This study investigates the effect of an abstract word training paradigm initially developed to treat lexical retrieval deficits in patients with aphasia on second language (L2) vocabulary acquisition. Three English–Spanish L2 learners (Experiment 1) and 10 Spanish–English L2 learners (Experiment 3) were trained on 15 abstract words within a context-category (e.g., restaurant) using a five-step training paradigm based on semantic feature analysis. In addition, 7 English–Spanish L2 learners were trained on either abstract or concrete words within a context-category (Experiment 2). Across all experiments, the majority of participants trained on abstract words showed improved production of the trained abstract words, as measured by a word generation task, as well as improvement on untrained concrete words within the same context-category (i.e., generalization). Participants trained on concrete words (Experiment 2) exhibited much smaller word production gains and no generalization to abstract words. These results parallel previous findings from aphasia research and suggest that this training paradigm can successfully be extended to L2 learning contexts, where it has the potential to be a useful tool in vocabulary instruction. We discuss the findings in terms of models of spreading activation and the underlying conceptual representations of abstract and concrete words in the L2 lexicon.