Vocabulary tests in different languages

List-Learning Patterns in Different Languages
March 14, 2017
Sentence repetition in different languages
March 3, 2021

Vocabulary tests in different languages

Tests of vocabulary form an important part of many tests, particularly many IQ tests such as  the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Chlidren – fifth edition (WISC-V), the Wecshler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-IV) and the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI). The tests of vocabulary are correlate well with IQ and have been found to be useful in estimating pre-morbid intellectual ability (Lezak et al., 2012).

However, since these tests were developed in an English-speaking country, the vocabulary words are in English and since most people in South Africa do not have English as a first language, these tests are not good measures of vocabulary for most people in South Africa.

Suggested research:

  • To devise new tests of vocabulary in languages other than English, that correlate with valid measures of IQ.

Variation of the theme:

  • Explore the comparability of the tests of vocabulary in different languages with each other.
  • To develop lists of vocabulary that are in the same language, that can serve as alternate forms to each other.
  • To explore the effects of first language vs language of education on performance on the new vocabulary tests.
  • To explore the correlation of the new vocabulary tests with verbal and non-verbal measures of IQ,

Please leave a reply/comment below, especially if you are thinking of doing this research.


Lezak, M.D., Howieson, D.B., Bigler, E.D., & Tranel, D. (2012). “Neuropsychological Assessment”, 5th ed. Oxford University Press,