An investigation of incidental vocabulary acquisition in relation to learner proficiency level and word frequency

Tekmen E. A. F., Daloglu A.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE ANNALS, vol.39, no.2, pp.220-243, 2006 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 39 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/j.1944-9720.2006.tb02263.x
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.220-243
  • Keywords: implicit and explicit instruction, incidental acquisition, reading, vocabulary acquisition, word frequency, 2ND LANGUAGE, EXPOSURE, PRINT
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This study examined the relationship between learners' incidental vocabulary acquisition and their level of proficiency, and between acquisition and word frequency in a text. Participants were Turkish learners of English at three proficiency levels. One reading text and four vocabulary tests were administered over a two-week period. Analyses of the data revealed that lexical gains from reading were significant for each group (p < .05). The higher proficiency groups were able to acquire more words than lower level groups. Word frequency in the text was also a significant factor in vocabulary acquisition (p < .05), with 29% of the variance in acquisition being accounted for by frequency. However, frequency did not play a greater role in the vocabulary acquisition of lower level learners than in that of higher level learners.