Introducing the newly formed Vocabulary Special Interest Group

Quint Oga-Baldwin, Fukuoka University of Education; Jeff Anderson, Kyushu Sangyo University; Aaron Gibson, Kyushu Sangyo University; Luke Fryer, Kyushu Sangyo University; and Jeff Stewart, Kyushu Sangyo University


In June of 2011, the JALT Vocabulary Special Interest Group was established in order to accommodate the growing interest in vocabulary acquisition research among JALT members.

Our current officers are Jeff Anderson and Aaron Gibson as Co-coordinators; Luke Fryer acting as Program Chair; Jeff Stewart runs Publications; and Quint Oga-Baldwin is acting as Membership Chair and Treasurer.

Our mission statement is as follows:

The Vocabulary Special Interest Group (Vocab SIG) of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT) provides a forum for focused research and discussion in specific regard to vocabulary acquisition. We offer both teachers and researchers a place to connect regarding how learners improve vocabulary knowledge, how to test their knowledge, and how these theoretical aspects will connect to classroom practice. The SIG is open to all JALT members, and connects practitioners within Japan as well as in the greater context of East Asia. Our group aims to be a driving force for both current and future research in the field of how vocabulary can be taught, learned, and tested in an increasingly global context.

As a JALT SIG, we will hold an annual symposium-style conference to discuss the latest research and pedagogical innovations in the field of second language vocabulary acquisition. This event will invite leading speakers and discussants from the field with specific new work to present in order to keep the group on the cusp of vocabulary teaching and learning studies. The Vocab SIG currently will provide an online forum for exchange of ideas, research methods, and new findings. Finally, the new SIG will produce at least one annual peer-reviewed publication on the topic of vocabulary acquisition, with a specific focus on pedagogy, learning, and testing of vocabulary. With sufficient interest, we hope to expand the work to a biannual journal. Both the journal and the annual event will remain unconnected with corporate interest, and will not be used as a direct money-making enterprise. All academic work published by the group will be distributed free of cost online in the growing tradition of open-source peer-reviewed scholarly work.

Seeking new members

At present, the SIG is seeking members with practical vocabulary-based teaching, learning, and testing oriented pedagogy and research interests. As a forming SIG, we hope to increase our membership in order to help both experienced and budding practitioners find an outlet for new ideas. Through your contributions we can continue to grow and improve knowledge of how vocabulary is learned, as well as create a more accurate model of language acquisition. Members willing and able to help out with SIG executive functions are encouraged to talk to one of the current chairs. Interested parties can also reach us through our website <>. Finally, please be sure to tick the Vocabulary SIG box when you choose to extend your membership for another year.

Spring 2012 Vocabulary Symposium

Our SIG will be holding the first annual Vocabulary Symposium on March 3, 2012 at Kyushu Sangyo University in Fukuoka. The main event will be two Symposia on Vocabulary Testing and Vocabulary Teaching, with four presentations followed by a round-table discussion. The morning testing session will be chaired by Dr. Masamichi Mochizuki of Reitaku University, while the afternoon session will discuss teaching applications, chaired by Dr. Shigenori Tanaka of Keio University.

During the mid-day break, up-and-coming researchers and teachers will present their peer-reviewed work in poster sessions. Their work will also be included in the first issue of our open-access online journal. The poster themes are 1) tested vocabulary teaching and learning strategies and 2) ongoing empirical vocabulary research. The goal is to encourage discussion about the poster presentations so that those who start as poster presenters may go on to become future Symposium presenters and discussants.

Kyushu Sangyo University is located on the eastern side of Fukoka City. It is easily reached in 20 minutes by bus from Tenjin, or by train from Hakata Station on the JR Kagoshima Line.

Symposium registration fees

Registration for regular JALT members will be ¥1500, ¥1000 for Vocabulary SIG Members, and ¥500 for high school, junior high school, or elementary teachers. Fees can be paid on the day, and will include lunch. We look forward to your participation and hope to see you at the Symposium on March 3.

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