Faculty of Education

Dr Stuart Webb



After completing his undergraduate degree at Western, Stuart Webb did an MA in TESL/TEFL at the University of Birmingham, and a PhD in Applied Linguistics at Victoria University of Wellington. Prior to joining the Faculty of Education at Western University in 2015, he taught English as a foreign language in China and Japan for many years, and more recently taught Applied Linguistics and TESOL for graduate programs in Japan, Singapore, and New Zealand.

Stuart conducts research on second language acquisition, particularly incidental vocabulary learning through reading, listening, and watching television, as well as how words can be taught effectively. His research has investigated the teaching and learning of both single-word items and collocations and has looked at questions such as: How many words do English as a foreign language students learn per year? How many words do we need to know to understand television programs and movies? How many times do we need to encounter words during reading in order to learn them? Which words have the greatest value to learners and deserve attention in the classroom? How can we measure vocabulary learning? His research has included corpus-driven studies of the vocabulary in different discourse types and quantitative studies of vocabulary learning. His work has appeared in journals such as Applied Linguistics, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Language Learning, and TESOL Quarterly.  He is co-author (with Paul Nation) of Researching and Analyzing Vocabulary (Heinle, 2011) and serves on the editorial boards of a number of international Applied Linguistics and TESOL journals.

Expertise Areas

Recent Publications


Webb, S. (Ed.). (under contract). The Routledge Handbook of Vocabulary Studies. New York: Routledge.

Webb, S., & Nation, P. (to appear 2017). How Vocabulary is Learned. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Webb, S. (Ed.). (2016). Vocabulary: Critical Concepts in Linguistics (Vols. 1-4). New York: Routledge.

Nation, I.S.P., & Webb, S. (2011). Researching and Analyzing Vocabulary. Boston, MA: Heinle.

Articles and Chapters

Dang, T.N.Y., & Webb, S. (to appear 2017). Evaluating lists of high frequency vocabulary. ITL - International Journal of Applied Linguistics.

Rodgers, M.P.H., & Webb, S. (to appear 2017). Do captions improve EFL learners’ comprehension of English-language television programs? CALICO Journal.

Nguyen, T. M. H., & Webb, S. (2017). Examining second language receptive knowledge of collocation and factors that affect learning. Language Teaching Research. Available in Online First. DOI: 10.1177/1362168816639619

Saito, K., Trofimovich, P., Isaacs, T., & Webb, S. (2017). Re-examining phonological and lexical correlates of second language comprehensibility: The role of rater experience. In T. Isaacs & P. Trofimovich (Eds.) Interfaces in second language pronunciation assessment: Interdisciplinary perspectives (pp.131-146). Multilingual Matters.

Sasao, Y., & Webb, S. (2017). The word part levels test. Language Teaching Research. 21(1), 12-30.

Nakata, T., & Webb, S. A. (2017). Vocabulary learning exercises: Evaluating a selection of exercises commonly featured in language learning materials. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.), Second Language Acquisition Research and Materials Development for Language Learning (pp. 123-138). Oxon, UK: Taylor and Francis.

Saito, K., Webb, S., Trofimovich, P., & Isaacs, T. (2016). Lexical profiles of comprehensible second language speech: The role of appropriateness, fluency, variation, sophistication, abstractness and sense relations. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 38(4), 677-701.

Dang, T. N. Y., & Webb, S. (2016). Making an essential word list for beginners. In I. S. P. Nation, Making and Using Word Lists for Language Learning and Testing (pp. 153-167, 188-195). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Saito, K., Webb, S., Trofimovich, P., & Isaacs, T. (2016). Lexical correlates of second language speaking proficiency: Comprehensibility versus accentedness. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 19(3), 597-609.

Nakata, T., & Webb, S. (2016). Does studying vocabulary in smaller sets increase learning? Effects of part and whole learning on second language vocabulary acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 38(3) 523-552.

