Definition of Vocabulary

Definition of Vocabulary

Ferreira (2007, p. 20) point out many authors have similar definitions about  vocabulary.  Vocabulary can  be  defined  as  a  powerful  carrier  of  meaning and the knowledge of words and their meanings.  This means  that  without  establishing  a  strong  vocabulary  base  first,  comprehension  and  use  of  a language will not be achieved. In addition, the student should be able to recognize words, and know their meanings as well. Thus, when a student is effectively able to recognize and use a word in different contexts, speak, write, pronounce the word well, she/he has the knowledge and meaning of that word.

Vocabulary can be defined as “the words we must know to communicate effectively: words in speaking (expressive vocabulary) and words in listening (receptive vocabulary)” an extensive body of research exists on teaching and learning vocabulary.

Holmes (1918, p. 34) Vocabulary is the words you have to know to read a story, secondary students might define vocabulary as a list of words given by the teacher in order to comprehend a given text. Vocabulary is stored information about the meanings and pronunciations of words necessary for communication.

Foreign language vocabulary knowledge is an increasingly important area in the field of Applied Linguistics, Central to the investigation within foreign language vocabulary knowledge is the distinction between productive and receptive vocabulary knowledge types. Receptive vocabulary is understood as a passive skill which involves the perception of a word and the understanding of its meaning in listening and reading. Productive vocabulary refers to an active skill that covers word production so as to match the speakers’ intention in writing and speaking (Nation 2001, p.  5)


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