
in other words that is (to say) in the senseof
or rather meaninq t.e.
Tell the students to rewrite a short text by picking out as
many words and phrases from it as they want and adding to each a
comment introduced by one of the phrases in the above list.
Seethe exarnple below

Exampletext Country people have a different attitude to the road from town people.
They are not better drivers, but they are more considerate.

Exampletext Country people, that is people who both live and work in the
rewritten countryside, have a different attitude to the road from town people.
They are not better, in the senseof technically more comPetent,
drivers, but they are more considerate. By this I mean they actually
consider what they, and other drivers, are doing while they drive along.

andwordhistory| 139
Usethe questioningand rewrite techniquesto explore other
waysin which we seekto clarify, modify, comment on, or
correct the languagewe are using. Here are a few example
a clarifying by example:
for example for instance . . . ,s a y... .
b specifying:
in particular specifically particularly
to bespecific to nameone
c approximating:
rna sense moreor less ina manner of speaking
sortof astTwere to an extent
for wantof a betterword
d abandoningan explanationor example:
etc. a n ds o o n
and soforth you know what I mean
youknowthesortof thingI mean workit outforyourself

The dictionary is not the only placewhere deflnitions are found. We
are constantlyexplaining, paraphrasing,and commenting on the
meaning of the words we use.Here the student is encouragedto
learn someof the words we needin order to talk about words.

1 0 . 5 Borrowedwords
Level lntermediateto advanced
Time 20 minutes
Aims To show how words canchangeform and meaningacross
Materials Copiesof the word list and key for eachstudent.

Preparea set of Englishwords that derive fromwords in other
languages:if your classcontainsspeakersof different mother
tongues,try to representeachofthese languagesin your set.
Put the whole list on a sheetof paper and make a copy for
eachmember of the class.An exampleset is given below.

Give out the word lists.Tell the studentswhich original languagesare
representedby the words and askthem, working individually, to
match them to the words in the list.

140 | Dictionary
The studentsmay now compareand discusstheir answers.This is
particularly useful if you haveincluded words borrowed from
languagesspokenby the students.
Give out the key.Ask the studentsto checktheir answersnot only
againstthe key but alsoin a dictionary.They should pay attention to
the pronunciation (which maybe very different from that in the
original language),the meaning(s)(which maywell have changedor
becomerestricted),and, if the dictionary alsogivesetymologies(for
example,OED,Chcnnbers), somethingof the how,when,and even
wLryof theborrowing. (In the examplelist below, teawasborrowed
from Cantonese,not Mandarin;porkrefers to the meat of the pig,
not to the animal itself; sherryderivesfrom an older pronunciation
of SpanishJerez;bwtgalow camefrom a Hindiwordthat simply
means'of Bengal'.)

ginseng tea soya alcohol
pundit typhoon decide atmosphere
hippopotamus siesta curry torso
lute cattle orange chemist
atom opera coolie pork
bungalow canasta kilogram apron
marzrpan sherry armada piano

Arabic Spanish lndian French Italian Chinese Greek
alcohol siesta bungalow apron torso typhoon atmosphere
lute canasta curry pork marzipan tea hippopotamus
orange sherry pundit cattle opera soya kilogram
chemist armada coolie decide piano ginseng atom

Photocopiable @Oxford UniversityPress

10.6 Commemorative
Level Upper-intermediateto advanced
Time 20-30minutes
Aims To explorewords with a history.
and otherdictionaries.
Materials Etymological

Takeseveraleqrmologicaldictionariesto class.You may alsolike to
readup a little on the peopleand eventsreferred to.

and word history| 141

Get a secretaryto cometo the board and then dictate thesewords
to them:
sandwich wellingtons spa
plimsoll quisling hoover
mackintosh biro caesarian
volcano quixotic meander
maramon to meetyourWaterloo
cardigan to crosstheRubicon
Checkthat all the words are semanticallyknown to the students,
especiallyharder onesllke plimsoll:found in the phraseplimsollline,
the safeloading line on a ship; alsoa type of sportsfootwear.
Explain that all the words or phrasesrefer back to the name of a
person,a place,or an event.Ask them if they can identify any of
Ask the studentsto work in small groups and give eachgroup a
dictionary.Assigna small group of words to eachgroup of students.
Ask the gloupsto lookup theirwords and flnd the person,placeor
event that lies behind each.
6 Eachgroup teachesthe whole classthe derivation of their words.

10.7 Datingwords
Level Upper-intermediateto advanced
Time 15-30minutes
Aims More on words and history,with the emphasison more recent
Materials A copy of the wordlist for eachstudent.

Make a list of words that you are confident most of the classare
familiar with, or usethe examplelist given below (with the years
omitted).Include asmany recently introduced words/meaningsas
you can.Make enough copiesfor eachstudent or group ofstudents.

1 Ask the studentsto work either alone or in groupsof two to three.
2 Give out one copy of the wordlist to eachstudent or group.
3 Ask the studentsto write next to eachword the approximateyear
when it was flrst usedin English.
Get the students/groupsto join together to comparetheir answers.
Ask them to checktheir answersagainstan appropriatedictionary,
or give out the examplelist againwith the datesincluded. For newer
words, we recommendJohn Ayto's Twentieth-Cenhtry Words(t999)and

142 | Dictionary
andword history
ElizabethKnowles'OxfordDictionaryof NewWords(;997).For older
(Secondedition) givesdated
words, ttle OxfordEnglishDicttonary
citations of almost everyword deflned.