Siyanova-Chanturia, A., & Webb, S. (2016). Teaching vocabulary in the EFL context. In W.A. Renandya & H. P. Widodo (Eds.) English Language Teaching Today: Building a Closer Link between Theory and Practice (pp. 227-239). Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Rodgers, M.P.H., & Webb, S. (2016). Listening to lectures. In K. Hyland & P. Shaw (Eds.) The Routledge Handbook of English for Academic Purposes (pp. 165-176). London: Routledge.

Webb, S. (2016). Learning vocabulary through meaning-focused input: Replication of Elley (1989) and Liu & Nation (1985). Language Teaching, 49(1), 129-140.

Paribakht, T.S., & Webb, S. (2016). The relationship between academic vocabulary coverage and scores on a standardized English proficiency test. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 21, 121-132.

Webb, S. (2015). Researching vocabulary in the EFL context: A commentary on four studies for JALT Vocabulary SIG. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 4(2), 83-94, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7820/vli.v04.1.webb

Webb, S. (2015). Repeated reading. Contact, 41(3), 11-15.

Webb, S. & Chang, A, C-S. (2015). How does prior word knowledge affect vocabulary learning progress in an extensive reading program? Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 37(4), 651-675.

Boers, F., & Webb, S. (2015). Gauging the semantic transparency of idioms: Do natives and learners see eye to eye? In R. R. Heredia & A. B. Cieślicka (Eds.) Bilingual Figurative Language Processing (pp. 368-392). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Webb, S.A. & Chang, A, C-S. (2015). Second language vocabulary learning through extensive reading: How does frequency and distribution of occurrence affect learning? Language Teaching Research, 19(6), 667-686.

Rogers, J., Webb, S. & Nakata, T. (2015). Do the cognacy characteristics of loanwords make them more easily learned than noncognates? Language Teaching Research, 19(1), 9-27. doi:10.1177/1362168814541752.

Webb, S., & Paribakht, T.S. (2015). What is the relationship between the lexical profile of test items and performance on a standardized English proficiency test? English for Specific Purposes, 38, 34-43.

Webb, S. (2015). Extensive viewing: language learning through watching television. In D. Nunan & J.C. Richards (Eds.) Language Learning Beyond the Classroom (pp. 159-168). New York: Routledge.

Webb, S. (2014). Repetition in incidental vocabulary learning. In C. Chappelle (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics (pp. 1-6). Oxford, UK.: Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal1425

Boers, F., Lindstromberg, S., & Webb, S. (2014). Further evidence of the comparative memorability of alliterative expressions in second language learning. RELC Journal, 45(1), 85-100.

Dang, T.N.Y., & Webb, S. (2014). The lexical profile of academic spoken English. English for Specific Purposes, 33(1), 66-76.

Boers, F., Demecheleer, M., Coxhead, A., & Webb, S. (2014). Gauging the effectiveness of exercises on verb-noun collocations. Language Teaching Research, 18(1), 50-70.

Webb, S. (2013). Learning vocabulary in activities. In H. Puji Widodo & A. Cirocki (Eds.) Innovation and Creativity in ELT Methodology (pp. 121-133). New York: Nova.

Webb, S., & Sasao, Y. (2013). New directions in vocabulary testing. RELC Journal, 44(3), 263 - 278.

Macalister, J., & Webb, S. (2013). A response. TESOL Quarterly, 47(4), 852-855.

Webb, S., & Macalister, J. (2013). Is text written for children appropriate for L2 extensive reading? TESOL Quarterly, 47(2), 300-322.

Webb, S., Newton, J., & Chang, A. C-S. (2013). Incidental learning of collocation. Language Learning, 63(1), 91-120.

Webb, S. (2013). Depth of vocabulary knowledge. In C. Chappelle (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics (pp. 1656-1663). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal1325

Webb, S. & Nation, I.S.P. (2013). Teaching vocabulary. In C. Chappelle (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics (pp. 5670-5677). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal1177

Webb, S. & Nation, I.S.P. (2013). Computer-assisted vocabulary load analysis. In C. Chappelle (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics (pp. 844-853). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0179

Webb, S. (2012). Book review: Wray, Alison (2008). Formulaic Language: Pushing the Boundaries. 2008, pp. xv+ 305. Oxford: Oxford University Press. New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics, 18(2), 85-86.

