Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number 4 December 2022                                      Pp. 325 340

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The Representation of Vocabulary Knowledge Aspects in Saudi EFL Textbooks

Hassan Ahmed Alshumrani
GRC Department
The Applied College
King Abdulaziz University
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Corresponding Author:

Nesreen Masoud Al-Ahmadi
English Language Institute
King Abdulaziz University
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


Received: 09/21/2022         Accepted:11/22/2022                 Published: 12/15/2022


Vocabulary growth is of great importance, and textbooks are the main sources of vocabulary learning for many EFL learners. Previous research has shown that learning vocabulary involves a mastery of several knowledge dimensions. Little research, however, has focused on vocabulary knowledge dimensions in EFL textbooks.  It remains unclear how the different word knowledge dimensions are addressed in Saudi EFL textbooks and whether there is a variation among the textbooks in addressing the different dimensions. The present study aims to fill this gap by investigating how the different vocabulary knowledge dimensions are addressed in the local Saudi EFL textbooks. It investigates the activities in English textbooks that give attention to vocabulary to explore the amount of attention given to each dimension in a particular activity. To achieve this, all the 12 EFL textbooks used in primary and middle Saudi schools were analysed. Applying Nation’s (2013) framework of word knowledge, a total of 1181 activities were examined.  The findings showed that textbooks for primary school levels place greater emphasis on form, followed by meaning and finally use, while in intermediate-level textbooks, the greatest attention is given to meaning, followed by use and then form. The results also reveal variations among the textbooks in the amount of attention given to the different vocabulary knowledge aspects.  Pedagogical implications for textbook writers are suggested.
Keywords: English as a foreign language, Saudi EFL textbooks, vocabulary knowledge, vocabulary teaching

Cite as: Alshumrani, H. A., & Al-Ahmadi, N. M (2022). The Representation of Vocabulary Knowledge Aspects in Saudi EFL
Textbooks. Arab World English Journal, 13 (4) 325 340.


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Received: 09/21/2022
Accepted: 11/22/2022
Published: 12/15/2022  

Dr. Hassan Alshumrani is an Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics at KAU Applied College, King Abdulaziz University. He holds a MA in TESOL from the University of Melbourne (Australia) and an IPhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Southampton (UK). His areas of research interests include vocabulary acquisition and development, working memory, and learner and teacher autonomy. ORCID:

Dr. Nesreen Masoud Al-Ahmadi has a Ph.D. degree from the University of Southampton. She is an Assistant Professor at the English Language Institute, King Abdula Azizi University in Saudi Arabia. Her research interests involve reading comprehension strategies, the role of readers’ background knowledge, strategic awareness and lexica inferencing strategies unknown words during reading. ORCID: