Prof. Batia Laufer

Department of English Language and Literature

University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel
Haifa 31905 ISRAEL
FAX- 972-4-8249711

Higher Education

University degrees

Ph.D. Applied Linguistics, University of Edinburgh, U.K. 1986

Title of Thesis: Vocabulary Acquisition in a Second Language: the Hypothesis of Synforms (Similar Lexical Forms)

Drs .(Doctorandus), English Language, Leiden University, The Netherlands

B.A. English Language and Literature, French Language and Literature,
University of Haifa

Teaching Diploma, English and French languages, University of Haifa

Other academic studies

English for Specific Purposes, University of Lancaster, U.K.

Computational Lexicology and Lexicography. European Science Foundation school.
University of Pisa, Italy.


Courses taught

Vocabulary Acquisition in Additional Languages
The Pedagogical Grammar of English
Issues in Second Language Research
Language Evaluation
Second Language Acquisition
Basic Concepts in Applied Linguistics
Application of Linguistics to L2 Teaching
Introduction to the English Language
English-Hebrew Contrastive Analysis

Previously taught courses

English as a Foreign Language
English for Academic Purposes

Supervision of Theses (MA and PhD)

Recent PhDs
2010 Tina Waldman
2011 Bella Rozovsky-Roitblat

Invited lectures and seminars in Universities outside Israel

Australia: Melbourne U, Macquairie U. (Australian Linguistic Institute)
Belgium: Namur U., U of Brussels
Canada: U. of Ottawa, Carleton U.
China: Peking U, U. of Hong Kong, HK U. of Science and Technology
France U. of Bordeaux
Germany: U. of Mainz, U. of Marburg
Hungary: ELTE (Teachers College), Budapest
Japan: Waseda U., Temple U. Tokyo, Temple U. Osaka, U. of Akita
New Zealand: Victoria U, Wellington, U. of Auckland
Poland: U. of Poznan, U. of Silezia, U. of Lodz
Spain: Malaga U., U. of la Rioja
Sweden: U. of Stockholm, U. of Umea, U. of Uppsala
The Netherlands: Leiden U., U. of Nijmegen
UK: U. of Edinburgh
USA: U. of Hawaii, U. of Illinois, Michigan State U.
U. of California at Santa Barbara

Additional academic activities

Referee for international journals

Annual Review of Applied Linguistics
Applied Linguistics
Canadian Modern Language Review
Education Research Journal
Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics
International Journal of Lexicography
International Journal of Applied Linguistics
International Review of Applied Linguistics
The ITL review of Applied Linguistics
Language, Culture and Curriculum
Language Learning
Language Learning and Technology
Language Testing
Modern Language Journal
Reading in a Foreign Language
Second Language Research
TESOL Quarterly
The Language Learning Journal

Member of the Editorial/Advisory Board of Refereed Journals

Language Learning and Technology
Reading in a Foreign Language
EUROSLA Yearbook
Canadian Modern Language Review

Associate editor of Language Learning and Technology (2003-2007)

Member of the International Screening Committees for conferences held by:

AILA (Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquee)
AAAL (American Association of Applied Linguistics)
EUROSLA (European Second Language Association)
EURALEX (European Association of Lexicography)
SLRF (Second Language Research Forum)

Chair of a selection committee of international experts – Cyprus University of Technology

Work for the Israeli Council for Higher Education (CHE)

2007- 2010 Member of CHE
Member of several examining committees of programs of English Language and Teaching English Language
Chair of the Committee on English for Academic Purposes in the Israeli Higher Education
Member of the Alon Prize committee (Humanities) 2006-2008

Citations of my publications

According to Google Scholar (November, 2012) – about 6000 citations
According to Publish or Perish statistics (March, 2011)

h-index 27
g-index 59
hc-index 16
hI-index 17.78
hI-norm 26
e-index 48.2
hm-index 24.7 .



Paul Bogaards and Batia Laufer, (Eds). 2004 . Vocabulary in a Second Language: Selection, Acquisition and Testing. Amsterdam: Benjamins

Laufer, Batia, (Ed). 1992. A Teacher's Grammar of the English Verb. Haifa University Press.

Laufer-Dvorkin. Batia. 1991. Similar Lexical Forms in Interlanguage. Gunter Narr: Tubingen.

D.D.Sim and B.Laufer-Dvorkin. 1984. Vocabulary Development. Collins: Glasgow and London

D.D.Sim and B.Laufer-Dvorkin. 1982. Reading Comprehension Course: Selected Strategies. Collins: Glasgow and London.

