Language and Lexicon Essay Example

Lexicon Definition

Lexicon is the vocabulary of people, branch of knowledge or a language. Precisely, it is a collection of words that are unique to a particular body of knowledge, people or language (Otwinowska, 2016). In medicine, for instance, a new learner will encounter words such as amputation, biopsy, chemotherapy, cyst, diagnosis, false negative and incision. In English language, a new learner will need to understand words such as brand, thrive, skill, liberal, venture, ideology, fidelity, faith, commit, approach, policy, tour, bestow, cite, gravity, commission and wonder. Lexicon is the collection of such words. The collection of the words makes up the lexicon Language and Lexicon Essay Example.


Importance of Lexicon

Lexicon is very important to English learners since it influences their ability to understand or gain proficiency in the language. Specifically, the extent to which the students understand the English language or lexicon determines their level of proficiency. In turn, this influences the ability to communicate orally and in writing using English language (Otwinowska, 2016). If an English learner does not understand a handful of base words, they are unable to communicate in the language. Such a student is categorized as a beginner. After gaining significant understanding of the base words and how to apply them in communication, the student moves to a higher level of proficiency. Lexicon lays an important role since it influences the complexity of vocabulary that an English learner should be taught at each level of proficiency (Otwinowska, 2016). In the introduction stage, for instance, the probability of the learner to understand vocabulary such as gravity, fidelity and brand is low. However, students in that stage can understand words such as he, she, us, more and again.

Behaviorist theory of Language Acquisition

The behaviorist theory plays a significant role in the explanation of how children acquire first language. According to the model, children are social beings that respond to the stimulus they receive from the immediate environment. The theory stipulates further that children acquire new behaviors through learning and repetition (Richards & Rodgers, 2014). As the children acquire habits, they also learn words. According to the theory, children acquire oral language from role models through imitation of sounds and speech patterns. They imitate the words and phrases that people they interact with frequently use.

According to the behaviorist theory, reinforcement enhances the ability of children to acquire language. Reinforcement entails rewarding positive behaviors. Praise is one of the common ways of rewarding positive behaviors. Usually, children are praised when they attempt to repeat phrases and words. They are also shown affection, which is another form of affection. The praise and affection encourage the child to repeat or make more attempts (Richards & Rodgers, 2014). Eventually, repeating words and phrases becomes a habit that leads to successful language acquisition. Precisely, continuous practice leads to successful language acquisition eventually Language and Lexicon Essay Example.

As Richards and Rodgers (2014) explain, the behaviorist theory applies also to the acquisition of the second language. Praise and other rewards encourage the English as Second Language students to do more practice until they successfully acquire the language. The theory has been criticized for the emphasis on rewards as the main facilitator of language acquisition. The critics argue that the theory does not explain whether language cannot be acquired without reinforcement. Despite this, there is proof that reinforcement plays a significant role in encouraging language acquisition.


Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (2014). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Third Edition, Cambridge University Press

Otwinowska, A. (2016). Cognate Vocabulary in Language Acquisition and Use: Attitudes, Awareness, Activation. Bristol: Multilingual Matters Language and Lexicon Essay Example.

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