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Building Corpus-Informed Word Lists for L2 Vocabulary Learning in Nine Languages

Conference paper
Authors Frieda Charalabopoulou
Maria Gavrilidou
Sofie Johansson Kokkinakis
Elena Volodina
Published in CALL: Using, Learning, Knowing. EuroCALL Conference, Gothenburg, Sweden, 22-25 August 2012, Proceedings. Eds. Linda Bradley and Sylvie Thouësny., Dublin, Ireland
Volume 2012
ISBN 978-1-908416-03-2
Publication year 2012
Published at Department of Swedish
Language en
Keywords intentional vocabulary learning; corpora; CEFR; corpus-informed word lists; digital cards
Subject categories Specific Languages, Linguistics


Lexical competence constitutes a crucial aspect in L2 learning, since building a rich repository of words is considered indispensable for successful communication. CALL practitioners have experimented with various kinds of computer-mediated glosses to facilitate L2 vocabulary building in the context of incidental vocabulary learning. Intentional learning, on the other hand, is generally underestimated, since it is considered out of fashion and not in line with the communicative L2 learning paradigm. Yet, work is still being done in this area and substantial body of research indicates that the usefulness of incidental vocabulary learning does not exclude the use of dedicated vocabulary study and that by using aids explicitly geared to building vocabularies (such as word lists and word cards) L2 learners exhibit good retention rates and faster learning gains. Intentional vocabulary study should, therefore, have its place in the instructional and learning context. Regardless of the approach, incidental or intentional, the crucial question with respect to vocabulary teaching/learning remains: which and how many words should we teach/learn at different language levels? An attempt to answer the above question was made within the framework of the EU-funded project titled “KELLY” (Keywords for Language Learning for Young and Adults Alike) presented here. The project aimed at building corpus-informed vocabulary lists for L2 learners ranging from A1 to C2 levels for nine languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian and Swedish.

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