Word list
povertyline(1901)gr€€h= ecological(1972)car bomb (1972)
nappy(1927) crew-cut(1940) j i n g l e( n o u n )( 1
think-tank(1959) carer(1978) sitcom(1964)
pylon(1923) drop-out(1930) genocide(1944)
fab (1e57) gremlin(1941) in-house (1956)
doodle(1937) rockand roll (1954) cassette (1960)

Photocopiable @Oxford UniversityPress

Here is an example entry fromJohn Ayto's excellent

Twentieth-CenturY Words:
tab adj(1957)wonderful,marvellous. SlangA shorteningof fabulous
(whichis not recordedin printin thissenseuntil 1959).Theusagereally
took off around1963,when it becameattachedto the Beatles (sometimes
'TheFabFour')and otherMerseyside pop groups.After lying
dormantfor a while,it enjoyeda revivalin the 1980s(seefabbo (1984)).
1963Times. Shestretchedherstockinged toestowardsthe blazinglogs.
' D a d d yt,h i sf i r es s i m P l fYa b . '
1963MeettheBeatles. Mostof the Merseyside groupsproducesounds
which areprettyfab
1988NationalLampoon'.'And I justthink it s fab!'
To which we should addthatfab is now back in a period of

10.8 Thesauri
Level Upper-intermediateto advanced
Time 30-45 minutes
Aims To show how words may be grouped by meaningand context;to
introduceand practiseusinga thesaurus;and,incidentally,to show
how words canbe used to and
disguise distort meaning'
Materials Dictionaries,copiesof the Thesaurusextract and worksheet

Choosea word or phrasewith strong or controversialassociations.
Make an extract from a thesaurusentry containing it, or usethe
examplebelow, and prepare enoughcopiesfor eachstudentto have
one.You should alsomake copiesof the worksheet (which can be
usedwith any item chosen)for everyone.Providea variety of
dictionariesand other referencebooks in class.

andword history| 143

Write the word or phrase(in this casethe wordterronst)in the centre
ofthe board,then get five to ten students(dependingon the sizeof
your classand of the board)to write all the words and phrasesthey
can think of that havethe same,or a similar, meaning.Tell them to
scatterthe words around the board, not in neat rows and columns,
and stopthem after two minutes.
'vVhenall the studentsare back in their seats,tell them to take a piece
of paper and copy down the words on the board, arrangingthem into
groupsaccordingto meaning.Tell them that they may alsoadd any
other words of similar meaning that comeinto their minds, but are
not on the board.
Tell the studentsto standup, walk around, and comparewhat they
havewritten. Keepthem moving round: in a classof zo, everystudent
should havereadwhat at leasteight others havewritten after ten
Give out copiesofthe Thesaurusextract and askthem to look
through it. Tell them what a thesaurusis (acollection of words,
arrangedin groups accordingto meaning, but without deflnitions or
examples),and that it can be a useful aid to memory and
imagination. Stressthat it is not a 'collection of synoqrms', and that
to get bestvalue out of it, one should useit in conjunction with a
Give everystudent a copy of the Worksheet.Tell them they have
15minutes to completeit. Encouragethem to usedictionariesand
referencebooks,and to askyou and eachother questions.
Group the studentsin fours to compareand discusswhat they
have done.

1zl4| Dictionary
1 Lookthroughthe Thesaurus extract,underlininganywordsand phrases you
havenot met before,or whichyou would liketo learnmoreabout.
2 Choosefive of the wordsor phrasesyou haveunderlined,look them up in the
dictionary,and write an examplesentencefor each:

3 Lookthrough the extractagain.Whichtwo wordsor phrasesarefor you most

alikein meaning?Writethem here:

4 Whichtwo wordsor phrasesare mostdifferentin meaning?

whichyou would be surprised

5 Write down five wordsor phrases to find in the
sameshorttext (essay, radio
newspaperarticle, talk, short etc.)

which are not in the extract,but ought to be.

6 Write down five wordsor phrases

7 Whichsingleword or phrasein the extractisclosestin meaningto the one

printedin bold text?

8 And which isfurthestin meaningfrom that word or phrase?

Photocopiable @Oxford UniversityPress

andwordhistory| 145
#361.IDestruction of life;violentdeath.]Killing.-
N. killing&c.v.;homicide, manslaughte4 murde4assassination;
massacre; fusillade,pogrom,thuggery Thuggism[obs].
deathbloWfinishingstroke,coupde grace,quietus;
(capitaI punishment)972; judicial murder;martyrdom.
butche[ slayer,murdere4Cain,assassin, terrorist,cutthroat,
hitman,thug, racketeelgunman,matador;gallows,
executioner&c.(punishment) 975;man-eater, apache[obs],
suicide, felo de se[obs], hara-kiri,
auto da fe, holocaust.
suffocation,strangulation,garrotte;hanging&c.v. deadly
weapon&c.(arms)727;l. . .l
#913.[Maleficent being]Evildoer- N. evildoer;wrongdoer
&c.949;mischief-maker; oppressoltyrant;destroyeri Vandal;
firebrand,incendiary, firebug IU.S.],pyromaniac; anarchist,
savage,brute,ruffian,barbarian,caitiff [obs],desperado;
Apache[obs], hoodlum,hood,plug-ugly, pug-ugly[U.S.],
tough IU.5.];Mohawk;bully,rough,hooligan,larrikin[Aus],
uglycustomer; thief &c.792.
cockatrice, scorpion,hornet.
snake,vipeqadder;snakein the grass;serpent,cobra,asp,
canniba l; anthropophagus, anthropophagist; bloodsucker,
wild beast,tiger;hyena,butchel hangman;blood-hound,
monster;fiend &c.(demon)980;devilincarnate,demonin
humanform; Frankenstein's monster.
harpy,siren;Furies, Eumenides.
Hun,Attila,scourgeof the humanrace.[.. .]

145 | Dictionary
A note on Roget's Thesaurus
Roget'soriginal Thesaurus ofEnglishWords andPlnaseshas long been out
of copyright. Now there are innumerable versionsall claiming to be
Roget'sThesaurus,and all independentlycopyrighted.Thesediffer in
many ways:someare basedon British, others on American English;
someate highly literary while others are basedon up-to-datespoken
English.Most follow Roget'soriginal plan, asin the extract above,but
'alphabeticalthesauri' such asthat publishedby
there are also
Oxford University Press,and electronicversionsthat can be used
with your word-processor.
The full text of the r9t edition is availablefrom the web: you can
fl nd it by visiting htt p://www.g ute nberg.net. When you have
downloadedthe flle (aboutr.5Mb),you can open it in your word-
processorand searchforwhatyou need.(TheThesaurus extract
aboveis taken from this public-domainversion.)
There are alsoonline versions,which enableyou to type in a search
word or phraseand receivean HTMLpagecontaining the appropriate
section(s)of Roget. Oneof thesecan be found at
http://www.bartleby.com/thesa uri .

