Words and More Words - Lexicology and Vocabulary Teaching
Module 6 / Hauptseminar Linguistik / Hauptseminar Didaktik
Prof. Dr. Susanne Niemeier
Tue 16-18 - F 414
Winter term 2009/2010
First meeting: Oct 27, 2009
Vocabulary training is undoubtedly an important aspect of foreign language teaching and learning. There are various traditional methods of how to go about it, ranging from learning word lists by heart to learning words in context. We will examine more traditional as well as more modern methods of teaching and learning vocabulary.
Lexicology as one of the major research areas within Cognitive Linguistics provides us with insights and knowledge concerning the structure of vocabulary as such as well as about the organisation of vocabulary in our minds, i.e. our mental lexicon.In-depth knowledge of these two core aspects enables future foreign language teachers to develop more suitable methods of vocabulary teaching than the ones traditionally known and used.
This is why in this seminar we will first delve into the cognitive-linguistic perspective on lexicology and semantics and then discuss various approaches to vocabulary teaching, traditional ones as well as more innovative and presumably more effective ways of extending learners’ vocabulary. These ways are rooted in the Cognitive Linguistic approach to language and especially to lexicology, and we will analyse different ways of how linguistic items and their meaning extensions are organised within categories and mental concepts. This entails taking a closer look at culture as well, as every word carries a cultural load which is not directly translatable into any other language. In a second step, we will look at different theories of (foreign) language acquisition in order to find out how words, categories and concepts are acquired or learned. From a more practical point of view, we will also address the issue of learner strategies in vocabulary acquisition as well as the role of dictionaries. As a kind of synthesis, we will combine all of these aspects and develop practical exercises, based on the research results and theories discussed before.