Here’s a post written by Bob Patrick to a listserv. It expresses something I’ve tried to formulate for a long time and expresses it well. See if you can wrap your head around this.
“I’d like to just throw this in to the discussion. Lists tend to objectify
words and keep them as objects external to the learner. The learner has to
apply something else to make them a subjective experience.
Other approaches like cartoons or model sentences (CLC), new words encounter
in familiar contexts, story telling and personal questions and anwers in the
classroom (mostly communicative modes) tend to make vocabulary a subjective
I think this is important because when we have other conversations, around
assessments, both teacher made and corporation made, we tend to lose these
to aspects. A test designed for objectification of vocabulary will likely
measure the student who has learned subjective very poorly. Likewise, an
assessment (like a creative writing assignment) given to students who have
learned words through lists will likely be a painful experience which poorly
measures what and how the student has learned.
Both are helpful modes, the objective and subjective, but they do not
function the same for the learner. They often can work in tandem
I love to see in a list all of the compounds of mitto, or another word, as
Leslie pointed out. In a list, that can be very helpful, and it helps me or
the student to gain some objective knowledge about the words. It does not
(without some further learner application) help me to use the word at all.
However, if I have already gained a subjective experience of mitto, and then
see 5 more compounds of it–the move from objective list to subjective
experience can be almost immediate (or only slightly longer than immediate).