VLI 6(1): Munby (2017)

i-lex v1 and v2: An Improved Method of Assessing L2 Learner Ability to See Connections between Words?
Ian Munby
Hokkai Gakuen University
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7820/vli.v06.1.Munby
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Abstract
Knowing a word’s associations is considered an aspect of word knowledge.
It follows that L2 learner ability to see connections between
words may improve with gains in vocabulary knowledge. Word association
tests (WATs) may measure not only learner ability to see links
between words, but they may also assess the degree of organization
of L2 learner lexical knowledge which plays a role in the development
of lexical competence. The aim of this study is to develop a new WAT
wherein learners are presented with the three most common associates
of a cue word. The task is to supply the missing cue word. Following
this format, a test was developed using sets of three cue words chosen
from the five most common associates to 50 target words (TWs) listed
in the Edinburgh Associative Thesaurus, or EAT. Results of an initial
study (i-lex v1) showed that, on average, a group of native speakers
outperformed an experimental group of Japanese learners of English
ranging in level from elementary to upper intermediate. Further, both
in the initial study and a follow-up study (i-lex v2), significant and positive
correlations were found among nonnative i-lex scores and a translation
test. In i-lex v2, significant and positive correlations were also
found among nonnative i-lex scores and the New Vocabulary Levels
Test. These results indicate that the ability of these groups of participants
to see links between highly frequent English words is related to
their vocabulary knowledge.

Citation
Munby I. (2017). i-lex v1 and v2: An improved method of assessing L2 learner ability to see connections between words?. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 6 (1), 75–94. doi: 10.7820/vli.v06.1.Munby

VLI 6(1): González (2017)

Profiling Lexical Diversity in College-level Writing
Melanie C. González
Salem State University
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7820/vli.v06.1.Gonzalez
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Abstract
The present paper reports on a study that examined the contribution
of lexical frequency to lexical diversity in narrative texts composed
by 119 multilingual and monolingual English-speaking students
enrolled in first-year college writing courses. The Measure of Textual
Lexical Diversity (MTLD) quantified lexical diversity and the
BNC-COCA 25 strand in Lextutor’s VocabProfile Compleat sorted
the words according to frequency band. Overall, results from statistical
analyses indicated that sample’s lexical diversity was not significantly
impacted by the use of high-frequency (1,000–3,000 bands) or
low-frequency (9,000+ bands) terms. Instead, texts showed greater
differences in the mid-frequency (3,000–9,000) bands (p < 0.05). There
were also significant differences between MTLD writers’ written
productive use of mid-frequency words. Consequently, findings suggest
that mid-frequency vocabulary may play a greater role in academic
writing quality than the attention it is typically given in the L2
writing classroom.

Keywords
second-language writing; second-language vocabulary; lexical diversity; lexical frequency; academic writing.

Citation
González, M. C. (2017). Profiling lexical diversity in college-level writing. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 6 (1), 61–74. doi: 10.7820/vli.v06.1.Gonzalez

Editor correction: The DOI on this landing page is accurate. We request readers disregard the DOI on the .pdf because DOI/Crossref cataloguing does not ‘read’ special charatcers.

VLI 6(1): Cutler (2017)

The Use of Psycholinguistic Formulaic Language in the Speech of Higher Level Japanese Speakers of English
Stephen F. Cutler
Cardiff University
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7820/vli.v06.1.Cutler
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Abstract
A recent study by Cordier (2013) suggests that psycholinguistic formulaic
sequences (multiword units that present a processing advantage
to the individual speaker) may be more prevalent in L2 speakers than
previously thought. The current study adopts the same identification
process to explore the use of psycholinguistic formulaic sequences in
the speech of Japanese Speakers of English (JSE).
Eight adult JSE at intermediate or advanced levels of English each performed
two speaking tasks: a structured interview and a narration task.
Formulaic sequences were identified on the basis of hierarchical conditions
applied in strict order. The first condition was fluency and the second
condition checked for holisticity (using given diagnostic criteria).
For each sample, two measures of formulaicity were calculated: FS%
(the percentage of syllables that were part of a formulaic sequence) and
ANR (the average number of formulaic syllables per run).
The mean formulaicity of the samples (FS%=34.6%, ANR=1.64) suggests
that psycholinguistic formulaic sequences, as defined and identified here,
may be a significant feature in the speech of intermediate/advanced JSE.
The study also confirms the sensitivity of the results to task, with significantly
more formulaic sequences used in the interview task than in the
narration. Overall, the identification process was found to be a useful and
systematic way of identifying formulaic sequences, but some further refinements
of the diagnostic criteria and measures used are also suggested.

