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Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Choonkyong Kim

Second Advisor

Michael Schwartz

Third Advisor

Tim Fountaine

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

L2, vocabulary size, high frequency words, AWL, EFL


Vocabulary size has been one of the most frequently researched aspects of vocabulary acquisition and has been found to be a determinant factor in the achievement of English language proficiency. Notwithstanding, the profile of Salvadoran English majors does not include this aspect, nor is there any account of previous studies being conducted to either introduce this notion and its importance or to make an estimate of the English majors’ vocabulary size. This study sought to fill the gap in the Salvadoran L2 literature by providing rough estimates of learners’ vocabulary sizes through a sample of 312 English majors from three different regions of El Salvador. Participants were divided into two groups: first semester (FS) and last semester (LS). Vocabulary size measures were made by utilizing the well-established Yes/No tests (Meara, 1992) through a battery of 12 tests that were adapted in Excel to measure vocabulary knowledge of the first-five 1,000 high frequency words and academic vocabulary. Results show that whereas FS learners are true beginners, LS learners’ receptive vocabulary size falls short of the expected range to be considered proficient users of the language and may be inadequate to comply with certain expectations of their graduation profile. These findings encourage further research about L2 vocabulary development in El Salvador, so that informed curriculum decisions are made and achievable vocabulary learning goals are set to optimize English learning in El Salvador. Pedagogical implications are also provided.

cmembreno_Vocabsize_Finaldraft.docx (1353 kB)
Final draft with corrections made from feedback received



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