VLI 4(1): McDonald & Asaba (2015)

‘‘I Don’t Know’’ Use and Guessing on the Bilingual Japanese Vocabulary Size Test: A Preliminary Report
Kurtis McDonald (a) and Mayumi Asaba (b)
(a) Kobe College; (b) Kwansei Gakuin University
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7820/vli.v04.1.mcdonald.asaba
Download this article (pdf)

This preliminary report outlines an investigation into ‘‘I don’t know’’
use and guessing on the 14,000-word family, 140-item bilingual Japanese
Vocabulary Size Test (VST) translated by Sasao and Nakata from the
original monolingual English version. Four first-year Japanese university
students completed the modified Japanese VST in two passes: without
guesses on unknown items and with guesses on these items. Individual
semi-structured retrospective interviews were then conducted to identify
how the guesses were determined. Findings suggest that ‘‘I don’t know’’
use was largely consistent with learner proficiency and word family
frequency levels and that guesses were more likely to be informed than
uniformed. Using the classification of reasoning behind the guesses made,
various vocabulary size estimates can be determined for each learner, with
much greater differences between the more strict and more sensitive
estimates found among the lower proficiency learners.

McDonald, K. & Asaba, M. (2015). ‘‘I Don’t Know’’ use and guessing on the bilingual Japanese vocabulary size test: A preliminary report. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 4 (1), 16-25. doi: 10.7820/vli.v04.1.mcdonald.asaba