Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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This paper deals with the loss of FL-vocabulary in French and German learned in formal secondary Dutch education ("VWO). Using a cross-sectional design, we investigated the development of FL-vocabulary from the end of grade 4 - the moment at which pupils can drop one or two FLs - up to the end of grade 6 - the moment when they take their final exams in the seven subjects they did choose. We compared pupils from grades 4, 5, and 6 who had either dropped the FL, or had chosen it as an exam subject. A French and a German translation task were administered in which pupils had to fill in the target word in a meaningful, but noncoercive context. The tests consisted of a productive part (translation into the FL) and a receptive part (translation from the FL). Either part consisted of 48 equivalent items, 24 high-frequent and 24 low-frequent target words.The main finding was that there was a loss of 16% for French in the second year of non-use, and a comparable loss for German in the first year of non-use. However, the loss for German was entirely redressed in the second year of non-use. It was concluded that this may have been due to the cross-sectional design, and that, therefore, longitudinal designs are to be preferred in this kind of research.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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