Welcome to Francis Academic Press

International Journal of Frontiers in Sociology, 2022, 4(12); doi: 10.25236/IJFS.2022.041212.

A study on the correlation between vocabulary breadth and depth and English majors' writing proficiency


Tingting Zhang1, Wenying Yi2, Lijia Hu2

Corresponding Author:
Tingting Zhang

1Yili Normal University, Xinjiang, China

2Baise University, Guangxi, China


Writing has been the weakest aspect of basic skills for Chinese learners. Some studies have shown that the lack of vocabulary knowledge is the biggest difficulty in Chinese students' writing. And the current field of research on vocabulary tends to focus on the quality and quantity of vocabulary, that is, the depth and breadth of vocabulary. This study tested the vocabulary breadth and depth of 80 English majors through an online questionnaire, aiming to investigate the correlation between vocabulary breadth and depth and students' writing proficiency. The findings showed that there was a high positive correlation between vocabulary breadth and writing, and that vocabulary breadth was an effective predictor of writing proficiency. There was a low positive correlation between vocabulary depth and writing, and vocabulary depth was a low predictor of writing proficiency; there was no significant relationship between vocabulary breadth and depth.


vocabulary breadth; vocabulary depth; English major students

Cite This Paper

Tingting Zhang, Wenying Yi, Lijia Hu. A study on the correlation between vocabulary breadth and depth and English majors' writing proficiency. International Journal of Frontiers in Sociology (2022), Vol. 4, Issue 12: 66-71. https://doi.org/10.25236/IJFS.2022.041212.


[1] Coady, &T.Hukin. Second Language and Vocabulary Learning (Eds.).[M]. Shanghai:Shanghai Foreign Language Teaching Press.2001:271-290.

[2] Chen Yanyan. A study on the correlation between high school students' vocabulary breadth and depth knowledge and English writing [D]. Nanjing Normal University,2011.

[3] Domyei, Z. On the teachability of communication strategies [J].TESOL Quarterly, 1995,29(1),55-85.

[4] Goulden, R. & ENation&J. Read How large call a receptive vocabulary be?[J]. Applied Linguistics, 1990, 11(4):341-363.

[5] Henriksen, B. Three dimensions of vocabulary development [J]. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 1999(21):303-317.

[6] Hulstijin, J.H. Intentional and incidental second language vocabulary learning:a reappraisal of elaboration, rehearsal and automaticity[A]. In P.Robinson(ed).Cognition and Second Language Instruction[C].Cambridge University Press,2001:258-286.

[7] He Xueqin. Exploring the relationship between vocabulary level and EFL essay writing [J]. Journal of Huzhou Normal University,2007(29):103-107.

[8] Laufer, Batia. The development of passive and active vocabulary in a second Language: Same or different [J]. Applied Linguistics, 2001(19):255-271.

[9] Ma Guanghui. A Study of the Differences in Learning Strategies between High-Group Students and Low-Group Students [J]. Foreign Languages,1997:2.

[10] Ma Guanghui. A study on the English vocabulary level of science and engineering college students [J]. Foreign Language Teaching,2001(2):48-52.

[11] Nation, I.S.P.(1990). Teaching and learning vocabulary. New York: Newbury House.

[12] Qian, D. D.(1999).Assessing the roles of depth and breadth of vocabulary knowledge in reading comprehension. Canadian Modern Language Review, 1999(56): 282-308.

[13] Read,J.(1993).The development of a new measure of L2 vocabulary knowledge. Language Testing 10: 355-371.

[14] Schmitt,N.,Schmitt,D.,&Clapham,C.(2001).Developing and exploring the behaviour of two new versions of the Vocabulary Levels Test.Language testing,2001(18):55-88.

[15] Wu Xudong, Chen Xiaoqing.T he development of Chinese English students' vocabulary skills in classroom settings[J]. Modern Foreign Languages,2000(4).

[16] Wen Qiufang. The difference in approach between successful and unsuccessful English learners[J]. Foreign Language Teaching and Research,1996(3).

[17] Xi Zhongen. A Survey of English Majors' Vocabulary Development[J]. Foreign Language Teaching, 1998(2).

[18] Zhou Dajun, Wen Boyan. A full survey on the English vocabulary status of science and engineering students [J]. Foreign Language Teaching and Research, 2000(5).