course description and aims

The Mental Lexicon and L2 Vocabulary
Fall 2012
Wednesday 16-17.40
Main bld. 121.
Instructor: Dr. Sankó Gyula
Seminar, 2 hrs, graded,
Office: Main Bld. 11.
Office hours: Wednesday 15-16,
Friday 10-11.
For full-time 2nd year M.A in
Applied Linguistics
Tel.: 512 900/23089
Email: [email protected]
The aim of the course is to familiarize students with current issues and experimental
findings of psycholinguistic research related to the organization and function of the L2
mental lexicon as well as with some of the latest research results concerning the learning and
teaching of L2 vocabulary. The following questions will be addressed: How is our mental
lexicon organized? How is semantic and formal knowledge represented, and how can
we access lexical information? How does lexical memory work, and what intralingual
issues may represent a challenge in the memorization of L2 vocabulary? The course will
offer a survey of research into the learner’s lexical development with special regard to
the role of form and meaning in the function of the mental lexicon. The application of
new technologies in L2 vocabulary acquisition will also be discussed. The course comprises
seminar input with active participation in class discussions. Micro-teaching practice and project
work are also expected of all students to ensure maximum coverage of the syllabus.
Attendence and active participation in class discussions are expected of all students. In order to
accomplish the course successfully, each student will be requested to do all of the following
three tasks:
1. Oral presentation
Each participant is expected to give 2-3 (PowerPoint supported) presentations of 15-20
minutes each on a topic chosen by him/her from the readings assigned on a weekly basis (see
the detailed course schedule on my supplementary materials webpage).
2. Electronic summary of presentations
Besides presenting the chosen material in an easily comprehensible and preferably interesting,
interactive way (NOT reading it out!) in class, students will be asked to prepare easy-to-follow
summaries on their chosen topics for their peers. These summaries will be emailed to the course
teacher, who will post them on his supplemetary meterials page, thus making them available for
all the group members.
Format of electronic summaries:
1. Length: 1-3 pages
2. Font type: Times New Roman 12 (1.5 spacing)
3. Student’s name in the top left corner
4. Author’s name and the full title of the source at the top of the page centralized
5. File name: author’s last name_first few words of the title (e.g. Oxford_Language
Learning Strategies)
3. Written test
On the basis of the materials covered students will write a comprehensive test in the
last but one lesson of the course.
Assessment will be based on:
a) quality of the oral presentations
(presentation, content and linguistic well-formedness) 30 %
b) quality of the summaries prepared for peers.
(presentation, content and linguistic well-formedness) 30 %
c) end-term test result
40 %
of the final grade.
It is important to meet the deadline/schedule for presentations. Any extensions must be
negotiated with the instructor in advance in person. Late work will be penalised.
Grades will be granted as
90% up: excellent; 80% up: good; 70% up: average; 60% up: poor, below 60%: fail.
Aitchison, J. (1987). Words in the Mind: An Introduction to the Mental Lexicon.
Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Allen, V. F. (1983). Techniques in Teaching Vocabulary. OUP.
Bonin, P. (Ed.) (2004). Mental Lexicon: ”Some Words to Talk About Words”. Hauppaue, N.Y.:
Nova Science Publishers.
Bowen, T., & Marks, J. (1994). Inside Teaching. Heinemann. Ch. 7. What’s in a
word? Some approaches to teaching, learning and remembering vocabulary, pp 90-106.
Carter, R., & Mc Carthy, M: (1988).Vocabulary and Language Teaching. Longman
Gairns R., & Redman S. (1986). Working with Words, CUP,
Harmer, J. (1991). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Longman. Ch. 9
Teaching vocabulary, pp. 153-180.
Lewis, M. (1993). The Lexical Approach, LTP.
McCarthy M. (1990) Vocabulary, OUP,
Morgan, J., & Rinvolucri, M. (1986). Vocabulary. OUP.
Nation, I. S. P. (2001). Learning Vocabulary in Another Language. CUP.
Oxford, R. L. (1990). Language Learning Strategies. Boston: Heinle & Heinle. Ch. 3.
Applying memory strategies to the four language skills. pp. 58-69..
Read, J. (2000). Assessing Vocabulary. CUP.
Schmitt, N. & McCarthy (Eds.) (1997). Vocabulary: Description, Acquisition and
Scrivener, J. (1994). Learning Teaching. CUP. Ch. 5. Teaching Vocabulary, pp. 7392. Pedagogy. CUP.
Sharifian, F. (2002). Memory Enhancement in Language Pedagogy: Implications from
Cognitive Research. {online} TESL-EJ, 6(2). September 2002. Located at:
Singleton, D. (1999). Exploring the Second Language Mental Lexicon. CUP.
Taylor, L. (1992). Vocabulary in Action. Prentice Hall.
Ur, P. (1996). A Course in Language Teaching. CUP. Ch. 5. Teaching Vocabulary,
pp. 60-74.
Watcyn-Jones, P. (1993). Vocabulary Games and Activities. Penguin.
Wolter, B. (2001). Comparing the L1 and L2 Mental Lexicon: A Depth of
Individual Word Knowledge Model. Studies in Second Language Acquisition,
23, 41-69.
Course Content and Schedule
Lesson topic
Sept. 19. Popular myths about vocabulary acquisition;
How to give an effective presentation?
Sept. 26. What does it mean to know a word? ;
Which words and how many words to teach? - selecting and organizing vocabulary
Oct. 03. Ways of vocabulary teaching
Oct. 10. The role of context in vocabulary learning. Incidental and intentional vocabulary
Oct. 24. What makes a word easy or difficult to learn?
The Influence of L1 vocabulary on L2 vocabulary learning
Oct. 31. Memory processes in vocabulary acquisition
Nov. 07. The mental lexicon
Nov. 14. Strategies for learning and remembering vocabulary
Nov. 21. New technologies in vocabulary acquisition
Nov. 28. The role of dictionaries in vocabulary learning and teaching
Traditional vs. electronic dictionaries;
Dec. 05. Testing vocabulary
Dec. 12. End-of-the-term test
Dec. 19. Summing up, assessing students’ work, evaluating the course.