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 awarded the prize for the Best PhD thesis (2017) by the Applied Linguistics Association of New Zealand and the Early Career Research Grant (2023) by Language Learning. I am currently a member of the TESOL Quarterly editorial and advisory board. I have been invited to give keynote speeches at conferences and invited talks at universities in Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Vietnam, and the UK. I have reviewed for 25+ journals (e.g., TESOL Quarterly, Applied Linguistics, Language Learning, System, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, English for Specific Purposes), several edited books and conferences in TESOL/Applied Linguistics (e.g., AAAL, BAAL). I have acted as an internal examiner and external examiner for doctoral theses in my areas of expertise in different universities in Belgium, Japan, the UK, and the US. I welcome invitations for these services.


  • Deputy Director of Postgraduate Research Studies

Research interests

My research expertise lies within the area of second language vocabulary learning and teaching. In my research, I have employed different methods (e.g., corpus linguistics, experimental, offline testing, questionnaire, interview) to address key questions related to vocabulary description, assessment, and pedagogy. For example,

  • What words and multiword sequences do different groups of second language (L2) learners need to know to effectively communicate in a certain kind of discourse?
  • How well do they know these lexical items?
  • To what extent do teachers and mainstream learning materials help these learners to narrow their lexical gaps?
  • Are there any other resources and activities that can help learners to optimize their vocabulary learning?

I am particularly interested in academic/specialised vocabulary, especially vocabulary in academic spoken English. I am also keen on promoting the use of corpus linguistics as a method in vocabulary research, learning, teaching, and assessment.

My research has been published in various journals (e.g., Applied Linguistics, Language Learning, TESOL Quarterly, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Language Teaching Research, System, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, English for Specific Purposes). I welcome PhD applications that are aligned with my research expertise and interests, as well as invitations for collaboration in interdisciplinary projects, in which vocabulary/corpus linguistics is a component.

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 or https://osf.io/u4gk6/

My current research projects focus on the direct and indirect applications of word lists in language learning, teaching, and assessment.

<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)

Professional memberships

  • Center for Language Education (CLER)
  • British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL)
  • British Educational Research Association (BERA)
  • International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEF)

Student education

I teach modules on MA TESOL, MA TESOL Studies, and MA Education

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>