The Ratios of CEFR-J vocabulary Usage Compared with GSL and AWL in Elementary EFL Classrooms and Its Implications


This is a corpus-based study using an elementary English classroom corpus to examine a) the ratios of vocabulary usage of four levels, A1, A2, B1, and B2, which pertain to the CEFR-J wordlist; b) the ratios of the usage of vocabulary items belonging to the General Service List (GSL) and Academic Word List (AWL); and c) whether the ratio varies among classes. The authors examined an elementary school classroom corpus of their own compiling from the data of four public elementary school classes. The percentage of vocabulary usage belonging to the A1 level of the CEFR-J in all four classes was below 15% (Class A: 12.1%, Class B: 12.6%, Class C: 8.9%, and Class D: 13.6%) with no statistical difference between levels. The average usage of A2-level vocabulary items was below 10%, and all classes showed less than 1% of vocabulary usage for the B1 and B2 levels. Over 70% of all vocabulary items used in classes belonged to the most frequent 1,000 word band (level 1) of the GSL, while the next most frequent word band (level 2 of the GSL and AWL accounted for less than 10%. The results suggest that the usage ratios for vocabulary items in the CEFR-J A1 level should be promoted, considering that teaching the A1-level vocabulary items is required in elementary classes. This implies that the students are less exposed to grammatically well-structured sentences with an abundance of lexical items, since the same lexemes are repeatedly used in each class with less variety.

Author Information
Yukiko Ohashi, Yamazaki University of Animal Health Technology, Japan
Noriaki Katagiri, Hokkaido University of Education, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACL2020
Stream: Language Learning and Teaching

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon