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New Trends and Directions in Vocabulary Research
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This colloquium critiques the current state of vocabulary research and suggests some directions it should take in the coming decade.  It highlights trends which are becoming increasingly important in vocabulary research, as well as introducing topics which are likely to emerge as key areas in the future. 

 

Topics include range of vocabulary issues.  A key area is the nature of vocabulary acquisition, particularly a topic that is not often discussed: that vocabulary knowledge decays as well as grows.  Sam Barclay discussed how decay needs to incorporated into any discussion of vocabulary learning.

 

In order to better understand vocabulary acquisition, we must measure it.  Numerous vocabulary tests have been developed recently, but most have not been sufficiently validated to demonstrate their quality. Benjamin Kremmel suggests the minimum validation requirements that future vocabulary tests should adhere to, and shows how computer/internet technology can be harnessed to create improved tests in the future.  But measurement can go beyond traditional vocabulary tests.  An exciting development is the use of online measurement.  Ana Pellicer-Sánchez shows how eye-tracking methodology can be used to measure learning and processing as it happens while learners are reading.   

 

Vocabulary acquisition comes from exposure, and Stuart Webb shows how audio-visual materials can be used to increase learner exposure to language.  Computer gaming is extremely popular worldwide, and Mike Rodgers discusses how it can be harnessed to facilitate vocabulary acquisition.  These two sources of input lead to incidental acquisition, but instructed approaches typically lead to more robust learning.   Geoff Pinchbeck and Diane Schmitt discuss how word lists can better guide this instruction if they are created with specific learning goals in mind.  One the most difficult aspects of vocabulary to learn is multiword formulaic expressions (e.g. collocations, idioms), and Frank Boers critiques the effectiveness of various teaching approaches of these expressions.

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