Lesson Plan: Lexicography (B2+)

Hmmmmm, what is lexicography, you ask?

‘the activity or occupation of compiling dictionaries.’ – Sounds like fun, right?!


This is a nice little Ted Talk lesson focused on vocabulary and how words are selected in our dictionaries, also focusing on a discussion on what words should/shouldn’t be put into the dictionary.

Here are some new words added to the Oxford English dictionary in 2018 you can share with your students. Why do you think they were selected? What do you think is the criteria for adding a word to the dictionary? Are these words useful?

slimeball (n) – A repulsive or despicable person.

‘My boss is a complete slimeball – he always hits on me and he’s married!’

sausage party (n) -An event or group in which the majority of participants are male.

‘this is a total sausage party, let’s leave’

munted (adj) -In a state of disastrous disintegration; broken or ruined.

‘with government departments buying overpriced rubbish, no wonder the budget is all munted’

chemsex, n. -Sexual activity engaged in while under the influence of stimulant drugs

‘the majority of interviewees had a history of recreational drug use prior to becoming involved in chemsex’

facepalm, v. – A gesture in which the palm of one’s hand is brought to one’s face as an expression of dismay, exasperation, embarrassment.

‘did anyone else facepalm during this scene?’

crowd-surfer, n. – A person who engages in crowd-surfing at a concert.

‘I was recording a video of my favorite band when a crowd-surfer kicked my phone out of my hand’

Get students to check the questions before watching the video. Watch the video and then go through the answers. Put students into groups to discuss the questions and then get some feedback. If you have any time left, use the extension task below (it’s hilariously fun).

Extension

Game: Balderdash

Play in groups. One student will be the leader of the group. The teacher will give the leader of each group and set of words and definitions. The leader will give the word to the group (but not the definition!). Everyone must invent a definition for the word. The leader should write correct definition and then mix with the other definitions. The group must then decide the correct definition. Whoever chooses the correct definition gets a point. The student with the most points wins.