Aptitude for Vocabulary Acquisition

  • Hannah HacklEmail author
Part of the English Language Education book series (ELED, volume 16)


Gathercole and Baddeley reviewed manifold research regarding vocabulary acquisition, concluding that new word learning is strongly related to phonological memory skills. According to the working memory (WM) model by Baddeley these skills are represented in the phonological loop, which is a part of WM. Consequently, it is not surprising that WM is considered to be highly significant in the process of vocabulary acquisition. To contribute to this field, the purpose of the current study is to provide further evidence underlining the importance of WM in vocabulary learning. It is hypothesized that individuals with a high working memory capacity have a higher aptitude for vocabulary acquisition. Furthermore, this study seeks to ascertain whether there are any differences between language and non-language students. Ten language students and ten non-language students participated in the study. Participants were required to complete a short questionnaire asking for personal data and were tested on their working memory span and language aptitude for vocabulary learning, measured by the Modern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT). The results indicate that language students score slightly higher in both tests. Due to these results it can be suggested that language students might be better at rehearsing, as they are constantly engaged with foreign word learning, which results in a higher WM capacity and better skills in vocabulary learning.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Linguistics and Centre for Teacher Education, Unit for Language Learning and Teaching ResearchUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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