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Word of the week: render The formal verb render is an example of a new word at the C levels. Two of its meanings are included in the English Vocabulary Profile: GIVE at C1 and CAUSE TO BE at C2. The C1 meaning includes the collocation services rendered, which is reproduced in the learner example here. The verb render has been included due to the number of occurrences it has in the Cambridge Learner Corpus – currently 177, of which 17 are for the phrase services rendered. This verb illustrates one of the ways in which vocabulary seems to develop at an advanced level. Basic users at A1 and A2 levels rely on a small number of high-frequency verbs – in this particular semantic area, the verb give. Independent users at B1 and B2 levels add slightly less frequent verbs conveying similar meaning, such as deliver, provide or supply. Further low-frequency verbs then become necessary for some Proficient users at C1 and C2 levels, when the domain they are operating within – for example, Academic or Legal English - requires the formal register of a verb like render.
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Word of the week: escape The word escape is a noun and a verb, with the verb appearing to be known and used by learners from B1 level in its core meaning of GET AWAY. Further meanings of the verb in the entry are AVOID at B2, and the less frequent FORGET and NOT NOTICE at C2. As for the noun, the meaning FORGETTING PROBLEMS is included at B2, with the learner example using the phrase an escape from the daily routine. Of course, it would not be challenging for a B1 learner to deduce this meaning of the noun in context from their knowledge of the verb, but the English Vocabulary Profile is a descriptive resource based on actual evidence – the written learner data from the Cambridge Learner Corpus, which currently stands at around 50 million words. The phrase a narrow escape has been put at C2 level and represents an extension of the meaning of both narrow and escape. Next week’s Word of the Week will focus on the word narrow.
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Word of the week: interpret The verb interpret seems to be known by language learners from B2 level, but only in its specialist meaning of LANGUAGE, as in the dictionary example We had to ask the guide to interpret for us. The most frequent meaning for first language users is the one that appears at C1 level in the English Vocabulary Profile, that of DECIDE MEANING. This use is especially common in Academic English, but interestingly, the word family member interpretation appears to be more frequent in academic text than the verb (the noun is the most frequent form of the word family according to the Academic Word List, an important source which we have used during our research into C level vocabulary. This can be accessed for free on the Victoria University of Wellington website via the following link). The noun is currently given C2 in our resource, along with the noun misinterpretation and the verb misinterpret. All four words are displayed in a Word family panel on the online resource, bringing these words together for teaching purposes. Word family panels in the English Vocabulary Profile display ‘core’ members that are known up to B2 level in regular type, with C level additions in italics.
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Word of the week: well The word well is an adverb, an adjective and an exclamation. As part of the English Profile programme, Professor Michael McCarthy has been examining occurrences of the exclamation Well… in spoken interaction, and this use of the word at the beginning of a sentence is given A1 in the English Vocabulary Profile. Learners who use it effectively, either to pause or to soften feelings of doubt or disagreement, will sound more natural. The adjective meaning of HEALTHY is also at A1, and there are three uses of the adverb at A1 too: the core meaning IN A GOOD WAY, and the phrases as well (as) and Well done! At the other end of the Common European Framework levels, C1 and C2, we have added several phrases using the adverb, including it’s just as well, can’t/couldn’t very well do sth, and mean well. There is also one phrase at C1 featuring the adjective: be all very well. Well, now take a look at the full entry for this extremely useful word!
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Word of the week: carry The verb carry is known from A1 level in its core meaning of HOLD. Two phrasal verbs carry on and carry out are included at B1 level. Further meanings of the verb occur throughout the levels up to C2, where there are two further senses HAVE and SUPPORT, as well as the phrase carry weight. As you will see in the entry itself, the meaning of DISEASE, as in Mosquitoes carry malaria, has been given C1 without any supporting evidence from the Cambridge Learner Corpus. We have done this in the few cases where our reviewers have supported the inclusion of a particular meaning or word, confirming that it is likely to be known at a certain level. As our corpus data is expanded over the coming months and years, we will be able to review these entries – the English Vocabulary Profile is not set in stone and regular updates will be made as more evidence is made available.
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