The Correlation between Students’ Writing Ability and Their Vocabulary Mastery

Writing ability Vocabulary mastery


English covers four skills, namely speaking, reading, listening, and writing. There are also three parts in a language such as vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation that should be learned. Those parts play an important role in supporting the skills of language in use. In Indonesia, English is essential to learn to improve knowledge, technology, and culture.

Writing is one of the communication skills as means of communication that we must consciously learn because no one learns to write automatically. People cannot write even a single letter of the alphabet without a conscious mind and hand. To get beyond the single letter, we must be shown how to form words, how to put shown together into sentences and punctuate those sentences.

Vocabulary is one important aspect of learning a foreign language. With a limited vocabulary, anyone will also have a limited understanding of speaking, reading, listening, and writing. It might indeed be impossible to learn a language without mastering vocabulary. Vocabulary is one of the problems confronted by English language learners. Because of the limited vocabulary, the learners cannot communicate with others clearly. Sometimes it isn’t easy to group the idea transmitted to them. On the other hand, the acquisition of many vocabularies the students read, speak, listen, and write.

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By Knowing about students’ vocabulary, The writer tries using Audiovisual material for teaching vocabulary. The movie is one of the audiovisual materials that teachers can use as media for teaching English. The movie can catch the students’ attention for learning vocabulary. Film as a medium of teaching vocabulary is effective for making the students easily understanding.

The subtitle is a tool to help the students understand the language used in the film. It also can be a medium for learning vocabulary. Research conducted by Patricia S Konskinen and friends revealed that television programs with subtitles could help the students improve their vocabulary acquisition.


a. Definition of Vocabulary

Norbert Schmitt in Setiawandi (2006:5) states that vocabulary is a basis of a language. Therefore, it is essential to be a master first. We cannot speak well and understand written material if we do not master it. Norbert Schmitt stated that no matter how successfully the sound of the foreign language is mastered, without words to express the wider range of meanings, communication of foreign language cannot happen in a meaningful way.

So we can conclude that vocabulary is all the words used in language, and each has meant each of them. Also, some parts like verbs, idioms, adverbs, pronunciation, etc., learning vocabulary was critical before we learned four basic skills in the language.

b. The importance of Vocabulary

Students’ vocabulary is arranged into sentences to express their opinion, thought, and idea. Therefore, the mastery of vocabulary is crucial. We use vocabulary in language to express our feelings, ideas, etc., whether orally or in writing to other people.

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In writing, the writer use vocabulary to develop their idea, a writer should choose the words clearly and accurately to express their ideas. Without knowing much vocabulary, we cannot develop our writing because we are limited on vocabulary mastery.

c. Types of Vocabulary

According to Armbruster, Lehr and Osborn (2001:1) stated that Vocabulary refers to the words we must know to communicate effectively. Vocabulary can be described as oral vocabulary or reading vocabulary. Oral vocabulary refers to words that use in speaking or recognize in listening. Reading vocabulary refers to words we recognize or use in print.

According to Raja T. Nasr, there are two kinds of vocabulary: a. Productive vocabulary (sometimes called active vocabulary): the words that a speaker actually uses. b. Receptive vocabulary (sometimes called passive vocabulary): words that people understand when he hears or reads them but does not use in his own speech.

d. The Factor Influence Vocabulary

According to Gower, seven factors influence the vocabulary items that are easy or difficult to mastery. They are similarity to L1, similarity to English words already known, connotation, spelling and pronunciation, multiword item, collocation, and appropriate use.  The explanation as follows:

1. Similarity to L1

The difficulty of a vocabulary item often depends on how similar the items are in form and meaning to the students’ first language.

2. Similarity to English words already known

Students have some English, then a word related to an English word they are already familiar with is easier than one that is not.

3. Connotation

Learners have to grips with is the connotation of word.

4. Spelling and pronunciation

The spelling of many English words can cause students who speak languages with a very regular system. Particularly patterns can also confuse where the pronunciation is concerned.

5. Multi-word items

A lexical item may consist of more than one word, as in compound noun or phrasal verb.

