At the HTLAL forums, someone linked to an interesting PDF dealing with myths about vocabulary acquisition. The myths:
- Knowing a relatively small number of words takes you far.
- Word lists are of limited value.
- Words learned in semantic sets are retained better.
- Words should always be learned in context.
- Words whose meanings are inferred from context are retained better.
- Words learned productively are retained better.
- Vocabulary knowledge should not be tested separately.
As someone who often tires of hearing “only learn words in context, never use lists” etc., this article made my heart sing a little bit.
You can read the full PDF here.