Speeding up Vocabulary Acquisition through Action Research

Ameerchund (Ashraf) Maharaj


Gaining a wider vocabulary is fundamental to language learning. It follows then that the faster students engage and learn new words, the faster will be their proficiency with the target language. Multi-Dimensional Vocabulary Acquisition (or MDVA) means approaching new terms / concepts from a variety of perspectives so that the target word is thoroughly analysed, giving students access to all dimensions of the word. There are many dimensions or elements that will help elucidate and unlock meaning, but for the purposes of this chapter new words will be looked at in terms of their antonyms, synonyms and associated words, rhyming counterparts, idiomatic usage, gender considerations, diminutive implications, proverbial usage and likely confusion with other words. In this study the author employs an Action Research methodology where practical classroom exercises involving students’ writing efforts pre- and post MDVA are closely examined. Using the familiar “spiral of cycles” approach, it becomes clear that “unpacking” the target word means that the meaning of many other words associated with the target word becomes explicit. A workshop with faculty is included as part of the practical application of MDVA.



Multi-dimensional, target word, lexis, vocabulary acquisition

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.6n.4p.245


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