ESL Term:

Lexical Approach

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


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lexical approach: An approach to teaching languages that has a lot in common with the communicative approach, but also examines how lexical phrases, prefabricated chunks of language, play an important role in producing fluent speech. The lexical approach was first coined by Michael Lewis. The fundamental principle of the lexical approach is "language consists of grammaticalized lexis, not lexicalized grammar." What this means is that lexical phrases offer far more language generative power than grammatical structures. Accordingly, advocates of this kind of approach argue that lexis should move to the center of language syllabuses. Justification for this theory comes from statistical analysis of language which shows that we do indeed speek in chunks and collocations.