Participate in a Workplace Communication, Part 9
INFORMATION SHEET No. 7
SIGNIFICANCE OF VOCUBULARY: Relation to Comprehension Skill
Meaning and Distinctions of Types
Vocabulary refers to the stock or range of words available to you for use in oral and written communication, words you understand from listening to others speak, or from reading and which you can use in writing.
In your reading, the problem is usually not so much to form words but sometimes to figure out words already written which might be unfamiliar to you. If you can recognize that a word is made up of other words or word parts that you know you may be able to figure out the word even if it seems unfamiliar at first. Figuring out how words nare made up of different parts, souding them out in order to pronouce them and examining how they are used in order to get meaning from them, are all methods of word attack which can help you understand new or unfamiliar words you encounter in your reading. The methods or word attack may be reffered to as reading tactics.
There are two ways of viewing vocabulary: 1). From the standpoint of the communhication skills, and 2). From the standpoint of usefulness or purpose.
- From the first standpoint, we have three vocabularies: one for reading (or listening), one for writing, and one for speaking. Our reading vocabulary in English is the largest, because we can guess at the meaning of an isolated word by the way it is used. Our writing vocabulary is smaller, but it is larger than our speaking vocabulary because we have the time when writing to think of the right word we want to use which we may not have when speaking. Our speaking vocabulary is the smallest, because if the words to express the exact shade of meaning aren’t there waiting for us, we fall back on cliches, or words which don’t quite express our intended meaning but will have tgo “make do”. However, this is true of students, like Filipinos, to whom English is not the first language. Also the listening voicabulary might in a sense be smaller than the reading one if the listener’s grasp of correct pronunciation is inadequate.
- From the second standpoint vocabularies are classified either as
technical or general or as working or recognition. The technical
vocabulary consists of words from specialized fields, words like
ecology, iambic, isobar, sirocco, ionosphere, pyrometer, isotopes,
aeration, symbiosis. Your general vocabulary is made up of words
that you use in ordinary conversation and in correspondence.
- Your working vocabulary has in it the words that you use in spelling and in writing, while your recognition vocabulary is composed of those words that you may understand in listening and in reading. All four, of course, overlap.
WAYS OF BUILDING A VOCABULARY
One authority suggests that to build your vocabulary you must:
1. become curious about words;
2. read more
3. develop skill in finding meaning from context;
4. set up a card system; and
5. learn the function of key prefixes, suffixes and roots
Be curious about words - Begin by selecting from what you read today those words which you feel are essentail to you whether you read, write, listen or speak. Then as you read more and more in the varied field that interest you or in your particular course, notice the words that appear again and again, for inevitably you will need to add them to your working vocabulary. As you add these recurring words, you’ll notice that one of the effect is greater skill in selecting words to learn for your own use in communicating your thoughts to others and in your chosen profession especially.
Reading More –Reading more means reading widely. It does not mean to read more and more of the same, so be careful not to specialize. Consider, first of all which sections and items of your newspaper you are neglecting. Try out your curiosity on the words in an editorial as well as those in a feature article or human interest story. Reach for a different magazine next time you view the whole array on the shelves in the library.
It must be remembered that reading is a habit. Once you have developed the habit you never lose it. But you must somehow be exposed to reading early enough in life to have it become a part of your daily routine, like washing your face or breathing. Most school children in our highly seasoned, electronic, picture conscious age have never been exposed to the reading habit and cannot, therefore, read without effort. Some modern children seldom if ever read for fun. Like muscles that are almost never used, their concentration and interest give way quickly. They prefer the automatic, pictorialsensation of TV (which can be highly instructive and entertaining at times) rather than the “tedious” movement of the eyes from left to right, from right to left on line after line after line of unillustrated print. “There’s a cerain sadness in realizing that a whopping segment of the exploding new teen-age generation never really reads anything unless forced to do so.
Finding Meaning from Context. Suppose that in your reading you meet a new word yet it is not something you feel you should add to either your recognition or working vocabulary, however, its meaning will be essential to your understanding of what you are reading. Instead of immediately looking up such a word in your dictionary, try to figure out what it means by considering the words and phrases around it. These will usually throw some light on its meaning.
Even when you do use a dictionary you will often have to pay attention to the words around an unfamiliar word to find the word’s “exact” meaning, to single out the one meaning that fits from among the many dictionary meanings. It is therefore advisable to look around a strange or puzzling word nfor clues to meaning. You can then arrive at the meanings of certain words through the clues provided by the words that surround them. Such clues could be in the form of outright definition, an appositive, or an explanation in parenthesis or in a subsequent statement. This process is called lo9oking for meaning throught context clues.
Word Attack Through Context Clues – What is meant by context clues? When you look at a picture the different objects in that picture provide you with clues which help you to understand what the picture is all about. In a sentence there are also clues – word clues. Just as a picture is a context because it gives you information about what an unfamiliar word in the sentence.
Two kinds of context clues – There are two kinds of context clues: 1) direct and 2). Indirect. The direct context clues tell you exactly what the italicized oir underlined word means. Indirect context clues are words not found in the sentence but help you to know the meaning of the word.
