The Use of Word Association in Learning/Expanding Vocabulary Knowledge by Iranian EFL Learners
Abstract – The current study investigated the relationship between vocabulary size and word association knowledge in the Iranian EFL context. In tandem with the main underlying tenets of the investigation, the researchers strived to find whether instruction through word association offers any potential advantages as to the Iranian EFL learners' retention and expansion of vocabulary knowledge. To this aim, 50 senior EFL learners were initially given a vocabulary level test (2k, 3k, 5k, and the university word level) to gauge their vocabulary size. Having examined the learners’ vocabulary size, a word association test was given to the testees to examine their word association knowledge more deeply. Afterwards, a questionnaire was given to the testees in order to further investigate the ways and techniques learners use in associating different words to particular words. Finally, some testees were interviewed in order to elicit any other individual techniques employed by the learners. The analysis of word knowledge and word association tests indicated that word association as a technique has a positive and effective role in learning or expanding vocabulary knowledge. The results obtained from the questionnaire further revealed that learners made use of word association technique more than other ones in learning or expanding their knowledge of vocabulary. In addition, the analysis of the interviews substantiated the gained upshots, in that word association was found to be one of the mostly utilized techniques by the learners in the process of vocabulary learning.
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