Articles in journals and chapters in books

Laufer, B. (in press). Lexical frequency profiles. In C.A. Chapelle (Ed.). The Encyclopedia
of Applied Linguistics. Boston: Wiley-Blackwell

Laufer. B. (in press). Word difficulty. In C.A. Chapelle (Ed.). The Encyclopedia of Applied
Linguistics. Boston: Wiley-Blackwell

Laufer, B. 2012. Involvement load hypothesis. In P. Robinson (Ed.). Routledge Encyclopedia
of second Language Acquisition. London/New York: Routledge

Laufer, B. 2011. The contribution of dictionary use to the production and retention of
collocations in a second language. International Journal of Lexicography, 24(1):29-49

Laufer, B. and T. Waldman. 2011. Verb-noun collocations in second language writing: a
corpus analysis of learners’ English. Language Learning, 61(2): 647–672

Laufer, B. and B. Roitblat-Rozovski. 2011. Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition: the effects
of Task Type, Word Occurrence and Their Combination. Language Teaching Research, 15 (4): 391-411

Laufer, B. and I.S.P. Nation. 2011. Vocabulary. In S.M.Gass and A. Mackey, eds.
The Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. London and New York: Routledge. Pp. 163-176.

Laufer, B. and G. C. Ravenhorst- Kalovski. 2010. Lexical threshold revisited: lexical text
coverage, learners' vocabulary size and reading comprehension. Reading in a Foreign Language 22: 15-30

Laufer, B. 2010. Form focused instruction in second language vocabulary learning. In
Further insights into non-native vocabulary teaching and learning Eds. R. Chacón-Beltrán, C. Abello-Contesse, M.M. Torreblanca-López & M.D. López-Jiménez. . Bristol, Buffalo, Toronto: Multilingual Matters. pp. 15-27
pp. 15-27

Laufer. B. and M. Hill. 2009. What lexical information do L2 learners select in a CALL
dictionary and how does it affect word retention? In Computer Assisted Language Learning: Critical Concepts in Linguistics, Ed. P. Hubbard. New York and London: Routledge, pp. 377-402 (Reprinted from LLT 2000).

Laufer, B. 2009. Second language vocabulary acquisition from language input and from
form-focused activities: research timeline. Language Teaching 42:341-354

Laufer, B. and N. Girsai. 2008. Form-focused instruction in second language
vocabulary learning: a case for contrastive analysis and translation. Applied Linguistics 29: 694-716.

Laufer, B. 2008. Corpus-Based Versus Lexicographer Examples in Comprehension and
Productionof New Words. In Practical Lexicography. A Reader. Ed. T. Fontenelle OUP

Laufer, B. and N. Girsai. 2008. The use of native language for improving second
language vocabulary: an exploratory study. In Studies in Language and Language Education (Essays in Honor of Elite Olshtain). Eds. A. Stavans & I. Kupferberg. Jerusalem: The Hebrew University Magnes Press. 261-275

Laufer, B. 2006. Comparing focus on Form and Focus on FormS in second
language vocabulary learning. Canadian Modern Language Review 63: 149-166

Laufer, B. and T. Levitzky-Aviad. 2006. Examining the effectiveness of ‘Bilingual
Dictionary Plus’ - a dictionary for production in a foreign language. International Journal of Lexicography19: 135-155

Laufer, B. 2005. Lexical Frequency Profiles: From Monte Carlo to the Real World.
A response to Meara. Applied Linguistics 26: 581-587

Laufer, B. 2005. Focus on Form in second language vocabulary acquisition.
In EUROSLA Yearbook 5, eds. S. H. Foster-Cohen, M. P. Garcia-Mayo and J. Cenoz.
Benjamins. Pp. 223-250

Laufer, B. 2005 . Instructed second language vocabulary learning:
the fault in the ‘default hypothesis’. In Investigations in Instructed Second Language Acquisition, eds. A. Housen & M. Pierrard. Mouton de Gruyter.
pp. 286-303

Laufer, B., P. Meara, and P. Nation 2005. Ten best ideas for teaching vocabulary.
The Language Teacher (Japan) 29/5 .

Laufer, B. and Z. Goldstein. 2004. Testing Vocabulary Knowledge: Size,
Strength, and Computer Adaptiveness. Language Learning 54: 469-523

Laufer, B, C. Elder, K. Hill, P. Congdon. 2004. Size and strength:
Do we need both to measure vocabulary knowledge? Language Testing
21: 202-226

Laufer, B. 2003.Vocabulary acquisition in a second language: do learners really
acquire most vocabulary by reading? Canadian Modern Language Review
59, 4: 565-585

Hill, M.M. and B. Laufer. 2003. Type of task, time-on-task and electronic
dictionaries in incidental vocabulary acquisition. International Review of Applied
Linguistics 41: 87-106

Laufer, B. 2003. The influence of L2 on L1 collocational knowledge and
on L1 lexical diversity in written expression. In Effects of the Second Language on the First, ed. V. Cook. Multilingual Matters. Pp. 19-31

Laufer, B. 2001. Reading, word - focused activities and incidental vocabulary
acquisition in a second language. Prospect 16/3: 44-54.