Webb, S.A. & Chang, A, C-S. (2012). Vocabulary learning through assisted and unassisted repeated reading. Canadian Modern Language Review, 68(3), 267-290.

Webb, S.A. (2012). Receptive learning. In N.M. Seel (Ed.) Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning (pp. 2783-2785). New York: Springer.

Webb, S.A. & Chang, A, C-S, (2012). Second language vocabulary growth. RELC Journal, 43(1), 113-126.

Nation, I.S.P., & Webb, S. (2011). Content-based instruction and vocabulary learning. In E. Hinkel (Ed.) Volume 2, Handbook of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning (631-644). New York: Routledge.

Rodgers, M.P.H. & Webb, S. (2011). Narrow viewing: The vocabulary in related television programs. TESOL Quarterly, 45(4), 689-717.

Webb, S. (2011). Selecting television programs for language learning: Investigating television programs from the same genre. International Journal of English Studies, 11(1), 117-136.

Webb, S. & Kagimoto, E. (2011). Learning collocations: Do the number of collocates, position of the node word, and synonymy affect learning? Applied Linguistics, 32(3), 259-276.

Webb, S. (2010). A corpus driven study of the potential for vocabulary learning through watching movies. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 15(4), 497-519.

Webb, S. (2010). Pre-learning low frequency vocabulary in second language television programs. Language Teaching Research, 14(4), 501-515.

Webb, S. (2010). Using glossaries to increase the lexical coverage of television programs. Reading in a Foreign Language, 22(1), 201-221.

Webb, S. (2009). The effects of receptive and productive learning of word pairs on vocabulary knowledge. RELC Journal, 40(3), 360-376.

Webb, S. & Rodgers, M.P.H. (2009). The lexical coverage of movies. Applied Linguistics, 30(3), 407-427.

Webb, S. (2009). L2 vocabulary: Perspectives on teaching, learning, testing, and formulaic sequences. Language Teaching, 42(3), 405-414.

Webb, S. & Kagimoto, E. (2009). The effects of vocabulary learning on collocation and meaning. TESOL Quarterly, 43(1), 55-77.

Webb, S. & Rodgers, M.P.H. (2009). The vocabulary demands of television programs. Language Learning, 59(2), 335-366.

Webb, S. (2009). The effects of pre-learning vocabulary on reading comprehension and writing. Canadian Modern Language Review, 65(3), 441-470.

Webb, S. & Nation, I.S.P. (2008). Evaluating the vocabulary load of written text. TESOLANZ Journal, 16, 1-10.

Webb, S. (2008). The effects of context on incidental vocabulary learning. Reading in a Foreign Language, 20, 232-245.

Webb, S. (2008). Receptive and productive vocabulary size. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 30(1), 79-95.

Webb, S. (2007). The effects of synonymy on vocabulary learning. Reading in a Foreign Language, 19(2), 120-136.

Webb, S. (2007). Learning word pairs and glossed sentences: The effects of a single sentence on vocabulary knowledge. Language Teaching Research. 11(1), 63-81.

Webb, S. (2007). The effects of repetition on vocabulary knowledge. Applied Linguistics, 28(1), 46-65.

Webb, S. (2005). Receptive and productive vocabulary learning: The effects of reading and writing on word knowledge. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 27(1), 33-52.

Teaching and Supervision

Dr Webb supervises students in the MA and PhD programs in Applied Linguistics with topics related to studies of vocabulary. Recent topics have included:

  • Rodgers, M.P.H. (2013). English language learning through viewing television: An investigation of comprehension, incidental vocabulary acquisition, lexical coverage, attitudes, and captions. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand. (winner of the Applied Linguistics Association of New Zealand best PhD thesis award in 2013)
  • Sasao, Y. (2013). Diagnostic Tests of English Vocabulary Learning Proficiency: Guessing from Context and Knowledge of Word Parts. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand. (Finalist for the 2013 Oxford University Press Christopher Brumfit Best PhD Thesis Award)
  • Nakata, T. (2013). Optimizing Second Language Vocabulary Learning from Flash Cards. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand.