Young Learners and Lexical Awareness: Children's Engagement With Wordlists and Concordances

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Abstract

Sinclair (1991) found that lexical analysis can be overcomplicated, yet Johns (1994) called for investigation into whether corpus analysis can motivate beginners and near-beginners. The findings of this research suggest that young EFL learners can enjoy using corpus analysis tools (wordlists and concordances) to identify, classify, and generalize about English. The teacher-researcher developed a series of classroom activities in which students created wordlists and discovered and recorded collocations. Quantitative data gathered over 1 year from yes/no and ranking questions indicate that students found the activities enjoyable, and 230 write-in comment sheets provided qualitative data that support the motivational impact of the activities. Findings suggest that as corpora, particularly of children's language, are created and expanded upon, it is vital that classroom activities developed to target meaningful young learner language present this relevant language in an enjoyable, engaging manner.

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