A Comparison of Vocabulary Learning through Listening and Vocabulary Enhancement Activities

| September 3, 2014


A Comparison of Vocabulary Learning through Listening and Vocabulary Enhancement Activities

Keywords: L2 vocabulary learning, incidental vocabulary learning, intentional vocabulary learning, vocabulary acquisition, vocabulary retention


Kaoru Kobayashi & Andrea Little
Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, Japan
Waseda University, Japan

Kaoru Kobayashi teaches English to university students in Japan. Her research interests are in genre analysis, CALL and teaching vocabulary to students in ESP settings. She has an MA in TESOL from New York University and a PhD in applied linguistics from University of Malaya.

Andrea Little teaches EAP and ESP in Japan to university students, including at Waseda University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, and in intensive programs for adults. Her research interests are vocabulary acquisition and strategy use, CALL, and TBLT. She has an MSc in TESP from Aston University.


The present study compared incidental and intentional vocabulary learning supplemented by meaning-focused input (see Hulstijn, 2001, for the positive effects) with word types as a parameter. The target vocabulary included English words and technical terms required by Japanese students. The participants were 24 Japanese bioscience majors. During the 17-week course of study, half of them learned the target words intentionally through reading plus vocabulary enhancement activities (RV), while the other half learned the same set of vocabulary incidentally through reading plus thematically-related listening activities (RL). The target vocabularywere65 words selected specifically for bioscience students using a lexical profiler that incorporates three kinds of word lists: the Academic Word List (AWL), the LS Wordlist (Hagiwara & Naito, 2009), and the JACET 8000 List (Japan Association of College English Teachers, 2003).Statistical analyses of the pretest, retention and acquisition tests showed that RV and RL are equally effective and that word type affects the students’ retention of vocabulary.



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