General Word Lists: Overview and Evaluation

Therova, Dana (2020). General Word Lists: Overview and Evaluation. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 9(1) pp. 51–61.



Vocabulary learning is unarguably one of the sub-goals in every language classroom. The learning and teaching of vocabulary have been transformed by the development of general word lists, providing compilations of the most prevalent vocabulary items used in everyday contexts. These lists have made an invaluable contribution to the field of applied linguistics in terms of both research and pedagogy; they have assisted the learning, teaching and testing of vocabulary; and they have also been widely used in materials development and vocabulary research. However, if they are to be utilised effectively, it is important to understand the characteristics of these word lists. Thus, this article offers a review of the various general word lists presently available with the aim of assisting English as a Foreign Language (EFL)/English as a Second Language (ESL) practitioners in making informed decisions regarding the choice and utility of these word lists in their practices.

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