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N°18 – Lexical learning and teaching

Deadline for sending in final versions of papers: 31 October 2021

The e-journal Lexis Journal in English Lexicology – will publish its 18th issue in 2021. It will be edited by Heather Hilton (University Lumière Lyon 2) and will deal with “Lexical learning and teaching”.

Lexical learning and teaching

The heyday of lexical learning in the language classroom, which lasted more than 80 years (stretching from the Méthode directe through the Active and Audiolingual Methods) came to a relatively abrupt end in the 1980s, with the adoption of the Communicative Approach, and its almost exclusive focus on communication skills (rather than the linguistic components of these skills). One of the main supporters of the Communicative Approach in the United States, Stephen Krashen, for example, has famously postulated that incidental encounters with words during receptive activities will suffice for their acquisition [Krashen et al. 1984]. Currently, in France, foreign language pedagogy remains evasive when it comes to lexical acquisition, formulating taboos (such as “les listes de mots sont à bannir,” MEN 2012: 5), rather than a research-grounded methodology for the teaching and learning the vast numbers of words required for competent language use.

Psycholinguistic research has, however, long demonstrated the vital contribution of lexical knowledge to communicative language use. First-language (L1) research has clearly and repeatedly shown that automatic word recognition is the basis of skilled reading (Anderson & Freebody [1981]; Nagy [1988]); second and foreign-language (L2) research has confirmed the role of lexical knowledge in comprehension (for example, Kelly [1991]; Tsui & Fullilove [1998]), and also in oral and written production (Hilton [2008]; Staehr [2008]). A large body of second language acquisition research describes the circumstances that promote L2 lexical learning (summarized in Nation [2014]), but this research (primarily published in English), doesn’t yet seem to have influenced our theory or practice in foreign-language teaching in France (Hilton [2019]).

For this 18th volume of Lexis, we are therefore inviting proposals for articles dealing with the following important subjects:

  • lexical learning in English (which can be compared with other languages) in institutional and natural contexts, at any level or age group;

  • the links between lexical knowledge (L1, L2) and phonological, prosodic or grammatical learning;

  • the links between L2 lexical knowledge and communication skill;

  • the place of lexical knowledge in a complete foreign-language teaching methodology: the curriculum, the unit, the lesson; structuring the L2 lexical syllabus; teaching and learning of specialized lexicon; the best techniques for teaching and learning vocabulary, including the metalinguistic knowledge and skills associated with derivational morphology.

We encourage proposals concerning not only word-learning, but also the teaching and learning of multiword units and formulaic sequences (Erman & Warren [2000]; Wray [2002]), for a volume targeted at teachers and teacher trainees, inspectors and curriculum designers, as well as language-teaching researchers.


Anderson Richard C. & Freebody Peter, 1981, “Vocabulary knowledge”, in Guthrie J. (Ed.) Comprehension and teaching: research reviews. Newark: International Reading Association, pp. 77-117.

Erman Britt & Warren Beatrice, 2000, “The Idiom Principle and the Open Choice Principle”, Text 20, 29-62.

Hilton H. E., 2008, “The link between vocabulary knowledge and spoken L2 fluency”, Language Learning Journal 36(2), 153-166.

Hilton H. E., 2019, Sciences cognitives et didactique des langues, Rapport d’expertise pour le Conseil national de l’évaluation du système scolaire, Conférence de consensus sur l’enseignement des langues vivantes, Paris : CNESCO, uploads/2019/04/190409_ Hilton-1.pdf

Kelly Peter, 1991, “Lexical ignorance: the main obstacle to listening comprehension with advanced foreign language learners”, IRAL 29(2), 135-49.

Krashen S. D., Terrell T. D., Ehrman M. E. & Herzog M., 1984, “A Theoretical Basis for Teaching the Receptive Skills”, Foreign Language Annals 17(4), 261-75.

Lervag Arne & Aukrust Vibeke, 2010, “Vocabulary knowledge is a critical determinant of the difference in reading comprehension between first and second language learners”, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 51, 612-620.

Ministère de l’Éducation nationale, 2012, Programmes pour les cycles 2, 3, 4, Paris.

Nagy William, 1988, Teaching Vocabulary to Improve Reading Comprehension, Washington DC: International Reading Association.

Nation I. S. Paul, 2014, Learning Vocabulary in Another Language, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Staehr Lars S., 2008, “Vocabulary size and the skills of listening, reading and writing”, Language Learning Journal 36(2), 139-152.

Tsui Amy & Fullilove John, 1998, “Bottom-up or top-down processing as a discriminator of L2 Listening”, Applied Linguistics 19(4), 429-31.

Wray Alison, 2002, Formulaic language and the lexicon, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

How to submit

Please clearly indicate the title of the paper and include an abstract of no more than 5,000 characters as well as a list of relevant key-words and references. All abstract and paper submissions will be anonymously peer-reviewed (double-blind peer reviewing) by an international scientific committee composed of specialists in their fields. Papers will be written preferably in English or occasionally in French.

Manuscripts may be rejected, accepted subject to revision, or accepted as such. There is no limit to the number of pages.

Abstracts and articles should be sent via email to


  • June 20 2020: call for papers

  • January 31 2021: deadline for sending in abstracts to Lexis

  • March 2021: Evaluation Committee’s decisions notified to authors

  • June 30 2021: deadline for sending in papers (Guidelines for submitting articles:

  • July and August 2021: proofreading of papers by the Evaluation committee

  • September and October 2021: authors’ corrections

  • October 31 2021: deadline for sending in final versions of papers

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