Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition In The Foreign Language Classroom

This paper developed out of ongoing research on a recent late partial English immersion (IM) program in Germany. The evaluation involves a comparison between (a) IM groups, (b) comparison groups from non-IM schools, and (c) non-IM groups from the same school as the IM groups at various points of their development. In this paper the focus is on whether vocabulary learning occurs incidental to history and/or geography being taught in English, and (b) whether there is evidence to suggest that the learning abilities activated in the IM classroom are the same as those needed in traditional foreign language-as-subject teaching (LAS) and/or naturalistic, i.e. non-tutored L2 acquisition.
The data derive form a communicative test. It will be shown that some of the lexical items cannot have come from the textbook or from other kinds of teaching materials used during the LAS part of the program. This leaves the teacher's oral use of English as the most likely source. Several implications for L2 acquisition theory and teaching practice are pointed out.

Studies in Second Language Acquisition 21, 243-258, 1999.