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RE: [ExtensiveReading] Going "manic" [3 Attachments]

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  • dk
    Thanks From: ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Grant Dykes Sent: Monday, June 01, 2009 8:08 AM To:
    Message 1 of 17 , Jun 1, 2009




      From: ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Grant Dykes
      Sent: Monday, June 01, 2009 8:08 AM
      To: extensive reading yahoo
      Subject: RE: [ExtensiveReading] Going "manic" [3 Attachments]


      [Attachment(s) from Grant Dykes included below]

      attached a few readers Macmillan and Oxford - can copy and put into a word file if u wish
      grant (HK)

      To: ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com
      From: davekees1@...
      Date: Fri, 29 May 2009 23:09:33 +0800
      Subject: RE: [ExtensiveReading] Going "manic"


      Recently, I showed the first five minutes of the movie “The Bodyguard” to a group of 40 students. The movie was in English with English subtitles. The students were intermediate level. I gave the students no instructions other than to let them watch the movie.


      At the end of the five minutes, I asked the students to write down the man’s job. His job, “bodyguard”, appeared six times during those five minutes. This is a word they were not previously aware of.


      Twenty-three students wrote “bodyguard”. Three wrote “boyguard”. None of the students remembered the name of the movie, “The Bodyguard”. I took this to mean that although they were exposed to the name at the very beginning, they didn’t remember it because it was their first exposure to the word, their initial introduction to the word, which did not make a strong impression.


      In advertising, they say that you have to see an advertisement six times before you remember it. Obviously, frequency is similarly important in vocabulary acquisition. There are two other factors, the amount of time between each encounter of the word plus the prominence of the word in the context. To get hit with the word six times in five minutes is quite a bit of exposure. Plus, it is the central character’s job so it is a very important fact. In short, this must be almost the ideal exposure to a vocabulary item and most of my students picked it up.


      Daniel, I see what you are getting at. It’s true, my contact with the word “manic” was over a period of years. In the contexts that it occurred, it was not a prominent word. If the frequency was increased and if the word was more prominent then would I have picked it up?


      Low level students will have a lot of exposure to very common words, especially if their reading is focused on graded readers. As students progress to higher levels of English they will encounter less frequently used words and, as would be expected, encounter them less frequently.


      But let’s look at it this way. The way the word “manic” appeared was natural. It was not presented in any contrived or artificial way. This word appears 15 million times on the Internet and 21 times on my computer (a couple samples below). Plus, no telling how many times I have encountered it in movies, articles, etc.


      Just when I thought I was getting Comprehensible Input figured out, it eludes me again.


      Dave Kees



      1.       But this manic notion passed quickly. There was no point in getting this harmless kid locked up—and, besides, I had plans for this car. (Fear and Loathing)

      2.       It was the start of summer, though and things in Brighton are a little manic at that stage. I am thinking about trying again - has anyone got any ideas?

      3.       With his courageous ideas and manic charisma, Keating inspires extraordinary -- almost cultish -- devotion among his followers. He is the kind of leader who changes young lives. (Part of a movie review that I cut and pasted and sent to some students.)

      4.       Luckily, the deinstitutionalization movement coincided with the development of anti-psychotic medication, which can help schizophrenics and manic depressives lead independent lives.



      From: ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of stewart_reading@...
      Sent: Friday, May 29, 2009 10:07 AM
      To: ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [ExtensiveReading] Going "manic"



      Hi Dave,

         This is interesting.  You might want to take a closer look at the 21 instances on your computer.  


      What is the creation date on each file?  Were all 21 instances within a period of weeks or were they spread over 5 years? ie Did you come across the word an additional time before you could forget having seen it?


      How about the context in each case?  Could you replace the word manic with maniac and still have the text make sense? 


      How about the materials themselves?  I have not read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but I have read some work by the same author and found a lot of words I had not heard of before.  (Usually having to do with drugs.) Is manic hidden away in sentences you might have skipped over because they were full of strange unknown words?


      I would love to hear what you find out.  Maybe you could write an article for the Extensive Reading in Japan journal?  Let me know if you are interested.




      On May 29, 2009, at 10:20 AM, dk wrote:



      I wasn’t so happy to find the word “manic” in the coursebook I was using with my low-intermediate students. Although I had a clear idea of what it meant, sounds like maniac, I have never seen the word before. At 55 years of age, if I never saw it before then I didn’t think my students needed to learn it and felt the coursebook writers should be more careful.


      I decided to write to someone I knew who was involved in making these books and did a Google search to see how few hits there were on “manic”. There was not a “few” hits. I was surprised to see how many hits there were on this word but what really surprised me was that I had hits on this word on my own computer (thanks to Google Desktop search). I had 21 files on my computer with “manic” in them. All of these files are things that I have read at least once. Some, like the e-book “Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas”, I had read several times.


      I don’t know how to interpret this discovery. I feel that if I read it more than 21 times, I should have remembered it, at least somewhat. Unlike a student who is presented with many words in a text that are new to him and he is beginning to learn, this word was probably the only word that was new to me. Why did I have no recollection of it and what does it say about extensive reading?


      How much are we not learning from extensive reading and why?


      Dave Kees


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