Volume 14 Number 2
June 2010 Click here for the pdf.


Yu-Hua Chen and Paul Baker
Lancaster University

This paper adopts an automated frequency-driven approach to identify frequently-used word combinations (i.e., lexical bundles) in academic writing. Lexical bundles retrieved from one corpus of published academic texts and two corpora of student academic writing (one L1, the other L2), were investigated both quantitatively and qualitatively. Published academic writing was found to exhibit the widest range of lexical bundles whereas L2 student writing showed the smallest range. Furthermore, some high-frequency expressions in published texts, such as in the context of, were underused in both student corpora, while the L2 student writers overused certain expressions (e.g., all over the world) which native academics rarely used. The findings drawn from structural and functional analyses of lexical bundles also have some pedagogical implications.
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Modality of Input and Vocabulary Acquisition
Tetyana Sydorenko
Michigan State University

This study examines the effect of input modality (video, audio, and captions, i.e., on-screen text in the same language as audio) on (a) the learning of written and aural word forms, (b) overall vocabulary gains, (c) attention to input, and (d) vocabulary learning strategies of beginning L2 learners. Twenty-six second-semester learners of Russian participated in this study. Group one (N = 8) saw video with audio and captions (VAC); group two (N = 9) saw video with audio (VA); group three (N = 9) saw video with captions (VC). All participants completed written and aural vocabulary tests and a final questionnaire.
The results indicate that groups with captions (VAC and VC) scored higher on written than on aural recognition of word forms, while the reverse applied to the VA group. The VAC group learned more word meanings than the VA group. Results from the questionnaire suggest that learners paid most attention to captions, followed by video and audio, and acquired most words by associating them with visual images. Pedagogical implications of this study are that captioned video tends to aid recognition of written word forms and the learning of word meaning, while non-captioned video tends to improve listening comprehension as it facilitates recognition of aural word forms.
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The Effect of Interactivity with a Music Video Game on Second Language Vocabulary Recall
Jonathan deHaan, University of Shizuoka
W. Michael Reed, New York University, Radford University
Katsuko Kuwada, Tohoku University

Video games are potential sources of second language input; however, the medium’s fundamental characteristic, interactivity, has not been thoroughly examined in terms of its effect on learning outcomes. This experimental study investigated to what degree, if at all, video game interactivity would help or hinder the noticing and recall of second language vocabulary. Eighty randomly-selected Japanese university undergraduates were paired based on similar English language and game proficiencies. One subject played an English-language music video game for 20 minutes while the paired subject watched the game simultaneously on another monitor. Following gameplay, a vocabulary recall test, a cognitive load measure, an experience questionnaire, and a two-week delayed vocabulary recall test were administered. Results were analyzed using paired samples t-tests and various analyses of variance. Both the players and the watchers of the video game recalled vocabulary from the game, but the players recalled significantly less vocabulary than the watchers. This seems to be a result of the extraneous cognitive load induced by the interactivity of the game; the players perceived the game and its language to be significantly more difficult than the watchers did. Players also reported difficulty simultaneously attending to gameplay and vocabulary. Both players and watchers forgot significant amounts of vocabulary over the course of the study. We relate these findings to theories and studies of vocabulary acquisition and video game-based language learning, and then suggest implications for language teaching and learning with interactive multimedia.
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Using Mobile Phones for Vocabulary Activities: Examining the Effect of the Platform
Glenn Stockwell
Waseda University

While problems such as small screens and inconvenient keypads have been pointed out by researchers (e.g., Thornton & Houser, 2002), we still have little knowledge of how the mobile platform affects the way in which activities are completed and how learners make decisions about using mobile phones. Stockwell (2007b) provided preliminary evidence that learners generally require more time to complete vocabulary activities and achieved slightly lower scores on mobile phones when compared to completing the same activities on desktop computers, but data in the study were limited. The current study examines 175 pre-intermediate learners of English who could choose to complete vocabulary activities on either a mobile phone or a desktop computer to identify the effect of the mobile platform. Data were collected from three cohorts of learners over a three-year period, and learner activity was analysed for the amount of time required to complete activities on both platforms and the scores they achieved for the activities. The results of the study are discussed in terms of how the platform affects learners’ ability to complete tasks, whether continued usage contributes to improved performance or sustained usage of the mobile platform over time. Trends across the yearly cohorts were also identified.
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