Laufer, B. and Y. Yano. 2001. Understanding unfamiliar words in a text: do
L2 learners understand how much they don't understand. Reading in a Foreign Language 13: 549-566.

Hulstijn, J. and B. Laufer. 2001. Some empirical evidence for the
Involvement Load Hypothesis in vocabulary acquisition. Language Learning
51: 539-558

Laufer, B. and J. Hulstijn. 2001. Incidental vocabulary acquisition in a
second language: the construct of task-induced involvement.
Applied Linguistics 22: 1-26

Laufer, B. and P. Nation. 2001. Passive vocabulary size and speed of meaning
recognition: are they related? EUROSLA Yearbook Yearbook 1, eds. S. Foster-Cohen and A. Nizegorodcew. Amsterdam, Benjamins, pp. 7-28.

Laufer, B. 2001. Quantitative evaluation of vocabulary: how it can be
done and what it is good for. In Experimenting with Uncertainty, eds. C. Elder, A. Brown, E. Grove, K. Hill, N. Iwashita, T. Lumley, T. McNamara, K. O'Loughlin. Cambridge University Press. pp.241-250

Laufer, B. 2000. Avoidance of idioms in a second language: the effect
of L1-L2 degree of similarity. Studia Linguistica 54: 186-196

Laufer, B. and M.M. Hill. 2000. What lexical information do L2 learners
select in a CALL dictionary and how does it affect word retention? Language
Learning and Technology 3/2: 58-76

Laufer, B. 2000. Task effect on instructed vocabulary learning: the hypothesis of
'involvement'. Selected Papers from AILA '99 Tokyo. Waseda University Press, Tokyo, pp. 47-62

Laufer, B. 2000. Electronic dictionaries and incidental vocabulary acquisition: does
technology make a difference? EURALEX, eds. U. Heid, S. Evert, E. Lehmann, C. Rohrer. Stuttgart University, pp. 849-854

Laufer, B. and P. Nation. 1999. A vocabulary size test of controlled productive
ability. Language Testing 16: 33-51

Laufer, B. 1998. The development of passive and active vocabulary in a second
language: same or different? Applied Linguistics 12: 255-271.

Laufer, B. and T.S. Paribakht. 1998. Relationship between passive and active
vocabularies: effects of language learning context. Language Learning
48: 365-391

Laufer, B. and K. Shmueli. 1997. Memorizing new words: does teaching have
anything to do with it? RELC Journal 28/1: 89-108

Laufer, B. and M. Kimmel. 1997. Bilingualised dictionaries: how learners really use
them. System 25/3: 361-369

Laufer, B. and L. Hadar. 1997. Assessing the effectiveness of monolingual,
bilingual and 'biligualised' dictionaries. The Modern Language Journal 81/2: 189-196.

Laufer, B. 1997. The lexical plight in second language reading: words you don't
know, words you think you know and words you can't guess. In Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition: a Rationale for Pedagogy, eds. J. Coady and T. Huckin. Cambridge University Press. pp. 20-34.

Laufer, B. 1997. What's in a word that makes it hard or easy? Intralexical
factors affecting the difficulty of vocabulary acquisition. In Vocabulary Description, Acquisition and Pedagogy, eds. M. McCarthy and N. Schmitt. Cambridge University Press. pp. 140-155

Laufer, B. 1996. The lexical threshold of L2 reading: where it is and how it relates to
L1 reading ability. In Approaches to Second Language Acquisition, eds. K Sajavaara and C. Fairweather. Jyvaskyla Cross Language Studies 17. Jyvaskyla. pp. 55-62

Laufer, B. and P. Nation. 1995. Vocabulary size and use: lexical richness in L2
written production. Applied Linguistics 16: 307-322

Laufer, B. 1995. Beyond 2000 - a measure of productive lexicon in a second
language. In The Current State of Interlanguage, eds. L.Eubank, M. Sharwood-Smith, L.Selinker. Benjamins. pp. 265-272.

Laufer, B. 1994. The lexical profile of second language writing: does it change over
time? RELC Journal 25/2: 21-33.

Laufer, B. and L. Melamed. 1994. Monolingual, bilingual and 'bilingualised'
dictionaries: which are more effective, for what and for whom? EURALEX
1994, eds. W. Martin et al. Amsterdam. pp. 565-576.

