English lexical performance of Japanese EFL learners, and reading resources to develop it

  • Tue 13 Mar 18

    16:00 - 18:00

  • Colchester Campus


  • Event speaker

    Dr David Coulson (Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan)

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Language and Linguistics Seminar Series

  • Event organiser

    Language and Linguistics, Department of

  • Contact details

    Victoria Mead

This talk will start with an overview of key issues in second-language vocabulary learning, and what knowledge of words comprises.

This will focus on the issue of the minimum number of encounters that are necessary to learn words and keep them active in memory.

Next, I will present some of my research findings on the word-reading ability of Japanese students. A big challenge for them is how to become able to recognize and process words in an unimpeded manner, such that a minimum reading speed of words per minute is achieved. My data suggests that this ability remains chronically underdeveloped through secondary education. Similarly, the rate of collocational-knowledge development will also be shown to slow down.

To counter these issues, sustained Extensive Reading (ER) should be a staple of second language learning to alleviate the lack of lexical development seen in Japanese students. ER is known to be effective, but chances may be limited by a lack of access to resources.

As a solution, Extensive Reading Central is a free, online ER resource available to anyone with Internet access. It has a wide variety of text lengths, difficulty levels and genres, with innovative features such as reading-time measurement functions. A study was conducted to investigate the lexical characteristics of hundreds of texts at various levels.

The results will be presented, and it will be shown that sustained use of this website by learners is likely to give them ample chances to expand, deepen, and strengthen their lexical knowledge.