Concordancing vs. Textual Vocabulary Acquisition

Mehdi Hedayat, Kamran Mehrgan


The word knowledge has particular importance in language learning. It contributes significantly to achievement in the subjects of the school curriculum, as well as in formal and informal speaking and writing. The present study sought to find the possible differences that may exist between two modes of vocabulary presentation, i.e. sentential vocabulary teaching (or concordancing) and suprasentential (or textual) vocabulary teaching. For this purpose, 120 high school freshmen were selected randomly. In order to have two homogeneous classes, they took the Nelson's [9] pre-test of vocabulary. Then 60 students were selected as homogeneous and were divided into two groups, each containing 30 students. In one group, the researcher used short texts to present and teach new vocabulary items and in the other, the researcher collected numerous sentences in which the new vocabulary items were used. At the end of the study, a vocabulary achievement post-test was administered to both groups at the same time. Results showed that those students who followed a text-based approach toward the vocabulary acquisition outperformed and were more successful regarding the degree of vocabulary acquisition and retrieval than those taught vocabulary through the technique of concordancing. The findings of this research are confirmed by several assumptions and studies in the area of both first and second language vocabulary acquisition in which it is clearly shown that learners can acquire a lot, or most, of the vocabulary through reading and particularly the comprehensible written input.


Incidental Learning; Explicit Teaching; Textual Presentation; Concordancing.

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