The Effect of Bilingual-Word-List vs. Semantic Network Practices on EFL Lexical Competence

Document Type : Research Papers


Department of Linguistics and Foreign Languages, Payame-Noor University of Tehran, Iran


Introduction: The crucial role of lexis over other language elements in language learning prompts the argument of finding the most suitable way to enhance vocabulary learning among the studies in the educational arena. Among various word learning strategies, semantic network practices have received the least attention from researchers. Accordingly, the present follow-up study aimed to touch upon effective vocabulary learning, in general, and compare semantic network practices with the most common learning strategy implemented by EFL learners (learning from bilingual word lists), in particular.
Methodology: The project investigated the effectiveness of the two treatments among 114 EFL university students of both genders who were assigned to two experimental groups to receive the treatments and the third group of 43 EFL learners as the control group. Word Associates Test (WAT) and Original Levels Test (OLT) were administered as pre-tests to research subjects. The participants in experimental groups received four pamphlets every other week. After eight weeks, the WAT and OLT were re-administered to the same sample as the post-tests to check the effect of the treatments on the breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge.
Results: The comparative results indicated that both treatments had significant effects on the depth and breadth of vocabulary knowledge. The obtained results of the post-tests revealed the stronger role of semantic network practices on the depth of vocabulary knowledge than bilingual word lists. The comparisons of the mean scores of synonyms and collocations of WAT post-test in experimental groups indicated that class A (experimental group who received sematic network practices) significantly outperformed class B (experimental group who received bilingual word lists) in collocations.
Conclusion: The study concluded that the FL learners’ mastery of new vocabulary knowledge is possible through obtaining a deep understanding of the acquired words.