Laufer, B. & S. Eliasson. 1993. What causes avoidance in second language learning:
L1- L2, difference, L1-L2 similarity, or L2 complexity? Studies in Second Language Acquisition 15: 35-48

Laufer, B. 1993. The effect of dictionary definitions and examples on the use
and comprehension of new L2 words. Cahiers de Lexicologie 63/2: 131-142.

1993. Appropriation du vocabulaire: mots faciles, mots difficiles, mots
impossibles. Acquisition et interaction en Langue Etrangere 3: 97-113.

1992. They think they know them, but they don't. English- a World's
Language 2/1: 79-85

1992. Reading in a foreign language: how does L2 lexical knowledge
interact with the reader's general academic ability? Journal of Research in Reading 15: 95-103

1992. How much lexis is necessary for reading comprehension? In
Vocabulary and Applied Linguistics, eds. H. Bejoint and P. Arnaud. Macmillan. pp.126-132

1992. Native Language effect on confusion of similar lexical forms. In
New Direction in Contrastive Linguistics, eds. M. Marcus and Ch. Mair. Innsbruck: Innsbrucker Beitraege zur Kulturwissenschaft. vol.2 pp. 199-209.

1992. The passive voice. In The Teacher's Grammar of the English Verb by
M.B. Dagut. Haifa University Press. pp. 101-112

1992. Verb + particle combinations. In The Teacher's Grammar of the English
Verb by M.B. Dagut. Haifa University Press. pp 124-134

1992. Corpus-based versus lexicographer examples in comprehension
and production of new words. EURALEX '92 Proceedings, eds. H. Tommola et al. Studia Translatologia. Tampere. pp 71-76.

1991. The development of lexis in the production of advanced L2 learners.
The Modern Language Journal 75: 440-448

1991.Some properties of the L2 mental lexicon as evidenced by lexical
confusions. International Review of Applied Linguistics 29: 317-330

1991. Knowing a word: what is so difficult about it? English Teachers'
Journal 42 (May): 82-88

Laufer, B. and H. Osimo. 1991. Facilitating vocabulary retention: the second hand
cloze. System 19: 217-224

Laufer, B. 1990. Why are some words more difficult than others? some intralexical
factors that affect the learning of words. International Review of Applied Linguistics 28: 293-307.

1990. `Sequence` and `order` in the development of L2 lexis. Applied
Linguistics 11: 281-296

1990. Ease and difficulty in vocabulary learning: some teaching implications.
Foreign Language Annals 23: 147-156

1990. Words you know: how they affect the words you learn. In Further
Insights into Contrastive Linguistics, ed. J.FISIAK. Benjamins: Holland
pp. 573-593.

1989. What percentage of text lexis is essential for comprehension? In Special
Language: From Humans Thinking To Thinking Machines ,eds. Ch. Lauren and M. Nordman. Multilingual Matters. pp 316-323

1989. Al shkifut meduma be'rchishat milim (On deceptive transparency in
vocabulary learning) Hed Haulpan 57: 59-66

1989. A factor of difficulty in vocabulary learning: deceptive transparency.
AILA Review 6: 10-20.

1988. The concept of 'synforms' (similar lexical forms ) in L2 vocabulary
acquisition. Language and Education 2: 113-132.

1987. The lexical perspective of reading comprehension. English Teachers'
Journal (Israel) 35: 58-67

. 1987. A case for vocabulary in EAP reading comprehension materials.In
Beads or Bracelet? How Do We Approach LSP. ed. A-M. Cornu, J. Vanparijs, M. Dalahaye, L.Baten. OUP Press. pp 284-291

1986. Possible changes in attitude towards vocabulary acquisition research.
International Review of Applied Linguistics 24/1: 69-75.

Dagut, M.B. and B.Laufer. 1985. Avoidance of phrasal verbs by Hebrew-speaking
learners of English - a case for contrastive analysis. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 7: 73-79.

Laufer, B. and D.D. Sim. 1985. An attempt to measure the threshold of competence
for reading comprehension. Foreign Language Annals 18/5: 405-411.

Laufer, B. and D.D. Sim. 1985. Taking the easy way out: non-use and misuse of
contextual clues in EFL reading comprehension. English Teaching Forum 23/2: 7-10, 20.

Bensoussan,M.and B.Laufer. 1984. Lexical guessing in context in EFL reading
comprehension. Journal of Research in Reading 7: 15-32.

Laufer,B. 1983. Written answers in Hebrew to English comprehension questions:
some advantages. English Teachers' Journal (Israel) October: 59-64.

Laufer, B. and M. Bensoussan.1982. Meaning is in the eye of the beholder.
English Teaching Forum 20/2: 10-13.

