How Vocabulary Is Learned

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How Vocabulary Is Learned

Format: Paperback

How Vocabulary Is Learned presents the major issues that relate to the teaching and learning of vocabulary. Written by leading voices in the field of second language acquisition, the book evaluates a wide range of practical activities designed to help boost students' vocabulary learning.

  • ISBN: 978-0-19-440355-9
  • Pages: 336
  • Binding: Paperback

Educational discount pricing

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Key features

  • How many words should students learn at a time, and how often.
  • How much classroom time should be spent teaching vocabulary.
  • The best way to group vocabulary for learning.
  • Why it is useful to provide students with the L1 translations of unknown words.
  • Why some students make greater progress than others.


  • "Teachers will find answers to many of their perennial questions about vocabulary learning-as well as some they had not yet thought to ask! There is research evidence to support established practices, but also new evidence that challenges old ideas."
    - Patsy Lightbown (co-author of How Languages are Learned, with Nina Spada)
  • "a tremendous resource... the authors have worked at the cutting edge of research into teaching and learning vocabulary. This factor is apparent throughout the book. They revisit questions previously asked but which till now were never properly answered. Perhaps most importantly, they pose and address new ones for us all to consider."
    - EL Gazette
  • "...a comprehensive theoretical understanding of vocabulary learning and teaching, and a rich resource for pre-service and in-service teachers to conduct informed and efficient vocabulary teaching programmes... [It is] particularly welcome for its effectiveness in linking state-of-the-art research findings and tools with classroom pedagogy in an accessible, cogent, and compendious reading. I am certain many teacher trainers will follow in placing it at the top of their recommended reading list for its thought-provoking and intriguing activities, and attentively chosen suggestions for further reading."
    - System
  • "How Vocabulary is Learned provides a balanced, accessible and thoughtful account of this most important of topics... This is an indispensable book for any language teacher interested in the role vocabulary should play in their teaching and their learners' list of priorities."
    - EFL Magazine
  • "The book is a fascinating and illuminating read."
    - Humanising Language Teaching
  • "The particular interest and value of this book for teachers, teacher trainers and materials writers is in its clear presentation of research results and, closely linked to these, persuasive recommendations for classroom practice."
    - Modern English Teacher


  1. Which words should be learned?

  2. Learning burden

  3. Vocabulary size and growth

  4. Conditions contributing to vocabulary learning

  5. Analysing vocabulary learning activities

  6. Learning vocabulary in different contexts

  7. Developing autonomous learners of vocabulary

  8. Developing an effective vocabulary learning programme

  9. Resources for vocabulary learning

  10. Key questions about vocabulary learning