Studies in Second Language Acquisition


INCIDENTAL L2 VOCABULARY ACQUISITION: THEORY, CURRENT RESEARCH, AND INSTRUCTIONAL IMPLICATIONSEdited by Marjorie Wesche and T. Sima Paribakht

INCIDENTAL VOCABULARY ACQUISITION IN A SECOND LANGUAGE

(A Review)


Thomas Huckin a1c1 and James Coady a2c1
a1 University of Utah
a2 Ohio State University

Abstract

It is widely agreed that much second language vocabulary learning occurs incidentally while the learner is engaged in extensive reading. After a decade of intensive research, however, the incidental learning of vocabulary is still not fully understood, and many questions remain unsettled. Key unresolved issues include the actual mechanism of incidental acquisition, the type and size of vocabulary needed for accurate guessing, the degree of exposure to a word needed for successful acquisition, the efficacy of different word-guessing strategies, the value of teaching explicit guessing strategies, the influence of different kinds of reading texts, the effects of input modification, and, more generally, the problems with incidental learning. This article briefly surveys the empirical research that has been done on these issues in recent years.


Correspondence:
c1 Address correspondence to Thomas Huckin, University Writing Program, University of Utah, 345 Orson Spenser Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112; e-mail: huckin@aros.net; or to James Coady, Department of Linguistics, Ohio University, Gordy 204, Athens, Ohio 45701; e-mail: coady@ouvaxa.cats.ohiou.edu.


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