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International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching

Ed. by Jordens, Peter / Roberts, Leah

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Standardized and tailor-made tests probe different factors influencing the acquisition of second language vocabulary by children

Marta MareckaORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2873-9395 / Agnieszka OtwinowskaORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1127-3982 / Anna JelecORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4000-7608
Published Online: 2019-02-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/iral-2016-0140


Studies investigating the relationship between phonological short term memory, phonological awareness and vocabulary in L2 child learners yield mixed results. Those differences may be caused by the vocabulary assessment tools used in research. Tailor-made vocabulary tests based on the input the L2 learners receive may deliver different results than standardized tests based on L1 norms. To investigate this assumption, we examined the effect of phonological short-term memory and phonological awareness on L2 vocabulary size in child learners using a standardized and a tailor-made test based on L2 participants’ textbooks. The results of both tests were correlated, indicating that they measured the same construct. Results of both tests were influenced by children’s English phonological awareness scores, but while the Standardized Test was related to phonological short-term memory scores, the Textbook Test was related to nonverbal IQ. We suggest that standardised and tailor-made tests tap into two different modes of vocabulary acquisition.

Keywords: EFL; L2 vocabulary acquisition; vocabulary testing; classroom acquisition; phonological factors in acquisition


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About the article

Published Online: 2019-02-06

This work was support by the Narodowe Centrum Nauki, Grant Number: 2012/07/N/HS6/00415.

Citation Information: International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, ISSN (Online) 1613-4141, ISSN (Print) 0019-042X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/iral-2016-0140.

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