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Productive Vocabulary

The understanding of vocabularies in terms of how the words sound is one aspect of language that has insufficient systematic research. The knowledge gap might be the result of an unspoken assumption that if a word is familiar, then it is likely to be known in both written and aural forms. However, the teachers, researchers and learners should not ignore the fact of possible differences between written and aural forms of a word. Currently, the problem of paying excessive attention to learning the vocabularies without understanding their relevant contexts arises in the educational environment. Essentially, when a word is used incorrectly either in writing or speaking, its intended meaning can change. On the contrary, having an understanding on how a particular word is applied in writing and speaking will ensure a good command of language. In addition, learning a language requires both a teacher and a learner to understand the pronunciation and spelling of the words. Moreover, it is crucial for the learners to acquire knowledge of the elements that form the language structure such as nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. The current paper aims at comparing the productive vocabulary of the students of Content Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and Native English Speakers (NES). Primarily, the study focuses on how the students in both groups completed the assignment on the topic of feudal life, differences between feudal times and today, and the causes and consequences of the plague.

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The Differences and Similarities in the Productive Vocabulary among the NES and CLIL Students

The English proficiency among the two groups shows a big variation. The existing research emphasizes that the culture plays a significant role in enhancing the learning of English particularly among the CLIL students. The observations are also evident in the current project based on the way the students write about the topic on feudal life, differences between feudal times and today, and the causes and consequences of the Plague. The clear difference is derived from the CLIL students using shallow vocabularies with vague meanings contrary to the NES students. Most interestingly, the CLIL group had difficulties in explaining concepts relating to the causes and consequences of the plague in English. For instance, the research participants used vague and unclear phrases such as the consequences of the plague was that many people die because of that and the person was abandoned and die after 3 days. The written contents on feudal times depicted a great variation in quality and clarity. The major difference is that the CLIL students chose words that did not correlate with the historic topic and the feudal times. On the contrary, the NES students demonstrated that they clearly understood the history of the feudal times and applied appropriate time adverbs. To illustrate the aforementioned, the sentence from the paper by CLIL participants is extracted: now in this time we have more tecnology that in those time we have more medicine, before there was only farming and now we have more jobs.

The variations in writing proficiency of explaining the given topic require a significant analysis. The native English speaking students usually assimilate into culture, which improves their ability to use complicated words that give the intended meaning to the required context. This means that learning foreign language, in which the learner is conversant with, makes it easier to learn that language. For instance, the NES students broadly used terms like manor, knights, and ale. Therefore, the usage of appropriate terms demonstrates that the group had accurately chosen words that are related to the topic. The assumption is that NES learners have more understanding of the appropriate language context to complete the assignment. In fact, they were familiar with the culture of people who lived during the feudal period before the assignment through education or conversation. On the other hand, the results showed from the written works by CLIL group had many grammatical errors as they have not articulated on the topic before the test. Illustratively, some students misspelled words such as differents instead of different, and rabish in place of rubbish. In addition, the oral vocabularies had a great influence on the spelling quality. Barcrof suggest that people will write words depending on their pronunciation, which is evident through mistakes evaluation in the test. For example, the NES lessons are structured to present the sounds before the word meanings, and that is why the NES tend to be more accurate in writing than their CLIL counterparts. Presumably, the phenomenon explains the reasons for the CLIL students to use incorrectly spelled words such as tecnology, plage and dificult. 

A further analysis of the essays that the participants submitted to describe the feudal life reveals a clear difference between the two groups. On one hand, the CLIL students did not base their work on factual information and they did not write comprehensive essays. Presumably, they heard stories about the feudal life, but they did not have a clear understanding of some vocabularies. Moreover, the choice of words does not match the facts related to feudalism. In other words, when learning a foreign language that one knows the culture of its speakers, it becomes much easier to learn and understand that language. For instance, some students used country life and rural life instead of ancient life. On the other hand, the NES students proved to understand the differences between time-related adverbial clauses for ancient and modern times. Thus, because the NES learners were familiar with the historical peculiarities of the feudal period, they used the words lords instead of kings. In fact, a feudal community was led by lords and not kings. Therefore, the correct application of titles shows that the participants in the NES classes understood the factual description of feudalism.

