In order to help ESL missionaries teach the gospel from their hearts using their own words, I have developed a 500-word list of core gospel vocabulary in English. To enhance the 500-word list, I included a lexicon with simple definitions, some grammatical information, and examples of the words in context. The resulting product complies with the standards for master's projects established by the Department of Linguistics and English Language. Published literature shows that the development of specialized corpora can be beneficial for students learning another language. Additionally, specialized corpora act as a catalyst for in-depth vocabulary analysis and the development of other materials associated with the field of language acquisition. Using the 5,013 lexical items from the Preach My Gospel manual and related materials, I developed a specialized vocabulary list of 500-words. To achieve this, I used a number of strategies to reduce the larger compilation of words into the most useful and essential core vocabulary: a pre-rating selection that resulted in 2,419 words, a non-native ESL-instructor rating that resulted in the selection of 994 words, a post-rater researcher analysis that resulted in 425 words, a range-and-frequency analysis that resulted in 634 words, and a think-out-loud analysis that resulted in 500 words. After creating the 500-word list, I implemented and tested the materials with ESL missionaries at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah. I gathered feedback from ESL teachers and missionaries through interviews and a questionnaire. Based on their responses, I determined that the 500-word list is useful in helping missionaries learn essential vocabulary and to teach gospel topics in English. Furthermore, the materials have drawn attention from administrators and developers at the MTC, creating a springboard for future projects at the MTC.
College and Department
Humanities; Linguistics and English Language
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Thompson, Carrie A., "500 Essential English Words for ESL Missionaries" (2005). Theses and Dissertations. 624.
specialized corpus, corpora, word-lists, missionaries, ESL