Other online thesauri

Plumb Design's VizuaIThes aurusat htt p://www.visualth esaurus.com is
a remarkablecombination of thesaurusand mind-map.\Mhenyou
enter a word, a graphicsdisplayopenswith your word in the centre,
joined to other words of similar meaning by spiderylines. If you click
on any of these,the displaychangesto make the new word central,
and other words appearor are replaced.To useit, you will needto
enableJavain your browser.
TheLexicalFreeNet thesaurusat http://wwwlexfn.com allows a search
on one word (in which caseit givesa list of synonyms)or on a pair of
words. If you enter two words, it will return a seriesof words linking
the flrst to the second.For example, dreamandleviathanyteld:
dream+ ntghtrnare +horror + monster-leviathan

andwordhistory| 147

Traditionally,revision hasbeen much more on teachers'mapsthan

other aspectsofvocabularywork. A colleaguein Cambridgestarted
eachmorning on her intensive coursesby asking studentsto close
their eyesand think back over what they learnt the previousday.
Examinations,the curriculum, and the teacher'shuman needto
believethat shehas actually taughtthestudentssomething,all
encouragethe use of revision exercises,but we believethat there is a
deeperneed:one simply doesnot 'learn' somethingby encountering
it once.With vocabulary studentsneedto meet, and use,and reflect
on words many times, in different contextsand settings,in the
companyof different people,and, perhaps,in different frames of
mind, before they can be saidto havetruly learnt a word or phrase.

A note on notebooks
Many of the exercisesthat follow should be done in the students'
vocabularynotebooks.In this way learnerswill have a powerful
record ofthe exercisesthey have donewith and around new lexis.
Many activitieshere aim, for example,to improve the visualquaktyof
notebooks,to go beyondthe monotonouscolumn of bilingual pairs:
Frau- woman
und- and
Stuhl- chair
A ground plan of one'shome with the words you were learning
written all over it is a lot more memorablethan this. (Seet.4,
The vocabularynotebook may well be a sort of history of the
languageclass:studentscanwrite personalnotesabout the
circumstancesof learning aswell asthe apparent'content' of the
lesson.From a Greekstudent,for example,we might havethe
following page:
ghost(phantasma) Gota goodletterfromhometoday.
conviction(pepithesis)Theteacher islookingout of thewindow.
politics lt'sa Greekword-l gotthe Englishstress
a g a i n!
metaphor Makesme think of movinghouse.

148 I Revision
11.1 Open categorization
Level Beginnertoadvanced
Time 15-20minutes
Aims To allow studentsto categorizevocabularyin any way they want'

1 Write the words to be reviewedon the board.
2 Invite the students,working individually, to categorizethe words
into more than tvvogroups.The way they do this is up to them: the
look of the words on the page,associationswith the words, the sound
of the words, idea groupings,etc.Do not tell the studentshow to
categorize:let them find out for themselves.
3 Ask the studentsto give eachof their categoriesa heading'
4 Go round the classasking someof the studentsto read out their
headingsand the words in the correspondingcategories'Do not
reward or censurestudentsbyyour facial expressionand tone of
voice for the way they have categorized:be asneutral asyou can and
sayaslittle aspossible.How the studentsgroup the words is up to
'right' or'wrong' will only
th.em,and telling them that they are
increasetheir dePendence onYou.

If you are working with beginners,they will usetheir mothel tongue.

we learnt this technique from caleb Gattegno'ssilentway.For more
about his work, and especiallyhis views on learner independence
and the role of the teacher,seehis book, Thecommonsense of Teaching
ForeignLanguages. EducationalSolutions,1976'

11,2 Guidedcategorization
Level Beginnertoadvanced
Time 15-20minutes
Aims To get the studentsto form interestingand memorableword
grolps, and to deepentheir understandingof words by comparing

A Nicewords versusnastYwords
1 Givethe studentsthe words to be reviewedand askthem eachto pick
three they like and three they don't. Give them time to think'
2 Put up two headingson the board: Nicewordsand Nastywords.Ask
eachstudent to write lp oneof their nice words andonenastyword.

| 149
@ \Alheneverybodyhastlvo words on the board,invite peopleto
explain why they like or dislike parlicular words. Do not glossor
comment yourself: don't give or withhold approval.By keeping quiet
youwill help the studentsto talk.

Example Inonegroupthereview
viaduct ambulance to lower motorway
prun9e jack-knife to volunteer hair-raising
lelly windscreen intensive
Herearesomeof thethingsdifferent students saidaboutsomeof thewords:
ambulance I usedtobea nurse andanambulance cominameantmorework.l
intensive I don'tlikeit because the-nt-istoohardtosaycorrectly.
jelly llikeit.The soundisright.
windscreen I don'tlikeit because
I learntit lasttermandcan'trememberit.
The exerciseabovecan be adaptedto run over the courseof a whole
Get a large sheetof card to hang on your classroomwall. Find a closed
box and make a slot in the top: thesewill becomepermanent
Invite studentsto stick on the large sheetanywords they like, or that
interest them. Thesemaybe singlewords written on slips of paper,
cuttings from newspaperheadlinesor advertisements,etc.Ask them
to 'throw away' in the box anywords they don't like, or can't or don't
want to remember,or which confuseor bother them. Tell them thev
can do this whenever they like during the course.
From time to time, hold comment sessions:let the students
introduce their own words flrst, followed by commentsfrom others.
Try to keep in the backgroundand let the studentsrun their own

Other binary subjectivecategories

Using the methodologysuggestedin A, you can askthe studentsto
work on contrastivecategoriesof many different sorts,for example,
veryEnglishwords notveryEnglish words
newworos oldwords
me-connected words separate-from-me words
highwords lowwords
pastwords futurewords

150 | Revision
c Wordsand shapes
1 Put up on the board the following shapes:

Ask the studentsto copy the shapesinto their notebooksand then

associatethe words to be reviewedwith the shapes.They may, of
course,link a given word with more than one shape.
3 Pair the studentsand let them explain their word-shapeassociations.

D Wordsand countries
1 Ask the studentsto jot down the name of a country they have
enjoyedvisiting orwould like to visit.
Havethem draw mapsof thesecountrieson the blackboard.
(Inaccuracygiveslife to the exercise.)
Ask them to write down the namesof the various countriesacross
the top of h pieceof paper,and then to rule tle paper into columns,
eachwith a country asheading.
4 Put up your list of words and askthe studentsto write them in one or
other column accordingto the associationsthey feel betweentheir
words and the countries.
5 Ask them to explain their associationsto their neighbours.

