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The IUP Journal of English Studies :
Investigating the Lexical Networks in the Vocabulary of Indian ESL Learners
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English as a language has come a long way from being a medium of arts, aesthetics, and literature, and has evolved as a medium of exchanging ideas and knowledge. For some, it is a language that exhilarates and elevates the soul, while for others, it is a powerful tool that conveys their knowledge and helps them climb up the professional ladder. The idea of “using” English for practical purposes has been accepted long since, and learning and teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP) has gained momentum. There are cognitive theories that help understand the Child Language Development, Second Language Acquisition, and Learning English as a Second Language. The cognitive understanding of language acquisition can help in the acquisition of ESP and Technical English too. It is believed that the vocabulary is stored and retrieved in the form of networks and associations connecting the words by their properties. The strength of the connections decides the efficiency of the vocabulary in storage and usage. There are some networks that are fragile and some that are strong. Technical English vocabulary is all about grouping the vocabulary related to the particular field. This paper discusses how the knowledge about the networks and their strength and properties can help understand and enhance the Technical English vocabulary.

 
 
 

English in India has a long history, and the language has found its way into the society and the life of people in an irreversible fashion. The language plays a role in communication, entertainment, and information sharing to a great extent that it is not just a foreign language anymore. The spread of English in India is so deep that it is believed that the language has undergone the “process of nativization” (Saghal 1991), and it has assimilated the characteristic features of the land, culture, and different religions. In fact, British English has become a minority in comparison with Indian English (Crystal 1988). Developments in science and technology, internet especially, only further emphasize the vital role English plays in the life of an individual and his growth and development. In India, the state of being educated is essentially achieved only with learning of English, the idea that Shorey (2006) puts across as being “English-Literate.” Through his encounters with native speakers, he has come to understand that they were impressed by the comfort with which the middle-class urban can speak and understand English in India (Shorey 2006, 17). Shorey quotes the words of Kachru (1986) who says that English is an “integral part of India’s linguistic repertoire”—a statement which has proved itself to be true over these years.

 
 
 

Investigating, Lexical Networks, Indian ESL Learners