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Brent Wolter

Brent Wolter

Professor of English

Office: LA 232



PhD, Applied Language Studies (2005), University of Wales at Swansea

MA, TESL/TEFL (1999), University of Birmingham

BA, English & Psychology (1991), Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa

I am an applied linguist with an interest in second language acquisition, particularly vocabulary acquisition. I joined the faculty here at Idaho State University in 2005, where one of my main responsibilities is to collaborate on the establishment and implementation of the English department’s Graduate Certificate in TESL. The program is designed to serve both teachers in local communities, as well as teachers of English in foreign language environments.

Before coming to ISU, I taught English in Japan for more than a decade. Through this experience, I became interested in the field of applied linguistics partly due to my desire to improve myself as a teacher, and partly due to my curiosity about the social, psychological, and cognitive processes that lead to the successful acquisition of second languages. My research in the field especially reflects my concern with understanding how vocabulary acquisition and vocabulary use function at a psycholinguistic level.

I enjoy teaching both at the graduate and undergraduate levels. As a teacher, I particularly look forward to that moment where students realize that linguistics is actually a lively, engaging, and relevant area of study, even though it often has the false image of being the tedious process of cataloging the intricacies of language.

Selected Publications

Wolter, B., Yamashita, J., & Leung, C. Y. (2020). Conceptual transfer and lexical development in adjectives of space: Evidence from judgments, reaction times, and eye tracking. Applied Psycholinguistics, 41(3), 595-625. doi:10.1017/s0142716420000107

Cui, Yongyue, Yang, Lianrui, & Wolter, B. (in print).  Alignment effect in the continuation task of Chinese low-intermediate English learners. Applied Linguistic Review. (Accepted September 7, 2019).

Wolter, B. (2019). Key issues in teaching multiword items. S. Webb (Ed.), Routledge handbook of vocabulary studies (pp. 493-510). New York: Routledge Publishers.

Wolter, B. & Yamashita, J. (2017). Word frequency, collocational frequency, L1 congruency, and proficiency in L2 collocational processing: What accounts for L2 performance? Studies in Second Language Acquisition.

Gyllstad, H. & Wolter B. (2016). Collocational processing in the light of a phraseological continuum model: Does semantic transparency matter? Language Learning, 66, 296-323.

Wolter, B. & Helms-Park, R. (2016). Lexical knowledge and processing in second language reading. In X. Chen Bumgardner, V. Dronjic,, & R. Helms-Park (Eds.). Second language reading: Psycholinguistic and cognitive perspectives (pp. 133-158). New York: Routledge Publishers.

Wolter, B. & Yamashita, J. (2015). Processing collocations in a second language: a case of first language activation? Applied Psycholinguistics, 36, 1193-1221.

Wolter, B. & Gyllstad, H. (2013). Frequency of input and L2 collocational processing: a comparison of congruent and incongruent collocations. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 35, 451-482.

Zareva, A. & Wolter, B. (2012). The 'promise' of three methods of words association analysis to L2 lexical research. Second Language Research, 28, 41-67.

Wolter, B. & Gyllstad, H. (2011). Collocational links in the L2 mental lexicon and the influence of L1 intravesical knowledge. Applied Linguistics, 32, 430-449.

Wolter, B. (2009). Meaning-last vocabulary acquisition and collocational productivity. In T.Fitzpatrick & A. Barfield (Eds.), Lexical Processing in Second Language Learners (pp. 128-140). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Wolter B. (2006). Lexical network structures and L2 vocabulary acquisition: the role of L1 lexical/conceptual knowledge. Applied Linguistics, 27, 741-747.

Wilks, C., Meara, P., & Wolter, B. (2005). A further note on simulating word association behavior in a second language. Second Language Research 21(4), 359-372.

--Reprinted in Connected Words by Paul Meara. Baltimore: John Benjamins (2009).

Meara, P. & Wolter, B. (2004). V_Links: beyond vocabulary depth. Angles on the English-speaking World, 4, 85-96.

--Reprinted in Connected Words by Paul Meara. Baltimore: John Benjamins (2009).

Wolter, B. (2002). Assessing proficiency through word associations: Is there still hope? System, 30, 315-329.

Wolter, B. (2001). Comparing the L1 and L2 mental lexicon: a depth of individual word knowledge model. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 23, 41-69.

Wolter, B. (2000). A participant-centered approach to INSET course design. ELT Journal, 54, 311-318.


Master Teacher, ISU, 2010

Courses Taught

6682: Methods of Teaching English as a Second Language

6681: Theory of Second Language Acquisition

4485/5585: Linguistic Analysis

4484/5584: Rotating Topics in Linguistics

2281: Introduction to Language Studies

1102: Writing and Rhetoric II

1101: Writing and Rhetoric I