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Invited Commentary: Vocabulary (Report)

Language, Learning & Technology, 2010, June, 14, 2

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While attending a conference in Brazil in 1998, the first author came across a store specializing in video games called "Game Over." When asked if the locals knew what that expression meant, the store manager's matter-of-fact reply was, "Todo o mundo sabe" (literally, "the whole world knows"). He may be right. It turns out that the phrase game over is recognized practically worldwide (just do a few language-specific Google searches to get an idea), and one need not stretch the imagination very much to guess why. While formal research into the effect various technologies have on vocabulary acquisition is still in its infancy, it is clear that--intentionally or incidentally--students have used various electronic media to learn new words for some time now. Moreover, although it is still far from clear exactly how one acquires vocabulary in a second language even from "traditional" media such as newspapers and books (see Schmitt, 2010, for a review), the growing ethos among L2 pedagogy practitioners seems to be that technologies like computerized corpora, captioned videos, electronic games, and mobile phones can somehow enhance the learning and teaching of new words. The timeliness, therefore, of the four data-informed papers in this special edition in supporting that ethos is indisputable. Perhaps less obvious are the further questions that the respective studies beg--ones that perhaps we did not even realize needed asking. Chen and Baker, for example, in their paper Lexical bundles in L1 and L2 academic writing show that a computer can facilitate the comparison of phraseological patterns between what native experts write and what learners actually produce. The authors conclude that although there is much overlap, there are also key differences (e.g., a tendency for students to over-generalize in the target language), and suggest that L2 writers can improve by using certain bundles used by native writers. The effectiveness with which they take advantage of technology to compile their list of bundles using both quantitative and qualitative methods is clear, but perhaps it is only a beginning. Questions that now still need to be addressed include

Invited Commentary: Vocabulary (Report)
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  • 2,99 €
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Industries & Professions
  • Published: 01 June 2010
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii, National Foreign Language Resource Center
  • Print Length: 10 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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