Here’s a vocabulary exercise I found while browsing through material that Gerry Sweeny, a one time colleague at ESADE Idiomas, gave me.
Vocabulary in Context
The following sentences contain nonsense words. Can you make sense of them?
- The sentence was written on a piece of drurb.
- Most drurb, like snow, is osgrave.
- Cats are domestic ningles.
- Polar bears, which are osgrave ningles, live where there is cridlington.
- If you set fire to drurb, it firtles.
- If you pour narg on firtling drurb, the flames go out.
- If you put cridlington into hot narg, it frumes.
- Cridlington frumes at a bazoota over 0º C.
- Narg boobles at a bazoota of 100º C .
- We frize bazootas with a nast.
What do you think the nonsense words mean in the above sentences?
I’m currently looking through material available to members of the Cooperativa de Serveis Linguistics de Barcelona, with the idea of getting a materials bank together which would help members to avoid using coursebooks. While there’s an ambundance of ELT materials available online, it’s difficult to quickly find material that satisfies a few basic criteria, such as relevance, quality, useability and legality. Neill McMillan and I met recently and we reckon that we need to assemble a lot of material which satisfies these criteria, or rather, well-considered criteria that we can all agree on, and then classify them according to fields such as, off the top of my head, level, topic, media, grammar point, and skill. The idea is to give members access to a data base of materials where they can find written and spoken texts, with accompanying worksheets, at a certain level, topic, etc., so that they can easily confect everything from an ESP course with appropriate tasks, to lesson plans, to fillers. Maybe you’re only looking for a text; maybe you’re looking for a text plus worksheet, maybe you’re looking for a fresh aproach to practicing a function; maybe you need a good clear explanation of some grammar point, maybe you’re trying to get together a proposal for a 50 hour course aimed at auditors, and so on. I should add that I have a particular interest in developing a process syllabus, which I’ve discussed in a previous post and which relies on a materials bank.
So we see the challenges of this project as being to decide on the criteria for any bit of material, to decide on how the collection of the individual bits of material is organised in the data base, and to indicate links among them.
Looking at the worksheet above, what to do? Supposing that it were well presented, and that there were no copyright issues, does it warrant inclusion? Is its openness a good thing (allowing teachers to exploit it in their own way), or does it need some lead in and some further work? Is it useful, anyway? More generally, how do we judge it’s worth? If you look at most of the literature on materials evaluation, you’ll be hard put to apply the frameworks to this, because most frameworks are, either explicitly or implicitly geared to coursebooks. Rather than indulge in a rant, I invite you to give your opinion. If you were getting a materials bank together, would you include this?