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Principles of vocabulary selection for active and passive vocabulary

The role of vocabulary in acquiring the foreign language


Teaching vocabulary

Lecture 7


Could I have your attention, please?

Look this way.

Be quiet! Everyone listen.

Don’t talk at once. Keep silent.

Don’t keep prompting. Don’t prompt.

Speak more clearly.

Get on with your work quietly.

Don’t keep turning round. Don’t turn round.

Sit up (straight).

Work in twos (pairs).

I want you to form groups. Three pupils in each group.

Work on your own. Work by yourselves.

Say after me.

Is it clear? Clear? Got that?

I didn’t catch.

Rub out the wrong word.

Wipe out (off) the last letter.

Put up your hands. Raise your hands.

Who knows the answer?

Who’d like to add something? Any additions?

Your time is up.



Good. Right. Fine. Right you are. Quite right.

That’s right. That’s correct.

Well done.

You didn’t make a single mistake.

That’s exactly the point.

No, that’s wrong.

You missed the verb out.

Mind the preposition.

You used the wrong tense.

You misunderstood the instructions.

You still have some trouble with your spelling.

You can’t say that, I am afraid.

You need some more practice with…

Remember the word order.

You can do better.

That was rather disappointing.



Objectives:SWBAT explain the role of vocabulary in acquiring the foreign language; distinguish between active and passive vocabulary; examine the ways of presenting and consolidating vocabulary.

1. The role of vocabulary in acquiring the foreign language.

2. Principles of vocabulary selection for active and passive vocabulary.

3. Ways of presenting vocabulary.

4. Exercises for vocabulary consolidation.

5. The use of modern technologies in teaching vocabulary.

6. Techniques for testing vocabulary


Vocabulary is important for students.Without vocabulary it is difficult to hold a conversation, to understand a written text, to write something. Language learners need to learn as many words as possible. To know a word means:

  • to understand the word when it is written or spoken
  • to recall it when you need it
  • to use it with the correct meaning
  • to use it in a grammatically correct way
  • to pronounce it correctly
  • to know which other words you can and cannot use with it
  • to spell it correctly
  • to use it in the right situation
  • to know if it has positive or negative connotations( an idea expressed by a word in addition to its main meaning), for example either skinny or slim could be used to describe someone who is thin.


Scientific principles of selecting vocabulary have been worked out. The words selected should be

· frequently used in the language (the frequency of the word is determined mathematically by means of statistic data)

· easily combined ( nice room, nice girl, nice weather)

· unlimited from the point of view of style( oral, written)

· included in the topics syllabus sets

· valuable from the point of view of word building (use, used, useful, useless, user, usage)

Selected words may be grouped into concrete, abstract and structural. The selection of the vocabulary is not the teacher’s main concern. It is usually prescribed for him by textbooks and study-guides he uses. The teacher’s concern is how to develop his students active and passive vocabulary.


Active vocabulary- words which students will need to understand and also use themselves. In teaching active vocabulary it is necessary to spend time giving examples, asking questions, so that students can really see how the word is used.

Passive vocabulary- words which teachers want students to understand when reading a text but which they will not need to use themselves. To save time it is often best to present it quickly with a simple example or translation or the students can guess the word from the context.

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TEXTBOOK ACTIVITY | Ways of presenting vocabulary

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