ABSTRACT This paper discusses the relationship between ease/difficulty in learning particular words and some issues in the teaching of vocabulary.

Some factors that interfere with learning a word are claimed to be the following: similarity of form between the word and other words (embrace/embarrass, price/prize); morphological similarity between it and other words (industrial/industrious, respectable/respective); deceptive morphological structure (infallible); different syntactic patterning in L1; differences in the classification of experience between L1 and L2 (one-to-many correspondence, partial overlap in meaning, metaphorical extension, lexical voids, multiplicity of meaning); abstractness; specificity; negative value; connotations nonexistent in L1; differences in the pragmatic meaning of near synonyms and of L1 translation equivalents; the learning burden of synonyms; the apparent rulelessness of collocations.

It is argued that word learnability (ease/difficulty in learning a particular word) can serve as a guideline to the following: the selection of words to be taught; their presentation (quantity, grouping, language of presentation, isolation/ context issue); the facilitation of long-term memorization (meaningful tasks, mnemonic techniques, rote learning, reactivation); the development of strategies for self-learning; and the assessment of vocabulary knowledge.