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Event Summary: An evening with John Read

John Read: Beyond Knowing Words: Assessing the Quality of Vocabulary Knowledge

by Laura Markslag

On his way to give a plenary speech at the 2011 PAN SIG conference in Matsumoto, Nagano, Dr. Read spent an evening with Osaka JALT assessing the quality of second language vocabulary knowledge.

Dr. Read examined the differences between evaluating vocabulary breadth (size) and depth (quality). He briefly reviewed various well-known vocabulary tests available, including Paul Nation’s Vocabulary Levels Test, the New Vocabulary Size Test, and the computer based Yes/No Test. Dr. Read then discussed other measures of L2 vocabulary knowledge that go beyond knowing individual words, such as the use of word association tests. This led to a lively discussion about the role of words as single lexical items and as part of academic formulae (i.e., multi-word lexical units, collocations, lexical phrases, chunks, phrasal expressions, etc.).

Dr. Read closed the presentation by discussing different potential test formats that address the quality of vocabulary knowledge. Dr. Read is the author of Assessing Vocabulary, published by Cambridge University Press. Osaka JALT would like to thank Cambridge University Press for the promotional notebooks given to all attendees.