Trends in Second/Foreign Language Teaching and Learning: The Position Assigned to the Learning of Lexis over the Years

Debbita Tan


There is no doubt that second/foreign language teaching and learning has evolved over the years, distinguishing varied trends in the course of its history. Interestingly, vocabulary has been the dominant focus in the last decades despite it being an undervalued and often overlooked component in the earlier stages. This reorientation is reflected not only in terms of classroom practices and education policies, but also in second/foreign language acquisition (SLA) research. The following seeks to provide an understanding of the position assigned to lexis within the scope of different methods implemented throughout the years, thus allowing us to: 1) trace the evolvement of the significance of vocabulary in SLA, and 2) appreciate the importance of lexical development in SLA. In congruity with these elements, current trends and practices related to second/foreign language vocabulary knowledge development are also discussed. This paper is of significance to scholars, researchers, language educators and curriculum designers.

Keywords: SLA, lexis, lexical development, vocabulary learning, historical trends, current approaches 

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