The core vocabulary in academic spoken English: Insights from corpora

26th November 2019 : 13:00 - 14:00

Category: Seminar

Research Group: Applied Linguistics

Speaker: Yen Dang, University of Leeds

Location: Department of Education, Seminar Room G/H

Convener: Hamish Chalmers

Applied Linguistics Lunchtime Seminar Series


Lectures, seminars, labs and tutorial are essential components of university study. However, comprehending these speech events is challenging for many second language (L2) learners. Insufficient vocabulary knowledge is frequently cited as a major reason for this difficulty. As vocabulary knowledge and listening comprehension are closely related, it is crucial for L2 learners to master the words that they are likely to encounter frequently across academic speech settings. Surprisingly, little research has been done to explore this area. In this seminar, I will present three linked studies which aimed to address this gap. In the first study, I analyzed the vocabulary in the British Academic Spoken English Corpus to determine the number of words needed for comprehension of academic spoken English. In the second study, I measured the vocabulary knowledge of 66 English for Academic Purposes (EAP) learners to identify the gap between their current vocabulary knowledge and the number of words that they needed to know to comprehend academic spoken English. In the third study, I developed and validated an Academic Spoken Word List to address this gap. The findings of these studies might be of interest to EAP practitioners and researchers who are interested in academic spoken vocabulary and word list studies.


Yen Dang is a Lecturer in Language Education at the School of Education, the University of Leeds. She obtained her PhD from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand under the supervision of Averil Coxhead and Stuart Webb. Her research interests include vocabulary studies and corpus linguistics. Her articles have been published in Language Learning, English for Specific Purposes, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, and ITL-International Journal of Applied Linguistics.


In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

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