Peggy Magdalena Jonathans, Utami Widiati, Indri Astutik, Devinta Puspita Ratri


This systematic literature review attempts to shed light on the practice of vocabulary acquisition in EFL contexts (incidental versus intentional mode) and the recommendation for Asia. Aiming to fill theoritical gap, the present study elucidates methodological-related variables dealing with vocabulary acquisition Asia EFL teaching mostly needed and relevantly applicable. The study serves as a call for Asia EFL teachers to elaborate all reviewed components into ELT practice and curriculum. PRISMA is applied for the study methodology while inclusion criterion used to key terms in search engines which found 13,653 articles, and resulted into 27 the most related studies within the 15-year-time frame after being circumscribed, comprising publication on incidental and intentional vocabulary acquisition. The findings from the analysis indicated that extensive reading as the main input with additional of other skills. Exposure and repetition for meanings and retentions should be balancedly planned preventing from counterproductive effects. The explicit instruction needs of integration of interrelated components for the acquisition and learning to occur, namely input, media, time length, meanings, tasks, EFL teachers roles, L2 learners motivation, references, and evaluation. The larger the vocabulary size, the greater their engagement in L2 learning and real communication. The pedagogical implication recommends strongly intentional vocabulary acquisition with intentional vocabulary mode as supplementary since the two modes codeswitch in the cognitive domain.


vocabulary acquisition; intentional mode; incidental mode; codeswitching

Full Text:



Ahmad, J. (2012). Intentional vs. incidental vocabulary learning. ELT Research Journal, 1(1), 71-79. Retrieved from

Alemi, M., & Tayebi, A. (2011). The influence of incidental and intentional vocabulary acquisition and vocabulary strategy use on learning L2 vocabulary. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 2(1), 81-98. doi: 10.4304/jltr.2.1.

Ashcroft, R. J., Garner, J., & Hadingam, O. (2018). Incidental vocabulary learning though watching movies. Australian Journal of Apllied Linguisctics, 1(3), 1-15. doi: 10.29140/ajal.vln3.89.

Barcroft, J. (2009). The effects of synonyms generation on incidental and intentional L2 vocabulary learning during reading. TESOL Quarterly, 41(1), 79-104. doi: 10.1002/j.1545-7249.2009.tb00228.x.

Bisson, M-J., van Heuven, W. J. B., Conklin, K., & Tunney, R. J. (2014). The role of repeated exposure to multimodal input in incidental acquisition of foreign language vocabulary. Language Learning, 64(4), 855-877. doi: 10.1111/lang.12085.

Bolger, P., & Zapata, G. (2011). Semantic categorized and context in L2 vocabulary learning. Language Learning, 61(2), 614-647. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9922.2010.00624.x.

Boutorwick, TJ., Macalister, J., & Elgort, K. (2019). Two approaches to extensive reading and their effects on L2 vocabulary development. Reading in a Foreign Language, 31(2), 150-172. Retrieved from

Brown, R., & Waring, R. (2008). Incidental vocabulary acquisition from reading, reading-while-listening, and listening to stories. Reading in a Foreign Language, 20(2), 136-163. doi: 10.1080/17501229.2016.1203328

Chen, C., & Truscott, J. (2011). The effects of repetition and L1 lexicalization on incidental vocabulary acquisition. Applied Linguistics, 31(5), 693-713. doi: 10.1093/applin/amq031.

Dubiner, D. (2017). Using vocabulary notebook for vocabulary acquisition and teaching. ELT Journal, 71(4), 1-11. doi: 10.1093/elt/ccxoo8.

Elgort, I. (2010). Deliberate learning vocabulary acquisition in a second language. Language Learning, 61(2), 367-413. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9922.2010.00613.x.

Ertürk, Z. Ö. (2016). The effects of glossing on EFL learners' incidental vocabulary learning in reading. Procedia: Social and Behavioral Sciences, 232, 373-381. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.10.052.

Feng, Y. (2019). Learning vocabulary through reading, listening, and viewing: which mode of input is most effective? Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 1-25. doi: 10.1017/S0272263119000494

File, K.A., & Adams, S. (2010). Should vocabulary instruction be integrated or isolated? TESOL Quarterly, 44(2), 222-250. doi : 10.5054/tq.2010.219943.

