Focus on Vocabulary: Mastering the Academic Word List

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Longman, 2005 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 240 pages
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Focus on Vocabulary: Mastering the Academic Word List, by Diane Schmitt and Norbert Schmitt, is a research-based vocabulary textbook that gives high-intermediate to advanced students the advantage they need to succeed in academic environments. Through excerpts from college texts and well-crafted exercises, English learners study the Academic Word List -- the most frequently used words in academic texts. To help students reach a fuller understanding of the new vocabulary, each chapter provides a series of exercises on word meaning and word families. In addition, collocations exercises develop students' ability to form natural partnerships between the target vocabulary and other words.


  • Seven units focus on a variety of subject areas, such as social change, consumer behavior, natural resources, and music.
  • Each chapter carefully recycles the target vocabulary four times in reading passages and vocabulary-building exercises.
  • The collocation exercises -- based on the 179-million-word New Longman Corpus -- reflect how academic words are actually used in real contexts.
  • Strategy Practice chapters offer tips for dictionary usage, information about word roots and affixes, and methods for expanding students' word knowledge.
  • An Expansion section at the end of each chapter provides additional reading, discussion, and writing activities that broaden students' understanding of vocabulary.

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About the author (2005)

Diane Schmitt began teaching English in Japan and currently lives and teaches in the United Kingdom. She is Academic Team Leader for EFL/TESOL at Nottingham Trent University, where she coordinates all English language instruction at the university. She also contributes to the master's program in English Language Teaching. Her research interests include issues related to the acquisition of English for academic purposes and second-language testing. She is a regular contributor to English teaching conferences.

Norbert Schmitt began his EFL teaching career in Japan, where he taught all levels of students for six years. After completing his Ph.D., he began lecturing at the University of Nottingham, where he is currently Reader of Applied Linguistics and Co-Director of the Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics. He is an active researcher in all aspects of second-language vocabulary studies and has published several books and numerous research papers in this area. He frequently presents at language-teaching conferences and consults on vocabulary learning and testing issues internationally.

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