INTENTIONAL VS INCIDENTAL ESP VOCABULARY ACQUISITION BY POLITICAL SCIENCE STUDENTS
Keywords:ESP, political science, intentional vs incidental vocabulary uptake, involvement load, audiovisual input, vocabulary acquisition
The article discusses an experiment that researched the intentional vs incidental ESP vocabulary uptake in two university groups of third year political science students and addresses the implications of using an authentic audiovisual material as an input text for an ESP course. The procedure of intentional vocabulary learning involved pre-teaching of lexical items and explicitly informing the students they would have to use the vocabulary in a following productive activity (writing an essay), while the incidental uptake took place in the course of self-study where the students had to watch an authentic audiovisual recording and then write an essay on the subject discussed in the video. The case study employed a quantitative research method to calculate the amount of the target words and collocations used in the written output, and a qualitative method to assess the accuracy of their usage. Two months later a delayed posttest was done to check the students’ productive knowledge of the target lexis form. The experiment correlated with output- and involvement load hypotheses, and had to assess the effect of a text-based output on learning outcomes, as well as observe how applicable is the involvement load hypothesis to analysing the students’ self-study strategies. The study showed that the intentional mode of learning outperformed the incidental acquisition by over 20% and suggested what factors may have enhanced the scope of the ESP vocabulary retention. Further studies could concentrate on evaluating ESP learners’ both productive and receptive target vocabulary competence over a longer-term perspective.
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