Dagut,M.B.and B.Laufer. 1982. How intralingual are intralingual errors?
International Review of Applied Linguistics: Error Analysis, Contrastive Linguistics and Second Language Learning, eds. G. Nickel and D. Nehls (special issue) pp. 19-41

Laufer, B. 1981. A problem in vocabulary learning - synophones. ELT Journal 34: 294-300.

1981. 'Intensive' versus 'Extensive' reading for improving University students'
comprehension in EFL. Journal of Reading 25: 40-45.

1978. On the extrinsic rule ordering: the formulation fallacy. Linguistics: 210:

1978. An experiment in teaching reading comprehension with written answers
in the mother tongue. System 6: 11-20.

1976. An approach to teaching grammar for comprehension purposes. System 4: 1-11.

Other publications

Laufer, B. 1999. A case for dictionaries in tests of reading comprehension. English
Teachers' Forum. Israel

Laufer, B. 1995. A case for a semi-bilingual dictionary for productive purposes.
Kernerman Dictionary News 3

Laufer,B.and D.D.Sim. 1982. Does the EFL learner need reading strategies more
than language? ERIC Documents ED 228848.

Presentations at International Conferences

2012 EUROSLA, Poznan
Vocabulary Growth in an Academic Reading Course:
The Effect of Reading, Form Focused Instruction and Intentional Learning
(with Geke Kalovsky)

2012 AAAL, Boston
Lexical proficiency of native-like L2 users: how native-like is it?
(with Elena Mizrachi)

2011 EUROSLA, Stockholm.
Does one need a native-like productive lexical knowledge to pass for a native writer?
(with Elena Mizrachi)

2011 AAAL, Chicago
Productive Lexical Proficiency in L2 over Eight Years of Study Active Knowledge, Speed of Retrieval & Use
(with Tammar Levitzky-Aviad)

2010 Symposium on Approaches to the Lexicon, Copenhagen
Collocation proficiency in a second language: use, knowledge and learning
(Invited lecture)

2010 EUROSLA Reggio Emilia, Italy
Lexical Competence of Highly Advanced L2 Users: is their collocation knowledge as good as their productive vocabulary size?
(with Elena Mizrachi)

2010 ETAI, Jerusalem
Quantity, Quality, Opportunity: Three Dimensions of Second Language Vocabulary Learning
( Key-note Lecture)

2010 AAAL Atlanta, GA
Long-term Incidental Acquisition of New Vocabulary: The Effect of Task Type and the Number of Word Occurrences
(with Bella Rozovski-Roitblat)

2009 AAAL Denver, Co.
Collocational knowledge and use in a second language: how do they develop?
(with Tina Waldman)

2008 FONAEL Chetumal, Mexico
Learning vocabulary in a second language: what do we know about it from research?
Plenary lecture

2008 EUROSLA Aix-en-Provence, France.
Long-term Retention of New Vocabulary: number of encounters of quality of task? (with Bella Rozovski-Roitblat)

2008 EUROSLA Aix-en-Provence, France.
Active vocabulary of advanced learners: a happy end, or a dead end?

2007 SLRF Urbana Champaign
Verb-Noun Collocations in Learners’ Writing: Some Insights from a Corpus of Learner English
(with Tina Waldman)

2007 ELIA Seville, Spain
Form focused instruction in L2 vocabulary acquisition (Plenary lecture)

2006 Tromso, Norway “ Diversity through education and participation”
Learning Vocabulary in a Second Language: what do we know about it from research? (Plenary lecture)

2006 AAAL Montreal
Form focused instruction in L2 vocabulary and reading: a case for contrastive analysis and translation

2005 EUROSLA 15 Dubrovnik, Croatia
Vocabulary acquisition through text-based translation tasks
(With N. Girsai)

2005 ICLC4 (International Contrastive Linguistics Conference)
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
The effect of translation tasks on vocabulary acquisition
(With N. Girsai)

2005 AILA Madison
Focus on form, focus on forms and vocabulary acquisition

2005 AsiaLEX Singapore
Towards a bilingualized dictionary for second language production
(with T. Levitzky-Aviad)

2004 EUROSLA 14 San Sebastian, Spain
Focus on Form in Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition
(Plenary Lecture)

2004 TESOL International Long Beach, CA
The why and how of teaching vocabulary (Spotlight Lecture, with K. Folse)

2003 AsiaLEX, Tokyo, Japan
Dictionary look up behavior and word retention as a function of task type and word relevance (with T. Levitzki-Aviad)

2003 16th International Symposium on Theoretical and Applied Linguistics
Thessaloniki , Greece
Word focused instruction and L2 vocabulary learning (Plenary Lecture)

2003 AAAL, Arlington
Testing L2 vocabulary knowledge: size, strength and computer adaptiveness

2002 AILA, Singapore
Type of task, time on task and electronic dictionaries (with M.M. Hill)

2002 L2 Vocabulary Acquisition Colloquium, Leiden Organizer with P. Bogaards
+ short report:
Computerized vocabulary testing

