A Vocabulary Analysis of ‘Life’ and ‘New Headway’ Textbooks: Vocabulary Coverage, Frequency, and Repetition

Nesreen Masoud Al-Ahmadi, Hassan Alshumrani


Despite the recognition of the role of textbooks as primary sources of word development, little research has examined three key vocabulary-related aspects (coverage/load, frequency, and repetition) across two globally used commercial English language textbooks, in this case Life and New Headway. This study adopted a corpus-based approach to analyze all the lexical items appearing in each of the two students’ main textbooks, along with the accompanying workbooks, on the basis of the three word-related aspects given above. Particularly, it compared the 95% and 98% lexical coverage of the two textbooks, and the frequency and repetition of high-frequency words across both textbooks. The findings revealed that students using these textbooks would need to develop knowledge of between 2,000 and 3,000 word families to generate an acceptable understanding of their content. The largest number of running words across the Life and New Headway textbooks belonged to the high word frequency group, and approximately 50% of these words were repeated 15 times or more within each textbook. The study concludes with a discussion of several pedagogical implications and suggestions for further research.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v16i1.21690

Copyright (c) 2024 Nesreen Al-Ahmadi, Hassan Alshumrani

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