Norbert  Schmitt Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Norbert Schmitt

Professor of Applied Linguistics
University of Nottingham

Norbert Schmitt has worked in ESL and Applied Linguistics since he began his career in Japan in 1988. He specializes in second language vocabulary pedagogy and assessment, having published numerous books, and over 100 journal articles and book chapters. His current projects include compiling a list of the best-known vocabulary, co-developing the next generation of vocabulary test, and researching the nature of vocabulary knowledge.


Norbert Schmitt began his career in 1988 as an EFL teacher in Japan and quickly became interested in how language learners acquire their second languages. During his Masters study at Temple University, Japan, he began researching how students learn vocabulary in particular. He extended this interest in vocabulary through his PhD research at the University of Nottingham in 1994.  Upon completion of his PhD in 1997, he joined the University of Nottingham staff, and became colleagues with the two prominent vocabulary specialists already there (Professor Ronald Carter and Professor Michael McCarthy). After their retirement, he continued on with the vocabulary specialty.

Prof. Schmitt has researched second language vocabulary issues for nearly 25 years, and his interests have broadened to all aspects of lexical study, including vocabulary testing, formulaic language, corpus-based research, and the interface between vocabulary knowledge and the ability to read and listen in English.

A number of his accomplishments include:

• Nine books on vocabulary and applied linguistics issues
• About 60 international journal articles
• Around 100 total publications
• Introduction of new terminology in the field of vocabulary, including word knowledge, mid-frequency vocabulary, engagement, form recall, and meaning recall
• The introduction of psycholinguistic research techniques like eye-tracking into the study of formulaic language
• Co-development of a widely-used test of vocabulary: the Vocabulary Levels Test
• Graduation of over 10 PhD students who are making their own important contributions to the applied linguistics field

Prof. Schmitt’s background and publications can be found on his personal website at:

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Norbert Schmitt is interested in all aspects of second language vocabulary. He has covered a variety of lexical topics, including the development of vocabulary knowledge, vocabulary assessment, formulaic language, lexical research methodology, vocabulary learning strategies, vocabulary teaching methodology, vocabulary and reading/listening, and many others.  His current projects include compiling a list of the best-known vocabulary (the Knowledge-based Vocabulary List (KVL), co-developing the next generation of vocabulary test with Benjamin Kremmel, and researching the nature of vocabulary knowledge with Beatriz González-Fernández..    

Personal Interests

    Playing goalie with local ice hockey team
    Flying the Europa kit aircraft he built (G-RMMT)
    Playing music
    International travel


Featured Title
 Featured Title - Intro to Applied Linguistics 3e (Schmitt and Rodgers) - 1st Edition book cover


Language Teaching Research

Moving the field of vocabulary assessment forward: The need for more rigorous test development and validation

Published: Dec 01, 2019 by Language Teaching Research
Authors: Norbert Schmitt, Paul Nation, & Benjamin Kremmel
Subjects: Language Learning

This article argues that future vocabulary tests need to be constructed more carefully and for more specific purposes, and provides advice on how this can be done.

Language Teaching Research

The PHaVE List: A pedagogical list of phrasal verbs and their most frequent meaning senses

Published: Sep 14, 2019 by Language Teaching Research
Authors: Melodie Garnier & Norbert Schmitt
Subjects: Language Learning, Applied Linguistics

This article supplies a list of the most frequent phrasal verbs, and shows the frequency of their most common polysemous meaning senses.

Language Learning

Size and depth of vocabulary knowledge: What the research shows

Published: Dec 01, 2015 by Language Learning
Authors: Norbert Schmitt
Subjects: Language Learning

This article looks different ways of conceptualizing vocabulary size and depth, and shows that they are strongly interrelated.