Ghaedi, R., & Shahrokhi, M. (2016). The impact of visualization and verbalization techniques on vocabulary learning of Iranian high school EFL learners: A gender perspective. Ampersand, 3(1) 32-42. doi: 10.1016/j.amper.2016.03.001.

Juanggo, W. (2018). Investigating lexical diversity and lexical sophistication of productive vocabulary in th written discourse of Indonesian EFL learners. IJAL, 8(1), 38-48. doi: 10.17509/ijal.v8i1.11462.

Khonamri, F., & Rostaee, S. (2014). The impact of task-based extensive reading on lexical collocation knowledge of intermediate EFL learners. Procedia: Social and Behavioral Sciences, 133(1), 265-270. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.05.326.

Kim, J. (2008). The role of task-induced involvement and learner proficiency in L2 vocab acquisition in L2 vocabulary acquisition. Language Learning, 58(2), 285-325. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9922.2008.00442.x.

Laufer, B. & Rozovski-Roitblat, B. (2011). Incidental vocabulary acquisition: The effects of task type, word occurrence and their combination. Language Teaching Research, 15(4), 391-411. doi: 10.1177/1362168811412019.

Lin, J. J., & Lin, H. (2019). Mobile-assisted ESL/EFL vocabulary learning: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 33(8), 1-43. doi: 10.1080/09588221.2018.1541359.

McQuilban, J. (2019). We don't need any stinkin' exercise: The impact of extended instruction and storybook reading on vocabulary acquisition. Language and Language Teaching, 8(1), 25-38. Retrieved from http://publication.

Min, H. (2008). EFL vocabulary acquisition and retention reading plus vocabulary enhancement activities and narrow reading. Language Learning. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9922.2007.00435.x.

O’Loughlin, R. (2019). Turning in to vocabulary frequency in the coursebook. RELC Journal 43(2), 225-269. doi: 10.117/0033688212450640

Papi, M. (2018). Motivation as quality: Regulatory fits effects on incidental vocabulary learning. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 40(1), 707-730. doi:10.1017/5027226311700033X.

Paradis, J. (2019). English second language acquisition from early childhood to adulthood: The role of age, first language, cognitive and input factors. Proceedings of the 43rd Boston University Conference on Language Development, ed., 11-26. Retrieved from

Rassaei, E. (2015). Effects of textual enhancement and input enrichment on L2 development. TESOL Journal, 6(2), 281-302. doi: 10.1002/tesj.149

Reynolds, B. L. (2015). A mixed-methods approach to investigating first- and second-language incidental vocabulary acquisition through the reading of fiction. Reading Research Quarterly, 50(1), 111-127. doi: 10.1002/rrq.88.

Sato, T. (2016). Applicability of technology-enhanced visual glosses for explicit L2 vocabulary learning: The enhancement of metaphoric competence through the learning of English polysemous words. Ampersand, 3(1) 4-51. doi: 10.1016/j.amper.2016.03.003.

Tang, Z. (2020). A review of studies into incidental vocabulary acquisition through different input. China, Guangzhou: English Language Teaching, 13(6), 89-95. doi: 10.5539/elt.v13.6p89

Uchihara, T., Webb, S., & Yanagisawa, A. (2019). The effects of repetition on incidental vocabulary learning: Meta-analysis of correlational study. Language Learning Research, 1-41. doi: 10.1111/lang.12343.

Wright, T. S., & Cervetti, G. N. (2016). Systematic review of the research on vocabulary instruction that impacts text comprehension. Reading Research Quarterly, 0(0), 1-24. doi: 10.1002/rrq.163.

Xie, X. (2013). Vocabulary explanation in English-major university classroom in China. ELT Journal, 67(4), 435-446. doi: 10.1093/elt/cct031

Yali, G. (2010). L2 vocabulary acquisition through reading-incidental learning and intentional learning. Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics, 33(1), 1-15. Retrieved from 19389301ecd04bfeb20.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 English Review: Journal of English Education