Dr. Theresa Antes

Associate Professor of French & Linguistics at University of Florida

Theresa A. Antes is an Associate Professor of French and Linguistics at the University of Florida. She holds a PhD in French Applied Linguistics from Cornell University. Until recently, she served as the director of lower-division French at UF, coordinating beginning and intermediate French courses and supervising the Graduate Teaching Assistants who teach those courses. She teaches French the intermediate and advanced levels and courses in French linguistics and second language acquisition. Her research interests include second language acquisition and pedagogy in both French and English, particularly as it relates to vocabulary acquisition. She has recently published articles in Foreign Language Annals, Language and Sociocultural Theory, System and TESL-EJ.

* Schedule: Dr. Antes will be presenting a breakout session titled “Optimizing Vocabulary Acquisition for ESL Learners: The Power of Binomial Expressions” on Wednesday, March 3rd 12:00-1:00 pm MST.

Breakout Session Description: Vocabulary lessons for learners of ESL frequently draw from words that are included on the Academic Word List (Coxhead 2000). While this is an important first step, the teaching of discrete words overlooks the fact that language often consists of expressions and bundles. In this presentation, I will present the results of an eight-week in-class intervention, during which binomial expressions comprised of academic vocabulary (results and conclusions, facts and circumstances) were presented to intermediate-level learners of English. Constraints that govern the preferred order of highly fixed binomials were explained as the binomials were introduced and practiced. Through a combination of pre- and post- preference tests and a post-course repetition task, I will demonstrate that learners were able to learn the preferred order of the targeted binomial expressions, as well as to generalize constraints to new binomials. Data from the repetition task provide evidence that the binomials became part of the learners’ lexicon: sentences containing binomials in their preferred order were repeated with ease. Sentences with binomials in their non-preferred order, on the other hand, were either spontaneously reordered or were repeated with disfluencies of various types. Furthermore, learners displayed an ability to generalize information about constraints to new binomials. I argue that vocabulary lessons should go beyond the teaching of discrete words, to include their use in expressions, and to include the semantic and phonological constraints that help learners understand their order.