The acquisition and development of academic vocabulary: Learners' perspectives

Therova, Dana (2021). The acquisition and development of academic vocabulary: Learners' perspectives. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 15(1) pp. 85–101.



Academic vocabulary is widely recognised as a key aspect of academic writing style and there is a well-established link between the knowledge of academic vocabulary and academic achievement. Considering the role that academic vocabulary plays in academic settings, the acquisition and usage of this type of vocabulary is crucial for university students. However, few studies have examined academic vocabulary from the perspective of novice student writers. Consequently, this study investigated academic vocabulary as perceived by multilingual foundation-level students at a UK university (N = 17). In particular, the sources of acquisition of academic words and the contributing factors impacting the development of productive academic vocabulary were explored through semi-structured interviews. The findings have potentially important pedagogical implications not only for foundation-level provisions but also wider English for Academic Purposes (EAP) contexts as they highlight the role of appropriate sources, instructed environment, peer support and the importance of opportunities for writing practice together with receiving feedback on written production.

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