Congratulations, Dr. Geoffrey Pinchbeck for receiving the Carleton University Research Development Grant. This award is designed to support early career researchers to develop their first successful application as a Principal Investigator (PI) to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

“Two of the most challenging tasks of second language (L2) curriculum design are choosing level-appropriate class texts and specific vocabulary learning objectives, particularly for learners beyond intermediate proficiency. This Early Career Researcher Award will contribute to an ongoing research program designed to benefit learners, practitioners, and materials designers in L2 educational programs and also researchers in adult education and applied linguistics. Recent research based on large-scale vocabulary testing data has determined that vocabulary knowledge of L2 learners can be estimated with much higher accuracy when the learner’s first language (L1) background is taken into account (Schmitt et al., in press). These results make theoretical sense since many languages share cognates and/or loanwords, and learners from the same L1 share educational L2-learning trajectories. This research has also exposed the problem that the vocabulary components used in existing models of text readability (e.g., used by K-12 publishers) are based on norms derived from US/UK English-native speakers, and are not valid for L2 learners. Recent technological advances have allowed custom software solutions to be increasingly accessible to non-computer-specialist users, whose contributions to their design and development lead to increased adoption and more effective solutions to real-world problems. As one part of a larger research program, we will 1) develop and validate a pilot diagnostic test of English vocabulary for Arabic learners of English and then 2) deploy this test in future studies to develop a scale of vocabulary knowledge that can inform custom models of English-text readability for Arabic learners.”

More information about Geoff and his research can be found here.