2002 AAAL, Salt Lake City
Organizer with V. Cook: symposium on L2 effect on L1
+ Lecture: L2 effect on L1 lexical knowledge and competence

2002 TESOL, Salt Lake City
Word focused tasks and vocabulary learning

2002 ALAA, Sydney
Size and strength: Do we need both to measure vocabulary knowledge? (with . K. Hill and C. Elder)

2001 EUROSLA, Paderborn
Acquiring vocabulary by listening (with S. Kehat and A. Saba)

2001 'L2 effect on L1' workshop University of Colchester, UK
L1 lexical attrition and misuse of collocations

2001 LTRC Symposium, St. Louis
Computer Adaptive Test of Size and Strength (with K. Hill, C. Elder)

2001 AAAL St. Louis
Do learners acquire most lexis from reading?

2001 TESOL International St. Louis
Vocabulary Testing by Computer

2000 EUROSLA, Krakow, Poland
Passive vocabulary size and speed of meaning retrieval: are they related?

2000 EURALEX, Stuttgart
Dictionaries and vocabulary learning: does technology make a difference?

2000 Instructed Second Language Symposium, Brussels University
The fault in the default hypothesis

1999 AILA '99, Waseda University, Tokyo.
Instructed L2 vocabulary learning: the hypothesis of involvement
(Key-Note Address)

1999 EUROCALL, Besancon, France. What lexical information do L2 learners
select in a CALL dictionary and how does it affect word retention?
(with M.M. Hill)

1999 EUROSLA 9, University of Lund
Avoidance of idioms: the effect of degrees of L1-L2 similarity

1998 PacSLRF, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo
What leads to better retention: comprehensible input or comprehensible
output? (with J. Hulstijn)

1998 AAAL, Seattle
Activating passive vocabulary: communicative input versus form-
focused instruction

1998 ALAA, Griffith College, Brisbane, Australia
What information is looked up in electronic dictionaries? ( with M.M. Hill)

1998 EUROSLA, The British Institute and University of Paris, Paris
Task effect on incidental vocabulary learning

1998 Testing Workshop, U. of Swansea, Wales, UK
Vocabulary recognition speed test

1997 EUROSLA, University of Barcelona
Learning context effect on lexical development (with T.S. Paribakht)

1997 SLRF, Michigan State University
In praise of output

1996 RELC seminar, Singapore
Memorizing vocabulary: does teaching have anything to do with it?
(with K. Shmueli)

1996 EUROSLA, Nijmegen University, The Netherlands
Passive and active vocabularies: are they related?

1996 AILA, Jyvaskyla University, Finland
a. Measuring passive and active vocabulary;
b. Discussant at the symposium on lexicography

1995 IATEFL, York University, U.K.
Bilingualised dictionaries: how learners really use them (with M. Kimmel)

1995 Conference on Testing and Evaluation, USTHK, Hong Kong
Beyond 2000 - a measure of active vocabulary

1995 EUROSLA, Dublin University
Avoidance in L2 and L1-L2 difference: difference in what?
(with J. Weinstein)

1995 SLRF, Cornell University
Development of passive and active vocabularies. (with D. Shahaf)

1994 RELC Seminar, Singapore
Lexical profiles in writing: do they change over time?

1994 EURALEX, Free University of Amsterdam
Monolingual, bilingual and bilingualised dictionaries: which are
more effective, for what and for whom? (with Linor Melamed)

1994 EUROSLA, University of Aix-en-Provence, France
The effect of passive vocabulary instruction on the development of active lexis

1994 MAPRJAL, Regenburg, Germany
Maintenance and attrition of lexical richness of Russian immigrant
(with A. Purisman)

1994 Vocabulary workshop, University of Essex, U.K.
Measuring the productive lexicon: research applications

1993 Corpus Linguistics and Lexicology , USTHK, Hong Kong
Lexis in Reading Comprehension: where the real problems lie

1993 AILA, Free University of Amsterdam
Lexis in second language writing: can it be measured?

1992 EUROSLA, Jyvaskyla University, Finland
How does L2 lexical knowledge interact with the general academic
ability in L2 reading?

1992 EURALEX, Tampere University, Finland
Corpus-based versus lexicographer examples in comprehension and
production of new words.

