School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies
Phone: 04 463 5628
Location: Room 415, Von Zedlitz Building, Kelburn Pde, Kelburn Campus
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. He supervises PhD research on vocabulary.
He has taught in Indonesia, Thailand, the United States, Finland and Japan.
Two new books written for teachers have appeared in early 2013. They are called What Should Every ESL Teacher Know (available free in electronic form), and What should Every EFL Teacher Know (for sale). For details go to Compass Media.
Current Research Projects
The second edition of Learning Vocabulary in Another Language (2013) has now appeared from Cambridge University Press. Two books, What does every EFL teacher Need to Know? and What does every ESL teacher Need to Know? have been published by Compass Media in Seoul. What does every ESL teacher Need to Know? is available free in electronic copy. The number of free Mid-frequency readers on this web site continues to increase (see below). The plan is to eventually have at last fifty titles, each in three versions.
Click here for more information on the first Vocab@Vic conference, Dec 18-20, 2013.An International TESOL conference hosted by Victoria University of Wellington is being held in Hochiminh City, Vietnam. See the website for details.
View and download publications by Paul Nation in chronological order.
Paul Nation's books include Teaching and Learning Vocabulary (Heinle and Heinle, 1990), New Ways in Teaching Vocabulary (TESOL, 1994), Learning Vocabulary in Another Language (Cambridge University Press, 2001) and Focus on Vocabulary (with Peter Gu) (Macmillan Australia, 2007). His publications include articles and books on teaching and learning vocabulary, language teaching methodology, and curriculum design. Most of his articles can be downloaded from this website. In addition he has written several booklets to be used in the courses he teaches. Paul Nation's most recent books on vocabulary are Teaching Vocabulary: Strategies and Techniques (2008) Heinle Cengage Learning, Boston; and Researching and Analyzing Vocabulary (2011) (with Stuart Webb) Heinle Cengage Learning, Boston.
There are four books from Routledge Teaching ESL/EFL Listening and Speaking (with Jonathan Newton), and Teaching ESL/EFL Reading and Writing, Language Curriculum Design (with John Macalister) and Case Studies in Language Curriculum Design (with John Macalister).
He has written a web-based course on teaching and learning vocabulary for the ELT Advantage series through TESOL International.
Paul Nation has taught LALS522 Teaching and Learning Vocabulary
This course involves study of the direct and indirect learning and teaching of vocabulary through the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. This course is taught both on-campus and by distance as a part of the LALS MA in Applied Linguistics and MA in TESOL. For admission to the programme, you need two years teaching experience and a Bachelors degree with grades of B or higher. Click here for the application form.
Recently completed PhD theses include word part relationships between high and low frequency words, developing fluency in reading, learning vocabulary through listening, learning vocabulary through writing, the role of proper names in listening comprehension, and polysemy and foreign language learners. Current PhD theses being supervised include creating a high frequency vocabulary list, word part relationships between high and low frequency words text coverage and comprehension, the vocabulary of academic English.
Download the Range program with either the GSL/AWL lists or with the British National Corpus lists, plus instructions for using the program.
|Range Program Files||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|
Download the Vocabulary Resource Booklet. This contains the Vocabulary Levels Test, bilingual 1000 and 2000 versions of the Vocabulary Levels Test, the survival vocabulary in various languages, and other tests and resources.
|Vocabulary Resource Booklet||File size||File type|
|Vocabulary Resource Booklet||1,215 KB||ZIP|
Download the Vocabulary Size Test. It is also available from Tom Cobb's website. The 2007 article by Nation and Beglar (available in the list of publications above) describes the making and use of this test.
All PDF documents require Acrobat Reader.
|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 Korean version)||591 KB|
|Vocabulary Size Test (bilingual Japanese version)||539 KB|
|Vocabulary Size Test (bilingual Mandarin version)||541 KB|
|Vocabulary Size Test (bilingual Russian version)||129 KB|
|Vocabulary Size Test (bilingual Vietnamese version)||464 KB|
Answers for Vocabulary Size test
|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|
Download the Fluency text for running through the frequency program.
|Fluency Test||File size||File type|
|Fluency and Learning||7 KB||TXT|
A Speed reading course at the 1000 word level.
All PDF documents require Acrobat Reader.
|Speed Reading Course||File size||File type|
|Speed Reading Course||445 KB|
Almost all of Paul Nation's articles are available for free downloading from the list of publications above (chronological order or topic order).
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)
Free graded readers
The following graded readers are now out of copyright and are available free for anyone who wants to use them. They must not be offered for sale, but can be distributed free.
Mid-frequency graded readers
(Click here for more information about mid-frequency readers)
The following mid-frequency readers are available free for anyone who wants to use them. They must not be offered for sale, but can be distributed free. Each book is available in three levels – one for learners who know 4000 words, one for learners who know 6000 words, and one for learners who know 8000 words.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (4000 level), (6000 level), (8000 level).
This is a novel written in the 19th century. It tells of the transformation of a mean-spirited man, Scrooge, into a generous and kind one. The transformation occurs when one Christmas he is visited by three ghosts who show him visions of Christmas in his past, present and future. Dickens writes in the style of his time and uses sentence structures and punctuation in ways that may not be familiar to the modern reader. He also uses a lot of descriptive language and some of the comparisons he makes might be unfamiliar. However the story is clear and enjoyable.
