VLI 7(1): Mueller (2018)

An Experimental Investigation of HAM, a Novel Mnemonic Technique for Learning L2 Homonyms and Homophones
Charles M. Mueller
Fuji Women’s University
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Over the past 40 years, extensive research has examined the effectiveness of mnemonics for vocabulary learning. Much of this research has investigated the keyword method (Atkinson & Raugh, 1975), which involves linking an image related to a to-be-learned L2 word with an image related to a similar-sounding L1 word. Whereas most research has shown the keyword method to be effective (Webb & Nation, 2017) with impressive long-term retention rates (Beaton, Gruneberg, & Ellis, 1995), some have questioned its usefulness, particularly due to the quality of the resulting lexical representations and extended latencies associated with recall (Barcroft, Sommers, & Sunderman, 2011; Van Hell & Candia Mahn, 1997). Other drawbacks of the keyword technique are the equating of dissimilar L1 and L2 phonemes and the difficulty in creating associations for languages with markedly different phoneme inventories. The current study presents a novel approach called the Homonym/Homophone Association Method (HAM). It overcomes some of the drawbacks of the keyword method by associating meanings of L2 homonyms or homophones, one known by the learner and one unknown. Because the pronunciations of the L2 target words are identical (or nearly identical), learners only need to associate two distinct meanings. A quasi-experiment (N = 71) employing a within-subjects design compared the effectiveness of (1) HAM using researcher-generated associations and images, (2) HAM using self-generated associations, and (3) production practice that involved writing target words in sentences. Results on an unannounced posttest given 3 weeks after instruction suggest an advantage for HAM using researcher-generated associations.

HAM; keyword method; homonyms; homophones; vocabulary learning; mnemonics; puns; humor

Mueller, C. M. (2018). An experimental investigation of HAM, a novel mnemonic technique for learning L2 homonyms and homophones. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 7 (1), 35–50. https://doi.org/10.7820/vli.v07.1.mueller

VLI 7 (1): Alahmadi, Shank, & Foltz (2018)

Vocabulary Learning Strategies and Vocabulary Size: Insights from Educational Level and Learner Styles
Alaa Alahmadi (a), Christopher Shank (a), and Anouschka Foltz (b)
(a) Bangor University; (b) University of Graz
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This study investigates the effect of different vocabulary learning strategies
(VLS) as well as different learner styles on vocabulary size in Saudi
Arabic-speaking students in higher education. The goals of this study were
to examine which VLS undergraduates used more frequently than postgraduates
and vice versa, to determine which VLS related positively and
significantly to vocabulary size, and to explore individual learner styles
and their relationship to vocabulary size. Participants filled in a VLS questionnaire
and completed a vocabulary size test. The results indicated that
undergraduates tended to use simpler strategies than postgraduates. The
strategies of guessing a word’s meaning from context and watching television
related positively with vocabulary size in both groups. Clustering analysis
revealed two learner groups which differed in how frequently they used
VLS overall, rather than in terms of which VLS they preferred. Those students
who used more VLS overall also had larger vocabulary sizes, irrespective
of educational level. We thus found no evidence for differences
in individual learner styles in the current groups. We conclude that VLS
usage should be encouraged overall, but that the need for instructors to
cater to individual vocabulary learning styles may not be warranted.

vocabulary acquisition; vocabulary learning strategies; vocabulary size; postgraduates; Arabic learners of English

Alahmadi et al. (2018). Vocabulary learning strategies and vocabulary size: Insights from educational level and learner styles. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 7 (1), 14–34. https:/doi.org/10.7820/vli.v07.1.alahmadi

VLI 7(1): Kanayama & Kasahara (2018)

The Indirect Effects of Testing: Can Poor Performance in a Vocabulary Quiz Lead to Long-Term L2 Vocabulary Retention?
Kohei Kanayama (a) and Kiwamu Kasahara (b)
(a) Sapporo Otani High School; (b) Hokkaido University of Education
doi: https://doi.org/10.7820/vli.v07.1.kanayama.kasahara
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Taking a test on learned items enhances long-term retention of these items. However, it is believed that good performance in a test contributes to subsequent high retention of the tested items while poor performance does not. Recent studies have sought to find the optimal way to make up for this poor performance, and have indicated that giving the subsequent learning session soon after the test is one such way. This study is different from previous studies in that we used L1–L2 word pairs to examine whether restudying immediately after the failure in the test is useful for long-term retention. First, in the initial study session, all the participants (n = 52) were shown and asked to remember 20 English and Japanese word pairs (e.g., deceit:詐欺). A week later, Group A took the first test session (Initial Test) before the restudy session. On the contrary, Group B took the restudy session before the Initial Test. An hour after this session, both groups took Posttest 1. Then, Posttest 2 was conducted a week after Posttest 1. The results showed that Group A had significantly lower scores than Group B in the Initial Test (2% vs. 55%). However, the results were reversed in Posttest 1 (84.2% vs. 53.2%) and Posttest 2 (55% vs. 43.5%). This study found that a restudy session soon after poor performance in the Initial Test enhanced long-term L2 vocabulary retention because learners benefited from the indirect effects of testing. Thus, English teachers should take such effects into consideration when organizing vocabulary quizzes and restudy sessions.

