Friday, 15 November 2019, 10:57 PM
Site: NILE
Course: NILE ELT Glossary (NILE-ELT Glossary)
Glossary: ELT terms - defined and referenced!

Grammar translation

A method of language teaching in which students study rules of language, then test out their understanding of these rules through doing exercises on them. Students also translate texts in the L2 into their L1. This method was very popular in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, being gradually replaced by methods which focussed more on use of the language.

Example

"I learnt Latin at school – I spent my time learning rules, doing grammar exercises, then translating passages by Caesar, Virgil and others. I now know this was called the grammar-translation method. I loved it!"

Further reading

Howatt, A.P.R. with Widdowson H.G. (2004). A History of English Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Summative assessment

The assessment of learning that takes place at the end of a course of learning to see how much of the syllabus covered each learner has learnt.

Example

"It’s quite difficult to design summative tests – they’re meant to reflect what you have taught from the syllabus, but some things are really quite difficult to test, so the test doesn’t always reflect the syllabus well enough."

Further reading

Bachman, L. (1990). Fundamental Considerations in Language Testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Hughes, A. (2003). Testing for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Monitoring learner progress through formative and summative assessment:

 

 

Controlled/restricted practice

Controlled/restricted practice is the second stage in Presentation, Practice, Production (PPP). This kind of practice involves students in using target language in a guided and restricted way in which they have little choice over what language to use. Examples of controlled practice activities are repetition and substitution drills. This kind of practice is aimed at providing learners with strongly guided support in their use of newly or poorly learnt language items.

Example

"Sometimes I try to disguise controlled practice in guided role plays or pair work. I give students prompts so they can’t make mistakes. It’s more interesting like that rather than just doing choral drills."

Further reading

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. Oxford: Macmillan.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Ur, P.  (1999). A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Debate

A debate is an activity in which students are placed in two groups arguing for or against an issue. Debates can be informal or formal. Formal debates may follow rules, for instance, on how long to speak, how to interrupt, who speaks after who, obeying the chairperson and voting on the issue at the end of the debate. In ELT, debates are used to develop fluency, focus on register and explore issues. Students are usually given preparation time to prepare and possibly script their arguments.

Example

"Last week in class we had a formal debate about the advantages and disadvantages of wearing school uniform. It was interesting but I think it might have better as an informal discussion instead – in that my way students would have felt freer and said what they really thought."

Further reading

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Harmer, J.(2012). Essential Teacher Knowledge. Harlow: Pearson.

 

 

Information gap

This term is used to refer to the situation in which one person or group has information which another person or group wants but doesn’t have. For example, if a shopkeeper knows the price of an item you want to buy but you don’t know the price, then there is an information gap between you and the shopkeeper. To ‘bridge’ this information gap, you ask the shopkeeper the price and he/she replies. As can be seen from this example, the information gap prompts purposeful communication. This is the reason why many communicative classroom activities are designed around information gaps. They are said to promote genuine communication and use of language rather than language use for display or purely practice purposes. Many well-known ELT activities are based around an information gap e.g. Find Someone Who, jigsaw reading and listening, describe and draw, problem solving.

Example

"In our first lesson I gave each student brochure of their new town, then I asked them to plan a joint outing together for next Sunday. To do this the students had to share information about all the places they could visit, then exchange opinions and make a decision. It was a huge information gap activity, which worked very well."

Further reading

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Harmer, J. (2012). Essential Teacher Knowledge. Harlow: Pearson.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Functions

Functions are the communicative reasons for which we use language. For example, we say hello to greet someone, we say because I was tired to give an explanation, and Go on – you can do it! to encourage someone. Seeing language as a set of functions or reasons for communicating rather than as a set of grammatical items allows a teacher or materials writer to focus on the learner’s communicative needs. This way of seeing language was important in the development of the communicative approach.

Example

"I took Russian lessons a few years ago. We spent our time learning and using the language for functions such as apologising, expressing cause and effect, describing, giving opinions, disagreeing. You could see immediately the reason why you were learning these things." 

