Vigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics VIAL

Almudena Fernández Fontecha and Melania Terrazas Gallego (1). The role of motivation and age in vocabulary knowledge. VIAL. Number 9/2012: 39-62.


Vocabulary knowledge is central in FL learning. A large number of studies have shown a positive link between learners' achievement in FL learning and motivation. However not many have paid attention to the specific effect of motivation in FL vocabulary learning. This paper explores the relevance of motivation and age in receptive vocabulary size acquisition. A total of 186 EFL Spanish students were tested throughout 8th and 9th grades of Secondary Education. Three vocabulary size tests and part of an adapted questionnaire from Gardner's (1985) A/MTB were used to assess their word knowledge level and motivation towards EFL respectively. Results prove that there is a lineal increase in the overall scores of the pupils and significant growth for the three vocabulary levels tested at both grades, yet the rate of growth is uneven for the three levels. No variation was found in the learners' level of motivation as they moved up a grade. Finally, a significant relationship between the level of motivation and the three receptive vocabulary tests was perceived in 9th, but not in 8th grade.

Keywords: authentic assessment, Portfolio, self-assessment, intercomprehension, plurilingual approach

(1) Universidad de la Rioja, Spain.

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