School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies
Phone: 04 463 5628
Location: Room 415, Von Zedlitz Building, Kelburn Pde, Kelburn Campus
BEdStud MA (Hons) DipTESL
Paul Nation is Emeritus Professor in Applied Linguistics at the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies (LALS) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. His specialist interests are the teaching and learning of vocabulary and language teaching methodology.
He has taught in Indonesia, Thailand, the United States, Finland and Japan.
- Recent Books
- Vocabulary Analysis Programs
- Vocabulary Lists
- Vocabulary Tests
- Links to Other Vocabulary Resources
- Readers and Speed Reading
- Free Graded Readers
- Mid-frequency Graded Readers - Fiction
- Mid-frequency Graded Readers - Non-fiction
- Useful Links
|Language||Title||File type||File size|
|Spanish||¿Qué necesitas saber para aprender un idioma extranjero?||353 KB|
A book, Making and Using Word Lists in Language Learning and Teaching, will appear in 2016 from John Benjamins. A book written with Stuart Webb, How Vocabulary is Learned, will appear in 2017 from Oxford University Press.
Most of Paul Nation’s articles are available here for free download. You can also download the latest version of his extensive bibliography on the teaching and learning of vocabulary. The numbers in square brackets after each article in the bibliography refer to the area of vocabulary studies it fits into. The list of areas is available at the beginning of the bibliography.
Vocabulary Analysis Programs
The Range program is used for analysing the vocabulary load of texts. It can tell you how much and what vocabulary occurs in a particular text or group of texts. It used to be called VORDS, FVORDS, and VocabProfile. There is a set of instructions that comes with the program. A much simpler web based version can be found on Tom Cobb’s website (Compleat Lexical Tutor), and is called VocabProfile. AntWordProfiler is a much more modern version of the program with numerous extra features and is available from Laurence Anthony’s Website. AntWordProfiler will also run on Macs and can work with any language providing there are word lists.
The Frequency program turns a text or texts into a word list with frequency figures. It is in the zip file with the Range program.
|File size||File type|
|Range program with GSL/AWL list||521 KB||ZIP|
|Range program with British National Corpus list 14,000||701 KB||ZIP|
|Range program with BNC/COCA lists 25,000||590 KB||ZIP|
|Information on the BNC/COCA lists||156 KB|
|Headwords of the first 10,000 words||40KB||ZIP|
The survival vocabulary lists available here are based on Nation, P., & Crabbe, D. (1991). A survival language learning syllabus for foreign travel. System, 19(3), 191-201 (available under Publications on this web site). They provide a beginning list of useful words and expressions for someone who is going to spend some time in another country and who wants to quickly begin speaking the local language to greet and thank people, to go shopping, to travel, and to deal with common problems. It takes around a total of four hours of using bilingual word cards to learn most of this vocabulary for a particular language. Read the Nation and Crabbe article to get advice on learning the vocabulary.
|Balinese (25KB)||German (14KB)||Korean (214KB)||Samoan (14KB)|
|Chuuk (Truk) (13KB)||Greek (15KB)||Mandarin (121KB)||Spanish (14KB)|
|Danish (13KB)||Hebrew (12KB)||Norwegian (13KB)||Swedish (13KB)|
|Dutch (14KB)||Indonesian (13KB)||Polish (49KB)||Turkish (119KB)|
|English (57KB)||Italian (13KB)||Portuguese (13KB)||Tuvaluan (13KB)|
|French (21KB)||Japanese (14KB)||Russian (22KB)|
The BNC/COCA headword lists
The BNC/COCA lists with all their family members come with the Range program. The following lists contain only the headwords of the 25,000 word families. The first 2000 or 3000 of the BNC/COCA lists are an alternative to the General Service List. The lists are described in a file that comes with the lists - Headwords of the first 10,000 words
|Headwords of the First 10,000 Words||File Size||File Type|
|1st 1000 words||230 KB|
|2nd 1000 words||230 KB|
|3rd 1000 words||230 KB|
|4th 1000 words||230 KB|
|5th 1000 words||230 KB|
|6th 1000 words||230 KB|
|7th 1000 words||230 KB|
|8th 1000 words||230 KB|
|9th 1000 words||230 KB|
|10th 1000 words||230 KB|
|Headwords of the first 10,000 words||40 KB||ZIP|
The General Service List
This classic word list by Michael West of the most useful 2000 words of English is now out of print.
