Minimal vocabulary tests

25th January 2021 : 12:00 - 13:00

Category: Seminar Webinar

Research Group: Applied Linguistics

Speaker: Professor Paul Meara, University of Oxford

Location: Teams Online

Convener: Faidra Faitaki

Audience: Public

Join the webinar on the day, with this link.

This talk is a work-in-progress report that discusses some recent research on tests of productive vocabulary. It is relatively easy to test second language learners’ receptive vocabulary, but testing their productive vocabulary is much more of a problem. The talk will describe a minimalist approach that (somehow) manages to extract a lot of information about the words learners know from a tiny number of words that they actually use.

Bio: Paul was awarded a DPhil at York University in 1980. He was a founder member of the Department of Applied Linguistics at Birkbeck College London, where he worked until 1990, and Professor in the Department of English at Swansea University until his retirement in 2009. Paul was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Chartered Institute of Linguists in 2010, and elected to the Academy of Social Sciences in 2012. He is an Honorary Professor in the Centre for Language and Communication Research at the University of Cardiff and an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Education at the University of Oxford. Paul’s current research is mainly concerned with developing computational models of how people acquire words and how they lose their lexical skills as they grow older. He is particularly interested in the emergent properties of lexical models with minimal assumptions. He runs a number of small projects that apply bibliometric methods to the corpus of research in applied linguistics. These projects are mainly concerned with evaluating the main historical trends in applied linguistics research, and with identifying new research fronts at an early stage.