Word of the Week

wowWith its 120th word, Word of the Week has now come to an end. We hope you enjoyed this free feature and that it has given you an insight into the thinking and research behind the English Vocabulary Profile.

All 120 are still available to read in our archive, below. Each Word of the Week in the archive is followed by a link to the full entry for that word on the English Vocabulary Profile. To view the entries, you will need to subscribe to the EVP: to subscribe for free click here.

Word of the week: top

The word top is an adjective, a noun, an adverb and a verb, and all four parts of speech are included in the six-level English Vocabulary Profile. The first meaning to be listed at A2 is for the noun HIGHEST PART, as in the top of the mountain, and this is the meaning that has been tested in the Cambridge English Key exam. Another meaning of the noun CLOTHES is put at B1 and the phrase on top of (something) is listed at B2. The noun features again at C2 in the colloquial phrase from top to bottom and in the idiom be/feel on top of the world. Does this have a direct equivalent in your language? If so, you may feel that C2 is an unduly high level. However, the English Vocabulary Profile is informed by learner evidence across the world and C2 appears to be the level at which this particular idiom is known. Take a look at the verb part of speech in the entry, also at C2, including the phrasal verb top off.
To view the full entry for top on the English Vocabulary Profile, please click here.

Word of the week: short

The word short is an adjective, a noun, and an adverb, but only the adjective is known up to B2 level. At the C levels, the noun has just the one phrase in short at C1 – the other meanings of the noun are too specialist to include in the English Vocabulary Profile. The adverb features in the idiom to cut a long story short at C1 and in several phrases at C2, including fall short of sth. This phrase has two distinct meanings, as shown in the entry below, and both of these are good examples of the problem referred to in last week’s Word of the Week – learners may know each of the words individually at an earlier level but cannot decode some common phrases that include them. Dr Ron Martinez’s PhD research has informed this aspect of the research. You can find out more about his work on the University of Nottingham website.
To view the full entry for short on the English Vocabulary Profile, please click here.

Word of the week: think

The verb think is one that learners need from the very beginning of their English studies, and they will continue to acquire new meanings and uses of it throughout their learning. On the occasion of the 100th Word of the Week entry, this word seems an appropriate choice - one which illustrates knowledge and use across all six levels of the CEFR. You will find many phrases in the entry below, from think of something at B1 to not think twice at C1 and think highly/ a lot of someone/ something at C2. This last phrase illustrates an interesting phenomenon that has been noted numerous times during the English Vocabulary Profile research phase – that even advanced learners don’t always seem to know phrases using the most frequent words in combinations (think + highly + of). This is a fairly transparent example, but as Dr Ron Martinez has shown in his recent research on phrasal expressions, there are many combinations of frequent words that are more problematic for learners to unpack. See next week’s Word of the Week entry for more examples of such phrases.
To view the full entry for think on the English Vocabulary Profile, please click here.

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