corpus linguistics, General Service List, polysemy, English Language Learners, vocabulary lists, chemistry textbooks
Vocabulary in a second language is an indispensable building block of all comprehension (Folse, 2006; Nation, 2006). Teachers in content area classes such as science, math, and social studies frequently teach content specific vocabulary, but are not aware of the obstacles that can occur when students do not know the basic words. Word lists such as the General Service List (GSL) were created to assist students and teachers (West, 1953). The GSL does not adequately take into account the high level of polysemy of many common English words, nor has it been updated by genre to reflect specific content domains encountered by secondary science students in today's high stakes classes such as chemistry. This study examines how many words of the first 1000 words of the GSL occurred in the secondary chemistry textbooks sampled, how often the first 1000 words of the GSL were polysemous, and specifically which multiple meanings occurred. A discussion of results includes word tables that list multiple meanings present, example phrases that illustrate the context surrounding the target words, suggestions for a GSL that is genre specific to secondary chemistry textbooks and that is ranked by meaning as well as type, and implications for both vocabulary materials and classroom instruction for ELLs in secondary chemistry classes. Findings are essential to second language (L2) researchers, materials developers, publishers, and teachers.
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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Education
Curriculum and Instruction
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Clemmons, Karina, "The Problem Of Polysemy In The First Thousand Words Of The General Service List: A Corpus Study Of Secondary Chemistry Texts" (2008). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3527.
Restricted to the UCF community until June 2008; it will then be open access.