Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article
WEST, Michael [1888–1973]. English language teacher and lexicographer, educated at Oxford before joining the Indian Education Service. In 1923, he was commissioned to carry out a major examination of bilingualism that resulted in the Bengal (1926). Basing his argument on an analysis of the needs of learners, he concluded that reading should have a prominent place in bilingual education. The rest of his life was devoted to exploring the implications of that idea in materials and theoretical analysis. The New Method Supplementary Readers, based on controlled vocabulary, were produced by Longman under his editorship, and he convened the 1934 Carnegie Conference on Vocabulary Selection in New York which eventually led to The General Service List of English Words (1953), providing the ELT world with a minimum vocabulary based on frequency statistics. He also published widely in the teaching of oral language, writing, and methodology. See BASIC ENGLISH, FREQUENCY COUNT, GENERAL SERVICE LIST, LANGUAGE TEACHING.