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: catch

The verb catch has quite a long entry in the EVP. Even so, many meanings that are used by first language speakers have been omitted – for example, there is no learner evidence for the less frequent meaning COLLECT (as in I used a bucket to catch the drips.) Perhaps such a practical, household use would be unlikely to fall within a learner’s needs. Similarly, the colloquial uses BE IN TIME (as in I only caught the end of the programme.) and HEAR (as in I’m sorry. I didn’t catch your name.) are not included in the EVP. It will be interesting to see whether these occur in the spoken learner data that will form part of the English Profile Corpus. Notice the different senses of the phrasal verb catch up that are included at B1 and B2 levels.
 
To view the full entry for catch on the English Vocabulary Profile, please click here.

Word of the week: unbelievable

There is plenty of evidence of learner use worldwide for the adjective unbelievable. Two senses are identified in the EVP: SURPRISING at B1 and UNLIKELY at B2. The first is by far the more common, often used by B1 learners to express surprise or outrage, as in It’s unbelievable! Notice the Word Family box, showing all the related words that are within B2 level (belief, believe, unbelievable). Although there are a few citations at B2 for the adverb unbelievably, this is used far less than the adjective, and so has not been included in the current version of the EVP.
 
To view the full entry for unbelievable on the English Vocabulary Profile, please click here.

Word of the week: stage

The most frequent sense of the noun stage for first language users is that of PART (as in The project is in its final stages.) This sense is put at B2 level in the EVP. For learners, the sense that is met first is the concrete meaning of ‘the raised area in a theatre where actors perform’, known from A2 level. This raises an interesting issue in terms of prioritising meanings for learners: as with the Word of the Week entry for case, there may be practical reasons why learners meet this type of concrete meaning before the most frequent sense of a word – with stage, it could be to do with early school experience rather than a passion for the theatre! However, it is important to teach very frequent senses of words like these within the B levels, as learners will need to know them in the real world.
 
To view the full entry for stage on the English Vocabulary Profile, please cliick here.

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