WORD-FREQUENCY AND VOCABULARY ACQUISITION: AN ANALYSIS OF ELEMENTARY SPANISH COLLEGE TEXTBOOKS IN THE USA
At universities in the United States, first-year Spanish instructors often wonder why their students perform below expectations in vocabulary tests. This paper addresses this question by presenting an analysis of five leading first-year college Spanish textbooks published in the United States. This analysis consists of two parts: 1) mapping the textbooks' vocabulary lists as well as the vocabulary that appears in their reading input against the vocabulary-frequency information provided in A frequency dictionary of Spanish: Core vocabulary for learners written by Mark Davies and published by Routledge in 2006, and 2) using estimations available in the current literature to infer logistical aspects that need to be considered in first-year college Spanish such as amount of contact-time with the material to be learned, depth of vocabulary knowledge, and the relationship between the receptive and productive dimensions of vocabulary acquisition. The results show that some pedagogical fine-tuning may be needed to align the amount of vocabulary presented in textbooks as well as their vocabulary selections with research findings on vocabulary acquisition and Spanish vocabulary frequency.