Word of the Week

wowWith its 120th word, Word of the Week has now come to an end. We hope you enjoyed this free feature and that it has given you an insight into the thinking and research behind the English Vocabulary Profile.

All 120 are still available to read in our archive, below. Each Word of the Week in the archive is followed by a link to the full entry for that word on the English Vocabulary Profile. To view the entries, you will need to subscribe to the EVP: to subscribe for free click here.

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. 
To view the full entry for escape on the English Vocabulary Profile, please click here

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.
To view the full entry for interpret on the English Vocabulary Profile, please click here.

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!
To view the full entry for well on the English Vocabulary Profile, please click here.

Cambridge University Press