What it is more important when studying language – phonetics, grammar or vocabulary? This question was an object of disputes of linguists and scientific methodologists. Their opinions are different. They argue that the main thing is a sound training of speech, others consider grammatical structures, and the third category recognize a full priority behind lexicon. (Knowing 50 words and only 5 grammatical designs helps to make more offers, than, knowing 5 words and 50 grammatical structures! The child expresses his thoughts quickly, using separate words and without observing grammar rules, and people around understand it).
In communication with foreigners grammatical mistakes don’t lead to misunderstanding, there are no words which would meet a certain situation more often.
Vocabulary training questions are very difficult at any level. It is a selection of a lexical material for various extents of training, selection of the active and passive vocabulary, development of the most effective ways of lexical introduction, a way of its fixing and control, system of exercises, etc. The matters, undoubtedly, are actual and for non language higher education institution. Final selection of lexicon for non language higher education institution isn’t made yet, neither for a course as a whole, nor for its separate stages. The basic word stock in higher education institutions is defined by those tests more often, which students study in audience and out of it. However attempts to define at least its volume become repeatedly, especially concerning passive lexicon. For example, authors «Bases of the general technique of training to foreign languages» define it for non language higher education institution in 2500–3000 words, and I.M. Berman gives much more – 8000–10000 words (And. M. Berman suggests to begin selection with definition of a school core which first of all is necessary for further training in higher education institution). From 1400 units offered by the school program, it includes in a core only 700–800 words and phrases.
Thematically high school lexicon is divided into some layers:
1) household lexicon;
3) general scientific;
In the majority of higher education institutions the first term should contain the household and political lexicon, the second term – general scientific and special, the third term – special and political lexicon should be studied. The active lexicon is included into all layers, but the lexicon household and general scientific is subject to special activization. The passive lexicon includes all layers, first of all special vocabulary. Character of an active and passive lexical material depends on a form of its organization and a designated purpose. In the textbook for not language higher education institution it is possible to allocate the following forms of the lexical organization of a training material:
1) lexical exercise to the text;
2) the text (dialogue, a monologue for the oral statement, monologic texts in the form of fragments from newspapers, general scientific special literature for reading or audition);
3) lexical exercises after the text.
Vocabulary training methods
Various school methods in learning vocabulary was acquired differently.
Grammatical – translation method. Words were learned to the text, and then started reading the text.
Textual method. Words were learned in the text. The last was original. Only the contextual word meaning was acquired.
Direct methods. Words are acquired on a thematic sign, without transfer, by means of visual aids, a language guess, synonyms and antonyms.
Conscious and comparative method. Words are acquired both in a context, and without it. Transfer is used as means of disclosure of a word meaning. But other ways are also acceptable – a language guess, word-formation, etc.
The following types of control are applied in these methods:
1) the translation into the native language (the list of words before transfer);
3) untranslatable disclosure of a word meaning.
How does it affect in non language higher education institution? Is the vocabulary often used?
The lexicon is acquired in the course of reading educational texts. The question is how it is more expedient to organize lexicon assimilation remains unsolved. Certainly, it is impossible to think up a technique of work on each word. But the analysis of the dictionary shows that many words have similar features and difficulties for assimilation, it is necessary to have uniform system. Many methodologists work on creation of methodical typology of a word. Scientifically reasonable methodical typology of a word helps the teacher to reveal the most effective ways of introduction, fixing and repetition of a certain type of a word.
Means of the vocabulary activization
Let’s consider ways of development of lexical skill which represents fast educational action at the choice of a lexical unit, its correct combination to other units of speech and its situations.
What means are necessary for formation of lexical skill? Opinion of methodologists are unanimous – multiple exercises. There are a lot of lexical exercises, but it is necessary to choose better connection between vocabulary and situation. In this regard developing skills of the use of words in a speech situation the communicative exercises developed and entered by E.I. Passov are interesting. It allocates some certain stages in their organization:
1) perception of a word in speech;
2) word meaning understanding;
4) designation – ability to call a subject in speech situations;
6) the use on the basis of an independent choice.
In lexical material assimilation the work is conducted over a form, value and the word use. In non language higher education institution the lexical material is acquired in two plans, i.e. receptional and reproductive. For this purpose lexical exercises after the text are provided.
