Wed, Jan 22, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Ministry releases pocketbook of basic English vocabulary

By Chang Yun-Ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Education yesterday released a pocketbook for elementary and junior high school students, containing 3,000 English words, 1,000 of which will become required learning for entry into senior high school from the year 2005.

The book, Basic English Vocabulary for Elementary and Junior High School Students (國民中小學英語基本字彙), is designed to give pupils in the early stages of learning English a thorough grounding in basic vocabulary, including 1,000 words with which students must be conversant in order to pass the Basic Competency Test (BCT), the selection test for entry to senior high school.

The additional 2,000 words are for more advanced studies and are not required for the tests. The book lists the most basic 1,000 words in alphabetical order in its first section. The second section lists all 3,000 in alphabetical order, with the basic 1,000 appearing in red.

The book will be used by students between the 5th and 9th grades and the list will be incorporated into the BCT in 2005.

"These words are aimed at reducing pressure on students by providing a standard list of English words basic to the BCT," said Shih Yu-hwei (施玉惠), a professor of English at National Taiwan Normal University, who compiled the book.

Shih said the list was intended to incorporate the most frequently used words and that the sources consulted during the compilation of the book included the Collins Cobuild Dictionary; educators in Japan, South Korea and China involved in the compilation of similar lists; and Taiwan's University Examination Center, which administers the BCT.

Shih said that acquisition of these basic words would not guarantee that students are able to communicate in English at any minimum level, stressing that it is equally important for students to learn other aspects of the language to be able to speak naturally.

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