Journal Syntheses
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Journal Syntheses


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The goal of this assignment is for you to review the journal entries you have written so far and produce a synthesis outlining significant-to-you themes. To this end, you may edit what you have already written in previous journal entries, adding new material as necessary to produce a coherent whole, or you may write another text anew (but still based on your weekly journals, what we have read and discussed so far). The aim here is to move towards a thoughtful integration of the ideas you have gained from lectures and readings, from your reflections on these lectures and readings, and from your developing sense of direction for your work in the MA program.



The goal of foreign language learners is to achieve fluency in the use of language and communicate effectively (Merritt, 2013). To accomplish this, the two key elements are to be mastered – the grammar or structure of the language and its vocabulary. Learners have to construct a sentence with a string of words to express themselves. Words are the fundamental units for creating phrases, expressions, and extended discourse (Alfatle, 2016). Developing vocabulary is the central to that purpose requiring the lexical knowledge without which they not convey their thoughts. This journal syntheses examines how the vocabulary size of English as a Second Language (ESL) learners could be measured using the Lexical Frequency Profile. Lexical knowledge of language emphasizes the need for learners to know a number of words and the depth of knowledge they have of each of those words (Schmitt, Size and depth of vocabulary knowledge: what the research shows, 2014). This would allow an understanding of the nature of second language acquisition.


Vocabulary Size of English as Second Language Learners

The English language has a broad vocabulary base and the major question infront of ESL learners is how much vocabulary is required to learn the language.  This is answered through three questions on – 1) the number of words in English language; 2) the number of words known by native speakers, and 3) the number of words required to accomplish tasks that a language user has to carry out (Agernäs, 2015). There are no definite answers for this question. However, it is estimated that about 88,000- 114,000-word families are present in English. The vocabulary of a native English speaker is found to increase by 1000 word families in childhood annually, and the vocabulary size of a university graduate is calculated to be around 20,000 word families (Agernäs, 2015). For the ESL learner to reach the same proficiency is a difficult task despite English is recognized as an official language in non-native countries. This is solely based on the popular culture 

English speaking countries, opportunities for global trotting and tourism require the use of English as a common language. Also, multinational organizations have incorporated English as their corporate language and most of the higher education disciplines across the world are conducted in English (Neeley, 2012). This shows the importance of reading and listening comprehension in English for ESL learners. They need it to tackle daily events and use in the corporate and academic discourses. They require a wide range of vocabulary. Experts have found that if an individual is familiar with and frequently use around 2000-word families of English, they would be capable of understanding around 80% of the words present in any text (Cervatiuc, 2008). Hence, the primary goal of an ESL learner is vocabulary acquisition focusing on these 2000 word families as these words are repetitively used across write-ups and ensure the success of the reading comprehension. However, this knowledge only offers a general idea of what is being conveyed in a text and does not offer a deeper understanding. Therefore, ESL learners have to accomplish a better reading comprehension power by learning the meanings of at least 90% of the words in a text (Schmitt, Jiang, & Grabe, 2011).

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