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Language in Focus

International Journal Of Studies In Applied Linguistics And Elt

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The Impact of L1 Lexical Organisation on L2 Vocabulary Acquisition

Ahmed Masrai / James Milton
Published Online: 2015-07-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lifijsal-2015-0002


This paper presents an empirical study investigating the relationship between first language (L1) lexical organisation and second language (L2) vocabulary development. The participants consisted of 191 native Arabic learners of English as a foreign language (EFL) within higher secondary education in Saudi Arabia. To conduct the study, two receptive vocabulary size tests (L1 Arabic-Lex and L2 English X-Lex) were used with an L1 lexical organisation test (ALOT) which was designed for the purpose of the study. Learners' L1 lexical organisation scores were found to be associated with their L1 and L2 receptive vocabulary scores. However, the strong correlation found between lexical organisation and the size of the lexicon in learners’ L1 might well suggest that lexical networks and the size of the lexicon are one unified system. Nevertheless, to find any potential interaction between L1 lexical organisation and size on L2 vocabulary acquisition, ‘moderation’ analyses were performed. Moderation results revealed three levels of interaction; low, average and high. The low level shows that a low level of lexical organisation leads to low levels of L1 and L2 vocabulary size. The same relationship trend was logged for average and high levels. These results thus emphasise the importance of a well-structured L1 mental lexicon on L2 vocabulary acquisition


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About the article

Published Online: 2015-07-11

Published in Print: 2015-07-01

Citation Information: Language in Focus, ISSN (Online) 2300-9764, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lifijsal-2015-0002.

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© 2015. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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