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Words as species: An alternative approach to estimating productive vocabulary size

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Title:Words as species: An alternative approach to estimating productive vocabulary size
Authors:Meara, Paul
Alcoy, Juan Carlos Olmos
Keywords:productive vocabulary
capture
recapture
word counts
ecological models
Date Issued:Apr 2010
Publisher:University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center
Center for Language & Technology
Abstract:This paper addresses the issue of how we might be able to assess productive vocabulary size in second language learners. It discusses some previous attempts to develop measures of this sort, and argues that a fresh approach is needed in order to overcome some persistent problems that dog research in this area. The paper argues that there might be some similarities between assessing productive vocabularies—where many of the words known by learners do not actually appear in the material we can extract them from—and counting animals in the natural environment. If this is so, then there might be a case for adapting the capture-recapture methods developed by ecologists to measure animal populations. The paper reports a preliminary attempt to develop this analogy.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/66651
ISSN:1539-0578
DOI:10125/66651
Volume:22
Issue/Number:1
Appears in Collections: Volume 22, No. 1 Special Issue: In Honor of Paul Nation


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