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Academic Paper

Title: Vocabulary knowledge in relation to memory and analysis: An approximate replication of Milton's (2007) study on lexical profiles and learning style
Author: Paul Booth
Institution: Kingston University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Abstract: This paper presents an approximate replication of Milton's (2007) study on lexical profiles and learning style. Milton investigated the assumption that more frequent words are acquired before less frequent ones. Using a vocabulary recognition test (X-Lex) to measure vocabulary size, Milton found that L2 English group profiles show a linear relationship between greater knowledge of high frequency words and lesser knowledge of low frequency items. The profiles also showed variability in individual profiles. Milton hypothesised that the individual differences in profiles are partly attributable to different approaches to learning, as elicited via language aptitude tests of memory and analysis. Learner profiles that showed a linear relationship with vocabulary frequency scored higher on analysis; learners who had irregular profiles scored higher on memory. The aim of this replication is to confirm whether learning style helps to determine what L2 lexis is learnt. It duplicates the vocabulary size test and the memory and analysis tests. However, the replication uses regression analyses, rather than a single ANOVA, to determine whether memory or analysis contributes to vocabulary knowledge. Moreover, the participants’ L1 backgrounds are mixed, and they are older. The results from this replication do not support Milton's findings, but a post-study supports the notion that at low proficiency there is a relationship between memory and vocabulary size. It is concluded that neither memory nor analysis is related to patterns in lexical profiles, but that memory contributes to vocabulary size.


This article appears IN Language Teaching Vol. 46, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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