This study attempts to extend the relationship between phonological memory and word acquisition to the experimental learning of second-language vocabulary. Nonword span was used to measure phonological memory and was found to be generally predictive of the number of trials needed for acquiring certain English (second-language) new words for a group of Hong Kong 7th graders. This relationship, however, was preserved only in those whose English vocabulary size was below the group median. It was concluded that phonological memory plays a part in second-language word learning, and its effect interacts with the learner's long-term knowledge in that language. Copyright © 1996 by the American Psychological Association, Inc.