Vocabulary and Writing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionarypeer-review


We cannot communicate in speech or writing without knowing and using words that convey the ideas that we want to express. This is true for all languages, native and foreign. In the native language, lexical growth is concomitant with our cognitive development and education so that by the time we need to express complex ideas we have acquired the necessary lexis. In foreign languages, however, we usually experience a gap between what we want to convey in terms of content and what we can convey with the limited vocabulary we have. This is particularly true for writing, which is a more formal mode of expression than speech, and which is often characterized by more low-frequent as well as academic vocabulary and requires, therefore, a more carefully chosen vocabulary. Learners are conscious of the importance of vocabulary and often report that their major problem in expression is lack of adequate lexis. In an interview that Coxhead conducted with learners of English as an additional language in New Zealand, learners reported the need for technical, academic, or professional words to express their ideas in writing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics
EditorsC.A. Chapelle
Place of PublicationBoston
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9781405198431
StatePublished - 2013


  • Language Teaching
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • vocabulary
  • writing


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