Knowledge about language

Learners need to know much more than just the meaning of new language, whether it’s a word, a phrase, a grammatical structure or a fixed expression.

Consider the questions below:

  1. What does it mean?
    Does it mean different things in different contexts?
    Does it directly translate to my language?
    Is it similar to other words I know in English?
    Does it have any positive or negative connotations?
  2. How do I say it?
    How will it sound when I hear it?
    How many syllables are there?
    Where is the stress (the strongest, loudest part of an utterance)?
    Are any sounds connected or altered in some way?
    Does it need special intonation?
  3. How do I spell it?
    Is it spelt like any other words?
    Is there anything unusual about the spelling?
    Does the spelling change e.g. for different verb forms, or ‘British’/’American’ spelling?
  4. How do I use it?
    What part of speech is it?
    Can it be more than one part of speech? (e.g. a verb and a noun)
    Does it usually go with other, specific words?
    Can I make other words from it?
  5. When do I use it?
    In what social situation and for what purpose?
    Is it used more in speaking or writing or both? Where will I see it?
    Are there times when I shouldn’t use this language? Why?

  • Would you add anything to the list of questions above?
    Add your comments below.

Want to know more?

If you analyse the language you are teaching before the lesson, you can ensure you provide learners with the information they need to know in your lesson. You can use a language analysis sheet for this.

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