An analysis of the vocabulary used in e-mails by EFL students with learning difficulties

  1. Andrés Canga Alonso 1
  1. 1 Universidad de La Rioja

    Universidad de La Rioja

    Logroño, España


Encuentro: revista de investigación e innovación en la clase de idiomas

ISSN: 1989-0796

Year of publication: 2011

Issue: 20

Pages: 1-12

Type: Article

More publications in: Encuentro: revista de investigación e innovación en la clase de idiomas



  • Social Sciences: C
  • Human Sciences: C


This paper aims at tracing the vocabulary profiles used by sixteen secondary school Spanish students with learning difficulties to describe people their same age and traditional festivals thanks to an e-mail tandem exchange with learners of Spanish as a foreign language their same age, belonging to a secondary school in the UK. Taking account of these texts, we will also aim to (i) identify the number and lexical category of the words used by the participants, and (ii) check the frequency of the words informants are able to produce. All the texts were digitalised and analysed by means of Range Tools. Our results indicate that (i) nouns and verbs are the most frequent lexical categories used by learners, and (ii) these words belong to the most frequent 1,000 words of English.

Bibliographic References

  • Agustín Llach, M. P. and Barreras Gómez, A. 2007. “Vocabulary acquisition and use in the written production of young Spanish EFL learners”. RESLA 20: 9-20.
  • Alvarez, J. A., Blanco, M., Ojanguren, A., Brammerts, H. and Little, D. (eds.). 1996. Guía para el aprendizaje de lenguas en tándem a través de Internet. Oviedo: Servicio de Publicaciones, Universidad de Oviedo.
  • Belisle, R. 1996. “E-mail activities in the ESL writing class”. The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. II, Nº12, December 1996. [Online]. Available at (Accessed 14/03/2011).
  • Biesenbach-Lucas, S. 2007. “Students writing emails to faculty: an examination of e-politeness among native and nonnative speakers of English”. Language Learning and Technology, Volume 11, Number 2, 59-81.
  • Biesenbach-Lucas, S. and Weasenforth, D. 2001. “E-mail and word processing in the ESL classroom: how the medium affects the message”. Language Learning and Technology Vol. 5, No. 1, 135-165.
  • Brammerts, H. 2003. “Autonomous language learning in tandem: The development of a concept”. In T. Lewis and L. Walker. Autonomous language learning in tandem Sheffield: Academy Electronic Publications, pp. 27-36.
  • Brammerts, H. and Calvert, M. 2003. “Learning by communicating in tandem”. In T. Lewis and L. Walker. Autonomous language learning in tandem. Sheffield: Academy Electronic Publications, pp. 45-59.
  • Brammerts, H. and Kleppin, K. 2003. “Supporting face-to-face tandem learning”. In T. Lewis and L. Walker. Autonomous language learning in tandem. Sheffield: Academy Electronic Publications, pp. 157-168.
  • Brammerts, H. and Little, D (eds.). 1996. Leitfaden für das Sprachenlernen im Tandem über das Internet (Manuskripte zur Sprachlehrforschung. 52). Bochum: Brockmeyer. [Online}. Available at (Accessed: 13/03/2011).
  • Chi-Fen, Emily C. 2006. “The development of e-mail literacy: from writing to peers to writing to authority figures”. Language Learning and Technology May 2006, Volume 10, Number 2, 35-55.
  • Crystal, D. 2001. Language and the Internet. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.
  • Danet, B. 2002. “The Language of Email”. European Union Summer School, University of Rome, June 2002, Lecture II. [Online]. Available at (Accessed: 13/03/2011).
  • Gläsmann, S. and Calvert, M. 2001. Tandem language learning in schools. Sheffield: Philip Armstrong Publications.
  • Gonglewski, M., Meloni, Ch. and Brant, J. 2001. “Using e-mail in foreign language teaching: Rationale and suggestions”. The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VI, Nº3, March 2001. [Online]. Available at (Accessed 14/03/2011).
  • Greenbaum, S. and Quirk, R. 1993. A students grammar of the English language. Essex, England: Longman.
  • Jiménez Catalán, R. M. and Ojeda Alba, J. 2007a. “The worlds children’s words build”, in Didáctica 19, 155-172.
  • Jiménez Catalán, R. M. and Ojeda Alba, J. 2007b. “La carta como instrumento de identificación personal e interacción comunicativa en L2: Análisis del vocabulario de los saludos y despedidas”. In J. Ramírez (coord.) La lengua escrita. SEDLL/Universidad de La Rioja, CD, pp. 503-511.
  • Jiménez Catalán, R. M. and Ojeda Alba, J. 2008. “The English vocabulary of girls and boys: Evidence from a quantitative study”. In K. Harrington, L. Litosseliti, H. Sauntson, and J. Sunderland (eds.) Gender and language research methodologies. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 103-115.
  • Little, D. 1998. Technologies, media and foreign language learning. Dublin: Authentik.
  • Marco Común Europeo de Referencia para las lenguas. (2001). Estrasburgo: Consejo de Europa. [Online]. Available at (Accessed 13/03/2011).
  • Miranda, A., Vidal-Abarca, E. and Soriano, M. 2000. Evolución e intervención psicoeducativa en dificultades de aprendizaje. Madrid: Pirámide.
  • Nagel, Pieter S. 1999. “E-mail in the virtual ESL/EFL classroom”. The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. V, Nº7, July 1999. [Online]. Available at (Accessed 13/03/2011).
  • Nation, Paul S. N. 2001. Learning vocabulary in another language. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Ojeda Alba, J. 2010.” Themes and vocabulary in CLIL and non-CLIL instruction”. In Y. Ruiz de Zarobe, and R. M. Jiménez Catalán (eds.) Content and language integrated learning. Bristol: Multilingual Matters, pp. 130-156.
  • Richards, J. and Schmidt, R. 2002. Longman dictionary of language teaching and applied linguistics. London: Longman.