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I have taught English for more than 20 years and I have been a student of languages for more than 30, but I am still not sure how to answer their question. The problem, I think, is that they are looking for the one way to learn a language.
But learning a language effectively requires that we use a number of different methods. In this blog, I want to address what I think is the single hardest part about learning a language to a high level—vocabulary—and to suggest a number of ways that learners can improve their knowledge and skills in this area.
Learning vocabulary is a real problem In my experience as both a teacher and a student, the most time-consuming part of learning a language is usually vocabulary. People often worry about the problems of learning a new alphabet, script or other writing system, but although this is a problem in the beginning, it is really something in which we can make a lot of progress in just hours.
There are some exceptions, Chinese being the most famous. But if someone wants to learn Arabic, Greek, Russian, Burmese, or some other script, ten or twenty hours of careful practice spread out over a few weeks will usually be enough.
When I ask students to take a page from a text and then to use two different colors to mark the grammar and the vocabulary problems they have with this text, they quickly see that they usually have only a small number of grammar problems per page, but they might have 20 or 50 or even more words whose meanings they cannot understand.
Reading even a book for a fifth grader requires a knowledge of thousands of head words. Ordinary conversation probably uses no more than one or two thousand head words. This means that simply relying on conversation will not give us a vocabulary large enough to read even texts that teenage native speakers can understand.
If our goal is to be able to read university level materials, our work will be even harder. Spanish and French share a large percentage of their vocabulary. Both are descended from Latin and both have borrowed many technical words from Latin, so a person who knows one will find it quite easy to learn the vocabulary of the other.
Similarly, most North Indian languages are closely related.
Pages. The Study of 12th Grade Student's View of Nature of Science: Classroom Action Research. Authors. DOWNLOAD PDF. Language Learning Strategies in Independent Settings. ii TESOL QUARTERLY QUARTERLY CONTENTSFounded ARTICLES TESOL’s 40th Anniversary Issue TESOL at Forty: What Are the Issues? 9 A. Suresh Canagarajah Cognitive and Sociocultural.
Hindi, Bengali, Nepali, Gujarati, and many other languages are both descended from Sanskrit and have borrowed many of their specialized words from Sanskrit. A knowledge of one of these languages helps immensely in learning any of the others. But when we are learning a language whose vocabulary has few connections with other languages that we know, we will have to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of hours reading, using dictionaries, memorizing, and practicing if we want to be able to function at a university level.
Learning vocabulary is a real problem. So what to do about it? The best way to do this is to find texts that are at the right level. The most important thing we can to do make learning vocabulary more effective is to choose texts that have about the right number of new words.
He argues that the best texts to use are ones that are rather easy for the learner. A paperback novel might have about words per pages, so he suggests the Rule of Five. If the text is the size of a paperback novel, count the number of unknown words on page, and these should be fewer than five.
If they are more than five, the learner will probably only be able to read a small number of pages before giving up in frustration. One way is to use texts written for younger native speakers or language learners. Poetry and songs will usually be harder than prose, and comic books are often not a good choice since they use so much slang.
Another source is graded readers.
There are many publishers of graded readers: Most of them use some form of a 6-level scale to describe the difficulty of a text. I urge my learners to start with a book at level 3 and read a few pages and apply Dr.
If the book is too hard, then they should choose a level 2 book and try it. If the book is too easy, then they should try a level 4 book. But choosing the right level is only part of the solution. If we have a very specific purpose in learning a language, we should concentrate on texts connected with that purpose.
For example, if our only interest in learning a language is to read biology texts, then we should focus on vocabulary connected with that field. Of course, we need to find levels at the right level of difficulty, so we could use graded readers about science and the environment or books for primary and secondary school students.
However, if our goal is to function at the level of an educated person, we should not limit our reading. Instead, we should read texts from a variety of genres and about a variety of topics: There are a number of common mistakes people make but also several solutions.ii TESOL QUARTERLY QUARTERLY CONTENTSFounded ARTICLES TESOL’s 40th Anniversary Issue TESOL at Forty: What Are the Issues?
9 A. Suresh Canagarajah Cognitive and Sociocultural. Dependent students This group of students loves attention and will become frustrated whenever they are not directly addressed in the classroom Independent students These students enjoy working alone and require little assistance from the teachers.
A Contrastive Analysis of English and Hungarian Theoretical Research Article Introductions Article in IRAL - International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching 42(1) This paper reports a corpus investigation of the Methods sections of research-reporting articles in academic journals.
In published pedagogic materials, Swales and Feak [Swales, J. M., \& Feak, C. (). Academic writing for graduate students. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press; Swales, J.
M., \& Feak, C. (). DOC Archive. Preview DOC Archive.
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