The role of oral vocabulary when L2 speakers read novel words: A complex word training study

Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 1–12.


The present study asked whether oral vocabulary training can facilitate reading in a second language (L2). Fifty L2 speakers of English received oral training over three days on complex novel words, with predictable and unpredictable spellings, composed of novel stems and existing suffixes (i.e., vishing, vishes, vished). After training, participants read the novel word stems for the first time (i.e., trained and untrained), embedded in sentences, and their eye movements were monitored. The eye-tracking data revealed shorter looking times for trained than untrained stems, and for stems with predictable than unpredictable spellings. In contrast to monolingual speakers of English, the interaction between training and spelling predictability was not significant, suggesting that L2 speakers did not generate orthographic skeletons that were robust enough to affect their eye-movement behaviour when seeing the trained novel words for the first time in print.

Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 1–12