Dr Yen Dang (Thi Ngoc Yen Dang)


I am an applied linguist specialising in second language vocabulary learning and teaching. I joined the School of Education in September 2018 as a Lecturer in Language Education. Before that, I was a lecturer at Vietnam National University, Hanoi where I taught various programmes – General English, English for Academic Purposes, and English language teacher education. I also worked as a tutor and a guest lecturer in courses in Applied Linguistics and TESOL at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. I have been invited to act as external reviewer for the Icelandic Research Fund, conference feature speaker in Taiwan, and reviewer for American Association for Applied Linguistics Conference 2019 and several journals such as Applied Linguistics, TESOL Quarterly, System, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, and English for Specific Purposes. I have been awarded the prize for the best PhD thesis of 2017 by the Applied Linguistics Association of New Zealand.

Research interests

My research expertise lies within the area of second language vocabulary learning and teaching. In my research, I examine the issue from multiple aspects (corpora, teachers, learners, and textbooks) to determine (a) the words that different groups of second language (L2) learners need to know to understand a certain kind of discourse, (b) how well they know these words, and (c) how well teachers and textbooks help these learners to master these words. I am particularly interested in vocabulary in academic spoken English and word list development and validation. My research has been published by Language Learning, English for Specific Purposes, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, and ITL-International Journal of Applied Linguistics.

I have developed several word lists for different groups of L2 learners:

  1. The Essential Word List (Dang & Webb, 2016). This list is useful for English as a foreign language (EFL) beginners. It may allow them to recognize about 75% of the words in spoken and written English.
  2. The Academic Spoken Word List (Dang, Coxhead, & Webb, 2017). This list was developed from the largest academic spoken corpus ever been created and represents more than 90% of words in academic spoken English. It has levels that match learners’ proficiency levels. The list is relevant to learners in English for General Academic Purposes programmes. Read our answer to the Wiley team's interview for further information about the list.
  3. The Hard Science Spoken Word List (Dang, 2018a) and the Soft Science Spoken Word List (Dang, 2018b) was designed for English for Specific Academic Purposes Programmes. The HSWL is useful for programmes where all learners plan to study hard sciences (e.g., maths, engineering, medicine) while the SSWL is relevant to programmes where all learners plan to study soft sciences (e.g., laws, business, arts). The HSWL represents more than 90% of words in academic speech of hard sciences while the SSWL represents more than 91% of words in academic speech of soft sciences. Download the SSWL from the database of English for Specific Purposes.
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Applied Linguistics (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
  • MA in TESOL (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
  • BA in English Language Teacher Education (Vietnam National University, Hanoi)

Student education

I teach modules on BA English, Language and Education, BA TESOL, MA TESOL, and MA TESOL Studies.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Language Education

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>