Thursday, April 23, 2009

Topic: Vocabulary (4)

10-second review: Step 2 in increasing vocabulary is to use a good vocabulary text. Continued.

Title: “Building Word Knowledge.” Raymond Stopper. Teaching English, How To…. Xlibris. 2004.

How Norman Lewis Teaches Vocabulary.

First, Lewis gives a basic list of words, each described by the idea it represents. For example, from the first chapter, “Personality Types,” here’s Lewis’s description of an egoist:

“Me First.”

Your attitude to life is simple, direct, and aboveboard—every decision you make is based on the answer to one question: “What’s in it for me?” If your selfishness, greed, and ruthless desire for self-advancement hurt other people, that’s too bad. “This is a tough world, pal, dog eat dog, and all that, and I, for one, am not going to be left behind!”

Lewis does the same for every other word in the basic ten words.

Next, he breaks the words down into roots, prefixes or suffixes. From “egoist,” he extracts the root, ego, meaning “I” or “self.” Based on that root, he adds the words, ego (self-concept), egocentric, alter ego, and egomaniac.

By the time he has finished the basic ten words for the chapter and taught the following words related to the basic ten words, students will have learned a number of additional words, among them, the following: ambidextrous, ambidexterity, dexterous, dexterity, sinister, gauche, gaucherie, adroit, adroitness, anthropology, anthropologist, anthropological, philanthropist, philanthropy, philanthropic, gynecologist, gynecology, gynecological, monogamist, monogamy, monogamous, bigamist, bigamy, polygamist, polyandrist, misanthropist, misanthropy, misanthropic, misogyny, and asceticism.

Summary of the Advantages of Using Norman Lewis’s Word Power Made Easy.

Students enjoy the focus on ideas, the emphasis on the Greek and Latin roots, the ability to remember the words because of the roots, the brief objective tests that virtually assure learning and concentration on pronunciation of some real jaw breakers. They had fun going home and showing off their knowledge of words, sometimes embarrassing their parents who did not know that “gauche” described someone who was socially awkward or that “ambidextrous” described a person who is skilled with both hands.

Buy a copy of the book, Norman Lewis, Word Power Made Easy, from and try it yourself. You’ll be surprised at how many words you will learn in a very short time. And so will your students. RayS.

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