The Influence of Word Frequency of Occurrence and Visual Imagery on L2 Incidental Vocabulary Learning

Dukhayel Aldukhayel


The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of word frequency of occurrence and visual imagery on incidental vocabulary learning through viewing a documentary. The study attempts to answer these questions: (1) To what extent does L2 incidental vocabulary learning occur through viewing a documentary?; (2) What is the influence of word frequency of occurrence on incidental learning of L2 unfamiliar words?; (3) What is the influence of visual imagery on incidental learning of L2 unfamiliar words?. This study is significant because it exploits social media sites which are excellent resources for viewing videos by most young EFL learners. Participants were 63 EFL students who viewed a captioned documentary. Two groups of word families that included 12 target words were prepared. The first group, labeled the sensitive group, had six words from the third and fourth 1000-word list and occurred three times or more in the documentary with different levels of visual imagery support. The second group, labeled the challenging group, included six words from the sixth and seventh 1000-word list that had only one occurrence in the documentary with almost no visual imagery support. The study used a multiple-choice vocabulary test as a pretest and posttest to measure receptive knowledge of the meaning of the target vocabulary items. The findings suggested that viewing a documentary positively affected incidental vocabulary learning and that learning was positively affected by word frequency of occurrence as well as visual imagery.

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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