Example Inoneclass
thelistof wordsunderreview
shed translucent corruqated hefty staple
loop rack hinge hook lethal
draughty pail suck drain goat

| 151
One student producedtheseassociations:

Romania Mongolia Denmark Wales USA Tanzania

sneo translucent h i n g e lethal draughty

pail racK drain corrugated
SUCK hefty

No associations:

E Words and colours

1 Ask each sflrdent to wdte down six colours in order of preference
ranging from most liked to most disliked. (For this exercise black and
white are colours.)
Put a set of words on the board and ask the students to associate the
words with the colours. They should do this individually in writing.
Ask individual students to tell the group which colours they assigned
to different words and why.

We should like to thank Marilyn Spaventa, who used this technique
with classeson Pilgrims summer courses.

11.3 Wordson a scale

Level Intermediate to advanced
Time 15-20 minutes
Aims To concentratethe students'attention on the words under revision
by focusing on their own, subjective reactions.

1 Fut the table below up on the board. Explain that it shows a series of
scalesbetween extremes, and ask the students to copv it into their
valuable - worthless
shallow - deeo
slow - fast
actrve - oassive
small - large
clean - dirty
weak - strong
tasty - distasteful
relaxed - tense
cold - hot

152 | Revision
Write the words to be revised on another part of the board and ask
the students, working individually, to choose six words and decide
where each of them should go on each scale. If one of the words to be
for example, a student's scales might look
revised were consistency,
like this:
valuqble X worthless
shallow _ deep
slow - - fast
active X _ passwe
is a valuablequality that probably
This student thinks corsistency
indicatesdepth. Speedseemsunimportant but it takesan active
stanceto be consistent.
3 Pair the studentsand askthem to explain their scalesto a partner.

11.4 Lexicalfurniture
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 15-20minutes
I with
Aims Tofix vocabularyin memoryby visualizingconnections
familiarobjectsand places.

Ask eachsfi;dent to draw a ground plan of their house/flat/home/
2 Put up on the blackboarda set of twenty or sowords for revision.
3 Working on their own, the studentsshouldthen placethe words in
appropriatepositionsin their living place.
4 In pairs,they look at eachothers' placingsand discussthem.

a girlputperplexed
Example ln oneclass, inthe garagebecause
neverunderstand whyhercarwouldnotstart.Sheputfuriousoutsidethe
housebecause herparents wouldnotallowexpressions of angerinside,
anddo an exoerimenfin the kitchen.

Variation 1
Eachstudent drawsa clockface:the words to be reviewedare placed
on the clockfaceaccordingto temporal associations.

Variation 2
Ask the studentsto write down twenty times of daywhen regular
things happen,for example:
8.r5 Wifeleaves for work.
8.3o Postman comes.
9.1o I finishwashingupthe breakfast

| 153
r They shouldthen write the words to be reviewedagainstthe times,
asthey find appropriate.

Variation 3
Ask eachstudent to draw a map of their district, and to mark on it
one or more of the routesthey regularly follow (for example,to work,
to school,to a friend's house).On this map they shouldthen placethe
words to be reviewed.

Placingwords or ideasto be rememberedin your houseor alongyour
high streetis one of the oldestmemory techniquesknown. It was this
that was usedby Shereshevskii,the prodigiousmemory man studied
inA. R.Ltsria.TheMindof aMnemoni.st.

11.5 Leapingwords
Level Beginnertoadvanced
Time 10-15minutes
Aims Toget studentsto'draw'words asa simplebut creativeway of
remembering vocabulary visually.

1 Ask the studentsto chooser5 words they flnd hard to remember
from the last few pagesof their vocabularynotebooks.They should
checkthem through with a neighbour or you and/ora dictionary.
2 They shouldnow rewrite the words using the shapesand sizesof the
letters to bring out the meanings.
3 Ask them to get up and move around the room to show their designs
to asmany peopleaspossible,explaining why they seeparticular
words thus.

Example Inonegroupspifwaswritten
asa spiralbyanother.

,-Ao g 5 Y

We first learnt this technique from Michael Legutke,Germany.

154 | Revision
11.6 Findthe word a picture @
Level Beginnerto advanced
Time 20-40 minutes
Aims Toget studentsto link words and visualimages.
Materials Word cards;a collectionof magazinepictures(seePreparation).

Select6o words from the work done during previousclassesthat
needrevising.Put eachword on a separatecard. Selectroo pictures or
parts of pictures from magazines.(Ratherthan selectthe pictures one
by one, it is much more effective,aswell aslesstime-consuming,to
keep a box ofunsorted pictures (or parts ofpictures) cut from
magazinesetc.,and then grab a handful wheneveryou needthem.
Try to get your studentsto add to the box: that way your own tastes
will not restrict the variety.)

Give out the word cardsto the students:if you have twenty students,
eachwill get three cards;if thirty, eachwill get two.
Spreadthe magazinepictures on flat surfacesround the room. Ask
the studentsto get up and circulate.Their task is to find a picture that
somehowmatcheseachof their words. It is up to them to decidehow.
Tell them that the picture doesn'thave to illustrate the word directly'
but may symbolizeit, or be suggestedby it through associationwith
context or setting.You shouldbe availableto help studentswho don't
remembertheir words.
Ask the studentsto explain to eachother how they have matched
their words and pictures.Eachshould talk to at leastfive other

Examples Herearesomeexamplesof linksstudents wordsandpictures

andtheexplanations gave:
Words Pictures Explanations
'lt makesmeangry.'
rage a policeman violently
carryingoff a smallchild
awell a m a nd r o w n i n gu n d e r
a bridge
hostility peoplein a poorquarter
j e e r i n ga t a n a r m e d
the leatherlooksfalse.'
forger p l u s hs, h i n yc u s h i o n s
on a settee
guilt a girl runningacross
a street
'Theylook as closeas a sprocket
sprocket motherholdingtwo
y o u n gc h i l d r e n i st o a w h e e l . '

| 155
@ 11.7 Rhymingreview
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 20-30 minutes
Aims To providea simpleauditory review of vocabulary,which also
focuseson pronunciationand spelling.
Materials Word cards(seePreparation).

Choosero-r5 words and put eachon a separatecard.

