An investigation of incidental vocabulary acquisition in relation to learner proficiency level and word frequency

Tekmen, Elisabeth Anne Ferrell
Research into vocabulary acquisition in recent years has found that incidental learning represents an important component of acquiring a second language lexicon. However, it is not yet clear how learner proficiency level or frequency of a word in a text affect incidental acquisition. This study examines the relationship between learners' acquisition of vocabulary through reading and their level of proficiency, and between acquisition and the frequency of words in a text. The subject group was comprised of 99 students from the Bilkent University School of English Language (BUSEL), one-third of which were at the intermediate level, one-third at the upper- intermediate level, and one-third at the pre-faculty (advanced) level. Four vocabulary tests and one reading text were administered to the students over a two- week period. The first test measured the students' overall vocabulary inlevel, the second served as a pre-test, the third test, administered after the reading, served as a post-test, and the final post-test measured students' ability to retain the vocabulary over a week's time. An analysis of the data revealed that students' lexical gains from reading the text were significant for each of the three groups (p <.05) and that the groups with a higher level of overall English proficiency were able to acquire more words than lower level groups. Frequency was also found to be a significant factor in students' acquisition (p <.05), with 29% of the Variance in acquisition being accounted for by frequency of occurrence of a word for all three groups combined. However, frequency did not play a greater role in the vocabulary acquisition of lower-level learners than in that of higher-level learners. This may be due to the fact that some intermediate-level participants had only the minimum vocabulary level necessary to comprehend the text.


An investigation of incidental vocabulary acquisition in relation to learner proficiency level and word frequency
Tekmen, E. Anne Ferrell; Daloğlu, Ayşegül (Wiley, 2006-06-01)
This study examined the relationship between learners' incidental vocabulary acquisition and their level of proficiency, and between acquisition and word frequency in a text. Participants were Turkish learners of English at three proficiency levels. One reading text and four vocabulary tests were administered over a two-week period. Analyses of the data revealed that lexical gains from reading were significant for each group (p < .05). The higher proficiency groups were able to acquire more words than lower...
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Since scholars have discovered the importance of affective factors for language acquisition, anxiety and motivation has been frequently investigated in order to find how these concepts influence the success of a language learner. This study aims to investigate how the anxiety level and motivation level would affect the language learning process of a learner related to the learner’s gender, language proficiency level and major of study. The study was conducted in a School of Foreign Languages in a state univ...
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether an approach combining creating strategy awareness and recycling words will result in better vocabulary learning (delayed recall) of selected words than teaching vocabulary following the course book alone, for intermediate level English language learners. Two English language classes, a total of 51 students at Hacettepe University Preparatory School participated in the study. The study followed a pre-test post-test control group design. The comparison of the...
Second Language Vocabulary Learning From Context Clues: A Review of Research in the Past Decade and Implementation in Digital Environment
Yu, Xiaoli (1, 2018-01-01)
This article reviews empirical studies from the past decade in learning second language (L2) vocabulary from context clues. Previous studies conclude that guessing unknown words from context clues is not an effective vocabulary learning strategy. Rather, it should be employed as a complementary approach. In alignment with this standpoint, review of the most recent empirical studies reveals that merely relying on context clues does not lead to the most effective L2 vocabulary learning. The learning result hi...
An Experimental study on acquisition of prepositions in English as a third language
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This study explores the role of cross-linguistic influence in third language acquisition process by examining English adpositions. Comprehension, processing and production of English prepositions (in, on, at, behind, over, to) were examined through off-line and on-line data collection tasks to find out which of the two known languages (L1 or L2) is the major source of cross-linguistic influence on the acquisition of English (L3) adpositions given the fact that adpositions are morphologically and syntactical...
Citation Formats
E. A. F. Tekmen, “An investigation of incidental vocabulary acquisition in relation to learner proficiency level and word frequency,” M.A. - Master of Arts, Middle East Technical University, 2003.