n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - The effects of immersion on Grade 7 learners' vocabulary size : is incidental learning of vocabulary enough?

Volume 40, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0259-9570



Immersion creates more opportunities for learners to activate their language learning abilities than any other teaching methodology. Research has shown that vocabulary in the language of learning and teaching is an important component of overall language proficiency, playing a crucial role in reading and academic success, whether students are studying through their mother tongue or not. The study described in this article compared the language proficiency of Grade 7 English second-language immersion learners with that of their English mother tongue classmates, focusing primarily on receptive vocabulary. Two aspects of immersion were identified: length and quality, i.e. richness. It was assumed that the longer the immersion, and the richer the immersion environment, the more positive the effect on vocabulary size would be. Results showed that length had a slightly stronger effect on receptive vocabulary size than quality, though both were generally positive. Implications of these findings for the classroom are discussed.

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