Vocabulary learning

Instead of creating a game online, I would like to write about my ideas concerning vocabulary learning, especially in this case the second unit’s vocabulary: all about lexis. Lexis and all its components for me are like a big tree with roots, branches and a trunk. There are the roots that are the following conceptual words: context, form: affixes, compounds, base words, collocations, idioms; relationships: synonyms, antonyms, lexical set, word families, false friends, homophones, homonyms, varieties of English. The roots are feeding the trunk which holds everything together, that’s the lexis itself; it’s the connection and major denomination of the whole context.

From here on every student decides on his own what kind of tree he will design, it can be a tree mainly focussing on affixes, compound nouns, collocations, idioms or any other of the lexis’ components. To explain briefly one branch model: Ana’s tree’s branch is called “word families”, so she thinks of possible word families and writes them down like leaves of this branch: fascination, fascinating, fascinated … or darkness, dark, darkening. For this activity the teacher provides dictionaries, flash cards, course books and magazines; so that everyone can use the material he/she prefers. Another branch is perhaps called “homophones” and is filled with leaves that are such; the third one is called “homonyms” and Ana could paint some small pictures nearby every couple of homonyms or sentences including them: “They sat on the river bank”// “he put all his savings into the bank”[1]

Other branches could have fruits falling down and being caught by someone coming along. These fruits could be possible examples for idioms, or collocations, or figurative meanings.

After having elaborated these lexis-trees (which they could as well elaborate in teamwork), students could go for a walk through the class to observe the others’ works or inspite of walking around present directly their trees to one another in a classroom activity.

Having finished these presentations the teacher invites students to playing some games like bingo, domino, memory using the lexis’ terms; whereas at this point the best could be that learners themselves invent possible games for their classmates; using their own trees as background information and basis for any affixes, collocations, idiomatic expressions and so on.




Following I list up some links I found and have worked with on the Internet; the last ones concerning English are partly convincing me but not completely:

Possible ideas for teaching idiomatic expressions, though in another language, and one I liked a lot and that inspired me is the following french one: http://www.bonjourdefrance.com/index/indexexpresidiom.htm

And for learning vocabulary (mostly for visual learners), including its’ pronunciation, I want to recommend you this one:


As a German teacher I have been working a lot with materials provided by the “Goethe Institut” that I can fully recommend as inspirations for future games: http://www.goethe.de/ins/pl/lp/lrn/spi/deindex.htm



(I am not so sure about the utility of this page, the good point about it is that it’s correcting player’s mistakes by making one repeat the blanket until you made it; but as there is no grammar explanation following, I would perhaps not recommend it a 100 percent)

[1] Mary Spratt, Alan Pulverness, Melanie Williams: Cambridge English: The TKT Course Modules 1,2 and 3, Cambridge 2011, p.17


4 thoughts on “Vocabulary learning

  1. Judy,
    for English language learners I have used the page you doubt about, ESLgames plus, and with a supporting worksheet, the games are very applicable in the classroom. Thanks for the great post.

  2. missmitzi93 says:

    I absolutely LOVE your metaphor of the tree to explain the lexis. you have a beautiful way of seeing things I suppose… 🙂

    P.S. thanks for the links, I am starting to learn french on my own!

    • Mitzi, thank you for your comment. It’s very good and impressing that you have started to learn french on your own!There are special workshops on french conversation in cadi, if you wanted.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s