Further reading

Howatt, A. P. R. and Widdowson, H.G. ed.s. (2004). A History of English Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Van Ek, J.K. and Trim J. (1998) Threshold 1990. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Widdowson, H. G. (1992). ELT and EL Teachers. ELT Journal 46/4. Oxford University Press.

 

 

Discourse marker

A discourse marker is a word or group of words, often at the beginning of a sentence or utterance, which signal(s) to the listener or reader the direction in which the speaker or writer intends to continue what they are saying. Examples of discourse markers are as I was saying, to sum up, by the way. Linkers are also sometimes said to be discourse markers.

Example

"It’s useful to teach discourse markers to learners. They help learners structure what they are saying or writing and make the purpose of what they are saying clearer."

Further reading

Cook, G. (1989) Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hedge, T. (2005). Writing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McCarthy, M. (1991). Discourse Analysis for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2005) Beyond the Sentence. Oxford: Macmillan.

Widdowson, H.G. (2007) Discourse Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

 

Colligation

A type of collocation in which words are linked together at the level of grammar rather than meaning e.g. in a hurry, what about sending an email (what + about + gerund).  Michael Hoey says ‘The basic idea of colligation is that just as a lexical item may be primed to co-occur with another lexical item, so also it may be primed to occur in or with a particular grammatical function. Alternatively, it may be primed to avoid appearance in or co-occurrence with a particular grammatical function.’ (Hoey 2005:43).

Example

"Students sometimes make mistakes of colligation, for example: I know what do you mean; I don’t mind go work on Sundays."

Further reading

Hoey. M. (2005). Lexical Priming. London: Routledge.

Mitchell, T. (1971).Linguistic ‘goings-on’: collocations and other lexical matters arising on the linguistic record, Archivum Linguisticum 2.

O’Keefe, A., McCarthy, M., Carter, R. (2007). From Corpus to Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2002). How to Teach Vocabulary. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Collocation

Two or more words that occur together more often than on a random basis are said to collocate or to be collocations. Collocations may be strong e.g. blond hair. In strong collocations the words can rarely, if ever, be replaced by other words. Other collocations are weaker or weak e.g. grey hair. The term is sometimes used interchangeably with chunk. In this sense collocation can cover e.g.: phrasal verbs, compound words, idioms, fixed expressions.

Others use collocation to refer mainly to two- or three-word groups that frequently occur together. Corpora making use of concordance programmes have helped linguists find collocations in language and realise how very common they are.

Example

"To have a shower is a collocation in UK English and Australian, whereas to take a shower is a much more common collocation in the USA."

Further reading

Lewis, M. (1997). Implementing the Lexical Approach. Boston, Mass., Thomson Heinle.

McCarthy, M. and O’Dell, F. (2005). Collocations in Use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

O’Keefe, A., McCarthy, M., Carter, R. (2007). From Corpus to Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Walter, E. and Woodford, K. (2010).Collocations Extra. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Functional language

This is language which is an exponent (expression) of a particular language function. For example, if you consider language from a grammatical perspective, Why don’t you get a haircut? is, of course, an example of a negative question form. But it is also a functional exponent of suggesting. The function of a piece of language is the communicative purpose for which it was produced e.g. to invite, to hypothesise, to describe, to greet.

Example

"When I learnt French at school I was taught loads of grammar and vocabulary but very little functional language that would help me get things done through the language."

Further reading

Green, A. (2012). Language Functions Revisited. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Halliday, M.A.K. (1994) An Introduction to Functional Grammar, 2nd edition. London: Edward Arnold.

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. 4th edition. Harlow: Pearson.

Wilkins, D. (1976). Notional Syllabuses. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

 

Interlanguage

The version of the target language spoken by a learner at any given time during the period of learning . A learner’s interlanguage will change and develop as they become more proficient. Some aspects of it may fossilize as their proficiency develops.

Example

"Learners’ interlanguage can develop quickly if they get enough exposure – you see the way they use different grammatical structures with more precision, the range and appropriateness of vocabulary use and the clarity of their pronunciation really changing fast."