What is the purpose of these exercises?
Lexical exercises to the text. Generally a word form is fixed (phonetic and grammatical), a word meaning and phrases are entered. The word meaning is given taking into account the subsequent context, types of exercises which will be used in the text (conditional types, infinitive structures, modal verbs) are used. The pronunciation of the new words which are especially difficult is used. The thematic lexicon in exercises is allocated.
Lexical exercises after the text are directed in training of the use of words and in expansion of a lexical stock. Various work with a lexical material of the text in connection with its contents is conducted, questions and answers, the word use in a new context, synonyms, antonyms, set phrases etc. are used.
The main work on the vocabulary is conducted on the basis of the educational text. Expansion of a lexicon occurs continuously at plentiful reading and performance of exercises which provide repetition of the new lexicon. It is important to see a new vocabulary assimilation to hear a word, i.e. when reading a word aloud and imitates it.
In expansion and obtaining word-stock, i.e. ability of the student to express the thought not one, and a number of forms has a great value. For example, to make of the monologic statement a dialogue and, on the contrary, to retell the text difficult in a form, using own words.
What is important for the student in a word assimilation?
I. For receptive command of the language it is important:
1) to see, find a new word, to define an initial form, to find value, to choose from a dictionary column the necessary value;
2) to determine a word meaning by word-formation signs, without looking in the dictionary;
3) to learn lexical some grammatical forms, especially rule exceptions, recognize them in the text;
4) to learn the most common verbs and to be able to identify them;
5) to know all syntactic words, especially pretexts, pronouns and the unions;
6) to be guided as a word in the offer.
II. For reproductive possession it is important:
1) to be able to use concrete word meaning in a speech situation which acts here as a context;
2) to know a certain number of words and phrases on subjects;
3) to be able to use grammatical structures, the most commonly used in speech, the lexicon is learned on samples;
4) to be able to raise the question and answer it, using a certain thematic selection of lexicon, questions can be to the filmstrip, the text etc.
5) to be able to give the monologic statement in the text or on the theme, using already acquired lexicon;
6) to be able to do quick translation of all educational texts.
Use of filmstrips
Assimilation of special terminology represents serious difficulty for students who in 3–4 semester (the 2nd year of training) are not enough familiar with the future specialty yet.
Introduction of foreign vocabulary by means of means of training (TSO) is the most rational and effective. Use of series of situational lexical filmstrips in the specialty promotes creation at trainees of professional motivation and attention strengthening. Attention increasing makes essential impact on storing process.
Psychologists consider that the most favorable for learning of foreign language and at the same time the most widespread is the mixed memory combining ability to acquire images by acoustical, visual and motor perception. The essential factor influencing durability of a language material in students’ memory is a possibility of numerous (1–2 time) presentations of filmstrips.
The main stages of vocabulary formation skills are:
а) a rough and preparatory stage – a stage of words semantization;
б) stage of training and creation of lexical speech skills.
On the first stage the lexicon is shown, comprehended and fixed. On the second – it is trained separately, and in interrelation with other words. On the first stage elements of reporting training prevail, on the second – elements of problem and situational training increase.
As a result of numerous experiments it was proved that time of introduction of lexicon shouldn’t exceed 20 minutes. The rest of the time of occupation should be used for various ways of its fixing.
Certainly, the most effective and perspective is creation of lexical courses and series of filmstrips to the corresponding communicative grants. When working with a series of situational lexical filmstrips on the same subject students have the ability to compare a word and its image, also intensity and durability of storing increases. In each series of filmstrips a certain repeatability of lexicon, but with expansion of details is observed. At the beginning there is a lexicon introduction from the general to the particular, then its fixing in return sequence. All filmstrips come to an end with situational or descriptive shots. Filmstrips are constructed according to the following scheme:
Educational situational lexical filmstrips should consist of 12–15 situations or the descriptive shots calculated on demonstration within 15–20 minutes. The pause for judgment of a shot as psychologists consider, should be in 2,5 times more pause necessary for pronouncing of the corresponding phrase. So, for example, if the phrase for the description of a situational shot takes 10 seconds, the pause for its judgment makes 25 seconds. When repeating display of the filmstrip rate of demonstration gradually increases. Available frames keys are intended for self-correction that allows to reduce time necessary for correction of mistakes.