Taalonderwijs aan gevorderden
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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The article is opened with an account of the state ot the art concerning vocabulary studies within Applied Linguistics in the late 1970s, which shows that experiments in the classroom, i.e. in situ, are the best alternative to formulating and testing hypotheses based on non-existent or unproven theories. One's breadth of option in the matter of experiments in situ is very limited 'indeed (control and manipulation of dependent and inde-pendent variables, and setting up control groups being virtually impossible). An Adequacy study is proposed with the following features: analyses and comparison of (a) curriculum input, and (c) native speaker output. The article goes on to concentrate on (b), i.e. two longitudinal studies and one cross-sectional study of second-year students of English, and is then narrowed down to a report on one of the two longitudinal studies.It is shown that this one student did a great deal of incidental learning. A careful reconstruction of his workbook shows that he was a late bloomer: he had a 96-page personal vocabulary file which at first he hardly put to productive use. Then in the second semester there was a sudden lexical outburst, which proves that it is motivation and dogged determination that lead to lexical resource utilization. Other students' comments ('slogger/ toiler/fanatic') express a dubious attitude to vocabulary learning. This case-study also shows that lexis is part and parcel of communication strategies, a point which is obvious enough, though cheerfully overlooked by too many students. In quantitative and qualitative terms this student is shown to be a very good lexical performer. His output in the 10.000+ Frequency range is superior (percentage-wise), and his versati-lity in the matter of idiomatic English and number of exclusive items is manifest.With specific reference tot the 25-student cross-sectional study the important conclusion is drawn that at university level one has a very long way to go lexically speaking.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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