VLI 3(1): Meara (2014)

Vocabulary Research in the Modern Language Journal: A Bibliometric Analysis
Paul M. Meara
Swansea University and Cardiff University
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7820/vli.v03.1.meara

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This paper reports a bibliometric analysis of a set of 201 articles which was published in The Modern Language Journal (MLJ) between 1916 and 2010. All these articles deal with vocabulary acquisition. The paper reports an all-inclusive author co-citation analysis of this data, in an attempt to sketch out the historical development of vocabulary acquisition research. The paper presents a set of maps which shows whose work is being cited in the Journal. Co-citation links between cited sources allow us to identify research clusters which are characterised by patterns of citations. This paper uses these maps to show how the predominant research focus has changed significantly over the period studied. Much of the earlier work published in MLJ no longer figures in more recent research. The more recent research appears to be much more inward-looking and self-referential than is the case for the earlier research. This paper suggests that a co-citation analysis of research in a single journal does not capture the full richness of vocabulary research, which in turn raises some interesting questions about the selectivity of journals and their research biases.

Meara, P.M. (2014). Vocabulary research in The Modern Language Journal: A bibliometric analysis. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 3(1), 1-28. doi: 10.7820/vli.v03.1.meara

VLI 3(1): Stubbe (2014)

Do Japanese Students Overestimate or Underestimate Their Knowledge of English Loanwords More than Non-loanwords on Yes–No Vocabulary Tests?
Raymond Stubbe
Kyushu Sangyo University
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7820/vli.v03.1.stubbe

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English loanwords (LWs), gairaigo in Japanese, make up a much greater percentage of the Japanese language than many university English teachers realize, especially if their native language is not Japanese. Unfortunately, a gairaigo bias exists which has made these LWs unpopular amongst teachers and researchers. The aim of this study is to compare student over-estimation and under-estimation of their knowledge of English LWs on yes–no vocabulary tests with an equal number of non-loanwords (NLWs). Undergraduate students from four Japanese universities (n 0 455) took two vocabulary tests of their receptive and passive recall knowledge of LWs and NLWs. Six LWs and six NLWs from each of the eight JACET 8000 levels were tested in a self- report yes–no test followed by a passive recall translation test (English to Japanese) of the same 96 items. Overall, over-estimation rates were nearly equal at 24.6% for LWs and 25.8% for NLWs. Additionally, over- estimation was more prevalent for NLWs at the higher three frequency levels (1K–3K), nearly equal with LWs at the 4K level and then more prevalent for the LWs at the lower four frequency levels (5K–8K), suggesting that student knowledge of NLWs is weak even at the higher frequency levels. Under-estimation, on the other hand, was much more prevalent for LWs (4.4% versus 0.7%). Six of the 48 LWs actually had higher passive recall test scores than yes–no test scores. These results suggest that although students do not over-estimate their knowledge of LWs more than NLWs on yes–no vocabulary tests, they do under- estimate their LW knowledge much more than NLWs.

over-estimation of lexical knowledge; loanwords; yes-no vocabulary tests; passive recall knowledge; JACET 8000.

Stubbe, R. (2014). Do Japanese students overestimate or underestimate their knowledge of English loanwords more than non-loanwords on yes–no vocabulary tests? Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 3(1), 29-43. doi: 10.7820/vli.v03.1.stubbe

VLI 3(1): Kaneko (2014)

Is the Vocabulary Level of the Reading Section of the TOEFL Internet-Based Test Beyond the Lexical Level of Japanese Senior High School Students?
Masaya Kaneko
Tokyo Denki University
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7820/vli.v03.1.kaneko
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The main goal of the present study is to answer the question of whether the lexical level of the reading section of the TOEFL Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) is beyond the vocabulary level of Japanese senior high school graduates. The lexical level was measured in terms of text coverage. The present study builds upon Chujo and Oghigian’s study. The notable difference in methodology compared to earlier text coverage studies on the TOEFL is an examination of real past TOEFL iBTs. Two objectives are explored in the present study. First, this study aims to examine how well a vocabulary of 3,000 word families, which is the lexical size target for Japanese high school graduates set by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, enables students to comprehend reading passages in the TOEFL iBT. Second, it estimates a vocabulary size required to reach 95% and 98% coverage of these passages. Results showed that the most frequent 3,000 word families plus proper nouns as well as words that are defined in context yielded an average text coverage of 88.5% and that 6,000 word families plus proper nouns and defined words accounted for 95% of the text, and around 10,000 word families 98%. The findings suggest that Japanese high school graduates with a vocabulary of 3,000 word families would be expected to comprehend nearly 50% of reading passages in the TOEFL iBT and that learning a vocabulary beyond the 10,000-word frequency level may not be necessary unless 98% or more text coverage is required.

Kaneko, M. (2014). Is the vocabulary level of the reading section of the TOEFL Internet-based Test beyond the lexical level of Japanese senior high school students? Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 3(1), 44-50. doi: 10.7820/vli.v03.1.kaneko