Workshop: Semantic Networks and Language Learning - Theory and Classroom Practice


Location: 329 DeBartolo Hall

The Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures presents, “Semantic Networks: What they are and how they can help us in the language classroom,” a workshop by Ann Devitt.

Words are related to each other in lots of different ways (star, shape; star, sun; star, movie) and these semantic connections help us to make sense of conversations and texts. Semantic networks are words and the connections between them. Recent research has shown that language learning processes use semantic networks in interesting ways.

Devitt is assistant professor of modern languages at the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin and is currently working at the University of Michigan on a TechImpact Fulbright award. Her Fulbright research focuses on the nature of the relationship between semantic connectivity, word frequency, and polysemy and what that can tell us about second language learning.

This workshop will be a hands-on language learning experience followed by a debrief and discussion about semantic networks and their relevance in the language learning classroom.

By the end of this workshop, participants should all be able to:

produce 10-15 words in Irish;
construct a semantic network in Irish;
write a story in Irish;
(if we have time) read a story in Irish.
If all of that is not enough, we also should all be able to:

describe what a semantic network is;
discuss how language learning processes may use and grow these networks;
articulate how to make use of this in the language classroom.