Vocabulary learning through reading: The effects of multimedia glosses for contextualized vocabulary use and acquisition

  • Author / Creator
    Serrand, Catherine M. D.
  • Research in the field of incidental vocabulary learning through reading has concentrated on various types of foci. In particular input enhancement techniques such as glosses have been the subject of many studies (Ariew & Ercetin, 2004; Ko, 2005; Miyasako, 2002; Yoshii & Flaitz, 2002), leading to the conclusion that multimedia glosses added to reading tasks are beneficial for students’ comprehension of texts and learning of new vocabulary. However, studies have produced mixed results with respect to the effects of L1 vs. L2 glosses (Bell & LeBlanc, 2000; Jacobs, DuFon & Fong, 1994; Ko, 2005; Yoshii, 2006). While this area of research thus far has focused on students’ ability to retain new lexical information, their ability to use words within specific contexts has not yet been examined.
    This study aimed at testing to which extent students can understand texts, and retain and produce new vocabulary in context when reading with glosses featuring explanations in the L2 and L1 translations. To this end, 108 students in their second semester of German at the University of Alberta were given three texts, each including the same 15 target words glossed under three conditions: (1) picture + English translation, (2) picture + German explanation, (3) no gloss. Students were asked to participate in productive and receptive posttests, and finally they took part in an online chat in which they were to use the target words in context.
    The results indicate that the use of glosses for new vocabulary learning not only helps students to retain and produce the individual words, but also to use these words in context. The language used in the glosses, however, did not seem to make a difference, neither on the receptive and productive tests, nor for retention of contextual information.
    The results and observations from this study therefore confirm the importance of the use of glosses for reading comprehension and vocabulary learning and show their potential for material development to introduce and use vocabulary in context more successfully.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Germanic Languages, Literatures and Linguistics
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Nedashkivska, Alla (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
    • Ranta, Leila (Educational Psychology)
    • Lam, Yvonne (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
    • Rott, Susanne (University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Germanic Studies)
    • Daily-O’Cain, Jennifer (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)