Northern Exposure Introducing US students to Quebec

Effects of CALL instruction on
high-level, low-frequency
English vocabulary
Linguistics, CUNY Graduate Center
Euna Cho
• Background information on L2 vocabulary
knowledge and learning
• Methods and procedures of the study
• Results and further research suggestions
• Importance of vocabulary learning in L2 language
learning, yet teaching is neglected due to the belief in
vocabulary learning through extensive reading
• Effectiveness in more form-focused, deliberate,
intentional teaching in L2 vocabulary acquisition,
especially for high-level, low-frequency words shown on
the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
• Advantages of Computer-Assisted Language Learning
(CALL) instruction in L2 vocabulary teaching
Frequent word lists
• General Service List (GSL) of English words: 1,964
word families (West, 1953), 80% coverage
• New General Service List (NGSL): 2,368 word families
(Browne, 2013), 90% coverage
• Academic Word List (AWL): 570 word families outside
the GSL (Coxhead, 2000)
Required number of words
• Approx. 3,000 words to engage in a daily
conversation (Laufer & Nation, 2011)
• 6,000-9,000 words to understand radio interviews or
literature (Laufer & Nation, 2011)
• 10,000 words to understand 95% of the general texts
(Hazenberg & Hulstijn, 1996)
• 17,000 words: receptive knowledge of collegeeducated native English speakers (Zechmeister et al.,
Frequency of encounters
• A learner should see the same word more than 10
times (Laufer & Nation, 2011).
• Each new experience with the word should take
place before the word is forgotten (Laufer, 2006).
• A learner should read 1-2 books per week, which will
take 29 years to learn the most frequent 2,000 words
(Zahar et al., 2001)
 Learning vocabulary through reading may not work.
Academic words
• Receptive knowledge of 17,000 words among collegeeducated native English speakers (Zechmeister et al.,
• Learners pursuing higher education should have
vocabulary knowledge used in academic contexts.
• Moderate use in academic settings; rare in general
context (e.g., convoluted, gratuitous, vociferous)
• Low-frequency of appearance (Coxhead, 2000)
• Form-focused, deliberate, and intentional learning of
vocabulary words  Vocabulary should be taught!
CALL learning environment
• Vocabulary is one of the most prevalent applications
in a CALL environment.
• Multimedia applications: pictorial, audio-visual
information in addition to traditional textual cues
• Retention is easier and more effective when words
are learned in multiple modes (Chun & Plass, 1996).
• Multimedia cues yield promising outcomes in L2
vocabulary acquisition (Akbulut, 2007; Al-Seghayer,
2001; Chun & Plass, 1996; Yoshii & Flaitz, 2002)
• Efficacy of computer-mediated multimedia aids
shown on beginner and intermediate level
vocabulary (Al-Seghayer, 2005; Chun & Plass, 1996;
Mohsen & Balakumar, 2011; Yoshii & Flaitz, 2002)
• Little attention paid to high-level infrequent words
that are important for particular purposes
• Advanced-level words are hard to learn, requiring
special attention (e.g., multimedia aids)
The present study
• Efficacy of multimedia cues (video) on advancedlevel English vocabulary shown on the GRE
• 15 Korean L1 students preparing for graduate study
in the U.S.
• Testing 40 unfamiliar words selected from the
pre-test (60 items)
• Pre-test  Definition  Treatment (video / text)
 Post-test 1 (immediate)  Post-test 2 (7 days)
 Post-test 3 (2 weeks)
Context of the study
• 4 week intensive GRE lecture series in Seoul,
South Korea (4 hours X 5 days) in July 2014
• Total enrollment: 27 (9 male, 18 female)
recruited from an internet blog
• Instruction focused on vocabulary, reading
comprehension, and essay writing
• Target number of vocabulary: 1,500 GRE words
– Etymology, images, videos, and mnemonics
• 23  15 for final analysis (6 male and 9 female)
• Age: 24-34 (Mean 28, SD 2.94)
• Length of residence: 0-10 years (Mean 1.16, SD 2.56)
• M-TELP listening (45): 28-42 (Mean 33.8, SD 4.63)
• Pre-test results (40): 0-5 (Mean 1.2, SD 1.42)
Pre-test (60)
• 60 items tested by 24 students (outside 5,000 frequent words)
• 40 items below 10% of correctness selected
Final test items (40)
Pre- and post-tests
• Experimental group (video group)
– Dictionary annotations (Korean/English)
– Video clips with subtitles
• Control group (text group)
– Dictionary annotations (Korean/English)
– Handout with scripts of the video clips
Dictionary annotations
Video clips
• 40 video clips from movies or TV shows
• Edited to show the gist (5-20 seconds) with subtitles
• Repeated with synonyms or definition
(e.g., pulchritude vs. beauty)
• Visually represented with gestures and facial
• Played one time with a description or background
Are you and your friends gonna be over here all the time like partying and
hanging out? Oh, don’t worry. I am not really a party girl. Wow, don’t just be
blurting stuff out. I want you to really think about your answers.
From: Friends
As you can see, I don’t look like that. That was a moment of useful
pulchritude that is long since past. Youthful pulchritude? Don’t ask me what
pulchritude means. Pulchritude means beauty.
From: Puccini for Beginners
King, you’re majesty. I gravel at your feet. It’s not gravel, it’s grovel.
From: Lion King
Handout for text group
Script for the instructor
Limitations and further research
• A small number of participants
• Vocabulary size test
• Vocabulary learning experience
• Participants from diverse language
• More precisely-structured instruction
(e.g., recorded instruction)
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Coxhead, A. (2000). A new academic word list. TESOL quarterly, 34(2), 213-238.
Hazenberg, S., & Hulstun, J. H. (1996). Defining a minimal receptive secondlanguage vocabulary for non-native university students: An empirical investigation.
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Thank you!
CUNY Graduate Center
Euna Cho ([email protected])

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