Harsh Words

English Words for Chinese Learners


Monica Hill

ISBN : 978-962-209-717-9

Language, Linguistics, Reference

May 2005

188 pages, 6″ x 9″

  • HK$130.00

Many Chinese learners find it difficult to learn English words: they are difficult to spell and say, change forms from noun to adjective to verb, have multiple meanings and are tricky to remember. This book suggests ways that teachers can help their students to learn English words.

A problem frequently reported by Chinese learners is that they are unable to pronounce words that they have met in written contexts. They say their teachers have seldom taught them how to say the new words they find in their textbooks. Research has shown that if Chinese learners are taught the pronunciation of new words when they first meet them, the words are easier to learn. Another problem is knowing when and how to use words accurately in the right context, with the appropriate level of formality.

Harsh Words provides a theoretical background explaining how words are learned and then focuses on the Chinese learner in particular. It covers vocabulary learning strategies, learning words in isolation as well as in context, testing vocabulary, common Chinese errors with words, and vocabulary activities to use in class. One chapter deals with the use of IT in vocabulary development and suggests web sites and software that teachers may want to use with their students. Each chapter contains tasks and revision questions while an answer key is provided at the end.

The book is written for teachers, whether training to be English teachers or taking refresher courses, postgraduate diplomas or Master’s. While much of the content is applicable to all levels of learners, teachers in secondary schools and universities will find it most useful.

Monica Hill taught English at the University of Hong Kong for more than twelve years. Her research began in 1993 and since the completion of her PhD in 1997 she has taught INSTEP courses for teachers, Diploma classes on vocabulary teaching and elective courses on vocabulary teaching and learning for the MA course in Applied Linguistics.

Harsh Words is a product of Monica Hill’s rich teaching experience and her extensive knowledge of vocabulary research. Linking research findings to practical issues, she provides, with remarkable clarity, sound advice on teaching the most important areas of vocabulary. Harsh Words will definitely be an asset to teacher trainees and teachers of all language levels.” —Batia Laufer, Department of English Language and Literature, University of Haifa, Israel

“This book is one of the few attempts that tries to bridge the gap between theories and research on the one hand and classroom practice on the other, on the topic of vocabulary learning and teaching. It is obviously written for teachers and the general public, but with the authority of an experienced vocabulary researcher and scholar. Dr Monica Hill successfully weaves her expertise on vocabulary acquisition and her experience with Chinese EFL learners together into this scholarly and practical book. A must read for teachers, learners, teacher trainers, and researchers who are interested in vocabulary learning in the Chinese context.” —Peter Yongqi Gu, National Institute of Education, Singapore