Assessing Incidental Vocabulary Learning by Chinese EFL Learners: A Test of the Involvement Load Hypothesis

  • Chanchan Tang
  • Jeanine Treffers-Daller


One of the most challenging tasks for learners of a Second Language (L2 learners) consists in developing a vocabulary large enough to be able to read and write fluently and take part in conversations on a range of topics. According to Adolphs and Schmitt (2003) learners need 2000–3000 of the most frequent English word families to be able to take part in everyday conversations, whilst they need 5000 word families to begin to read authentic texts (Schmitt, 2007). For unassisted comprehension of written texts it is assumed learners need around 8000–9000 word families, and a vocabulary of 6000–7000 word families for spoken text (Nation, 2006). Many researchers have indicated that L2 learners worry about the formidable task of learning thousands of words (see for example Jones, 1995; Kim, 2008; Lawson & Hogden, 1996), particularly in contexts where learners have few opportunities to go to the country of the target language and/or have little knowledge about the target language culture, as is the case for many Chinese learners of English (Shao, 2014). For teachers it is equally challenging to find ways to help students acquire a wide range of words within the limited class time. Researchers can help address this issue by providing evidence regarding the effectiveness of different approaches to vocabulary learning and teaching.


Target Word Reading Comprehension Comprehension Question Reading Passage Vocabulary Learning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Chanchan Tang and Jeanine Treffers-Daller 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chanchan Tang
  • Jeanine Treffers-Daller

There are no affiliations available

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