James Milton (2)

How does vocabulary knowledge fit into overall language level and exam performance?


It should come as no surprise to discover that vocabulary size grows over the course of learning and that really good speakers of foreign languages know lots of words. What this second lecture will do is to add normalised scores, average vocabulary sizes, for various levels of achievement, for performance in different exams, and for ability in the different skills of language. Hopefully, these will be useful. These figures are thought to be associated with coverage, that is the proportion of words in any text a foreign language user knows. What the second lecture will do therefore, is to review the kind of vocabulary sizes needed for reading and writing, listening and speaking, for passing landmark exams such as Cambridge FCE or CPE, and for achieving the various levels in the CEFR. Each of these will be considered in relation to the kind of coverage that these vocabulary sizes give.