Sociolinguistica

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The Lexical Approach is a unique way of lexis-based teaching which was introduced by Michael Lewis in his 1993 book, The Lexical Approach. This handout is based on a workshop which introduced theideas of Michael Lewis and demonstrated a number of activities created to implement his ideas.
Warmer

Find someone who...

...likes to get their own way.
...takes a long time to get back to people. ...wants to get married. ...
is getting together with friends the day after tomorrow. ...
got out of bed on the wrong side today. ...
has got to be at work early tomorrow. ...
hasn’t got overa break-up. ...
often got into trouble at school. ...
got his/her tonsils taken out.

Introduction

Grammar has been the focus of language teaching for centuries, yet it is vocabulary, or morespecifically, lexis, which learners need to negotiate meaning. I go to zoo yesterday. I went to the zoo yesterday. I go to zoo now. I am going to the zoo now. I go to zoo tomorrow. I’ll go to the zootomorrow. The first set of sentences is perfectly comprehendible because meaning is carried not by grammar but by lexis, words like “go”, “zoo” and “now”. A lexical mistake often causesmisunderstanding, while a grammar mistake rarely does. John Sinclair, IATEFL 1996 However unpopular it is with teachers, language which contains grammatical errors is unlikely to be misunderstood in context, butwith lexical errors misunderstanding, incomprehension, or in rare cases even offence, are quite likely. Recognizing the lexical nature of language, and the centrality of lexis to the creation of meaning,and consequently to communicative power, demotes grammar – and in particular, the often unnatural, inaccurate grammar of standard EFL – to a subsidiary role. Michael Lewis 1997 The top 200 wordsrepresent about 60% of spoken language. The top 2000 words represent about 90% of spoken language. Jane Willis: A Framework for Task-Based Learning, Longman, 1996 A surprisingly small number of...
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