1 Eachstudent is given a word card and askedto think of a word that
rh5rmeswith it. Supposethe word on the card is mess. StudentA might
chooseguess. A then says:'The word on my card rhymes withguess.'
2 The other studentsin the group then haveto discoverwhat the word
on A's card is. They do this by asking questions,rather than simply
shouting out the words they think of, for example,
B: Isit sometlinga girl wears?
A: No,ittsn't dress.
C: Isit somethingpeoyiewholivein cities
A: No,not stress.
D: Isitwhatapriestdoes?
A: No,notbless.
3 Repeatsteps1 and z asoften asyou wish, grring a new card to a
different student eachtime.

The ideafor this activity camefrom Hurwitz and Goddard.Gcnnesto
ImproveYourChild'sEnglish.Kayeand Ward, r9 72.

1 1.8 Draw the word

Level Beginnertoadvanced
Time 5 minutesin the first class,15-20minutesin the second.
Aims Toget studentsto visualizewords asa meansof remembering
Choosethe words you want the studentsto review.There is no reason
why theseshould only be onesthat canbe easilydrawn.

Lesson 1
Put the words on the board,then tell the studentsto draw a picture
for eachword ashomework.

155 | Revisionexercises
Lesson 2
Ask the studentsto work in pairs, simultaneously,showingtheir
drawings to each other and explaining why they feel the drawings flt
the words.

Example tnterre9num Onekingdeadon the groundand anotheralive,aboutto be

replacement One personhandinga bagto another.
to receive A bricklayerreceiving a brickfrom a helper.
to reoch A persontryingto get somethingfrom the top of a high
emphasize A teacherat a blackboard underliningtwo words.
desire A cyclistgazingat a van.(Thestudentexplained that thiswas
desirefor the van.)
the cyclist's
exclusive A housesurrounded by highwallsand lockedgates.
skill A pottermakinga vaseon a wheel.
observation A fire-watchingtower in a forest.
todevelop A childat variousstagesof growthf rom infancy.

1 Write the words on the blackboardin arbitrary pairs.
2 Ask the students, working individually, to draw pictures linking the
words in eachpair.
Eitheraskthe studentsto show their picturesto one or two
neighboursand explain the links shown; or form groupsof four to
five students.In eachgroup, all the pictures should be pooled,and
one by one individuals shouldtake a picture from the pool and try to
guessthe words representedand tJ'e links betweenthem.

'cannot draw' may benefit more than thosewho can,as
they will need to find words to explain their drawings'

11.9 Matchingwords
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 15-30minutes
Aims To review words, focusingon meaningand context.
Materials 30 word cardsand 30 definitions cards(seePreparation).

Selectnot more than thirtywords that needreviewing.Put eachone
on a separatecard.For eachword flnd a slmonym,opposite,
below) and
dictionary definition, or'groping definition' (seehonesty
put one of theseon a card, sothatyou endup with thfuty cardsthat
match the thirtvword cards.

| 157
@ Here are examplesfor fourwords:
word cards matchingcards
tact diplomacy (synonym)
oravery cowardice (opposite)
eregance the qualityof being (dictionary
refinedor graceful
honesty i t b e g i n sw i t h ' h ' - (groping
b u t t h e ' h ' i s n ' ts o u n d e d -
you cantrustsomeone
who hasit-they won't
lieto you

Give eachstudent one or two of the word cardsand one or two of the
matching cards(dependingon classsize)and askthem to get up and
mill around the room trying to find cardsto match their own. Ask
them to note down who hasthe cardscorrespondingto theirs, and
what is on them (this reduceschaos).
Ask a student to call out one of theirwords: the personwith the
matching card then callsout the matchingword or deflnition.
This goeson until all the cardshavebeen matched.

The preparation outlined abovetakesquite a bit of time. Why do it
yourself? Simply choosethe words you want revised(or askthe
studentsto choose)and aska more advancedgroup to provide the
synonyms,oppositesand deflnitions to put on card.Theywill be
delightedto know their work is being put to a directly practicaluse.

Mike Laverygaveus the outline of this exercise.The idea ofusing
'gfoping definitions' hasbeen
usedin M. Bererand M. Rinvolucri.

1 1 . 1 0Gift words
Level Beginnerto advanced
Time 20 minutes
Aims To review vocabularyand at the sametime to establishor improve
rapportwithin a group.

Ask the studentsto pick out 20 words they feel needreviewing from
recent work and to checkthey know what they mean.
TeIl them to put the words eachon a slip of paper,and to write on
eachslip the name of a personin the group for whom the word
would be an appropriategift.

158 | Revision
3 Everyonenow gets up and mills around giving the words away.If the
receiverof a word doesnot understandit, the giver should explain
the meaning, and the reasonfor the gift.

Half the classsit with their word slips spreadout in front of them.
The other half move round taking the words they feel they would like
and explaining why.

This exerciseis a transpositionof an activity usedin therapy and
propo sed by Ted Saretsky in Aaiv eTechrnquesand GroupPsychother

1 1 . 1 1 Forcedchoice
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 15-25minutes
Aims Togenerateconversationby a fast and energeticreview of words.

Choosehalf a dozenpairs of words from a vocabularyareato be
revised,sothat there is an oppositionwithin eachpair. If, for
example,you want studentsto review'water words', you might
drownrng- floating
sprntkler- gogg;les

Get all the studentsstandingin the middle of the room. Tell them
you are going to offer them a choice:they are going to have to choose
which thing they think they are most like. If you are working with
wateryolJmight say:
Peoplewhothinktheyarelikea springmustgoto that endof ther oom-
peoplewhothink theyarelikea wellmustgo to theotherendof theroom.
Obligeany fence-sittersto chooseone end of the room.
Now askthe peopleto talk to their neighboursin pairs and explain
why they choseasthey did. Insist that theywork in pairs,not clusters
of three or more. Seta time-limit of no more than one minute for
Ask studentsfrom one end of the room to go over and talk to the
peoplewho madethe oppositechorce.
RepeatStepsr, z, and 3 with a newpair ofwords.

| 159
We learnt this technique from S.B.Simon,Howe and Kirschenbaum.
Aarifi cation.Hart Co.l979.

11.12 Questionand answer

Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 15-25 minutes
Aims To practisethe vocabularyunder review interactivelyand in new
Materials One word cardfor eachstudent (seePreparation).

Select3o-4o words that needreviewing. Preparecardswith
ten words on each.Everystudentwill needto be given one
ten-word card.

