Vocabulary Size Tests of Different Modality and Their Relationships with L2 Reading and Listening Comprehension by Korean EFL Learners in Middle School

Myoungjin Kim 1 , *
Author Information & Copylight
1Seoul National University
*Corresponding Author : PhD Candidate, Department of English Language Education Seoul National University, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 08826, Korea, E-mail:

ⓒ Copyright 2019 Language Education Institute, Seoul National University. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Feb 21, 2019 ; Revised: Apr 09, 2019 ; Accepted: Apr 09, 2019

Published Online: Apr 30, 2019


The present research intends to compare the orthographic and phonological vocabulary sizes of Korean EFL students in middle school and to address the relationship between the two different types of vocabulary size tests and L2 reading and listening comprehension. The participants were found to have greater orthographic vocabulary knowledge than phonological knowledge. Specifically, their vocabulary knowledge, regardless of its modality, drastically decreased in frequency level from 1,000 to 2,000 and from 3,000 to 4,000. Although both types of vocabulary knowledge exhibit a correlation with each other, as well as with reading and listening comprehension, orthographic vocabulary size was shown to be the most predictive in terms of the variance found in both reading and listening. The findings of the study contribute to existing research on L2 vocabulary acquisition by providing further evidence of the non-parallel development of phonological and orthographic vocabulary knowledge by EFL students, and by suggesting the significant predictive value that orthographic vocabulary knowledge has on the performance of students in reading and listening comprehension tests employed in Korea.

Keywords: vocabulary knowledge; orthographic vocabulary; phonological vocabulary; reading comprehension; listening comprehension



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