Methodology – Creating a List of Lemmas to Test

Knowledge-based Vocabulary Lists - Norbert Schmitt

Norbert Schmitt [+-]
Nottingham University
Norbert Schmitt is Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Nottingham. He is interested in all aspects of second language vocabulary description, acquisition, use, pedagogy, and measurement. He has published over 100 articles and chapters on lexical issues, as well as four books: Vocabulary: Description, Acquisition, and Pedagogy (with Michael McCarthy, 1997, CUP), Vocabulary in Language Teaching (2000, CUP), Formulaic Sequences (2004, John Benjamins), and Researching Vocabulary: A Vocabulary Research Manual (2010, Palgrave). He has also published several other books on applied linguistics: A Handbook of Applied Linguistics (2010, Hodder), Why is English Like That? Historical Answers to Hard ELT Questions (2006, University of Michigan Press). His student textbook (with Diane Schmitt) Focus on Vocabulary: The Academic Word List (2000, 2013 2nd ed., Pearson Longman) has sold over 100,000 copies and this has been followed up with Focus on Vocabulary: Bridging Vocabulary. Norbert has an h-index of 58 and has 26,000 citations as of March 13, 2020. He regularly presents at major conferences and consults globally on lexical issues.
Karen Dunn [+-]
British Council
Dr. Karen Dunn is a Senior Researcher in measurement and evaluation at the British Council. She holds a PhD in Applied Social Statistics and Masters in Language Studies. The focus of Karen’s PhD research was on using Explanatory Item Response Theory to investigate word difficulty for L2 learners of English. In additional to operational test concerns, her current research interests include scoring validity of reading reordering tasks, assessing language test dimensionality, and linking motivational profiles to proficiency outcomes.
Barry O'Sullivan [+-]
British Council
Barry O’Sullivan is Head of Assessment Research and Development, the British Council, London, Visiting Professor of Language Assessment at the University of Reading, and Advisory Professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
Laurence Anthony [+-]
Waseda University, Japan
Laurence Anthony is a Professor in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Waseda University, Japan. He is a former director of the Center for English Language Education (CELESE) and is the coordinator of the CELESE technical English program. He received the M.A. degree in TESL/TEFL, and the Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Birmingham, UK, and the B.Sc. degree in mathematical physics from the University of Manchester, UK. His research interests include corpus linguistics, educational technology, natural language processing (NLP), and genre analysis. His main research interests are in educational technology, corpus linguistics, and natural language processing. Continuing from his Masters work in genre analysis, he developed software to automatically analyze texts at the sentence and discourse level for his PhD. Since then, he has been developing educational software for use by researchers, teachers, and learners in corpus linguistics, including AntConc, a freeware concordancer, AntWordProfiler, a freeware vocabulary profiler, and more recently web-based monolingual and parallel concordancers.
Benjamin Kremmel [+-]
University of Innsbruck
Benjamin Kremmel is Head of the Language Testing Research Group Innsbruck (LTRGI) at the University of Innsbruck. He is currently a lecturer and researcher at the Department for Subject-specific Education at the Faculty of Teacher Education and has been involved in multiple language test development projects, such as the exam reform of the Austrian school leaving exam and the development of a new national language exam for diagnosis and educational monitoring. His PhD at the University of Nottingham, UK, was on the development and validation of vocabulary assessments. His research interests include vocabulary assessment, L2 reading assessment, diagnostic language testing, language assessment literacy, and SLA. His work has been published in Language Testing, Language Assessment Quarterly, Applied Linguistics, Language Teaching, PlosOne and TESOL Quarterly.


This is the first methodology chapter, and describes how we compiled the initial candidate list of lemmas to be placed on the eventual tests. This was important because we did not know which 5,000 lemmas would end up on the list, so we need to test a larger number of lemmas in order to capture the best-known 5,000. The chapter also discusses key initial decisions, like scope of the list, choosing the counting unit (e.g. word, lemma, or word family), choosing the reference corpora, and which L1 speakers to test.

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Schmitt, Norbert; Dunn, Karen; O'Sullivan, Barry; Anthony, Laurence; Kremmel, Benjamin . Methodology – Creating a List of Lemmas to Test. Knowledge-based Vocabulary Lists. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Apr 2024. ISBN 9781800504141. Date accessed: 05 Feb 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.41774. Apr 2024

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