The effects of video games on the receptive vocabulary proficiency of Swedish ESL students

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Engelska institutionen

Abstract: Playing video games is an activity that takes up an increasing amount of children’s and adolescent’s spare time. While some previous studies have highlighted the negative aspects of video games, little research has been carried out on the linguistic learning opportunities that video games present. This study primarily investigates if Swedish second language learners of English can increase their vocabulary proficiency in English with the use of video games. In order to answer the research questions, two quantitative data elicitation methods are used: a questionnaire which aims to gather attitudinal and behavioral data, and a Vocabulary Levels Test which elicits data about the participants’ receptive vocabulary proficiency. The participants consist of 25 students at an upper secondary school in Stockholm. The results show that participants who played video games scored higher on the Vocabulary Levels Test, indicating a higher receptive vocabulary proficiency. Furthermore, the results show that participants who played moderate to frequent amounts of time performed better in the Vocabulary Levels Test than infrequent players. The results also show that video games emphasizing co-operation and communication are preferable to use for vocabulary acquisition. Additionally, the study discusses if video games could be integrated into the Swedish upper secondary school system.

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