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Set of vocabulary terms necessary for the ESL PRAXIS test.


study of the behavior of morphemes. Morpheme is the smallest unit of meaning in language.


Phoneme is the smallest unit of sound significant to meaning


a language user's knowledge of words

lexical stem



The emotional implications and associations that words may carry as distinguished from their denotative meanings

free morpheme

is one that can stand alone like "go" and "big" and mean something

bound morpheme

is one that has to be attatched to something else before it means something; example would the plural "s" and "un".

figurative language

imaginative writing and speech that is not meant to be taken literally

superlative adjectives

compare three or more items. Recognized by the added suffix of -est.

relative clause

describes someone or something mentioned in the main clause.

comparative structures

a poetic structure that is built around one one or more significant comparisons of two things

negative transfer

The interference of previous learning in the process of learning something new


intended to lower the affective filter; physical surroundings and atmosphere in classroom are the vital factors to make sure that "the students feel comfortable and confident

Communicative language teaching/communicative approach

use of real life skills; interacting meaningfully with the language


repetition and memorization of dialogues (often recorded, sometimes with a visual storyboard); makes use of drill and practice, often out of context, to ingrain correct linguistic form


an activity in which short pieces of language are read out loud to students at a normal speed. Students take down the key words and then attempt to reconstruct the passage from their general understanding of the text and from their own notes.

Text reconstruction

students reconstruct a passage (either spoken or written) or word

Direct method

refrains from using the learners' native language and just uses the target language; use of visuals, realia and acting out; focus on question-answer patterns; teacher centered.

Inductive approach

having learners find out rules through the presentation of adequate linguistic forms in the target language

Language experience

an approach to instruction based on activities and stories developed from the personal experiences of the learner.

Total physical response

the idea is to help the learner make direct bodily connections with language, thereby bypassing translation altogether.

Experiential learning

the process of making meaning from direct experience

Learning by Teaching

students take the teacher's role and teach their peers.

Dialogue journals

a converstation in writing between a teacher and students. Teachers do not correct language, but can model forms in their responses.


a cooperative learning strategy that enables each student of a "home" group to specialize in one aspect of a learning unit. Students meet with members from other groups who are assigned the same aspect, and after mastering the material, return to the "home" group and teach the material to their group members.


segmenting the predetermined types of sentences in word units, representing each word by a picture, a symbol, and/or a photo, and representing a portion of each of the segmented words which cannot be, or can hardly be, represented by the picture, the symbol, and/or the photo in a foreign language to be learned.


a technique in which words are deleted from a passage. The students insert words as they read to complete and construct meaning from the text.

Reader Generated Questions

introduce the topic, explore the reader's knowledge, students propose questions that they think will be answered in the reading and guess answers, read the text, check their guesses, and then do a final activity to synthesize the content of the reading.

Semantic Domains

organizing information according to categories of meaning; similar to graphic organizers and concept maps

Vocabulary connections

students make connections between vocabulary and their own life's experiences before reading a selections, thereby validating their prior knowledge

Rhetorical approach

acts of communication are viewed as performances rather than as static objects; writing and reading, speaking and listening, are always intertwined.

Open classrooms

idea that a large group of students of varying skill levels would be in a single, large classroom with several teachers overseeing them.

Team teaching

a group of two or more teachers working together to plan, conduct and evaluate the learning activities for a shared group of learners.


learners make sense of new information through such means a problem solving, working together, and applying information to real-life situations.


is a philosophy of psychology based on the proposition that all things which organisms do — including acting, thinking and feeling—can and should be regarded as behaviors.

Notional Functional Syllabus

a way of organizing a language learning curriculum; instruction is organized not in terms of grammatical structure, but in terms of "notions" (i.e., a particular context in which people cummunicate) and "functions" (i.e., a specific purpose for a speaker in a given context).

Content area

the "what" that students are taught

Strategy based

focus on learner strategies (problem-solution; test taking skills; finding information)

Form focused

any planned or incidental instructional activity that is intended to induce learners to acquire linguistic forms

Meaning focused

meaning-focused learning draws on the student's explicit (and existing) knowledge to help transfer the language towards its practical usage.

Native Language Support

academic support in the student's native language

Transitional bilingual education

build L2 in order to mainstream as quickly as possible. Children are provided with English language instruction, and academic instruction in their native language for some portion of the day. The goal is to prepare students for mainstream classes without letting them fall behind in subject areas. In theory, children transition out of these programs within a few years.

Maintenance bilingual education

teach L2 and support L1 (i.e., aims to preserve and build on students' native language skills as they master English), with the goal of achieving full bilingualism (i.e., fluency in both languages).

Developmental bilingual education

aims to preserve and build on students' native language skills as they master English (i.e., support and teach L1 and teach L2). The goal is fluency in both languages (i.e., achieving full bilingualism).


offer instruction entirely in English and use the native language only for clarification. The goal is to mainstream students within one or two years. Immersion programs are typically combined with an English-as-a-second-language (ESL) pull-out component.

total immersion

almost one hundred percent of class time is spent in the foreign language.

partial immersion

about half of the class time is spent learning subject matter in the foreign language

two-way immersion

also called "dual-" or "bilingual immersion", the student population consists of speakers of two or more different languages. Ideally speaking, half of the class is made up of native speakers of the major language in the area (i.e. English in the U.S.) and the other half is of the target language (i.e. Spanish). Class time is split in half and taught in the major and target languages. This way students encourage and teach each other, and eventually all become bilingual. The goals are similar to the above program. Different ratios of the target language to the native language may occur.


one or two students are learning the foreign language, which is the first language (L1) for the rest of the class, thus they are "thrown into the ocean to learn how to swim" instead of gradually immersed in the new language.


universal grammar (deep structure)


ZPD, scaffolding




basic interpersonal communicative skills


cognitive-academic language proficiency


common underlying proficiency


separate underlying proficiency


Monitor theory

Comprehensible Input Hypothesis

(I + 1): Acquisition occurs only within input (spoken or read), and so comprehensible input is the source of language acquisition Therefore, comprehensible input (i + 1) and simplified input should be the focus of instruction.

Affective Filter Hypothesis

individuals have a language "filter", which acts as a kind of sieve of one's language input or reception. We filter input due to affective factors (such as boredom or anxiety), especially with regard to reception of spoken language. Since this filtering can reduce the ability to acquire language, it follows that less filtering is desirable.

active voice

The girls ate the pizza.

passive voice

The pizza was eaten by the girls.


fun-etics because you can amaze your friends with interesting sounds

language interference

effect of language learners' first language on their production of the language they are learning


study of the psychological and neurobiological factors that enable humans to acquire, use, comprehend and produce language

communicative competence

It not only refers to a learner's ability to apply and use grammatical rules, but also to form correct utterances, and know how to use these utterances appropriately. (communicative approach)

Natural Approach

being exposed to the language (listening, reading) and by using it in a natural way

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