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Effects of word-related factors on first and second language English readers’ incidental acquisition of vocabulary through reading an authentic novel

Effects of word-related factors on first and second language English readers’ incidental... The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of word-related factors (i.e. frequency, range, dispersion and cognateness) on first-language English (L1E) readers' (n = 20) and second-language English (L2E) readers' (n = 20) incidental acquisition of vocabulary through the reading of an authentic novel.Design/methodology/approachParticipants read A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, a 58,686 token (word) English language novel containing Slovos, that is, words from Nadsat, a futuristic, foreignized teen talk invented by Burgess. Upon finishing the novel, the participants took two unexpected vocabulary tests, one for meaning recognition and the other for meaning recall.FindingsThe results of this study indicate that word-related factors significantly correlate with the word meaning recall test scores of both groups. However, the regression models of meaning recall for the two groups showed that dispersion was the most robust predictor, which implies that the participants recalled more word meanings when the novel had a more even distribution of the unknown target words. The meaning recognition test scores showed cognates were a significant predictor for the L1E readers but not for L2E readers.Originality/valueThis study marks the first attempt in the field to investigate the relative contribution of frequency, range and dispersion – a closely bound set of word-related factors – to both L1E and L2E readers' incidental acquisition of vocabulary through reading an authentic novel. Considering the important role of dispersion, the current study suggests that developers of graded readers and children's literature should more evenly distribute unknown target words in their books. Doing so will better facilitate both L1E and L2E readers' acquisition of those words. The study also addresses a fallacy of methodology regarding incidental vocabulary acquisition by examining the effect of the cognateness of the foreignized words embedded in A Clockwork Orange. The L1E readers' sensitivity to cognates implies that cognate-word awareness-raising activities are necessary to learning a foreign language, especially if that language has many cognates in common with English, such as Spanish. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png English Teaching Practice & Critique Emerald Publishing

Effects of word-related factors on first and second language English readers’ incidental acquisition of vocabulary through reading an authentic novel

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References (60)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1175-8708
DOI
10.1108/etpc-05-2021-0049
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of word-related factors (i.e. frequency, range, dispersion and cognateness) on first-language English (L1E) readers' (n = 20) and second-language English (L2E) readers' (n = 20) incidental acquisition of vocabulary through the reading of an authentic novel.Design/methodology/approachParticipants read A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, a 58,686 token (word) English language novel containing Slovos, that is, words from Nadsat, a futuristic, foreignized teen talk invented by Burgess. Upon finishing the novel, the participants took two unexpected vocabulary tests, one for meaning recognition and the other for meaning recall.FindingsThe results of this study indicate that word-related factors significantly correlate with the word meaning recall test scores of both groups. However, the regression models of meaning recall for the two groups showed that dispersion was the most robust predictor, which implies that the participants recalled more word meanings when the novel had a more even distribution of the unknown target words. The meaning recognition test scores showed cognates were a significant predictor for the L1E readers but not for L2E readers.Originality/valueThis study marks the first attempt in the field to investigate the relative contribution of frequency, range and dispersion – a closely bound set of word-related factors – to both L1E and L2E readers' incidental acquisition of vocabulary through reading an authentic novel. Considering the important role of dispersion, the current study suggests that developers of graded readers and children's literature should more evenly distribute unknown target words in their books. Doing so will better facilitate both L1E and L2E readers' acquisition of those words. The study also addresses a fallacy of methodology regarding incidental vocabulary acquisition by examining the effect of the cognateness of the foreignized words embedded in A Clockwork Orange. The L1E readers' sensitivity to cognates implies that cognate-word awareness-raising activities are necessary to learning a foreign language, especially if that language has many cognates in common with English, such as Spanish.

Journal

English Teaching Practice & CritiqueEmerald Publishing

Published: May 17, 2022

Keywords: Reading; Frequency; Dispersion; Cognate; Incidental vocabulary acquisition; Range; Authentic novel

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