English for Academic Purposes: Vocabulary
Vocabulary is important in EAP.
When you find a word you do not know, it is important to decide how much it is necessary to know about the word. You may need some or all of the following. A good dictionary will help.
- pronunciation - how to pronounce the word
- spelling - how to spell the word
- grammatical patterns - whether the word is a noun, verb, adjective etc and which patterns it occurs in - particularly useful are Grammar patterns 1: Verbs (1996) and Grammar patterns 2: Nouns and adjectives (1998)
- collocations - which other words it typically occurs with - particularly useful is Oxford collocations dictionary for students of English (2002) and Hill & Lewis (Eds.) (1997)
- frequency - how common the word is
- register - which type of language the word is used in, letters or reports, spoken or written biology or business etc?
- meaning - what the word means
- formation - how the word is made up e.g. What other words or affixes are part of the word? Which other words is it related to?
- connotations - what other meanings a word has, as well as its main meaning e.g. Is it a positive or negative word?
In order to succeed in HE in English, you need:
- a good general vocabulary, for example:
- a good general EAP vocabulary, for example:
- specific vocabulary for use in your academic area, for example:
- science & technology
- environmental science
- knowledge of some less-frequent words
- vocabulary building skills, for example:
- use of prefixes, suffixes and roots to produce words;
- knowledge of construction of compound nouns and adjectives;
- ability to change word forms (nouns to verbs etc),
- information about families (synonyms, antonyms, hyponyms etc)
- vocabulary learning techniques, for example:
- dictionary use
- ways of dealing with meaning
- recording of new words
- remembering new words
- working out meaning of unknown words.