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A processor usually works unconsciously with lexis and phonology when we listen
to him or her and as students we use lexis and phonology automatically when we
speak. They are designed to extract the meaning of what is said, not to notice the
speech sounds in the words. They are designed to do their job by design in the
service of efficient communication. But reading and spelling require a level of
metalinguistic speech that is not natural or easily acquired. English uses an
alphabetic writing system in which the letters, one by one and in combination,
represent single speech sounds. People who can take apart words into sounds,
recognize their identity, and put them together again have the foundation skill for
using the language properly.

What is lexis?
Definition from a dictionary: Lexis (linguistics) words; vocabulary.

Here is my own review:

Two important things to consider:
1. Words sometimes have several denotations. The context in which we are writing
or speaking makes it clear which meaning we are using.
2. Words can also change their denotations according to what part of the speech
they are. (Clear adj. or to clear verb)

Lexis=words. So it can be:

a) Individual words.
b) Set of words.
All these mentioned above have their own meaning. These meanings include:
a) Describe the idea or thing.
b) Can be figurative.
c) Have a context or situation.

Meanings are created by:

Compound words

Can be grouped into:

Lexical sets
Parts of lexis
1. - Affix: A meaningful group of letters added to the beginning or end of a word to
make a new word.
2. - Affixation is the process of adding a prefix or suffix to word.
 A prefix is a meaningful group of letters added to the beginning of a word,
e.g. appear – disappear.
 A suffix is a meaningful group of letters added to the end of a word to make
a new word which can be a different part of speech, e.g. care – careful.
3. - Antonym: The opposite of another word, e.g. hot is the antonym of cold.
4. - Collocation: Words which are used together regularly, e.g. The teacher made
a presentation NOT The teacher performed a presentation.
5. - Compounds: Nouns, verbs, adjectives or prepositions that are made up of two
or more words, e.g. assistant office manager, bring back, long-legged, due to.
6. - False friend: A word in the target language which looks or sounds as if it has
the same meaning as a similar word in the learners’ first language but does not.
7. - Homophone: A word which sounds the same as another word, but has a
different meaning or spelling, e.g. I knew he had won; I bought a new book.
8. - Idiom: A group of words that are used together, in which the meaning of the
whole word group is different from the meaning of each individual word, e.g. She
felt under the weather means that she felt ill.
9. - Lexical set: A group of words or phrases that are about the same topic, e.g.
weather – storm, to rain, wind, cloudy etc.
10.- Lexis: Individual words or sets of words, e.g. homework, study, whiteboard,
get dressed, be on time.
11. - Multi-word verb: They are phrasal verbs,.
12. - Part(s) of speech: A description of the function of a word or a phrase in a
sentence, e.g. noun, verb, adjective.
13. - Phrasal verb, multi-word verb: A verb which is made up of more than one
word (e.g. a verb + adverb particle or preposition) which has a different meaning
from each individual word, e.g. look after – A mother looks after her children.
14. - Synonym: A word which has the same or nearly the same meaning as
another word, e.g. nice is a synonym of pleasant.

What is phonology?
Phonology is the study of the sound features used in a language to communicate
meaning. There are many different varieties of spoken English in the world, but all
spoken English has the features as individual sounds, word stress, sentence
stress, connected speech and intonation.

Key concepts:
a. Phoneme
A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound that has meaning in a language. (e.g.
books [s] to show plurals. English has 44 phonemes, which can be represented by
phonemic symbols and written in a phonemic script.
A phonemic symbol represents only one phoneme; it helps us know what the
correct pronunciation is. E.g. cat [kæt] ; made [meɪd]
b. Individual sounds
Vowels are all voiced: the airstream is not obstructed; they differ in the place in the
mouth, lip positions, and the height of the tongue.
Consonants are either voiced or voiceless (unvoiced): the airstream is interrupted,
diverted, or obstructed.
Learners need to be able to distinguish the difference between sounds by minimal
pairs. Minimal pairs are pairs of words that differ in only one sound, e.g. ship/sheep