In addition, it is clear that when learning a foreign language, it is important to understand the correct elements that create the structure of that language. The CLIL group faced difficulties choosing the correct elements. They demonstrate poor usage of nouns, adjectives and adverbs. In fact, the majority of the aforementioned elements was used inappropriately or misspelled. For instance, some participants used phrases like, life were very difficult instead of life was very difficult. They also wrote repetitive words that created redundancy in their work as seen in a phrase they work all the day and everyday except Sundays. Moreover, the word children is used repeatedly in sentences like there weren’t medicine for the children and a lot of children died. However, even though NES students chose their phrases correctly, some used the same words repeatedly. For instance, it was more common to be a peasant; peasants were at the bottom of feudal system. In addition, when explaining the difference between today and the ancient time, the students in CLIL group used words that do not possess a clear meaning. Sentences such as the cities were very differents than now are or now we don’t work the same then in dose times are ambiguous. The use of unclear sentence structure by CLIL students is also evident in the section explaining the plague. On the same note, although students in NES classes demonstrate a remarkable choice of words to construct sentences, the allowed grammatical errors. For instance, the students use sentences such as life in feudal times for peasents was hard.

Another observation of the shows the in order to learn a foreign language, the learner must be able to identify and use correct tenses. The CLIL students face a challenge in the use of tenses when learning English. When describing the plague in Europe, the analysis revealed phrases like there were wars and people die and but a long time go the children work very hard in the country life. The aforementioned pieces describe the events that happened in the past; therefore, the sentences would read there were wars and people died, and, but a long time ago the children worked hard in the ancient life. In fact, the section about the causes and consequences of the plague included many mistakes and was explained in ambiguous language. Similarly, the NES participants described the difficulties faced during feudalism in words that are not appropriate or have unclear meaning. An illustration of the mistake is seen in the phrase if the peasant plowed the land badly he would be fined

In regards to contextual meaning, the students in both groups talk about the hardships people faced during the feudal time in the same manner. For instance, both NES and CLIL teams show that the majority of the people were peasants, who lived in hard conditions as they used to work for long hours on the lands owned by the lords. Secondly, the peasants were required to pay taxes to the lords and the church. However, there are variances in the words used to explain the challenges that the peasants faced. The CLIL students use words that are ambiguous in their meaning as compared to NES group. However, it is evident that both groups of students misspelled some words. For example, the NES learners mistook the word autum instead of autumn. Moreover, a poor use of conjunctions in the phrase is evident. Also, the spelling mistake in a sentence they were to poor they would give away a farm animal, which implied phrase too poor in a meaning. Among the CLIL learners, the word harvest was written as havest, which is not correct. All in all, the CLIL students made more mistakes when compared to their counterparts in NES class. Therefore, when illustrated in percentage, the CLIL students scored 65% while the Native English Speakers had 35%.


When learning the English language, the two groups used the same words differently. For instance, the CLIL students have used the word every day while the NES wrote the same word as everyday.  Both groups used the word once in their works. Secondly, although the CLIL students use the word difficult in several sentences, there is one case where they misspelled it as difficult. On the other hand, the NES students used the same word correctly in one sentence.  Both groups have used the word peasants when explaining the feudal life.  For CLIL group, they spelt the word correctly in eight sentences. Although the NES students used the same word correctly for twenty one, it is spelt wrongly as peasents in two sentences. This group has used the word peasants more times than their CLIL counterparts. In addition, the students in CLIL class have used the word feudal correctly for three times. But the NES wrote wrongly as feudel in one sentences. However, the same group has used feudal correctly in four sentences, more times than the CLILs. Moreover, both groups explain that the peasants were required to pay taxes in various forms. However, in their description, the CLIL learners used the word havest which in wrong in one sentence. The group has also used it correctly as harvest in another sentence. The NES students have used the word correctly in one sentence.


In most cases, when learning a foreign language, the students should meet the expectations in learning that language. They should demonstrate proper use of spelling, word choices, and tenses. As a result, they will submit the writing assignments that are not logical because they fail to give the intended meaning. The evaluation of an assignment completed by the students reveals that CLIL presented works that had many grammatical errors. Some words were misspelled because the students wrote them down according to their pronunciation. On the other hand, the NES group demonstrated remarkable proficiency especially when writing about a topic as they possessed knowledge about it. Finally, although their presentation was logical with proficient sentence structure, some students had a few errors in spelling words with silent letters such as autumn.

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