There are two kinds of proficiency tests on this web site – those that measure total vocabulary size (How many words someone knows), and those that measure knowledge of particular frequency levels of words (for example, the first 1000 and second 1000 words). The Vocabulary Size Test which covers 20,000 word families can be used with native speakers and non-native speakers. The 14,000 version is best used with only non-native speakers. There are some bilingual versions of the tests and these should be preferred ahead of monolingual versions especially for lower proficiency learners. See Nation, P., & Beglar, D. (2007). A vocabulary size test. The Language Teacher, 31(7), 9-13 for information on the test (available under Publications on this web site).
|Vocabulary Size Tests||File size||File type|
|Vocabulary Size Test Instructions and description||180 KB|
|Vocabulary Size Test (monolingual, 20,000, version A)||86 KB|
|Vocabulary Size Test (monolingual, 20,000, version B)||85.5 KB|
|Vocabulary Size Test (monolingual, 14,000)||410 KB|
|Vocabulary Size Test (bilingual Gujarati version)||47.5 KB|
|Vocabulary Size Test (bilingual Korean version)||591 KB|
|Vocabulary Size Test (bilingual Japanese version)||539 KB|
|Vocabulary Size Test (bilingual Mandarin version)||541 KB|
|Vocabulary Size Test (bilingual Thai version)||395 KB|
|Vocabulary Size Test (bilingual Vietnamese version)||464 KB|
|Vocabulary Size Test (bilingual Russian version)||129 KB|
|Answers for Vocabulary Size Test||File size||File type|
|Vocabulary Size Test, Version A answers||11.7 KB|
|Vocabulary Size Test, Version B answers||11.7 KB|
|Vocabulary Size Test, 14,000 answers||306KB|
The Vocabulary Levels Test is not a measure of vocabulary size, but is a diagnostic test which measures selected frequency levels. It is most useful for measuring how well learners know the Academic Word List, and that part can be used separately.
The 1000 level True/False test can be used as an oral test for learners who cannot read. See Nation, I. S. P. (1993). Measuring readiness for simplified material: a test of the first 1,000 words of English. In M.L.Tickoo (Ed.), Simplification: Theory and Application. RELC anthology series no. 31 (pp. 193-203). Singapore: SEAMEO-RELC (available under Publications on this web site).
Links to Other Vocabulary Resources
- Bibliography on Vocabulary
- Learning Vocabulary in Another Language: Contents pages
- Vocabulary research topics
- Tasks to go with Learning Vocabulary in Another Language
- Test on Learning Vocabulary in Another Language
- "A Critique of Hart and Risley (1995)"
- Picture Vocabulary Size Test for Reading Recovery (Sue Ruffell)
Readers and speed reading
This part of my web page contains reading material written in a controlled vocabulary. It includes the Mid-frequency readers adapted for learners with vocabulary sizes of around 4000, 6000, and 8000 word families, out-of-print graded readers, and a speed reading course written within a 1000 word family vocabulary. To learn more about Mid-frequency readers, read Nation, I.S.P. & Anthony, L. (2013). Mid-frequency readers. Journal of Extensive Reading, 1(1), 5-16. To learn more about speed reading, read Nation, I.S.P. (2005) Reading faster. Pasaa 36: 21-37.
|Speed Reading Course||File size||File type|
|Speed Reading Course||445 KB|
Free graded readers
- Fire on the Mountain by Gerry Meister and Paul Nation
(within a vocabulary of 700 words).
- Indonesian Love Story by Paul Nation and Gerry Meister
(within a vocabulary of 1200 words).
Mid-frequency graded readers
|A Christmas Carol||Charles Dickens|
|A Modest Proposal||Jonathan Swift|
|Alice's Adventures in Wonderland||Lewis Carroll|
|Jane Eyre||Charlotte Brontë|
|More William||Richmal Crompton|
|The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes||Sir Arthur Conan Doyle|
|The Garden Party and Other Stories||Katherine Mansfield||ZIP||ZIP||ZIP|
|Wuthering Heights||Emily Brontë|
|Free Culture||Lawrence Lessig|
|Glimpses of an Unfamiliar Japan||Lafcadio Hearn|
|The Art of War||Sun Tzu|
|The Prince||Niccolo Machiavelli|
This section of my web site contains family history relating to the Nation and Ashwell families. My nominal great-grandfather (William Charles Nation) wrote his family history in the 1920s and this handwritten document is reproduced here as a pdf file and has also been transcribed into computer readable form. His account of spiritualist events in his home is described in a book he published called The Unseen World.
My grandmother on my mother’s side (Harriet Ashwell) wrote her family history and I transcribed the several hundred handwritten pages and had 125 copies published. An electronic copy of this book is on this web page along with an MS-Word version with minor errors corrected. Hard copies of the book are held by each of her descendants as well as the Raetihi Public Library and the New Zealand National Library.
I am writing a history of my immediate family starting with my grandparents, and will keep this file on this web site as I make progress.
|Document||File Size||File type|
|My Life by Harriet Ashwell||1.84MB|
|My Life by Harriet Ashwell||5.8MB||DOCX|
|Waimarino County Call||429KB|
|WC Nation Cemetery||77KB|
|WC Nation family tree||82KB|
|WC Nation Memoirs||1747KB|
|WC Nation Memorial Message||1100KB|
|WC Nation's memoirs||73KB||DOC|
|The Unseen World||5.5MB|