An Interface of Lexical Approach and Traditional Methods

In accordance with the researches developed by Olga Moudraia, Lexical Approach is based on “... the idea that an important part of language acquisition is the ability to comprehend and produce lexical phrases as unanalyzed wholes, or "chunks," and that these chunks become the raw data by which learners perceive patterns of language traditionally thought of as grammar (Lewis, 1993, p. 95). Instruction focuses on relatively fixed expressions that occur frequently in spoken language, such as, "I'm sorry," "I didn't mean to make you jump," or "That will never happen to me," rather than on originally created sentences (Lewis, 1997a, p. 212). This digest provides an overview of the methodological foundations underlying the lexical approach and the pedagogical implications suggested by them.”01

      If one considers these preliminary statements about Lexical Approach as a reference, then, the relation it has with the methods themselves should be mentioned, because it is sometimes considered as a method, based on fluency which does not correspond to a total dimension of methods but approaches.

As an approach, it provides students to face the word and pair words, to the sentence and to the text. Oral activity is number one priority but it also provides students to memorize writing skills which is a very positive aspect considering modern techniques to teach languages. By the other side, speaking a language is not making you understood by the others in a key code manner.


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If  anyone wants to say, “The book is on the table”, and says “book table”, the articles and prepositions will not link any idea about the nouns you selected. And it does not mean you speak the language, but perhaps meaning that you can have a performance with the use of the language.

      Literacy does not have connections with lexical approach only.  Sandra Mckay reports in her work Sociolinguistics and Language Teaching, “ an example of a certain group formed by some individuals living in non-Anglophone countries who have developed high levels of English literacy with little oral fluency in English. She concludes, that Literacy in a language, then, does not presuppose oral fluency (Mckay 423). To be literate, one should have grammar approach rather than lexical. But if we observe what kids learn first the obvious conclusion is that fluent vocabulary is number one. The second step should be the connection between the word and a plus, like gender or adjectives. Adults do not care about strange names if any correlation can’t be established between their first language. Kids learn only by associating the image with the sound of a new word that does not need to be the native language. Then, what is this in terms of methods? It means that contextualized methods bring words all together, which should be considered Communicative Approach, rather than lexical approach. If words are understood in an isolated form, which does not correspond to the context itself, then, it’s not a modern method. There is a tendency to avoid descontextualizing texts nowadays. Then lexical approach also includes situational methodology (the production of the text in a certain moment and certain context (Could you tell me where it is?)), like requesting something, or total physical response, when anyone asks for anything (e.g. Take it!) How about silent where there’s no word but only mimics? There’s no lexical in mimics.



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   One can also say that lexical approach can touch the surface of audio-lingual method, by the intense activity of listening, and/or audiovisual if images like films, authentic or not are being presented.

   A community Language Learning can also be cited as an example. Then, a lexical approach instructor will give priority to specific situation of a certain group in accordance with their social interests. Nobody can deny that people are moved to a serious of nonconscious influences suggested by Lozanov who nominated his method as Suggestopedia. As Scovel mentions “There is no sector of public life where suggestology would not be useful (1978).” These methods are well explained by Rodgers in Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching, but not Lexical itself (See Rodgers 1986).

      In conclusion, one would infer from what we mentioned, by using the words of Lozanov in terms of Approaches, that “... The emphasis of memorization of vocabulary pairs – a target language an its native language translation – suggests a view of language in which lexis is central and in which lexical translation rather than contextualization is stressed. It means that a guide which is looking for a good fossilization of his or her explanations and language teaching would keep in his or her mind, that learning a language does not mean memorizing words, but also to see how they incorporate the speech in certain texts, situations and contexts. Then, the use of lexical approach as an alternative to teach languages does have to take in consideration different methods, which should be helpful to have a variety of ways to promote learnability or acquisition depending on the place the speaker is (native acquisition or language learner - - different country where the language is spoken.



   01 MSN, Lexical Approach, Jan/2003.






Works Cited



Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, New York. Modern Language

     Association, USA, 1988.

Rodgers, Theodore S. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching, Cambridge University  

     Press, USA, 1986.

Mckay, Sandra Lee. Sociolinguistics and Language Teaching, Cambridge University Press, USA,





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