Delta Publishing Catalogue

The Company Words Keep

Lexical chunks in language teaching

Authors: Paul Davies, Hania Kryszewska


Series:Delta Teacher Development Series

The Company Words Keep is a practical and thought-provoking guide for language teachers, showing how the latest insights into “language chunks” can lead to learners acquiring natural
and fluent English.

Here is a new methodology based on the Lexical Approach, a practical theory of language, of learning – and of teaching.

The authors have drawn on their considerable experiences to reflect both on the situation of many non-native teachers around the world who are not always sure which word partnerships are likely and unlikely as well addressing native speakers who still need point-of-need confidence in class and in the key terms involved in the teaching of lexical chunks.

They provide:

  • an approach to all aspects of teaching chunks: from beginners to advanced, from ESP to exam preparation …
  • a glossary of essential terms: from acronyms to the Web, deixis to delexification, priming to pragmatics …
  • a new methodology: a practical theory of language, of learning – and of teaching.

The Company Words Keep contains three distinctive parts which focus in turn on theory, practice and development:

Part A answers three key questions: What is a chunk? How fixed is a chunk?  How long is a chunk? The authors draw from three factors: the use of corpus data; an increased interest by linguists in word partnerships; and the availability of computational tools that can sort the data.

Part B offers a battery of over a hundred activities that will get your students chunking. They introduce and practise chunks, exploiting both the coursebook and authentic texts, as well as making the most of the immense possibilities afforded by the use of data processing.

Part C gives further insights, helping you to review what you know, reflect on the reality of lexical chunking and take steps to find out more for yourselves – in the interest of your personal and professional life.


# Name Type Size
# Name ISBN
# Name Type Size
2Introduction B.pdf113.05
3Introduction C.pdf40.33

Paul Davies

After 18 years in Birmingham supporting Aston Villa and being high jump champion I moved to Cambridge tech to do a history degree. I stayed on in Cambridge because I had fallen in love just as I was leaving and since it was the only industry in Cambridge I became an English teacher. I still live in Cambridge now although I spend part of my time in Sopot (Poland) and Canterbury (UK)).

In the UK, Spain, Venezuela and Poland I’ve taught most levels, types and formats of ELT. I’ve trained teachers on all (inhabited) continents except Australia. I was surprised to find myself start writing a book or two – I’ve co-authored: Dictation, CUP, 1988, The Confidence Book, Longman, 1990, More Grammar Games, CUP, 1995, and Ways of Doing, CUP, 1998 as well as The Company Words Keep, 2012 which is described elsewhere on this website. At present I’m interested in Silent Way, Linguistic Psychodrama and Corpus Linguistics and am looking in vain for a unified theory or at least a principled eclecticism.

When I was younger I liked cycling, cinema and beer. Now I like cycling, cinema and beer and also cooking. I don’t have a television or a car or a computer as I don’t do technology at home – I’m writing this on a computer in the library.

Hania Kryszewska

I am a non-native speaker of English who for 30 years has been involved in various aspects of ELT such as teaching, training, writing and editing. I was brought up bilingually: Polish-German, while English is a language I learned at school, in Communist Poland, from books that were mainly based on the  Grammar Translation method. As a learner I experienced the rise and fall of Audiolingualism, while the Communicative Method was the buzz word of my early teaching career.

Against my family’s expectations, when choosing university courses, I decided to read English not German. Normal teenage rebellion which I later saw in my own daughters. They have not followed in my footsteps either.  I hold an MA in Applied Linguistics which probably explains my interest in lexical chunking and spoken grammar. I am also interested in these relatively recent developments as a person who had different experiences when learning languages,  which involved or did not involve learning through chunks. My experience of these two different  ways, their strengths and weaknesses, have been helpful in writing “The Company Words Keep”.

This is not my first book. I have co-written resource books for OUP, Heinemann and CUP, tried my hand at coursebook writing for Macmillan Polska, and was involved in producing a video-based TT course. For the last 20 years I have cooperated with Pilgrims Language Courses; I have presented at conferences and trained teachers in most countries in Europe and in many distant parts of the globe. Since 2006 I have been editing the HLT website magazine which I hope you read and/or publish in. You can find there a lot of articles on lexical chunking and other developments in ELT worldwide.

What free time there is left after working full time at the University of Gdańsk, dos-ing, writing books and editing, being a mum etc, I spend flicking channels happily settled on the sofa as a snug couch potato or working in the garden. Soon, I will take up some form of exercise.