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Current Perspectives in Second Language Vocabulary Research

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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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CHEN-CHUN LIN / DAVID HIRSH Manipulating Instructional Method: The Effect on Productive Vocabulary Use 117

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CHEN-CHUN LIN / DAVID HIRSH Manipulating Instructional Method: The Effect on Productive Vocabulary Use 1. Introduction Vocabulary knowledge plays an important role in successful second (ESL) and foreign (EFL) language acquisition, and how words can most effectively be learned has long been a concern of second lan- guage (L2) teachers and researchers. While there is some suggestion that explicit learning of vocabulary may be responsible for the major- ity of L2 vocabulary acquisition (Laufer 2001; Laufer/Paribakht 1998; Webb 2008), particularly in the case of high frequency words, there is also an important role for incidental vocabulary learning in L2 vo- cabulary learning (Hunt/Beglar 2005; Waring/Takaki 2003), with recognition that vocabulary development through reading may ac- count for most vocabulary learning, particularly beyond high fre- quency words (see Laufer 1994). One line of enquiry has examined the role of vocabulary knowl- edge in second language writing, with a particular interest in factors that may increase the uptake of new words in writing output. This could be newly acquired words, or words already in a learner’s recep- tive vocabulary knowledge. The motivation behind such research is to inform the teaching and learning context on possible ways to improve the lexical quality of second language writing. Laufer (1994), in a longitudinal study of changes in the lexical component of L2 student writing over time, found modest improve- ments in lexical richness over two semesters of EFL study for her 48 first year university students in Israel. More recently, Lee and Muncie (2006) found...

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