Further reading

Batstone, R. (1994). Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Brown, H.D. (1994). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. Harlow: Pearson Education.

Lightbown, P. and Spada, S.  (2006). How Languages are Learned, 3rd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pitt Corder, S. (1991). Error Analysis and Interlanguage. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rutherford, W.E. (1987). Second Language Grammar: Learning and Teaching. Harlow: Longman.

Skehan, P. (1994.) Second language acquisition strategies, interlanguage development and task-based learning, in Bygate, M., A. Tonkyn, and E. Williams, Grammar and The Language Teacher. Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall.

 

 

Affective filter

Certain researchers into language acquisition, particularly Stephen Krashen, maintain that language learning is facilitated or obstructed by an ‘affective filter’. The filter is made up of attitudes or feelings which are said to control and select the input learners absorb from their environment. If their affective filter is set low, learners are open to receiving input. If it is set high, because they are stressed/ anxious/ poorly motivated etc., then they are not open to receiving input.

Example

"For some unknown reason, he just loved Spanish and took in everything he heard – his affective filter was clearly set low."

Further reading

Ellis, R. (1983).Review of Krashen’s principles and practice in second language acquisition. ELT Journal 37/3. Oxford University Press.

Gass, S. (1997). Input, Interaction and the Second Language Learner. Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Krashen, S.D. (1982). Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon.

VanPatten, B. and Williams, J. (eds) (2007). Theories in Second Language Acquisition: an introduction. Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

 

 

Lexical chain

A lexical chain is a series of words used in a text that are linked to the same lexical field, including synonyms and related terms. A lexical chain is one source of cohesion in a text.

Example

"In the sentence 'Elephants have long trunks and tusks, which distinguish elephants from many other animals’, ‘elephant’, ‘trunks’, ‘tusks’, and ‘animals’ all form a lexical chain in that they all relate to the lexical field of elephants."

Further reading

Thornbury, S. (1997). About Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2005) Beyond the Sentence. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://aeo.sllf.qmul.ac.uk/Files/Cohesion/Cohesion%201.pdf

 

 

Authentic task

An authentic task is a task carried out in the classroom that has all the characteristics of a real-life task carried out outside the classroom i.e. it is done for a purpose unrelated to language learning, and language is used purely in order to get the task done. Some people are strong advocates of using only authentic tasks in the classroom, while some believe authentic tasks need to be balanced with tasks that focus on language. Others think it is difficult to achieve a truly authentic task in the classroom as the tasks will have been contrived in some way by the teacher. Examples of authentic tasks are project work, carrying out surveys, group presentations.

Example

"Authentic tasks work very well with some learners. Others prefer more structured activities. It depends a lot on their learning style."

Further reading

Bachman, L. (1990). Fundamental Considerations in Language Testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gilmore, A. (2004). A comparison of textbook and authentic interactions. ELT Journal 58/4. Oxford University Press.

Nunan, D. (2004). Task-based Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ur, P.  (1999). A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Appropriacy

This refers to the degree of fit or suitability that there is between a piece of language and the social context in which it is used. When the piece of language matches the social context it is said to be appropriate. When it doesn’t match it is said to be inappropriate. To match, it needs to be of the equivalent degree of formality. Appropriacy can be seen in pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar or discourse. The terms appropriacy and appropriateness are often used interchangeably in this meaning.

Example

"I learnt my English by chatting informally with friends. When I started working in an office I had to make a definite effort to get the appropriacy of my language right."

Further reading

Carter, R. and Nunan, D. (2001). Teaching English to speakers of other languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Harmer, J. (2007). The practice of English language teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

McDonough, J. and Shaw, C. (1993). Materials and methods in ELT. Malden, MA, USA: Blackwell.

 

Ur, P.  (1999). A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/appropriacy

 

 

Awareness-raising

A technique used by teachers to make students aware of features of language or of language learning strategies. Becoming aware of something is part of noticing it.

Example

"When our teacher taught us new vocabulary she used to ask questions like: What was the vowel sound in that word? Where is the word stress? The questions helped to raise our awareness of things we might not have noticed otherwise."

