Friday, June 18, 2010

Vocabulary In Context - Contextual Clues

Reading is A Skill

Reading is a skill.  So, it is!  Actually there are a number of skills in reading such as

                                                * skimming and scanning
                                                * extracting specific information
                                                * identifying main ideas
                                                * identifying supporting details
                                                ... and
                                                * deriving the meaning of words,
                                                   phrases, sentences, from the

Just to name a few.  There are many more.  Please refer to the syllabus.  Have a look at the row of tabs above and look for the "Syllabus" tab and "click".  It will take you to the Syllabus page and under the Reading syllabus you can find all the skills for reading that will be included in the test of Reading 800/3 Paper.  These skills are essential too for the students as they will be reading and making reference at the library and studying big books (also small books tee, hee, hee ...).

Should we have no reading skills such as making an educated guess for new words that  we do not understand - we shall face a serious problem because we would not understand what we are reading and we might not be able to answer questions.  Furthermore, we may carry out the given instructions wrongly. 

Unfamiliar Words.

To solve the problem of getting the meaning of unfamiliar words as we read articles, exam papers, passages, etc.

There are times when we find words that we do not understand. At the same time we cannot ask anybody for the meaning because we are in the middle of an exam or, there is simply nobody around for us to consult. At the same time no dictionary is available.
So, what do we do?
Use of "Contextual Clues"
There is a strategy that we can carry out that is called vocabulary in context. In this strategy we have to look at the surrounding words, sentence or sentences. These surrounding words, phrases and sentences serve as the backgrounds for the new word. They can give us clues as to the meaning of the new word. These are the contextual clues that can help us arrive at the meaning of the new word.
From time to time postings will be made under this topic as there are a few strategies that can help the students in times of need.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Muet Candidates, Enrich Your Vocabulary!

University Standard of Vocabulary
The MUET candidates-to-be should shore up in their command of English. They need to have a University-going standard of vocabulary, suitable for 'U' undergrads. This is especially true for the Pre-University students. Many of them, in certain areas and localities, are so poor in terms of vocabulary.

There could be candidates who are English teachers but they have to take MUET because they want to do a degree in TESL, then their vocabulary can be considered to be strong or adequate. Candidates may also be made up of working adults, university or college students and ordinary or highly-positioned government servants in Putrajaya.  They need to do the MUET for various different reasons.

Why Should there be "Good Vocabulary"?
Good vocabulary is essential for all the papers in MUET. Be they Listening, Speaking, Reading or Writing. Sometimes the candidates vocabulary is so poor that they cannot understand the MUET questions.  As a result they tend to give to a totally wrong answer or give no answer at all.

There have been cases where students are so lacking in their vocabulary that it is impossible to do some decent work of, i.e. reading, in class. Sometimes, more than forty percent of the words in a single paragraph should get their meanings explained because students do not understand their meanings, at times a higher percentage has to be explained!

To have a decent vocabulary in their arsenal, the students should have been reading English materials such as newspapers, magazines, journals, novels, reports, etc.  The reading habit should have been nurtured years ago, right from the very start of their pre-school education.  Practice in the various aspects of language, i.e. listening, speaking, reading and writing should have been the norm.