1992 IATEFL, Lille , France
Words you need to read

1991 TESOL, New York
Avoidance in L2 learning: L1 influence or L2 complexity? (with S. Eliasson)

1991 Contrastive Linguistics, Innsbruck, Austria
L1 effect on lexical confusions

1991 EUROSLA, Salzburg
What causes avoidance in a second language: similarity to L2, difference from L2, or complexity of L2? (with S. Eliasson)

1990 IATEFL, Dublin University
Facilitating long-term memorization: the 'second-hand cloze'
(with H.Osimo)

1990 AILA World Congress, Thessaloniki, Greece
Lexis in the production of advance learners: does it grow?

1989 IATEFL Warick University, U.K.
They think they know them, but they don't.

1989 LSP symposium, University of Budapest
How many words should one know to read authentic texts?

1989 Lexicography and vocabulary symposium, University of Lyon
The lexical threshold of reading comprehension

1988 IATEFL, Edinburgh
Ease and difficulty in vocabulary learning: some implications for teaching.

1987 IATEFL, Westende, Belgium
Words you know: how they affect the words you learn

1987 LSP symposium, Vaasa, Finland
How much lexis is necessary for text comprehension?

1987 AILA , Sydney
Vocabulary acquisition in a second language: the hypothesis of 'synforms'
(similar lexical forms)

1986 IATEFL, Brighton, UK
Some intralexical factors that affect vocabulary acquisition

1985 TEFL-TESOL Jerusalem
Why are some words more difficult to learn than others?

1985 LSP symposium, Leuven, Belgium
A case for vocabulary in English for Academic Purposes

1984 AILA , Brussels
Avoidance of phrasal verbs-a case for contrastive analysis (with M.Dagut)

1983 IATEFL, London
A rationale for special vocabulary materials in English for Academic Purposes

1982 ACTFL , New York
To what extent is L2 reading comprehension a function of L2 competence rather than of strategies?(with D.Sim)

1981 IATEFL , Athens
Lexical guessing in context (with M.Bensoussan)

1981 AILA , Lund
How intralingual are intralingual errors? (with M.B.Dagut)

1981 IATEFL , London
Does the EFL learner need language more than strategies?(with D.D.Sim)

1980 TESOL, San Francisco
A problem in vocabulary learning- synophones.

International Awards

2006 Best paper award in the area of Language Testing for 2004

  1. Collaborative Research Award (with a team from University of Melbourne)

1996 Language Learning Distinguished Scholar Award for 1996-1997
1988 ESF European Science Foundation grant
1983 The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Award, UK

Work in progress

  1. Form focused instruction in vocabulary learning
  2. The use of translation and contrastive analysis in second language learning
  3. Productive vocabulary size test
  4. Collocations: learning and testing
  5. Attrition of Russian as L1 in Israel

Research statement

My main contribution to the field of Applied Linguistics is in the area of Vocabulary Acquisition in Additional Languages. My secondary contributions are in the areas of Lexicography, Cross Linguistic Influence and Corpus Analysis. Most of my studies are of empirical nature and have relevance to second language acquisition research, language testing, dictionary study and design, computer assisted language learning and research, language syllabi, teaching methodology. The specific topics of my work are outlined below.

  1. Vocabulary and reading

    Research in reading has shown that inadequate vocabulary is one of the main obstacles to comprehension. In my research, I have identified the vocabulary threshold, i.e. the actual number of words a person has to know in order to be able to comprehend authentic prose and found it to be 5000 lexical items. I have also researched the minimal percentage of text vocabulary which is necessary for comprehension and found it to be 95%. The results of my lexical threshold research have been widely quoted (three papers on this topic yielded over 1000 citations, according to Google scholar), and used in second language vocabulary and reading research. For example, when researchers select texts for their experiments, they make sure the texts contain at least 95% of familiar vocabulary. Syllabus designers quote my results of 5000 words when they argue for the importance of more extensive vocabulary teaching programs.
    An important issue related to reading is guessing unknown words in context. My research has refuted some popular beliefs that most unknown words can be guessed from context. It has revealed the constraints on guessing, i.e. factors which make guessing impossible. These are quoted nowadays by vocabulary researchers and by lexicographers in support of strengthening dictionary use and developing readers' dictionary reference skills as an alternative to erratic guessing.

  2. Lexical difficulties

    My work discusses factors of difficulty in vocabulary comprehension, learning and use. I have classified the factors into interlingual (resulting from the effect of other languages) and intralingual (stemming from the language which is being learnt). I have researched two issues in depth: form similarity within the language, and learners' preconceived notions about words. I have coined two concepts related to these issues: "synformy" and "deceptive transparency", respectively. The above research contributes to the understanding of why some foreign language words are more problematic for some foreign learners than other words.

