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Current Perspectives in Second Language Vocabulary Research


Edited By David Hirsh

Reflecting growth in research interest in second language vocabulary over the past 30 years, this edited volume explores the current themes and possible future directions in second language vocabulary research. The collection brings together review papers and quantitative studies, and considers vocabulary in the contexts of teaching, learning and assessment. Key themes explored in the volume include multidimensionality of vocabulary knowledge, the nature of word learnability, the interface between receptive vocabulary knowledge and productive vocabulary use, the partial-to-precise continuum of vocabulary knowledge, conditions favouring vocabulary learning and use, and the use of corpora to develop word lists to inform second language teaching. The themes presented in this volume reflect current thinking and research avenues at the interface between research enquiry and second language teaching practice.


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DAVID HIRSH Introduction 7


DAVID HIRSH Introduction I have observed a steady increase over the past 20 years in the number of academics embracing an interest in second language vocabulary research, and this has seen a corresponding rise over this time in the number of higher degree research students identifying vocabulary as the focus for their research. This volume is the product of growing research interest in the contribution of vocabulary to second language acquisition. In this volume, Hirsh reviews second language vocabulary re- search to date to identify current themes, and then considers possible future directions to guide novice and accomplished second language researchers in identifying suitable research topics in the area of vo- cabulary studies. Zhong explores the current model of second lan- guage vocabulary learning as multidimensional, taking account of learner variability in terms of partial-precise, receptive-productive, and depth dimensions (see Henriksen 1999), and in doing so offers a critique of assessment tools used to measure vocabulary knowledge. Lin sheds light on the importance of properties of word form in the process of learning L2 words (see Bogaards/Laufer 2004), reviewing the findings of studies into the role of orthography (word decoding, L1 cognates), morphology (affixes, derivatives) and word length (number of syllables) in L2 word learnability for specific L1 groups. Lee and Hirsh adopt a quantitative approach to consider Laufer and Hulstijn’s (2001) Involvement Load Hypothesis in the design of their comparison of the effects of quantity and quality of exposure to new words on vocabulary learning, with use of immediate...

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