A Modest Proposalby Jonathan Swift (4000 level), (6000 level), (8000 level).
This is a satirical essay, written in 1729. It is a bitter attack on the poverty of Irish Roman Catholics under the rule of Protestant England. Its full title is "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from Being a Burden to their Parents, or the Country, and for Making them Beneficial to the Public."
Swift’s shocking proposal is intended to arouse disgust against the English government’s lack of concern for the starving children of Ireland.
Jonathan Swift is also the author of the famous “Gulliver’s Travels”.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland(4000 level), (6000 level), (8000 level).
This famous children’s story written in 1865 is an early example of the fantasy or nonsense genre. The story plays with time, imagination, logic and language and for this reason remains popular with adult readers as well as children. You will meet many strange kinds of talking animals as well as characters from the pack of cards, and you will encounter unusual and interesting ways of using English such as 'curiouser' and 'uglification'.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë(4000 level), (6000 level), (8000 level)
Jane Eyre is a classic story of the treacherous path to happiness. After she loses her parents, Jane has a miserable childhood, first under her aunt’s cruel care and then at a harsh boarding school for the poor. However, by gaining an education, Jane enjoys her early adult life working as a governess. Falling in love with the master, though, brings her both joy and terrible heartbreak. Only after facing many difficult choices and overcoming secrets, lies and deception, does Jane eventually find the life she deserves.
This famous novel is written in an intensely descriptive and poetic style, in the gothic tradition. It is set in 19th century rural England.
Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (4000 level), (6000 level), (8000 level).
Metamorphosis was written by German writer Franz Kafka in 1912. It begins: One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke, he found himself transformed into a horrible giant insect...&;
While Gregor’s physical body has changed, he is still the same person inside. In the book, Gregor describes his changing relationship with his family and his surroundings, his feelings about his changed state and his final acceptance. While the situation is ridiculous, Kafka writes about it as if it is perfectly normal. This is what has made the story a classic of early 20th century literature.
More William by Richmal Crompton (4000 level), (6000 level), (8000 level).This book is about a very amusing set of stories about a young English boy who is always getting into trouble. The original (available from Project Gutenberg) contains a lot of deliberate mis-spellings to represent dialect pronunciation and children’s writing errors. These have been regularised in this adapted version. I really enjoyed reading this book when I was young and enjoyed reading it again to adapt it.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (4000 level), (6000 level), (8000 level) is a collection of twelve stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a Scottish doctor and writer. The stories were first published together as a book in 1892. Sherlock Holmes is famous for his ability to use logical reasoning and science to solve difficult and unusual crimes, and also for his ability to take on any disguise. The stories are told by Dr Watson, Sherlock Holmes’ colleague in crime detection.
The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield. They are thought to be based on recollections of her childhood in New Zealand. There are fifteen stories in the collection. They are available for download in the table below as zip files. The name of the person kindly adapting the stories to be mid-frequency readers is listed on the first page of reach story.
|Document||File size||File type|
|The Garden Party and Other Stories 4000 level||124KB||Zip file|
|The Garden Party and Other Stories 6000 level||126KB||Zip file|
|The Garden Party and Other Stories 8000 level||126KB||Zip file|
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (4000 level), (6000 level), (8000 level). One of the most popular 19th century novels, Wuthering Heights is a dramatic and horrifying story of passion and revenge, racial and social discrimination. This is quite a difficult work, but one which rewards the patient and attentive reader. The relationships between characters and the similarity of many names may cause some confusion for readers. A useful diagram can be found here. http://www.wuthering-heights.co.uk/genealogy.php Switching angles of narration and the time span of this novel are also quite complex, so a synopsis may also be useful. http://www.wuthering-heights.co.uk/summary.php
Readers who are new to the works of the Bronte sisters, are advised to start with Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. This has a more accessible style, a single narrator, a more linear plot, and provides a good introduction to the life and times of the Bronte novels.
Glimpses of an Unfamiliar Japan by Lafcadio Hearn (4000 level), (6000 level), (8000 level).
Lafcadio Hearn visited Japan in the1890s and fell in love with the country. There is a statue of him in Matsue where the house where he stayed is preserved as a tourist attraction. This book is about his stay in Japan, the places he visited and the people he met. In addition to his book he wrote English versions of Japanese folk tales. The book contains quite a few Japanese words but these are explained in the text.
The Art of War by Sun Tzu (4000 level), (6000 level), (8000 level).
This book is an adaptation of a translation from the original in Chinese. It consists of very practical advice on how to conduct war. Recently, the book has been studied so that the general principles can be adapted to the world of business. For further information see the Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_War
The Princeby Niccolo Machiavelli (4000 level only).
The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli is an important text in literature (it influenced many Elizabethan writers like Shakespeare), political science, history, and psychology. It is a partly ironic description of how a leader should behave. Because the advice is largely given for practical purposes, Machiavelli gained an undeserved reputation for giving little consideration of morality.
Take the Word test. This is a test of vocabulary size used by researchers in the University of Ghent. You will find it interesting and you can help them in their research by sitting the test.
History of the Nation family in New Zealand
|Document||File Size||File type|
|My Life by Harriet Ashwell||1.84MB|
|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|