International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online)

How Useful Can a College General English (GE) Text Book be for Preparation for a General English Proficiency Test (GEPT)?
Wenhua Hsu

This paper describes a preliminary attempt to survey the General English (GE) textbooks used in an EFL tertiary setting and their roles in new word learning and in preparation for an English proficiency test. The researcher compiled a corpus containing 25 GE textbooks, totaling434,335 words as the source of analysis. Through the RANGE program with twenty-five 1,000-word-famliy lists derived from the British National Corpus (BNC) and the Corpus of Contemporary American English, the vocabulary levels of GE textbooks (set at 95% lexical coverage) and the lexical coverage of the intermediate General English Proficiency Test (GEPT) vocabulary in GE textbooks were measured. Results show that beyond the most frequent 3,000word families, a GE textbook can supply students with 327–1,211 new word families. A GE textbook may be of some help in preparing learners for an intermediate GEPT by covering 30.49% to 65.02% of the vocabulary involved in the test. It is hoped that the indices examined in this study would help English teachers raise their awareness of vocabulary levels when choosing a textbook for classroom use.

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