Key English Test (KET) Key English Test for Schools (KETfS)
Updated June 2009 KET Vocabulary List © UCLES 2009
Introduction to the KET Vocabulary List
The KET Vocabulary List gives teachers a guide to the vocabulary needed when preparing students for the KET and KET for Schools examinations. Background to the List The KET Vocabulary List was originally developed byCambridge ESOL in consultation with external consultants to guide item writers who produce materials for the KET examination. It includes vocabulary from the Council of Europe’s Waystage (1990) specification and other vocabulary which has been shown by corpus evidence to be high-frequency. The list covers vocabulary appropriate to this level of English and includes receptive vocabulary (words that thecandidate is expected to understand but which is not the focus of a question), and productive vocabulary (words that the candidate needs to know in order to answer a question). The list does not provide an exhaustive list of all words which appear on the KET and KET for Schools question papers and candidates should not confine their study of vocabulary to the list alone. How the List is Updated Thevocabulary of English changes over time, with words being added and other words falling into disuse. In order to maintain its currency, the list is updated on an annual basis by the addition and removal of words, using a corpus-based approach. Suggested additions to the wordlist are collated and the frequency of these words is obtained by reference to established corpora (electronic databases).The corpora in question represent receptive and productive language in general contexts. The main corpora used for the validation of the KET Vocabulary List are: the Cambridge Learner Corpus (CLC) which includes over 20 million words of written learner English; 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 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 Language Specificationssection of the KET and KET for Schools Handbooks (available 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 bank is followed by ‘I changed my money in a bank’ i.e. is limited to the idea of a financialinstitution: candidates are not expected to know other meanings, such as ‘a river bank’. 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 Compoundwords are not included in the list where both individual words are present and the meaning of the compound is literal and transparent, e.g. coursebook, school children, shopping centre. Multi-word Verbs All multi-word (or phrasal) verbs that a KET or KET for Schools candidate might be expected to know are included in the list. These verbs include ‘literal’ verbs (i.e. where the meaning istransparent) e.g. sit down, go out and ‘non-literal’ verbs e.g. look after, get up. Topic Lists In Appendix 3 words have been grouped together under common KET and/or KET for Schools themes, such as ‘House and Home’, ‘Work and Jobs’ and ‘Food and Drink’. Unsuitable Topics Cambridge ESOL examinations must not contain anything that might offend or upset candidates, potentially affect their performance...
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