L2 vocabulary acquisition through text reading: Can lexical processing strategies help?

Holly Ann Monheimer, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

This dissertation study investigated the effectiveness of three lexical processing strategies on the vocabulary acquisition of L2 learners as they read texts in Spanish L2. The study is timely in light of the growing trend toward the use of content-based, academically oriented L2 classrooms. With this shift, students have an increasing need for concrete and proven strategies which allow them to identify, define, and acquire key lexical items while reading independently from their texts. The three strategies were continuing to read a text for meaning without regard to unfamiliar words, inferring from linguistic and contextual cues, and consulting a dictionary or other students. The study investigated the strategies and asked whether learners could use each of the individual strategies to help them acquire vocabulary as they read texts in Spanish L2. The following research questions were investigated: (1) Can the following lexical processing strategies assist students in their comprehension and retention of unfamiliar L2 vocabulary in context texts? (a) continuing to read a text for meaning without regard to unfamiliar words; (b) consulting a dictionary or another individual for the meaning of unfamiliar words in a text; (c) using linguistic and contextual cues to infer the meaning of unfamiliar words in a text (2) Are some strategies more effective than others in assisting comprehension of word meaning? (3) Are some strategies more effective than others in assisting retention of word meaning? Results of the study revealed that none of the strategy groups performed significantly better than the control group. Also noted was a tendency of the group that used the strategy of continuing to read for meaning without regard for unfamiliar words to lag behind the other groups in comprehension.

Subject Area

Language arts|Linguistics

Recommended Citation

Monheimer, Holly Ann, "L2 vocabulary acquisition through text reading: Can lexical processing strategies help?" (2004). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3125877.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3125877

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