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: present

The word present is a noun, an adjective and a verb – as the verb is pronounced differently from the other two parts of speech, it comes at the end of the entry. The grammatical use of the noun as in All the verbs in this text are in the present is included at A1, because this is seen as core classroom language. However, the same phrase is given B1 for the meaning ‘the period of time that is happening now’. Even then, we have not found any written learner evidence at B1 in the Cambridge Learner Corpus, which is why a CambridgeEnglish First citation is included. However, other sources such as coursebook wordlists and classroom materials lead us to believe that B1 – rather than B2 – is the appropriate level for this phrase. Incidentally, the phrase the past is also given B1 in the English Vocabulary Profile, supported by a B1 learner example. The verb present seems to be known from B2, with further meanings acquired at C1 and C2. The C1 phrase present a danger/difficulty/problem, etc illustrates the range of nouns that commonly collocate with the verb. According to our research, present a problem is the most frequent of the three for learners, often with an adjective before the noun, as in the C1 learner example.
To view the full entry for present on the English Vocabulary Profile, please click here.

Word of the week: render

The formal verb render is an example of a new word at the C levels. Two of its meanings are included in the English Vocabulary Profile: GIVE at C1 and CAUSE TO BE at C2. The C1 meaning includes the collocation services rendered, which is reproduced in the learner example here. The verb render has been included due to the number of occurrences it has in the Cambridge Learner Corpus – currently 177, of which 17 are for the phrase services rendered. This verb illustrates one of the ways in which vocabulary seems to develop at an advanced level. Basic users at A1 and A2 levels rely on a small number of high-frequency verbs – in this particular semantic area, the verb give. Independent users at B1 and B2 levels add slightly less frequent verbs conveying similar meaning, such as deliver, provide or supply. Further low-frequency verbs then become necessary for some Proficient users at C1 and C2 levels, when the domain they are operating within – for example, Academic or Legal English - requires the formal register of a verb like render.
To view the full entry for render on the English Vocabulary Profile, please click here.

Word of the week: escape

The word escape is a noun and a verb, with the verb appearing to be known and used by learners from B1 level in its core meaning of GET AWAY. Further meanings of the verb in the entry are AVOID at B2, and the less frequent FORGET and NOT NOTICE at C2. As for the noun, the meaning FORGETTING PROBLEMS is included at B2, with the learner example using the phrase an escape from the daily routine. Of course, it would not be challenging for a B1 learner to deduce this meaning of the noun in context from their knowledge of the verb, but the English Vocabulary Profile is a descriptive resource based on actual evidence – the written learner data from the Cambridge Learner Corpus, which currently stands at around 50 million words. The phrase a narrow escape has been put at C2 level and represents an extension of the meaning of both narrow and escape. Next week’s Word of the Week will focus on the word narrow. 
To view the full entry for escape on the English Vocabulary Profile, please click here

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