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Academic Lexicon Development in an EMI Context: A Study of Pre-Service English Teachers' Lexical Availability

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Angie Quintanilla

Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, Chile


Steffanie Kloss Medina

Universidad Viña del Mar, Viña del Mar, Chile



Lexical availability assessment has been widely used in vocabulary research. This data collection technique uses lexical statistics based on controlled association tests that activate the production of lexical items as a reaction to a stimulus, thus evidencing the productive lexical knowledge of the speakers. Lexical availability also allows the exploration of the organization of the mental lexicon through the generation of semantic networks that show the underlying relationships between the words recalled. With this objective in mind, a lexical availability test composed of 2 centers of interest (i.e., methods and approaches in L2 learning and lesson planning) was applied to a sample of 350 pre-service teachers in an English Medium Instruction (EMI) context to explore their academic vocabulary knowledge and mental lexicons. The results show that as the years of study of the subject in the sample increase, the average number of words they can recall and the degree of coincidence in the responses also increase. In addition, greater specificity in the specialized lexicon is observed as the students move forward through the curriculum. From a pedagogical point of view, lexical availability and semantic networks make it possible to monitor students’ lexical acquisition process and to determine remedial measures when deemed necessary. The implications of these findings highlight the significance of monitoring the progression of academic vocabulary and specialized lexicon in EMI contexts. This monitoring enables the adaptation of teaching approaches and lesson plans to facilitate students’ gradual improvement in these areas, thereby enhancing their language skills and academic success.



Lexical availability, technical vocabulary, English Medium Instruction, pre-service teachers