Measured Words: Quantifying Vocabulary Exposure in Beginning Russian

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Slavic and East European Journal

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The current study provides a thick description of the vocabulary included in one beginning Russian textbook (i.e., Mezhdu nami, an open access, electronically accessible text). The study uses concordance software to quantify the words occurring in the beginning-level textbook, calculating the size, distribution and frequency of the text’s vocabulary in terms of total number of words (tokens), word forms (types) and lemmas. The author explores how well the word forms encountered in the textbook cover the paradigms of basic noun, adjective and verb forms. This data is used to consider the representativeness of the textbook’s vocabulary in comparison with the Russian frequency dictionary (Ljaševskaja and Šarov 2009), the required vocabulary lists for the Test of Russian as a Foreign Language (Andrjušina and Kozlova 2006; Andrjušina 2008; Andrjušina 2009), and studies of vocabulary in textbooks for other languages (Tschichold 2012; Catalan and Francisco 2008; Wagner 2015; Davies and Face 2006; Lipinski 2010). The discussion contextualizes the question of size, distribution and frequency of word forms. It explores the issue of incidental vocabulary in a beginning text and it discusses the fit between one beginning text’s vocabulary and the frequency dictionary/vocabulary lists.


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