Kanayama, K. & Kasahara, K. (2018). The indirect effects of testing: Can poor performance in a vocabulary quiz lead to long-term L2 vocabulary retention? Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 7 (1), 1–13. doi: 10.7820/vli.v07.1.kanayama.kasahara

VLI 8(1): Larson-Hall (2019)

Vocabulary Instruction and Learning: A Commentary on Four Studies
Jenifer Larson-Hall
University of Kitakyushu
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Four papers were presented by Shusaku Kida, Magda Kitano
and KatsuhiroChiba, Tim Stoeckel, and Raymond Stubbe. In this article,
my thoughts about the issues raised in these thought-provoking
papers about vocabulary resource processing allocation and the Type of
Processing Resource Allocation (TOPRA) model, the use of flashcards
in vocabulary learning, an empirical evaluation of the New General
Service List (NGSL), and the use of yes–no checklists for multi-word
units are given. The first paper provided some theoretical underpinnings
for thinking about vocabulary acquisition, while the last three papers
were valuable for their extremely timely and practical examination
of issues that are highly important for the acquisition of vocabulary.

Larson-Hall, J. (2019). Vocabulary Instruction and Learning: A Commentary on Four Studies. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 8 (1), 83–95. doi: 10.7820/vli.v08.1.larson-hall

VLI8(1): Kida (2019)

Foreign Language Vocabulary Learning and the Type of Processing-Resource Allocation Model
Shusaku Kida
Hiroshima University
doi: https://doi.org/10.7820/vli.v08.1.kida
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This paper argues the nature of adult foreign or second language (L2) vocabulary learning and points out the importance of word-form learning at the initial stage of vocabulary development. The Type of Processing-Resource Allocation (TOPRA) model is introduced as a prominent theoretical framework to capture it. Finally, some future studies are proposed to reinforce TOPRA-based studies with respect to (1) types of vocabulary processing tasks and (2) dimensions of vocabulary development.

L2 vocabulary learning, form-meaning connection, the type of processing-resource allocation model, semantic and structural processing, acquisition of word knowledge and fluent processing

Kida, S. (2019). Foreign language vocabulary learning and the Type of Processing-Resource Allocation Model. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 8 (1), 76–82. https://doi.org/10.7820/vli.v08.1.kida

VLI 8(1): Kitano & Chiba (2019)

Comparing the Effectiveness of Word Cards and List Learning with Japanese Learners of English
Magda L. Kitano and Katsuhiro Chiba
Bunkyo University
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This study investigated the recall of words learned through two deliberate
learning techniques, word cards and list learning. While the literature
points to word cards as being more effective, Japanese learners
of English are seen to prefer list learning, which may indicate unique
learning styles stemming from a non-alphabetic L1. To test the efficiency
of the two techniques for Japanese learners, 25 university students
of varying English proficiency were divided into four groups.
Following the within-subject design, all groups were subjected to both
treatments. Twenty low-frequency English words were learned within
a 20-min period using one method, and then 20 more words were similarly
learned with the other method. Subjects were tested immediately
after the treatments, after a 20-min distraction period, and after an interval
of 2 weeks. Results from all three testing stages indicated that list
learning was more effective than word cards for these students.

deliberate learning; word cards; list learning; Japanese learners

Kitano, M. L., & Chiba, K. (2019). Comparing the effectiveness of word cards and list learning with Japanese learners of English. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 8 (1), 70–75. https://doi.org/10.7820/vli.v08.1.kitano.chiba

VLI 8(1): Stubbe & Cochrane (2019)

Evaluating the Efficacy of Yes–No Checklist Tests to Assess Knowledge of Multi-Word Lexical Units
Raymond Stubbe (a) and Yumiko Cochrane (b)
(a) Nagasaki University; (b) Kyushu Sangyo University
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One of the many challenges facing Japanese university students studying
English is the multi-word phrase. The English language contains a
large number of such multiple-word items, which act as single words
with a single meaning. This study is concerned with evaluating the efficacy
of yes/no checklist tests to assess knowledge of multi-word units.
Participants (n = 206) took a yes–no test of 30 real words and 15 pseudowords.
The 30 real words were selected from the students’ textbook,
based on the teacher’s intuition of the words and multi-words posing the
greatest learning burden for the students. Twenty-one of the selected
words were single-word items. The remaining nine were multi-words,
such as “get up” and “take turns”. Forty-five minutes following completion
of the yes–no test, an English to Japanese translation test of the
same 30 real words was taken by the same participants to evaluate the
efficacy of yes/no test. Results suggest that the yes–no vocabulary test
format may be able to measure student knowledge of multi-word lexical
units as (or more) effectively than single-word units.

multi word lexical units; yes no vocabulary tests; translation tests; overestimation; Japanese EFL learners

Stubbe, R. and Cochrane, Y. (2019). Evaluating the efficacy of yes–no checklist tests to assess knowledge of multi-word lexical units. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 8 (1), 62–69. https://doi.org/10.7820/vli.v08.1.stubbe.cochrane