Further reading

Carter, R. (2003). Key concepts in ELT: language awareness. ELT Journal 57/1. Oxford University Press.

Oxford, R. (1990). Language Learning Strategies: What Every Teacher Should Know. New York: Newbury House Publisher

Schmidt, R. (1993). Awareness and Second Language Acquisition. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 13. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/awareness-raising

 

 

CCQ/ICQ

These are two kinds of questions the teacher asks in the classroom. CCQs refer to Concept Checking Questions and are used by a teacher to check that students have understood the meaning of new language (word, grammar, function etc) or the form. CCQs need not necessarily in fact be questions; they might, for example, be gestures, sentences for completion or pictures but their purpose is to check understanding. They also aim at getting the student to think about new language and draw conclusions about it, thus encouraging inductive learning. Is it talking about the past or now?  is an example of a CCQ that a teacher might ask when introducing the past tense to learners.

ICQs are Instruction Checking Questions. These are used after a teacher has given instructions to make sure students have understood what they need to do. They might refer to the language to be used in the activity or to the procedure to use. They aim to ensure that students are on track before they begin an activity so as not to waste time or be confused. Like CCQs, ICQs are often phrased as binary choices e.g. Must you write or talk first? Should you tick or underline the new words?

Example

I try to use different ways of checking concepts e.g. asking students to mime, asking them to explain the meaning in their own words, eliciting examples – in this way the CCQs don’t become routine or meaningless. With ICQs I only ask them when the task is a bit complicated and could be misunderstood. Otherwise students can feel they’re being patronised.

Further reading

Harmer, J. (2012). Essential Teacher Knowledge. Harlow: Pearson.

Thornbury, S. and Watkins, P. (2007) The CELTA Course. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/concept-checking

 

 

Clause

Clause is a grammatical term that refers to a sentence or part of sentence containing in English a subject and a finite verb at least. A clause may be main or subordinate.

Example

Here is an example of a main clause: Judy wrote her friend an email. Here is an example of the same main clause together with three subordinate clauses, one of time, one of reason and one of concession.  After she got home, Judy sent her friend an email because she needed some information urgently, even though it was late at night.

Further reading

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (1997).  About Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Coherence

In English language teaching coherence refers to the ways in which a piece of discourse ‘makes sense’ through links in meaning. It does this by using various internal devices such as logical sequencing, adherence to a particular genre, accepted forms of text structuring, but also by referring to accepted external conventions and ways of thinking and experiencing in the outside world, such as adherence to one topic, relevance between topics, shared knowledge.

Example

"A: That's the telephone.

B: I'm in the bath.

A: O.K."

(Widdowson, H. 1978, p. 12)

Further reading

Canale. M.and Swain, M. (1980). Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics, 1/1.

McCarthy, M. (1991). Discourse Analysis for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Widdowson, H. G. (1978). Teaching Language as Communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/coherence

http://www.onestopenglish.com/support/ask-the-experts/methodology-questions/methodology-coherence-and-cohesion/154867.article

 

 

Cohesion

This is the way in which language is used in written or spoken discourse to make it link together. Cohesion is achieved by using lexical or grammatical devices such as lexical fields, substitution, ellipsis, linking words, discourse markers, back (anaphoric) and forward (cataphoric) reference.

 Example

"'I never understand what he’s saying, so I bought a tennis racket.'

This sentence is cohesive through its use of a lexical field and linking words, but it’s not coherent – it just doesn’t make sense."

Further reading

Canale. M.and Swain, M. (1980). Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics, 1/1.

Cook, G. (1989). Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Halliday M. A. K. and Hasan R. (1976) Cohesion in English Harlow: Longman

Hoey, M. (1991). Patterns of Lexis in Text. Oxford: Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McCarthy, M. (1991). Discourse Analysis for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Widdowson, H. G. (1978). Teaching Language as Communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/coherence

http://www.onestopenglish.com/support/ask-the-experts/methodology-questions/methodology-coherence-and-cohesion/154867.article

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/cohesion