Methods of Discovering Meaning from context – There are four methods of discovering meaning from context and these are:
a) by inference – the person skilled in vocabulary techniques does not need to guess about the meaning of an unfamiliar word because he can draw inferences from the way a word nis used in the sentence or paragraph he’s reading. He “reads between the lines,” finding both what is suggested and what is said. Inference then is the process of drawing reasonable conclusions from bits of evidence.
b) Direct Explanation – frequently, a writer will define a certain word if he decides that it may be unfamiliar to the majority of readers, or if he wants to emphasize the significance of the word. In your reading, therefore, be alert to this technique. For illustration note: An ascetic, living an austere and lonely life of self-denial, believes this existence will lead to spiritual and intellectual perfection. It is obvious that the writer has clearly stated the meaning of ascetic believing it might give the read some difficulty.
c) Indirectly Explanation – another device that a writer uses to communicate word meaning is to explain the meaning of an unfamiliar word in a phrase or clause fitted skillfully into the main structure. To illustrate, note:
Sabotage, with its destruction of enemy supplies and property, was used often by boith sides during World War II.
The proposed document, filled with misleading information and
vague generalities, was completely ambiguous and prevented any positive
action by the United States.
The phrases with its destruction of enemy supplies and property and filled with misleading information and vague generalities help to convey the meaning of sabotage and ambiguous.
However, finding meaning by examining the context need not mean completely replacing the use of the dictionary. You could go beyond any contextual clues and study the dictionary entry for the one best, the exact meaning.
By the simile – the simile, a comparision made clear by the use of the word like or as is frequent employed to assist the reader with word meaning. In the practicum exercises, observe how the similes help with meaning.
d). Using the dictionary and card system – An effective means of adding words to your vocabulary is to set up a file of vocabulary cards. Acquire a pack or two of 3 by 5 or 4 by 6 inch cards- the unruled ones-and keep them in a box. Carry a number of blank cards with you so that whenever you hear a word you believe essential to your vocabulary, jot it down. Write no more than one word on a card. Should any situation –a test, for example-fail to permit this practice, make a mental note and put the word on a card at a more convenient time. While you read, do the same thing; furthermore, whenever possible, write down the sentence in which you found the word. Group the cards alphabetically under separate headings, and mark each group with an identifying tab on a plain white card so that you can find the categories easily as you work with them.
WORD ATTACK THROUGH STRUCTURE AND SOUND:
Many of the words you encounternin your reading that may seem unfamiliar at first are made up of parts you already know. The same basic word can be combined with other words or word parts to produce different meanings. When you can figure out the parts that a word is made of and from them figure out the meaning of the word you are using the words structure to undestand what it means. A word that is a derivative is usually made up of the root with a prefix before it or a suffix after it or both (informal).
A knowledge of prefixes or suffixes, and roots will indeed help you figure out the meaning of many an unfamiliar word. Such knowledge will also make increasing you vocabulary a more interesting experience.
5. Roots, Prefixes, and suffixes:
Roots – The basic element in a word is called a “root” or “stem” This part may appear alone (as a word); as an element of a compound or as a part, expanded by a prefix, suffix, or both.
Prefix – is a form attached to the beginning of a word that changes the meaning of the word or makes a new word. A few prefixes are single letters, most are syllables, some are words. Prefixes have been added to gnostic, known, meter, and ordinary, for example-giving us these words: agnostic, unknown, perimeter and extraordinary.
A knowledge of prefixes frequently helps a reader to grasp the meaning of an unfamiliar word because he can see that its parts are not unfamiliar. He knows the meaning of the prefix and he recognizes the word to which it is attached. In short order, with or without the help of context clues, he has the new meaning.
Suffixes – is a short form added to the ending of a word. Its function is to indicate the part of speech of the word. Suffixes give a word new uses and modify its meaning.
Familiarize yourself with the technical terms commonly used in your course.
NOTE: The source will be from the CBLM of technology subjects.
ACTIVITY SHEET No. 7
A. Here are some exercises. Each sentence contains a clue that will
help you choose the right answer. The clue may be one of the
following: a definition, a familiar experience, a familiar expression
a contrast or a comparison, a synonym or an antonyms and a
1.Anita and Rosa live next door. They are (friends, neighbors, classmates)
2. Although there was lack of water in the community, food was cheap, expensive, sufficient)
3. A Travelers in the Orient often hire a dragonman who interprets what they say, especially while shopping or sightseeing. A dragonman is an (animal, a businessman, an interpreter).
4. We paid the usual rate for our tickets. Rate means (class, speed, price).
5. The old woman was so angry that she spoke in a quavering voice. Quavering means (shaking, booming, soothing).
6. There was really no room for mistake because his figures were (easy, approximate, accurate).
7. His lack of skill with his hands is offset by his (wisdom, knowledge, ability) in mental work.
8. Our methods of farming are still primitive when compared with those of the highly (urban, rural, mechanized) countries like the UnitedState.
9. To understand the present installment of his serialized fiction, one must read the (following, closing, preceding) chapters.
10. When her daugther failed to show up after two days, the (sorrow, anxiety, enthusiasm) became so great she deceided to call the police.
11. Structural analysis is the means by which we identify the parts of a word which form meaning units or pronunciation units within the word. Thus learning to attack na new word by studying its roots and affixes is called _____analysis.
12. The root word is called the core or nucleus because it is the principal carrier of _____
13. Prefixes and suffixes are small meaningful units that are added to the root. When these meaningful units come before the root they are called____.
14. Looking little word within big words is also one kind of _____analysis.
15. The birdhouse is made up of two little words, ____and house. It means a ______ for birds
SELF- CHECK No. 7
B. Assignment Sheet:
Refer to technical manual. Choose 5 technical terms that are
commonly used in your shoproom and give their meaning.
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