Pair the students.Give eachpersona card and ensurethat partners
have different cards.
StudentA must not show their card to student B. StudentA looks
at the flrst word on the card and asksB a questionaimed at getting
B to saythe word. IfA's questiondoesnot elicit from B the word
on A's card,A fires more questionsuntil B saysthe word. This is
howit cango:
The first word on A's card is invasion.
A:\Mat did theAmericans doto VietnamT
A: Yes...andwhathavetheIsraelisoftendoneto Lebcmon?
A:lNhatdoyousaywhenonecountrymoves an annyintoanother?
B:It irwadesit.
B doesthe sameto A. They alternateuntil all the words on both cards
havebeen dealt with.

We found this technique in Byrne and Rixon (Eds.).Commtnication
Games.EIT Guider, Secondedition. NFERPublishingCo.1982.

150 | Revision
1 1 . 1 3 Wordsto story I@
LevelElementaryto advanced
Time 20-30 minutes
Aims To useoral storytellingto review words.

Choose3o-4o words that need revising.

Put up the words on tfre board or overheadprojector.Ask the
studentsto checkany words they don't remember the meaning of.
Ask individual studentsto pick six or sevenwords from those on the
Eachstudent then makesup a story (mentally,not on paper)
suggestedby the words they have chosen.
The studentspair offand tell eachother their stories,then explain
how they chosethose particular words.

11.14 Wordrush
Level Beginnerto intermediate
Time 10 minutes
Aims To review words in an energetic,non-wordy way.
Materials Word cards(seePreparation).

Put zo words to be reviewedeachon a separatecard.

Divide the classinto two teams,A and B. Havet]'e two teams
assembleat one end of the classroom.Go to the other end yourself.
2 Call out a member of eachteam and show them one word.
3 Eachteam member rushesback to their team and drawsor mimest}re
word. They must not write, speak,or whisper! The first team that
recognizesthe word from the drawing and shoutsit out correctly gets
a point.

The activitycomes fromViola Spolin'sgoldmine of dramaideas,
Pitman, 1963.
for theTheatre.
InT rovisation

Revision | 161
@ randomwords
1 1 . 1 5Comparing
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 5 minutesin the first lesson;15 minutesin the secondlesson.
Aims To provide a somewhatsurrealway of reviewing'hard-to-

For homework, askthe studentsto go back over the last five units of
the coursebook,and eachpick out ten words they find it hard to
remember the meaning of. They should put eachof thesewords on a
separateslip of paper and bring the slips to their next class.

Checkthat the studentsdo knowthe meaningsof the words they
have put on their slips of paper.Spreadall the slipsfacedown over
the teacher'sdesk.
Taketwo slips at random and make a comparativesentenceabout
them and put it up on the board.If the two words are beyondand
camel,yormight write:
Ask the students,one at a time, to cometo the front, pick two words,
make a comparativesentenceabout them and put the sentenceup on
the board.
Stopwhen the board is full.

If studentscannot remember a word, then the chancesare that either
the word or the context(s)in which it hasbeen met failed to engage
their attention.

We learnt this activity from a Chandlerand Stonearticle we found on
the Web at http ://wrruwetprofessio nal.com/

11.16 Multi-sensoryrevision
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 30-40 minutes
Aims To get studentsto choosewhether to reviselinguistically,
auditorilyor visually.

152 | Revision
Ask the studentsto go back over the pastthree units in the
coursebookand eachpull out ten words they find hard to remember
or have already forgotten the meaning of.
Havea secretarycometo the board:the studentsdictate their words
to the secretarywho writes them here and there over the board.
Proposethesefour waysthe studentscan revisethe words:
a Write the words out in a sequencesothat the last letter of word I is
the sameasthe flrst letter of word z, for example egg...go.-. otter..-
etc.Add extra words if really necessary.
b Think about eachword and imagine it through your body, for
rain:yotfeel the wet on your skin
betrayal:youget the feeling of emptinessturning to anger.
Write down the word and the association.
c Associatethe word to be rememberedwith a word of similar
sound,soif the phraseto remember isfootballpitch,yottmight
comeup vmthfoolishwitch.Do this for all the words.Jot down the
sound-associated words.
d Get a picture in your mind of the idea behind eachword to be
remembered.Write down one word to remind you of eachpicture.
Allow the studentsro-r5 minutes to work their way through the
words, whichever way they wish.
Ask the studentswhich way they choseto work on the word (a' b' c'
or d).Groupall the a's,all the b's, all the c's,and all the d's' and
within thesegroupingshavethe studentswork in threesor fours to
describewhat they did with the words.
The first time you usethis exercise,allow time for plenary feedback.

This activity allows the student to choosewhether to revise
linguistically, kinaesthetically,auditorily, or visually.(Seethe
introduction to Chapter6.)If you usethe exercisemore than once,
encouragestudentsto try more than one way.

We cameacrossthe abovefourways of revisingwords inWilliam
Holden'sarticle'Learning to Learn',in ModernFnglishTeacher

| 163
11.17 Writing to rule
Level Elementaryto advanced
Time 30-40 minutes
Aims To encouragestudentsto extractas much meaningasthey canfrom
words by limitingthe numberthey areallowedto use.

1 Tell the studentsthey are going to be writing a 5o-wordstory.Ask
them to decidewhether t-Ileyprefer to work alone or in pairs, and to
sit accordingly.
2 Now tell them that they are to writ e exactly5o words and that no
word may be repeated,not eventhe articles,helping verbs,etc.
3 As theywrite, help, when requested,with the languageproblemsthe
'no repetition'
rule imposes.
4 Group the studentsin sixesto enjoy listening to eachother's stories.
Tell them to listen criticallyjust in casethere hasbeen an unwitting

Experimentwith differentword counts:is 3o words too short,
or roo words too lonfl
Relaxthe restriction on articles,common verbs,etc.Doesthis make
the activity more or lesscreative?
Invent, or get the studentsto invent, other restrictions,suchas
limiting the number of times speciflcwords, sounds,or letters may
be used,or banning (or insisting on) specificwords (and,I,not,. . .\.

Rules,even,or perhapsespecially,arbitrary ones,can stimulate and
encourageaswell asrestrict a writer. If, for example,your students
block when you ask them "v\hitethree sentencesusing thesewords',
tell them to make the sentencesexactly elevenwords long.

