ESL Term:

Bottom up

ESL/EFL Glossary: A Guide to applied linguistics terminology.


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bottom-up: Language learning that proceeds from the most basic blocks of language, such as words, and then proceeding to more complex structures, and finally to meaning. This can be contrasted to top-down learning where students try to understand the general message without understanding all of the constituent parts. Listening for exact phrases and words would be considered a bottom-up listening activity, whereas listening for the gist would be considered a top-down activity. Also, studying individual grammatical structures or sentence structures would be bottom-up.