Session 1

Big events in the news can stay in our memories forever. Even if we weren't directly involved, we remember where we were and what we were doing at that time. In this session, you'll learn about one of the most well-known disasters of the 20th Century, improve your vocabulary, and test your knowledge.

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    Activity 3

Activity 3

6 Minute Vocabulary

Lexical sets

Finn and Catherine give you some tips which can help you to remember new words. In 6 Minute Vocabulary, you'll hear about a useful way of grouping words and learn a fun game to help you remember them.

Sagalicha dhaggeeffadhu

Barreeffama agarsiisi Barreeffama dhoksi

Catherine
Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Vocabulary. I'm Catherine...

Finn
And I'm Finn, hello.

Catherine
Today's programme is all about lexical sets.

Finn
That's right: lexical sets help us to learn words by grouping them together by topic or word type. So, more on that later, but first, here's Dave. He's talking about a flood that happened in his home town recently, and here's a question to answer while you listen: what happened to all of Dave's possessions?

INSERT

Dave
Well, we had so much rain: it said on the news we got a month's rainfall in just one day! The water level rose so high that the river burst its banks and water poured into everyone's houses. It's terrible - my house was flooded, all my things were completely soaked and the carpets are still waterlogged.

Catherine
Oh, dear. Dave.

Finn
Yes. We asked you what happened to Dave's possessions...

Catherine
And he said all his things were completely soaked - they were covered in water and now they're all wet and damaged.

Finn
Dave also used a few different words to talk about the flood and its effects. He talked about the rain and rainfall - that's a way to describe the water that falls as rain over a period of time…

Catherine
And he talked about water level, that's the height of the water in rivers and lakes. And Dave said it got very high.

Finn
It did. And that's what caused the floods. Now, floods, water level, water, rainfall and rain - these are all on the topic of rain and floods.

Catherine
And they're also all the same type of word - they're all nouns. So we can group these words into a lexical set.

Finn
That's right: a lexical set is a group of words which are all about the same topic, and which all belong to the same part of speech - they're all nouns or verbs or adjectives.

Catherine
So, to make a lexical set for activities on a beach holiday, for example, you might think of...

Finn
...swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. What do you like doing on a beach holiday, Catherine?

Catherine
Me - I like sunbathing and eating ice cream. And swimming, sunbathing, eating ice cream, and surfing are all gerunds, that's nouns made from -ing verbs.

Finn
Exactly, so: same topic, same word type: that's a lexical set! Lots of people find it useful to learn words in groups like this. They seem to stick in your mind more easily.

Catherine
That's right and by learning words in lexical sets, you'll also have more words to choose from when you're talking about a topic. Let's hear Dave again and see if you can spot another lexical set:

CLIP FROM INSERT
...my house was flooded, all my things were completely soaked and the carpets are still waterlogged.

Catherine
Did you get it? Dave said his house was flooded - full of water; all his things were soaked - completely wet; and his carpets still have lots of water in them - they are waterlogged.

Finn
The words flooded, soaked and waterlogged are all adjectives here, and they're all about flooding, so -

Catherine
- there's our next lexical set!

Finn
There it is!

IDENT
You're listening to BBC Learning English.

Catherine
And we're talking about lexical sets: groups of words related to the same topic that come from the same part of speech, like nouns, verbs, adjectives, gerunds.

Finn
That's right, and it's time for a quiz.

Catherine
Aha! My favourite. Right: I'll say three words and you decide if they make a lexical set or not. Finn will tell you the answers. Ready? Number one. Tea, coffee, water. Lexical set or not?

Finn
Well, they're all drinks - so the same topic - and they're all nouns, so they're a lexical set.

Catherine
They are. Another one: swimming, cleaning, sunbathing.

Finn
And that's not a lexical set. They are all gerunds, but the topic seems to be 'holiday activities' like swimming and sunbathing - and cleaning doesn't really fit with that group. Not on my holidays, anyway...

Catherine
Not on mine, either. So, well done if you got those right at home. And we've just got time for a quick vocabulary tip. Finn?

Finn
OK, right, here we go: find a friend, and play a game of 'lexical set tennis'. It goes like this. You choose a topic, like sport, and then choose a word group like nouns - and then you take it in turns to say words in the set. Alright Catherine: shall we try this?

Catherine
Yes, come on then...

Finn
The topic is sport and I'll start with football.

Catherine
Rugby.

Finn
Boxing.

Catherine
Basketball.

Finn
Err. Err. Oh no! There's more about this at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again for more 6 Minute Vocabulary. And I've got another one.

Catherine
Come on then.

Finn
Golf...

Download

You can download 6 Minute Vocabulary from our Unit 7 downloads page or from our 6 Minute Vocabulary podcast page. (size 8MB)

Vocabulary points to take away

A lexical set is a group of words that share the same topic or theme and belong to the same part of speech - they are all nouns, all verbs, all adjectives (for example).

Lexical sets are a useful way to organise vocabulary, making it easier to learn. When reading texts from different sources, it is a good idea to try to find groups of words that are related to the same topic and that belong to the same part of speech.

Practice

Look at this short text and find the words belonging to the same lexical set (download the pdf for some possible answers):

The English country garden can be a beautiful place. Flowers of many different types make the garden very colourful. Green bushes and hedges often provide shelter for wildlife, and it is common to find birds like robins flying around. If there are any trees, squirrels may also visit the garden. It's also possible for foxes to find their way into the garden, especially late at night. At this time, when there are no visiting animals or birds, it can be so quiet in a country garden that you can hear the insects crawling around.

Try to find lexical sets in texts you read in English. Look through a text and pick out the words you think belong to different lexical sets and write them down on a separate piece of paper. It is a good idea to check what you have written with another person. You may have spotted different words and different lexical sets. Then hide the original text and try to remember it from your lexical set lists. If you want an even more difficult challenge, try to write your own version of the text from your lists.

 

End of Session 1

We hope you enjoyed this session about the Titanic and learned some useful vocabulary. In Session 2, we will look at the past simple and past continuous tenses and how we can use them to tell a narrative.