We found this activity in Michael Lewis(1993).The parlour and radio
gameJustaMinuteasksplayersto speakon a theme for exactly one
minute 'without hesitation,repetition, or deviation'.The 'mini-sagas'
popularizedin Britain by theDailyTelegraph are storiesof exactly 5o
words, but may include repetition.

164 | Revision
nnotatedb i b l i o gr a p h y

Aitchison, Jean. 1994.WordsrntheMind:An Bateson, Gregory. 7973.StepstoanEcologrof Mind.

Introductionto the Mental LexiconSecond edition. Boulder, Co.: Paladin Books.
Oxford: Blackrvell. Collected essaysin anthropology, psychiatry,
Words andhowwe learn, remember, evolution and much else that goes to make up
understand, and find the ones we want. The Bateson's view of the mind as a network of
author discussesthe structure and content of interactions relating the individual with his
'mental society.
the human word-store or lexicon'.
Ashton-Warner, Sylvia. t963. Teacher.London: Bateson, Gregory. t99t. ASacredUnity: Further
Secker andWarburg. StepstoanEcoTogtof Mtnd. London: HarperCollins.
Experiences ofa teacher in New Zealand, A second volume ofcollected essays.
with remarkable insight into children's Burbidge, Nicky, Peta Gray, Sheila Levy, and
motivations to learn. Ma rio Ri nvof u qi. :'996.Letters.Oxford: Oxford
Augarde, Tony. 2oo1. OxfordGuidetoWord Garnes. University Press.(in this series)
Second edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Campbell, Linda, Bruce Campbell, and Dee
Examines twenty-six forms of word game Dickinson. :998.TeachingcmdLearningThrough
including Scrabble and Spoonerisms, Second edition. New York
Multiple Intelligences.
crosswords and chronograms, riddles and Pearson. Allyn and Bacon.
puns, describing their history and social Practical, workable ideas based on Gardner's
context. theories. The second edition contains
Ayto, John. :999. Twentteth-CenhtryWords. materials based on the intelligences'.
Oxford: Oxford University Press. Co| |i ns Cob u i Id. t998. Grammar Patternsr Verbs.
Aunique retrospective of the twentieth London: HarperCollins.
century providing insight into the Based on the the Cobuild corpus.
development ofthe English language decade
Delfer; Sheelagh and Mario Rinvolucri. zooz.
by decade, with around 5ooo new words and
Usingthe Mother Tongue.ETp-Delta.
Provides ideas and guidelines on when and
Bake r, Mo na. :992. In OtherWords: a Coursebookon how to use the mother tongue not just for
Translation.London: Routledge. convenience but as a real, living, and vital
Addresses the need for a systematic approach resource.
to training in translation studies by exploring
Fre i re, Pau Io. r97z. Cultural Actionfor Freedom.
various areas oflanguage and relating the
Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
theoretical findings to the actual practice of
The cultural and political power of words, in
the context of adult literary prograrnmes.
Bandler, Richard and John Grinder. r97s.
Gairns, Ruth and Stuart Redman. t986.
TheStruchtreof Magic.Palo /Jto: Science and
Workrngwith Words.Cambridge :
Behavior Books.
Cambridge University Press.
Subtitled'Language and therapy', it defines
The flrst systematic theoretical treatment of
those predictable elements that make change
vocabulary acquisition.
happen in language-based transactions.

B i b l i o g r a p h| y1 6 5
Gardner, Howard. rggga. IntelligenceReftamed: Orage, A. R. 1998. OnLow andPsychologtrcal
Mullryle Intelligencesfor the 27stCentury. New York: YorkBeach, Maine: Samuel Weiser.
BasicBooks. A collection of essaysfiom the long-time
A progress report on how the theory of editor of the magazine NewAge.First
multiple intelligences has evolved since it published in London, r93o.
was flrst set forth in Howard Gardner's 1983 Rau dsep p, Eu g e ne. t977. Creatfue Growth GcLrnes.
bookFrcLrnesof Mind. New York: Perigee Books/Putnam.
Gard ner, Howard. t999b. TheDisciplinedMind: A collection of 75 games to expand creativity
What Nl StudentsShouldUnderstand.New York: and make you think.
Simon and Schuster. Silver, Harvey F.,Richard W. Strong, and
A synthesis of Gardner's ideas aimed at Matthew J. Perini. zooo. SoEachMay
parents, educators, and the general public Learn: lntegrattng Learning Stylesand Multiple
alike. The book explores the larger questions Intelligences.Nexandria, Va.: Association for
ofwhat an educated person should be and Supervision and Curriculum Development.
how such an education can be achieved. Rationales and research-based principles of
Ha Iey, Jay. (ed.). r g 8S. Conversationswith Milt on H. learning that support integrated learning to
ErickonVolumes r-3. NewYork: Triangle Press. help educators process ideas and analyse their
Volume t Changinglndniduals, Y ohtme z current practices; includes instruments for
ChangingCouples, and Volume g Changing identi$ring style and intelligence proflles.
Childr en and Families all explore Ericks on' s Spof in, Yiola. 196g.Irnprovisationfor the Theatre.
contribution to therapy as various kinds of London: Pitman.
linguistic intervention to bring about change. Spolin worked with students and
Knowfes, Elizabeth (ed.).1997. TheOxford professionals in the theatre, but extended this
Dictionary of NewWords.Second edition. Oxford: to elementary and secondary education-
Oxford University Press. fiom gifted students to children with severe
The story ofaround zooo words and phrases learning disabilities.
prominent in the media or the public eye in Stevick, Earl. :1996.Memory,Meaningand Method.
the r98os and r99os. Rowley, Mass.:Newbury House.
Lewis, Michael. rggg. TheLexicalApproach.Hove: Particularly good as a survey ofviews on
Language Teaching Publications. memory and vocabulary retention.
The book's main principles are that language Stevick, Earl. rg8o. AWay andWays. Rowley,
consists of grammaticalized lexis not Mass.:NewburyHouse.
lexicalized grammar. Methods, materials and 'new'
An excellent suwey of methods in
teacher training are discussed. language teaching.
Meara, Paul. t997.'Towards a new approach to Wah f, Mark. gg9. Math for Humans:TeachingMath
modelling vocabulary acquisition' in Schmitt, N. Through I Intelligences.Langley, Wash. : Livnlern
and MJ. McCarthy (eds.).Vocabulary:Desription, Press.
Acquisitionand Pedagogt.Cambridge: Cambridge An introduction to and many practical
University Press. examples of using a broad, multiple
Discussesthe KeyWord approach. intelligences approach to the teaching of
McCarthy, M ichael. 1998.SpokenLangtage and mathematics.
Applied Linguistics.Cambridge : Cambridge Wright, Jon. 1999.Dictionaries.Oxford: Oxford
University Press. University Press.(in this series)
Gives a central role to the spoken language in Makes learners aware of the wealth of
the syllabus. Itbrings together a number of information in most ELT dictionaries.
separate studies by the author, based on tlte Practises reading skills, memory training,
cANcoDE spokencorpus. 'have fun with
and encourages learners to
O'Conno[ Joseph and John Seymour. r99o. dictionaries'.
lntroducing NLP.London: HarperCollins.
Describes what good communicators do
differently, and enables the reader to learn
these patterns of excellence.

