Volume 32, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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In this article an account is given of research concerning vocabulary acquisition in a foreign language and its provisional didactic implications.Until recently, word learning was a neglected aspect of foreign language acquisition. Now, the importance of vocabulary acquisition for high level competence of the foreign language has been recognized and in research growing attention is paid to this aspect. Such research aims at developing a systematically worked-out strategy for teaching and learning words, thereby taking into account insights based on linguistics and on cognitive psychology.More and more linguistic theories no longer consider the lexicon as a collection of individual items, but as a system in which the elements are interrelated and from which they derive their values. The learner will have to be informed about the structure of the lexicon at the syntactic level as well as at the semantic level and about how words function in the foreign language.Vocabulary acquisition research in cognitive psychology mainly focused on mnemonics which are required for paired associative learning. Of greater importance to vocabulary acquisition, however, is research on how the memory functions. In this connection the most important memory theories will be discussed.In discussing the didactic applications of these often speculative insights a distinction is made between techniques which base their approach of vocabulary acquisition on linguistics principles, techniques which make an expUcit difference between a receptive and a productive knowledge of vocabulary and techniques which include presenting words in context.Although it is a step in the right direction in that growing attention is paid to the teaching and learning of foreign vocabulary, there still remains much research to be done, especially at the empirical level.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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