Citation
Cutler, S. F. (2017). The Use of Psycholinguistic Formulaic Language in the Speech of Higher Level Japanese Speakers of English. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 6 (1), 48–60. doi: 10.7820/vli.v06.1.Cutler

VLI 6(1): Henriksen & Westbrook (2017)

Responding to Research Challenges Related to Studying L2 Collocational Use in Professional Academic Discourse
Birgit Henriksen and Pete Westbrook
University of Copenhagen
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7820/vli.v06.1.Henriksen
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Abstract
This study describes the English collocational use of non-native university
teachers from two different disciplines lecturing in an Englishmedium
instruction context at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH).
The primary focus is on how we addressed the research challenges involved
in identifying and classifying collocations used by L2 speakers in
advanced, domain-specific oral academic discourse. The main findings
seem to suggest that to map an informant’s complete collocational use
and to get an understanding of disciplinary differences, we need to not
only take account of general, academic and domain-specific collocations
but also need to cover the full range of both lexical and grammatical
collocations.

Citation
Henriksen B. and Westbrook P. (2017). Responding to research challenges related to studying L2 collocational use in professional academic discourse. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 6 (1), 32–47. doi: 10.7820/vli.v06.1.Henriksen.Westbrook

VLI 6(1): Ishii (2017)

The Impact of Semantic Clustering on the Learning of Abstract Words
Tomoko Ishii
Meiji Gakuin University
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7820/vli.v06.1.Ishii
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Abstract
It has been repeatedly argued among vocabulary researchers that semantically
related words should not be taught simultaneously because they
might interfere with each other. However, the types of relatedness that
cause interference have rarely been examined carefully. In addition, past
studies that have examined this issue disagree, with some providing results
showing that semantic clustering does not cause interference and
confusion. Reviewing the literature on working memory, a previous paper
by the author indicated that psychologists have long seen visual stimulus
as an important component of information processing. Researchers
of vocabulary learning have also witnessed some evidence that learners
do resort to visual imagery when trying to remember new words. Based
on such psychological and applied linguistic research, previous research
by the author revealed that visually related items may cause confusion
despite the lack of semantic connection. Conversely, visually controlled,
semantically related items do not seem to cause confusion. This paper
presents the follow-up study, examining the learning of semantically related
abstract words that do not have concrete visual images. No evidence
to indicate any confusion in the learning of such items was obtained.
This supports the working hypothesis that the impeding effect of semantic
clustering repeatedly reported in the past could partly be due to the
shared visual features of semantically similar words.

Keywords
vocabulary, semantic clustering, interference, abstract
words, visual imagery.

Citation
Ishii, T. (2017). The impact of semantic clustering on the learning of abstract words. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 6 (1), 21–31. doi: 10.7820/vli.v06.1.Ishii

VLI 6(1): Hatami (2017)

The Impact of Learner-Related Variables on Second Language Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition through Listening
Sarvenaz Hatami
California State University Long Beach
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7820/vli.v06.1.Hatami
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Abstract
Little is known about the complex process of L2 incidental vocabulary
acquisition from listening and the factors that contribute to its success.
To expand our knowledge in this area, the present study investigated the
impact of five learner-related variables on L2 incidental vocabulary acquisition
from listening. These variables were gender, L2 vocabulary knowledge,
amount of L2 listening (for academic purposes and pleasure), level
of enjoyment, and (self-reported) level of comprehension. Ninety-nine
Iranian English as a foreign language (EFL) learners at pre-intermediate
levels of English proficiency were randomly assigned to a listening group
and a control group. Sixteen target words were chosen in a graded reader
and were then replaced by 16 English-like non-words. The participants
listened to the graded reader containing the 16 non-words and completed
a vocabulary post-test immediately after the listening session. The posttest
measured participants’ knowledge of five different dimensions of
word knowledge at the level of recognition. The findings revealed that
while gender and amount of L2 listening appear to have no impact on incidental
vocabulary gains from listening, L2 vocabulary knowledge, level of
enjoyment, and level of comprehension are important facilitating factors.

Citation
Hatami, S. (2017). The impact of learner-related variables on second language incidental vocabulary acquisition through listening. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 6 (1), 1–20. doi: 10.7820/vli.v06.1.Hatami