What is it about?

English second language adolescent learners spend a lot of time in activities in front of a digital device offering them plenty of involvement with the English language. Upper-secondary students preparing for university will need to have a good command of the English typical for academic settings. This study showed that leisure activities (e.g., gaming, viewing) correlate with academic vocabulary knowledge. Extensive viewing, reading and gaming explain more of the variance in academic word knowledge than do, e.g., parental educational level, years of English instruction.

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Why is it important?

The study suggests that instruction within the school can make use of the incidental vocabulary learning opportunities that leisure activities show. Furthermore, the results indicate that the investigated academic language skill component depends more on individual behavior than an equitable education.


My personal perspective on this study is that it sheds light on an inequality issue within the university-preparatory Swedish upper secondary education. Individual leisure time behaviors or parents' educational background explain more of the variation in academic vocabulary knowledge than do years of formal English instruction. In an upper secondary education intended to prepare all its students for university studies, this outcome is unfair, as I see it.

Marcus Warnby
Stockholm University

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This page is a summary of: Receptive academic vocabulary knowledge and extramural English involvement – is there a correlation?, ITL - International Journal of Applied Linguistics, December 2021, John Benjamins, DOI: 10.1075/itl.21021.war.
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