Vocabulary Research Has Come a Long Way, But Seems to Have Limited Influence in the Classroom

Stuart McLean, Nancy Shzh-chen Lee


Vocabulary has not always held the central role it presently enjoys in SLA pedagogy and SLA research. Throughout a succession of SLA theories, the learning of vocabulary was ignored while the teaching of grammar was emphasized. Research posits that 1) native English speakers’ vocabularies are not too large to master, and 2) the first two to five thousand words of English provide extensive coverage of native spoken and written discourse. Therefore, findings provide compelling reasons for students to learn vocabulary. However, despite these findings, the degree to which teachers facilitate vocabulary learning is limited in practice. This article summarizes vocabulary-learning techniques from Laufer, Meara & Nation (2005) and finally considers the role of CALL in the development of a student’s lexicon.

Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.5539/elt.v6n10p43

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English Language Teaching       ISSN 1916-4742 (Print)   ISSN  1916-4750 (Online)

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