Vocabulary Development in a CLIL Context: A Comparison Between French and English L2

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Kristof Baten


Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) has expanded in Europe, favoured by the large body of research, often showing positive effects of CLIL on L2 development. However, critical voices have recently questioned whether these effects can be attributed to CLIL, because, so is argued, the two groups of learners that are compared (CLIL vs. non-CLIL learners) have different characteristics from the outset. Furthermore, it is unclear whether these positive findings apply for any language, given that most research focuses on English. Taking into account these critiques the present study investigated the (productive and receptive) vocabulary development in L2 English and L2 French of the same group of learners within a CLIL context. The aim was not to evaluate the benefits of CLIL over non-CLIL, but instead to examine possible language improvements within CLIL cross-linguistically. More specifically, this study included 75 Flemish first-grade pupils of secondary school. The results show that although the pupils have a larger English vocabulary, the level of improvement (from pretest to posttest) is not different across the languages. The findings indicate that CLIL also guarantees language development in a non lingua franca.


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Author Biography

Kristof Baten, Ghent University

Post-doctoral Fellow of the Flemish Research Foundation


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