Vocabulary College and University Education Research-Oriented Presentation

Phonological Clustering: A different approach to L2 vocabulary instruction

Sat, Jul 9, 13:30-13:55 Asia/Tokyo

Location: F31

Traditionally, L2 vocabulary has been taught utilizing a thematically or semantically based approach (Waring, 1997). While this is likely the most practical way of teaching new words to L2 learners, according to a pioneering study by Wilcox and Medina (2013) semantically grouped words were found to have the lowest impact on word retention when compared with other methods of presentation. In contrast with semantically based approaches, phonological clustering is an approach that presents phonologically similar words to learners with the aims of raising their awareness of the shared phonological patterns between words and replicating the conditions in which the mental lexicon integrates new words into existing phonological schema. A major issue regarding the EFL context of English education in Japan is that learners are unlikely to be sufficiently exposed to the phonological patterns of the target language due to the “impoverished context” of the EFL classroom (Best and Tyler, 2007, p. 19). In light of this issue, the aims of this presentation are to discuss phonological theory and its implications for EFL vocabulary instruction and describe how the approach of phonological clustering could be applied to the presentation of materials in order to facilitate word retention and instructional practices.