Second Language Vocabulary, Vocabulary Acquisition, Vocabulary Learning Strategies
Recent research has underscored the important role of second language (L2) vocabulary acquisition in the reading process. The present study examined how accurately eighteen learners of English as a Second Language (ESL) were able to identify unknown words within a reading passage. It is assumed that "noticing" unfamiliar words in a text plays an important role in being able to extract meaning from context, which may ultimately result in word learning; thus, whether or not learners are able to recognize unknown words as unknown is a key step in vocabulary learning. The design of this study was based on previous research (Laufer and Yano, 2001) on the connection between first language background and self-assessment of L2 word knowledge. The first three steps of the Lafuer and Yano study were used in this study. In the first step, ESL learners self-assessed their ability to identify selected words in a text. After this, L2 learners explained or translated the meanings of the words. Finally, the two sets of data were analyzed to measure correlations. The findings of the study showed that teachers, as well as learners, should not underestimate the importance of vocabulary. Instead, they should provide more explicit vocabulary instruction and practice. In addition, L2 learners need to learn to identify words that are unknown. The act of "noticing" unknown words and identifying them as such is the initial step towards building vocabulary through reading. Lastly, L2 learners should not rely solely on context clues for the "guessing" strategy when they have a limited level of vocabulary because they may develop mistaken word knowledge, which would impact reading comprehension. Instead, learners should develop a wide range of strategies to comprehend academic reading.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Foreign Languages and Literatures
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Lin, Chai-Wei, "Second Language Learners' Recognition Of Unknown Words" (2005). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4454.