Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated)


School of Education


A limited productive oral vocabulary can cause a significant level of frustration for learners of English. Words carry the foundational information required to communicate thoughts and participate in meaningful conversations and, without sufficient word knowledge, communication is limited. Moreover, participating in conversation requires an ability to understand words that are heard, but also the ability to use words appropriately in speech. Yet, it is generally accepted that learners’ receptive vocabulary (i.e., words understood in reading and listening) is significantly larger than their productive vocabulary (i.e., words used in writing and speaking) (Laufer, 1998; Waring, 1997; Webb, 2008b). Further problematic is that the transformation of adult learners’ vocabulary from receptive to productive can be a challenging task and more research into the types of activities that second language (L2) teachers can use to support such a transformation is needed. To date, only one study has examined the development of productive vocabulary (Teng & Xu, 2022); however, their study focused on written modes and no studies to date have investigated productive oral vocabulary development.

This thesis addresses this research gap and provides insights into the types of classroom activities that can be used to develop adult learners’ productive oral vocabulary knowledge. The present study offers a new and innovative pronunciation-integrated teaching model to facilitate productive oral vocabulary development. In teaching English as a Second Language, vocabulary teaching and pronunciation training are frequently viewed as discrete areas of teaching and the value of metalinguistic awareness, which is the ability to consciously reflect on and manipulate language (Tunmer, Herriman, & Nesdale, 1988), of target words is rarely acknowledged. This thesis proposes that, in the context of developing learners’ productive oral vocabulary, vocabulary teaching, pronunciation training and metalinguistic awareness of target words are highly complementary.

FoR codes (2008)

200401 Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics, 200408 Linguistic Structures (incl. Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics)



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.