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Second Language Vocabulary Learning From Context Clues: A Review of Research in the Past Decade and Implementation in Digital Environment

Yu, Xiaoli
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 highly correlates with the learners’ language proficiency. However, recent studies did not downplay the role of incidental vocabulary learning from reading. More researchers explore the appropriate types of vocabulary for inferring from the contexts and the corresponding pedagogical strategies. This article concludes with pedagogical implications of teaching L2 vocabulary in digital environment.