Academic Word List (AWL), Academic Vocabulary List (AVL), English Language Learning, Corpus Linguistics, Implicational scalind


Although use of the Academic Word List (AWL) has been successful and extensive in English as a second language (ESL) materials development and pedagogy (Coxhead 2000, 2011), some scholars have raised concerns about possible flaws. In an effort to overcome limitations, Gardner and Davies (2014) have presented a "new Academic Vocabulary List" (AVL). While their description suggests a number of potential advantages of the AVL over the AWL, these lists have yet to undergo ecologically valid comparisons based on actual ESL learner performance. Thus, this study compares the AWL with the AVL in an effort to identify some of the most salient similarities and differences. While results suggest that the AWL and AVL do not differ significantly in the ir overall word frequencies or in their capacity to similarly represent the broad construct of academic vocabulary knowledge, they indicate stark differences in terms of their content and in the systematic sequencing of that content. Though much more research is needed, these findings suggest a number of potential advantages of the AVL for ESL teaching and learning.

Original Publication Citation

Hartshorn, K. J., & Hart, J. M. (2016). Comparing the academic word list with the academic vocabulary list: analyses of frequency and performance of English language learners. The Journal of Language Teaching and Learning, 6, 83-100.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Association of Applied Linguistics







University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor

Included in

Linguistics Commons