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There are five categories of determiners:

  • Articles: a, the 
  • Demonstratives: this, that, etc.
  • Possessive adjectives/possessive determiners: my, our
  • Interrogative adjectives/interrogative determiners: whose, which
  • Quantifiers: some, a few,  several

Numbers: Cardinal (one, two, three) and ordinal (first, second, third) numbers are also used as determiners.

diagnostic test

A diagnostic test is a test  designed to identify problems that learners have with the language.


A dictogloss is a kind of dictation activity where learners reconstruct a text rather than writing it down exactly word for word. The teacher reads the text in short chunks as in a normal dictation, but at a speed too fast for learners to write it down exactly. Instead, they note down key words and then work in groups using their notes to rebuild the original. They then compare their text with the original one. It is a good way for identifying learners' errors and the acceptable different ways of expressing the same idea.

differentiated tasks

See differentiation.


Differentiation means providing different tasks or teaching materials, or adapting tasks to suit students of different levels in a mixed ablity class.


Two letters which together represent a single sound, e.g., ph, sh, ee, ea, etc.


A 'double vowel' - two vowel sounds which together make up what is perceived as a single sound.

E.g. hair /heə(r)/

go /goʊ/

Direct Method

It is also called the Natural method.

In the late 19th century, Heness and Sauveur opened a language school in the United States teaching German and French. They employed what they called the Natural Method because it was felt to mirror how children naturally learn their first languages. However, the approach came to be more commonly referred to as the Direct Method. The principles of the Natural/Direct Method, as outlined by Richards and Rogers (2001), are:

  • Classroom instruction was conducted exclusively in the target language.
  • Only everyday vocabulary and sentences were taught.
  • Oral communication skills were built up in a carefully graded progression organised around question-and-answer exchanges between teachers and students in small, intensive classes.
  • Grammar was taught inductively.
  • New teaching points were introduced orally.
  • Concrete vocabulary was taught through demonstration, objects and pictures; abstract vocabulary was taught by association of ideas.
  • Both speech and listening comprehension were taught.
  • Correct pronunciation and grammar were emphasised.

 (Richards and Rogers, 2001, p. 12)

Many features of this method or approach are still in evidence in the modern language classroom.

disappearing syllable

In some words in spoken English one syllable is not pronounced. E.g., 'interesting' looks as though it should be pronounced 'in-ter-est-ing,' but most native speakers say 'in-trest-ing.'

discourse markers

Discourse markers are words and phrases such as however, althoughand on the other hand in writing, and so, well and OK  in spoken language which are used to show how different parts of the text relate to each other.

They are also referred to as linking words, linking phrases, connectors, connectives and conjunctions.

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