VLI 8(1): Stoeckel (2019)

An Examination of the New General Service List
Tim Stoeckel
University of Niigata Prefecture
doi: https://doi.org/10.7820/vli.v08.1.stoeckel
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The New General Service List (NGSL; Browne, Culligan, & Phillips, 2013b) was published on an interim basis in 2013 as a modern replacement for West’s (1953) original General Service List (GSL). This study compared GSL and NGSL coverage of a 6-year, 114-million word section of the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), and used COCA word frequencies as a secondary data source to identify candidates for addition to the NGSL. The NGSL was found to provide 4.32% better coverage of the COCA than the GSL. Moreover, several candidates were identified for inclusion to the NGSL: three are current members of the NGSL’s companion list, the New Academic Word List (Browne, Culligan, & Phillips, 2013a); five are words whose usage has increased in recent years; and five are individual types that appear to have been miscategorized during the original development of the NGSL. Because NGSL word selection was based on not only empirical but also subjective criteria, the article calls for the addition of annotations to the NGSL to explain decisions regarding low-frequency NGSL constituents and high-frequency non-constituents.

New General Service List

Stoeckel, T. (2019). An examination of the New General Service List. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 8 (1), 53–61. https://doi.org/10.7820/vli.v08.1.stoeckel

VLI 8(1): Tono (2019)

Commentary on Four Studies for JALT Vocabulary SIG
Yukio Tono
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
doi: https://doi.org/10.7820/vli.v08.1.Tono
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The four papers in this volume focused on mainly three areas: readability (Pinchbeck), wordlist evaluation (Ishikawa; Culligan), and data-driven learning (McGuire). The author would argue that whilst applied corpus linguistics and L2 vocabulary research are closely related to each other, there has not been much interaction between the two disciplines. The review of the four papers has also shown such lack of interaction between the two fields. By reviewing each study, some additional concepts and previous related studies in corpus linguistics will be presented in order to fill those gaps.

corpus linguistics/ wordlist/ data driven learning/ parallel corpus

Tono, Y. (2019). Commentary on four studies for JALT Vocabulary SIG Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 8 (1), 39–52. https://doi.org/10.7820/vli.v08.1.Tono

VLI 8(1): Culligan (2019)

Evaluating Corpora with Word Lists and Word Difficulty
Brent A. Culligan
Aoyama Gakuin Women’s Junior College
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This study examines the application of an IRT analysis of words on lists including the General Service List (GSL), New General Service List (NGSL), Academic Word List (AWL), New Academic Word List (NAWL), and TOEIC Service List (TSL). By comparing line graphs, density distribution graphs, and boxplots for the average difficulty of each word list to related lists, we can get a visualization of the data’s distribution. Japanese EFL students responded to one or more of 84 Yes/No test forms compiled from 5,880 unique real words and 2,520 nonwords. The real words were analyzed using Winsteps (Linacre, 2005) resulting in IRT estimates for each word. By summing the difficulties of each word, we can calculate the average difficulty of each word list which can then be used to rank the lists. In effect, the process supports the concurrent validity of the lists. The analysis indicates the word family approach results in more difficult word lists. The mean difficulties of the GSL and the BNC_COCA appear to be more divergent and more difficult particularly over the first 4000 words, possibly due to the use of Bauer and Nation’s (1993) Affix Level 6 definition for their compilation. Finally, just as we should expect word lists for beginners to have higher frequency words than subsequent lists, we should also expect them to be easier with more words known to learners. This can be seen with the gradual but marked difference between the different word lists of the NGSL and its supplemental SPs.

IRT, word difficulty, corpus validity, measurement, vocabulary testing, Yes/No test

Culligan, B. A. (2019). Evaluating corpora with word lists and word difficulty. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 8 (1), 29–38. https://doi.org/10.7820/vli.v08.1.Culligan

VLI 8(1): McGuire (2019)

Toward Written Error Correction with a Japanese-English Parallel Corpus: Data-Driven Learning in the Japanese EFL Classroom
Michael McGuire
Kansai Gaidai University
doi: https://doi.org/10.7820/vli.v08.1.McGuire
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The concept of data-driven learning (DDL) – direct student use of corpora – has been gaining attention among researchers and teachers. DDL gives learners the chance to take an inductive approach to learning by recognizing patterns in corpus data rather than following abstract rules. However, very few studies focus on presenting clear practices that other teachers can readily use in their classes, particularly related to written error correction. This paper begins by reviewing research pertaining to DDL in student writing as well as using Japanese-English parallel corpora. It then outlines a recent study by Jenifer Larson-Hall (2015), notes weaknesses in the study, and outlines a current project (McGuire & Larson-Hall, under preparation).

data-driven learning; written error correction; parallel corpora; corpus linguistics

McGuire, M. (2019). Toward written error correction with a Japanese-English parallel corpus: Data-driven learning in the Japanese EFL classroom. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 8 (1), 17–28. doi: 10.7820/vli.v08.1.mcguire