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Passive vocabulary size and speed of meaning recognition: are they related?

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posted on 25.06.2020 by Paul Nation, B Laufer
This paper examines the relationship between fluency and vocabulary size, and also between fluency and word frequency level. Fluency was operationalised as the time learners need to recognize meanings of words sampled from different frequency levels. It was measured by a computerised vocabulary recognition speed test (VORST). The test was given to 488 native and non-native speakers who were divided by vocabulary size into four groups. The four groups were compared on speed of response to the 3000 level and University Word List (UWL) words. Speed was also correlated with vocabulary size. Additionally, response times to different frequency levels were compared for each subject. Results suggest that speed of retrieval is moderately related to vocabulary size and word frequency. Non-native speakers’ increase in speed lags behind increase in vocabulary size. Non-native speakers also respond more slowly to less frequent words. Responses of native speakers, on the other hand, are more homogeneous across subjects and across vocabulary frequencies. Speed of retrieval cannot be fully predicted from vocabulary knowledge and therefore speed tests should supplement tests of vocabulary size and depth.

History

Preferred citation

(2001). Passive vocabulary size and speed of meaning recognition: are they related? EUROSLA Yearbook, 1, 7-28. https://doi.org/10.1075/eurosla.1.05lau

Journal title

EUROSLA Yearbook

Volume

1

Publication date

01/01/2001

Pagination

7-28

Publisher

John Benjamins Publishing Company

Publication status

Published

Contribution type

Article

ISSN

1568-1491

eISSN

1569-9749

Language

en

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