6. Collocation

Some grammatical structures are formed depending on knowing which words go with others and which do not. Linda also states that knowing syntactic behavior associated with the word and knowing the associations between words and other words in the language.

7. Appropriate

Gower points some words and expressions are restricted to use in a particular context; also, students must know whether the words or phrase has a marked style-informal or formal. Students have to take care with the use of colloquial and slang expressions.

The Concept of Film

The film is the term that encompasses individual motion pictures, the field of film as an art form, and the motion picture industry. The film is produced by recording images from the world with cameras or by creating images using animation techniques or special. In language learning, the film is one of audiovisual material in the form of video. Another important thing in rewriting the story in the film is the vocabulary mastery of the students. The vocabulary is used to understand words in gaining the meaning of a dialogue that happened in the film.

a. Subtitles

The subtitle is textual versions of the dialogue in film and television programs, usually displayed at the bottom of the screen. According to Lever H.J, there are two types of subtitles, Integra lingual and interlingual subtitling. Intralingual subtitling deals with subtitles that remain in the same language as the original and are used for the deaf or hard of hearing or language learners. In subtitle expected to make the students easier to understand the meaning of the dialogue in the film, since the students have to rewrite the story in the film, the subtitle is one of the helpful tools for the students to grapes the meaning of the dialogue in the film. The subtitle of the film is in Indonesian language form.

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b. The Story in film

The story in the film is a story in narrative structure form. Around the turn of the twentieth century, films began developing a narrative structure by stringing scenes to tell narratives. Thus, it means to understand the story in the film; students have to know the narrative and the structure of a narrative.

Narrative structure in the form of the story. The common features of narrative structure are beginning /orientation, problem/complication problem is solved/ending, resolution, and moral/coda/evaluative ending (Figg, 2006).


In this article, the writer used a descriptive design. Descriptive research is the method that tries to describe objects based on reality (Best, 1982:119). The technique used in this article is the correlation analysis technique. This technique is used to determine the correlation degree between the independent variable (student rewriting of the story) and the dependent (vocabulary mastery).

The film used in this research, titled UP, is a film with subtitles suitable for Junior high school level—student’s vocabulary mastery (independent variable). Student’s vocabulary mastery here means the number of vocabulary that student knows from the film shown. To measure students.

Vocabulary mastery they will be given a number of questions based on the vocabulary in film.


1. Students’ Writing Ability

After doing the research, it was found the description about the students’ writing ability through their test score, the result of vocabulary mastery test found that the students have fair competence of their writing ability (in terms of rewriting of the story in film), it was shown by the result of mean score analysis namely 6,00.

2. Students’ Vocabulary Mastery

The description of students’ vocabulary mastery was found by vocabulary test. It was pointed out that the mean score of students’ vocabularies was 61,0, which is classified as a poor score.

3. Correlation between the Students’ Writing Ability and Their Vocabulary Mastery.

The correlation analysis between students’ writing ability (in terms of rewriting of the story in film) and students’ vocabulary mastery shows that those are at the substantial level and have a correlation.

The result of this article shows that film can be one of the media in learning English. Students did not only have good scores in rewriting the story on the film test but also vocabulary mastery test. This means that film can help the students improve their writing ability and create an interesting atmosphere in learning the vocabulary in the film, as indicated in this article.

By considering the previous research finding and the findings of this research itself, the writer states that the students writing ability (in terms of rewriting of the story in film) has close relation with communication skills in English, namely listening, speaking, reading, especially in sub-skill is vocabulary mastery.


The lack of media use becomes a problem in learning English as a foreign language, as indicated in this research. Basically, students’ interest in learning English can be increased by providing interesting media in teaching English. As Stempleski (1990:3), the help of moving pictures and sounds build the interest. The writer’s finding concluded that there is a significant correlation between students’ writing ability (in terms of rewriting of the story in film) and their vocabulary mastery. Since the two variables correlate significantly, their significance is substantial, which lies between 0,600-0,800. Therefore, it shows that the student’s writing ability (in terms of rewriting the story in film) can increase or affect their vocabulary mastery.

Dona Adicandra
Mahasiswa Universitas Indraprasta PGRI

Editor: Diana Pratiwi

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