Context-Rich Learning #2: What is a Word?


  • Is this word a sound produced by humans? (/pee-pl/)
  • Is it a collection of letters on a page? (p-e-o-p-l-e)
  • Is its meaning equal to its dictionary definition?
  • people3aIs it what people look like?
  • Is it the smell that people give off?
  • Is it the sound that people make?
  • Is it what people do?
  • Is it what people can do?
  • Is it the emotions that people can feel?
  • Is it part of a memorable experience you had before?

The answer, clearly, is ‘all of the above’, and more: the word ‘people’ also has lots of other meanings and connotations and compounds.

If you want to succeed at your second language, you’re going to need all that information for each word in an L2 context for you to be able to say you’ve fully learnt it, which means lots of active immersion.

“人 = people” is just not enough.


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