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Academic Spoken Vocabulary in TED Talks: Implications for Academic Listening

  • Chen-Yu LiuEmail author
  • Howard Hao-Jan Chen
Original Paper

Abstract

Although TED talks are commonly used as supplementary listening materials in English classrooms, whether they are suitable materials for academic listening is still arguable. This study thus employs the Academic Spoken Word List (ASWL) and the British National Corpus and Corpus of Contemporary American English (BNC/COCA) lists to analyze TED talks’ vocabulary profiles in a corpus consisting of transcripts of 2085 such talks from six main topics. The analysis reveals high coverage of the ASWL over TED talks at approximately 90%. The coverage figure is similar to that of the ASWL over academic speech, suggesting that TED talks should be suitable materials for academic listening. Learners are also likely to learn high-frequency academic spoken vocabulary from such talks. This study also discovers that learners can reach the same coverage of TED talks by studying either the 1741 word families in the ASWL or the first 2000 word families in the BNC/COCA lists. The learning load is lower for learners to study the ASWL, thus making it a more suitable vocabulary support for comprehending TED talks. Based on the findings, this study provides several useful suggestions regarding how TED talks can be used in EAP courses.

Keywords

TED talks Vocabulary profile Lexical coverage Academic listening Academic spoken vocabulary 

TED Talks中的學術口語詞彙:對英語聽力教學之意涵

摘要

儘管TED talks經常被用來當作英語課堂的聽力補充教材,但是它們是否為合適的學術聽力教材仍有爭議。因此,本研究基以學術口語字表(ASWL)和英國國家語料庫及美國當代英語語料庫(BNC / COCA)字表來分析包含六大主題、共2,085個TED talks中的詞彙。分析結果顯示學術口語字表對TED talks有相當高的詞彙覆蓋率(約90%), 亦接近於該字表對學術演講的詞彙覆蓋率, 顯示TED talks應可做為合適的學術聽力教材, 學習者也很可能從TED talks中學習到許多高頻學術詞彙。本研究亦發現不論是學習學術口語字表中的1,741個字族或是BNC / COCA字表中的前2,000個字族, 學習者皆可在TED talks中達到相同的詞彙覆蓋率。相較之下, 學習學術口語字表的學習負擔較低, 因此顯示其較適合做為學生在理解TED talks上的詞彙輔助。本研究亦根據研究結果針對TED talks在學術英文課程中的使用提出教學建議。.

關鍵詞

TED talks 詞彙概述 詞彙覆蓋率 學術聽力 學術口語詞彙 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was financially supported by the “Chinese Language and Technology Center” of National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) from The Featured Areas Research Center Program within the framework of the Higher Education Sprout Project by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Taiwan.

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Copyright information

© National Taiwan Normal University 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishNational Taiwan Normal UniversityTaipei CityTaiwan

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