166| Bibliography
Concordancesoftware Dictionariesand thesaurionline
and online resources ANd CD-ROMS

CollinsCobuild Collins bilingual dictionaries (Spanish, German,

http://titan ia.cobui ld.colIi ns.co.u k Italian, French):
Offers a free trial use of a section of the http ://www.wordreference.com/
of English'corpus, with concordances limited LexicalFreeN http://www.lexfn.com
to ao hits.
Oxford EnglishDictionaryOnline.
Coyternicqueryengine.http'.l lwww.copern ic.com htto://www.oed.com/
Powerful, generalized search and query
University Press.
Dodd, Tony. SAM-32. Search software for the Collocationaldictionary which integrates
Bntish NationaTCorpus, World Edition. Humanitie s with your word processorand web browser.
Computing Unit, Oxford University.
Pfumb Desig n. VisualThes aurus.
http://www. hcu.ox.ac.u k/BNC
htt p://www.visualt hesau rus.com
Free trial available. Will give you 5o hits fi:om
the roo million-word British National Corpus. Roget'sThesaurus.
http://www bartl eby.com/thesa
[ee, David. http://devoted.to/corpora
Frequently updated corpus website reporting
on new developments in corpora and Crosswordsoftware
concordance software.
Beresfo rd, Ross.TEA& Sympailty.
Scott, M i ke. Wordsmith Tools.
http://www. ou p.co.u k or
http://www.oup.com/elVglobal/cata logue/multi Casson,Henry.Crossword Utility.
media http://home.freeuk.neVdhar risonlpuzzlesl
Probably the most powerful, versatile and utility.htm
learner-centric corpus tools available. Crossword 6. httpl lwww.crossword-
Watts, R. J. C. Concordance. puzzle-maker.com
http://www. rjcw.freeserve.co.uk Maestro.http://www.genius2000.com
Text analysis and concordancing software
used in a wide range ofsubject areas.

B i b l i o g r a p h| y1 6 7

In the generalindexreferencesareto pagenumbers;in the Topicsand

Languageindexesreferencesate to activity numbers.Sometermsmay
appearin more than oneindex.

General index categoriesof words 11.7,17.2 storytelling 2.8, 2.3,8.4, ::l..t3

collocation s.s, 2.4,Z.s thesaurus ro.8
Aitchison, Jean 11o,165
concordances 5.2,S.3,5.4,S.S,5.5 translation 4.ro
association 7
context a.2,2.7,2.4,2.5,2.6,2.8,
Bateson,Gregory 8r, t55 Language
2.15,8.2,9.8, r1..9,a1..a2
collocation 3,5 abstractvocabulary 6.5, 6.t5
corpora 5.2-5.7
concordances3,11,65 ambiguous words 4.8, 9.5
crosswords 9.4
context 28 adjectives 6.13
dictation 4.8,6.9,9.3
corpora3,10,65 animals 6.5,7.7o
email z.r4
Erickson, Milton 8r, e3z colour 6.8
history ofwords 2.r.3,ro.5,
Gardner, Howard 81,166 conceptwords 6.2
Gategno,Caleb r+9 definitions 2.7,8.j, 9.3,9.7,
learning by heart 2.ao,z.ra
Intemet 11,78 70.a-4o,4,11.9
memory (seealsoassociation)
learning styles 3, r3 femalewords r.5
t.6, 2.9,4.5,6.10,7.2,7.3,9.L0,
lexico-grammar 3 foodvocabulary 7.8
memory 81 gender r.5
peer teaching 6.4,6.12,8.7
mother tongue 3, 8, 52
perception 6.r homonyms 4.8
multiple intelligences 3, 7, 8r homophones 4.8,6.9
auditory 61 6.9, 6.tt, r:..7
neurolinguistic programming male words r.5, 7.8
kinaesthesic 5.9, 6.s, 6.:il^,6.t4
(NLP)3,7,9, ro
multi-sensory4.L,6.L,6.5,77.76 opposite meanings 7.6
perception 6,42,81, parts ofspeech 4.8,9.5
spatial 6.6
prototypes 1o8,11o,165
visual 4.5,6.2,63, 6.5,6.7,6.8, preflxes 9.2
sensorypreferences 9, 82 synonyms 5.5
6.9,6.t2, 6.t4, 6.15,aL4, 71.5,
Shereshevskiie54 trees 5.5
wordflelds 7o1,71r verb phrases 5.r
prediction L1, 1,.2,7.3
prototypes 7.8 weather vocabulary 5.5, 7.8
relaxation 6.15,9.2 word hierarchy 7.t
association(seealsomemory) r.4,
sensorypreferences 6.1,6.14, word order 4.2
6.t5, 7.7,7r.4,11.6,11.8,11.16 t:..t6

168| Index
This seriesgivesteachers,trainers,and traineeteacherspractical
RESOURCE guidancein keyaspectsoflanguageteaching.Eachbookincludes
B @ K SF O R an introductionand up to roo classroomideas,materials,and
TEACHERS techniques.The activitiesareclearlypresented,and ofFerteachers
serieseditor all the informationthey needaboutappropriatelevel,time,
Alan Maley preparation, materials,classroommanagement, monitoring,
variations,and follow-upactivities.

r s B N0 - 19 - 4 4 2 18 6 - 4