Preliminary English Test (PET) Preliminary English Test for Schools (PETfS)
PET Vocabulary List ©UCLES 2009
Introduction to the PET Vocabulary List
The PET Vocabulary List gives teachers a guide to the vocabulary needed when preparing students for the PET and PET for Schools examinations. Background to the List The PET Vocabulary List was originally developed by CambridgeESOL in consultation with external consultants to guide item writers who produce materials for the PET examination. It includes vocabulary from the Council of Europe’s Threshold (1990) specification and other vocabulary which corpus evidence shows is high-frequency. The list covers vocabulary appropriate to this level of English and includes receptive vocabulary (words that the candidate isexpected to understand but which is not the focus of a question) and productive vocabulary (words that the candidate needs to know to answer a question). The list does not provide an exhaustive list of all words which appear on the PET and PET for Schools question papers and candidates should not confine their study of vocabulary to the list alone. How the List is Updated The vocabulary of Englishchanges over time, with words being added and other words falling into disuse. In order to maintain its currency, the PET Vocabulary List is updated on an annual basis by the addition and removal of words, using a corpus-based approach. Suggested additions to the list are collated and the frequency of these words is obtained by reference to established corpora (electronic databases). The corpora inquestion represent receptive and productive language in general contexts. The main corpora used for the validation of the PET Vocabulary List are: • the Cambridge Learner Corpus (CLC), which includes over 20 million words of written learner English at six levels; • the British National Corpus (BNC), which includes 100 million words of written and spoken native speaker data. Organisation of the List• Word sets Some categories of words that a learner at this level might be expected to know are not included in the alphabetical list but are listed separately. Words formed with common affixes, some compounds and words from some common word sets, e.g. days of the week, are described below and in Appendix 1. Although some ‘grammar words’ (pronouns, modals, etc.) are included, the ‘LanguageSpecification’ section of the PET and PET for Schools Handbook (available from from www.cambridgeesol.org) should be consulted for a more complete listing. • Exemplification Example phrases and sentences showing how words might be used are given only where words with different meanings need to be constrained, e.g. the use of case is limited to ‘suitcase’: candidates are not expected to know other meanings,such as ‘a legal case’.
• Prefixes and Suffixes A list of possible prefixes and suffixes is provided in Appendix 2, and these may be combined with the vocabulary items in the list as appropriate. Words with an affix which is not included in the appendix are listed separately in the alphabetical list. • Compound Words Compound words are not included in the list where both individualwords are present and the meaning of the compound is literal and transparent, e.g. coursebook, schoolboy, shoemaker, underwater. A similar approach has been adopted with two-word and hyphenated compounds, for example coffee bar, leisure centre, home-made, open-air. • Multi-word Verbs Multi-word verbs are not included in the list if they have a literal meaning and are composed of verbs andparticles already in the list. Examples of ‘literal’ multi-word verbs are come into, sit down, as in ‘Why not come into the kitchen and sit down?’ If the meaning of the verb is not transparent, e.g. put through, get along, then the verb is listed and an example of usage given. • Topic Lists In Appendix 3, words have been grouped together under common PET themes, such as ‘House and Home’, ‘Sport’, and...