What is lexis?
Lexis refers to individual words or sets of words, for example: tree, get up, first of all, all’s well that ends well, i.e. units of vocabulary which have a specific meaning.
What kinds of meaning can words have?
These past days I had learned that words can have more than one meaning, for example there are at least three different meanings for one word (obviously it depends of the word because some of them can have more than one meaning).
Some words can have a Denotative meaning: which is when the meaning describes the thing behind the vocabulary, and we speaking this way. There is Figurative meaning which is an imaginative meaning. The last one depends of the Context of the sentences or text.
But, there is more. Some meanings come from the form of the word, for example there are affixes which are added to the base form and they are called prefixes (which are added at the beginning of a word) and suffixes (which are added at the end of a word)
But also, we can find more different meanings of the words:
Compound nouns: two nouns link together with a different meaning from the base form.
Idioms: fixed expressions that can’t be changed, however their combination of words doesn’t mean as their individual meaning.
Collocations: words that often occurs together. (Clear skin, take a holiday, etc)
Synonyms: words with the same meaning.
Antonyms: words with an opposite meaning.
False friends: words which have the same or similar form in two languages but different meaning: Embarrassed is not the same than Embarazado.
Homophones: words with the same pronunciation but different meaning.
Homonyms: words with the same spelling but different meaning.
In my opinion, students should know the different meanings of the words, obviously it depends of the ages of the students, but in case of adult students, they have to know how they can use the words in different ways. However, students could learn the different meanings and new vocabulary step by step. Teachers can make exercises using as much grammar or vocabulary as they want. An advantage that teachers have is that they know the abilities or disabilities that their own students have to learn new things. So, they have to choose the best tools to teach students in the best way they can learn. Even that some students can learn just by translating vocabulary, they can’t do it during their entire learning because in a future they would like to do the same forever.
Would you let your students search words in an English dictionary and their meanings? I would, because they could see the root of the word, the transcription, part of the speech, example sentence, the definitions, and more than that on it. Probably at the beginning they could feel a little overwhelmed but if they practice the words as much as possible they wouldn’t forget them. Sometimes there is no choice about read and memorize, because there is no another way to learn, the difference is how would you learn it? Only by memorizing? Why don’t understand it and practice? After a hard work students would be able to apply their knowledge in a test.
Let’s make the difference in learning!