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Speaking American: A History of English in the United States

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Language, Literacy, and Technology

By Richard Kern

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Academic Paper


Title: Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition from Language Input and from Form-focused Activities
Author: Batia Laufer
Institution: University of Haifa
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition
Abstract: Interest in L2 vocabulary learning and teaching started long before the nineteen-eighties (for references to earlier studies, see Rob Waring's database ) but it declined with the advent of generative linguistics to the point of discrimination and neglect (Meara 1980). In 1986, I argued that vocabulary was about to acquire a legitimate and prominent place within applied linguistics (Laufer 1986), but I did not envisage the vast quantities of lexical research that would have been produced in the following two decades. One of the central concerns of vocabulary researchers is the source of L2 vocabulary learning. Is it L2 input, enhanced input, interaction, communicative tasks, non-communicative ‘artificial’ exercises, list learning, or repetition? A similar question is addressed by SLA researchers in general. This similarity of interests, which demonstrates the integration of vocabulary into mainstream SLA, prompted me to define the topic of this timeline as I did. And since the field of SLA developed in the 1980s, this timeline starts in the nineteen-eighties. I focus here on the external sources of learning, i.e. language input and instructional techniques, and not on learner-related variables, like motivation, L1, age, or strategies of learning. Nor do I focus on any other areas of lexical research, important as they may be, such as the construct of vocabulary knowledge, lexical development, testing, bilingual mental lexicon, or corpora analyses.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Language Teaching Vol. 42, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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