Edited by Robert M. DeKeyser and Goretti Prieto Botana
[Language Learning & Language Teaching 52] 2019
► pp. 179–200
Chapter 9. Lexical development in the writing of intensive English program students
This paper focuses on vocabulary development in intensive English program (IEP) students, comparing free writing data from an IEP to previous research in more controlled contexts. These free writing data derive from writing assignments collected from students with three language backgrounds: Arabic (n = 22), Chinese (n = 20) and Korean (n = 19), who studied at the intermediate and subsequently the advanced levels of an IEP in the USA. The main finding was that a purely text-based measure of diversity, vocD, did not capture gains in lexical development, whereas a measure of lexical sophistication, Advanced Guiraud (AG), did show measureable improvement. Discussion focuses on a more theoretically complex conceptualization of lexical development, how experimental methods compare with ‘messy’ classroom corpus data, and the problem of text length. Specific pedagogical recommendations include more focus more on lexical quality (Perfetti & Hart, 2002) and words at lower frequency bands (3000–9000).