c. connected speech: stress/intonation

Connected speech: spoken language in which all the words join to make a
connected stream of sounds.
Characteristics of connected speech:
 Sentence stress,
 Contractions and vowel shortening in unstressed words and syllables
 Intonation
 Stress
Let´s explain some of these characteristics:
(a) Word stress: the part of a word which is longer and louder on its vowel sound
E.g. pencil: pen is the stressed syllable; cil is the unstressed or weak syllable
whose vowel
gets shortened or even disappear.
(b) Sentence stress: parts of a sentence with more stress, i.e. slower and louder;
one word which the speaker thinks is the most important to the meaning of the
sentence has main stress; other words can have secondary stress or be
e.g. She came home late last night.
(c) Main and secondary stress are usually on content words, not function words.
(d) But it is possible to stress any word if the speaker thinks it’s important.
(e) Changing the stress of a sentence changes its meaning.
(f) Content words are nouns, verbs, adverbs, or adjectives, i.e. words that give
more information.
(g) Function/structural words are usually prepositions, articles, pronouns or
determiners, i.e. words as grammatical glues to build the grammar of a sentence.
e.g. The girl ran to the sea and jumped in quickly. Content words: girl, ran, sea,
jumped, quickly
The girl ran to the sea and jumped in quickly. (not another person)
The girl ran to the sea and jumped in quickly. (not to any other place)
The girl ran to the sea and jumped in quickly. (not in any other way)
(h) Intonation is the movement of the level of the voice, i.e. the tune of a sentence,
(1) to express emotions and attitudes, (2) to emphasize or make less important
particular things we are saying, and (3) to signal to others the function of
Different intonation patterns can show many different meanings, but there’s no
short and simple way of describing how the patterns relate to meanings.
Classroom implications
Learners of English need to be able to understand a wide variety of accents in
As pronunciation communicates meaning, producing sounds intelligibly is very
important in language learning.
A regular focus on different aspects of pronunciation helps to make learners aware
of its importance.
Minimal pairs need to be included in listening and speaking activities.

What is function?
A function is a reason why we communicate; a way of describing language use,
rather than just grammatically or lexically, to emphasize the meaning for the people
who are in the context where it is used.
e.g. Apologizing, greeting, clarifying, inviting, advising, agreeing, disagreeing,
refusing, thanking, interrupting, expressing obligation, expressing preferences
e.g. Would you like to come around for dinner? ->inviting

Key concepts
1. Exponents
The language we use to express one function is called exponent. One grammatical
form/exponent can have several functions, depending on the context.
e.g. can
 ability: I can swim.
 Requests: Can you turn off the TV?
 Permission: Can I smoke here?
 Possibility: It can be rainy at this time of year.

e.g. “I’m tired.”

 Context: A boy talking to his mother when doing homework->Requesting to
stop doing homework.
 Context: A patient talking to her doctor->Describing feelings.

One function can also be expressed through different exponents.

e.g. requesting:
 Can you open the window?
 Could you open the window, please?
 Would you mind opening the window?

Functional language is often a fixed expression or chunk; learners can memorize

the chunk in the same way as an item of vocabulary.
e.g. Never mind.
Of course.
2. Formality
Exponents express different levels of formality, i.e, more or less relaxed ways of
saying things.
a. Formal: serious, careful exponents in formal situations
b. Neutral: in neutral situations
c. Informal: relaxed exponents in casual situations

3. Appropriacy
It’s important to use the level of formality that suits a situation for appropriacy.
e.g. A teacher greets the students:
Too formal: I’d like to wish you all a very good morning.
Too informal: Hi, guys!
Appropriate: Good morning, everyone.

The language we use depends on the situation and on the person we are talking
to, so communicative competence can be gained.
Phonetic Symbols (APA)
Consonants Vowels

p pen, copy, happen ɪ kit, bid, hymn, minute

b back, baby, job E dress, bed, head, many

t tea, tight, button Æ trap, bad

d day, ladder, odd ɒ lot, odd, wash

k key, clock, school ʌ strut, mud, love, blood

g get, giggle, ghost ʊ foot, good, put

tʃ church, match, nature iː fleece, sea, machine

dʒ judge, age, soldier eɪ face, day, break

f fat, coffee, rough, photo aɪ price, high, try

v view, heavy, move ɔɪ choice, boy

θ thing, author, path uː goose, two, blue, group

ð this, other, smooth əʊ goat, show, no

s soon, cease, sister aʊ mouth, now

z zero, music, roses, buzz ɪə near, here, weary

ʃ ship, sure, national eə square. fair, various

ʒ pleasure, vision ɑː start, father

h hot, whole, ahead ɔː thought, law, north, war

m more, hammer, sum ʊə poor, jury, cure

n nice, know, funny, sun ɜː nurse, stir, learn, refer

ŋ ring, anger, thanks, sung ə about, common, standard

l light, valley, feel i happy, radiate. glorious

r right, wrong, sorry, arrange u thank you, influence, situation

j yet, use, beauty, few n̩ suddenly, cotton

w wet, one, when, queen l̩ middle, metal

(glottal stop) ˈ (stress mark)
ʔ department, football
In language teaching, course books are often organized around functions such as
expressing likes or dislikes.
Functions are often taught in course books together with the grammar of their
exponents such as “I like…., he/she likes….”
Combining functions and grammar helps to give grammar a meaning for learners
and helps them to learn functions with grammatical structures that they can then
use in other contexts.
A functional approach to teaching language helps teachers find real-world contexts
where to present and practice grammar, and helps learners to see the real-world
uses of the grammar they learn.

References consulted on
November 30th at 10:14 pm