  3. Quantitative assessment of lexical knowledge

    Tests of lexical knowledge are difficult to design as they require sampling of the entire lexicon and testing various aspects of word knowledge. I have developed and published 4 tests: 3 tests together with P. Nation and an additional one with an Australian team of professional testers for monolingual users and with Z. Goldstein for bilingual users. The first test measures a person's productive vocabulary sizeelicited by means of cues, the second one measures the lexical sophistication of a person's writing. It consists of a computer program which produces a lexical frequency profileof any piece of written language. The third one is a computerized test of speed of meaning recognition which may serve as a measure of fluency.
    The forth test is a new computer adaptive measure which combines 4 dimensions of vocabulary knowledge and it incorporates vocabulary size, strength of knowledge and adaptiveness to learners' level. Research on this test yielded two articles, one of which (Laufer et al. 2004) won the 'best paper award' in the area of Language Testing, awarded by ILTA (International Language Testing Association)
    An additional dimension of testing I worked on is self-assessment of lexical knowledge. The results suggest that this study may modify some popular beliefs about the accuracy of such assessment. An article reporting on the study was published in Reading in a Foreign Language.
    Tests of lexical knowledge can be used as research instruments. But they are also essential for placement and teaching. The two first published tests have already been used by scholars in vocabulary research, in development of additional tests, and by pedagogical administrators for placement of learners into course levels. The paper describing and validating the first test has been cited over 200 times (Google Scholar). The paper on the second test (of lexical sophistication) has been cited over 500 times. The concepts I have introduced in connection with vocabulary testing are: Lexical Frequency Profile, Controlled Productive Vocabulary Size, VORST(vocabulary recognition speed test), CATSS (computer adaptive test of size and strength.)

  4. Vocabulary growth
    Most researchers distinguish between passive and active vocabulary knowledge and claim that the former is stronger than the latter. In my studies, I quantified the relationship between passive and active vocabularies at various stages of vocabulary growth and in two learning contexts: in school and in a natural language speaking environment. I showed that passive and active vocabularies do not develop at the same rate, nor do they develop similarly in the two contexts. One of the papers on this topic has been cited over 300 times.

  5. Task effect on memorization of new words

    One of the crucial questions in vocabulary research is what determines long term retention of new words. Looking at research on effective tasks, I tried (together with J. Hilstijn) to determine task properties which lead to successful retention. This resulted in a new theoretical construct of involvement (Applied Linguistics 2001). Its main contribution is to research since it introduces a model which can be submitted to empirical investigation. This model inspired researchers to conduct experiments which aim at testing the various components of the model. The concepts introduced in connection with this research are: task induced involvement and task induced involvement load. The paper that introduces the model has been cited over 500 times.

  6. Lexicography

    Dictionary research investigates the usefulness of various dictionaries and strategies people employ in searching for lexical information. In my work, I have explored the usefulness of dictionaries as on-line tools of comprehension and production of language, and as tools of vocabulary learning. I have also studied the typical look up patterns of students by using computerized tracking devices built into electronic dictionaries. The results of these studies are often quoted in support of bilingualized dictionaries which supply both monolingual and bilingual information and cater for a variety of look up preferences.

  7. Computer assisted research methodology and computerized testing

    Researchers have always been looking for more sophisticated and unobtrusive research methods. In my research on task effect, I've developed (together with M. Hill) a methodology which reveals what kind of lexical information subjects select in electronic dictionaries and how many times they attend to particular information. Since the computer log with the above information is produced without the subjects' awareness, the collected data are authentic and the outcome of research is not affected by the methodology.
    Computerized testing (particularly computer adaptive testing) is an important development of educational technology since it is expected to overcome some of the limitations of the conventional testing. My work on computerized tests is described in 3 above.

  8. Cross linguistic influence

    An important factor influencing second language learning is learners' knowledge of other languages, particularly their mother tongue. Researchers are trying to establish the precise nature and conditions of this influence. I have conducted several studies on avoidance of second language structures (some with M. Dagut and S. Eliasson) and tried to establish a theoretical framework of similarities and differences between languages in order to predict what L2 structures are prone to avoidance. Furthermore, I am collecting empirical evidence on the importance of a judicious use of learners' first language in the teaching of foreign languages. Papers written with my former graduate students (Nany Girsai and Bella Rozovski-Roitblat) demonstrate the value of incorporating some translation and comparison between languages in teaching English, particularly with adult learners.

  9. Corpus analysis
    In the last decade, second language researchers have been collecting and analyzing learner language corpora, i.e. large quantities of language produced by learners. Such corpora are now available in Europe and the Far East. The work with my two PhD students, Tina Waldman and Tamar Levitzky-Aviad, yielded the first English learner corpus in Israel which consists of over 2000 written samples (over 500000 words) by learners from the 6th grade to the University. This database is used to study the development of various features of English as a foreign language by Israeli learners at various stages of learning. One paper (with Waldman) has already been published and additional papers are in various stages of preparation.