Neue Wege für Sprachunterricht und Ausbildung
Fachwortschatzunterricht zwischen Theorie und Praxis – Impulse aus der Psycholinguistik und aus der kognitiven Linguistik
Teaching Languages for Special Purposes is a challenge faced by teachers in the 21st century on a day-to-day basis. Despite the immense quantity of literature on the topic there is a distinct lack of papers which connect teaching methods for Languages for Special Purposes with research on psycholinguistic and cognitive linguistic phenomena. The present paper aims to address this research gap by presenting how insights on the mental lexicon can be used to improve teaching vocabulary for Languages for Special Purposes. It will be shown that, according to recent research on the mental lexicon, the information stored in the individual’s mind about a specialized field can be best described as a network. Analysing the results of two word association experiments, we argue that this network structure is different according to the level of expertise: experts build a more “wired”, denser network with more vertices than do novices. Research on knowledge organisation from the cognitive linguistic point of view is also considered, with emphasis on the basic-level categories described by Rosch, since the basic level on a specialized subject field is an important point of reference in knowledge organisation. On the basis of the theoretical framework in the last part of the paper guidelines are formulated for vocabulary teaching practise in Languages for Special Purposes. The main purpose of the paper is, however, to create awareness for the subject and to initiate further research on the topic.
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