Second Language Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition through Reading and Listening

  • Author / Creator
    Hatami, Sarvenaz
  • This dissertation presents research on second language (L2) incidental vocabulary acquisition through reading and listening. Data for this research were collected in the EFL context of Iran, from Iranian undergraduate students, at an intermediate level of EFL proficiency, who were majoring in engineering at a prestigious university. The dissertation consists of three papers, each focusing on a different aspect of L2 incidental vocabulary acquisition from input, as described below. First Paper: The Differential Impact of Reading and Listening on L2 Incidental Acquisition of Different Aspects of Word Knowledge This study compares the impact of L2 reading and listening on the incidental acquisition and retention of five aspects of vocabulary knowledge (i.e., spoken form, written form, part of speech, syntagmatic association, and form-meaning connection). It also examines the relationship between frequency of word occurrence and vocabulary acquisition through reading versus listening. The participants were 139 intermediate-level EFL learners, who were assigned to two experimental groups (i.e., reading and listening) and one control group. The experimental groups were exposed to the same text containing 16 target words (replaced by 16 non-words). The results on the immediate post-test revealed that readers scored higher than listeners on all five aspects of word knowledge. Retention scores on the delayed post-test were also higher for readers, but listeners appeared to forget less within three weeks. Effects of frequency of occurrence were found to be smaller in listening than in reading. Second Paper: The Role of Perceptual Learning Style Matching in L2 Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition through Reading This study investigates whether there is any difference in L2 incidental vocabulary acquisition and retention through reading when learners’ perceptual learning style preference is matched to their input mode, mismatched to their input mode, or mixed. The participants were 108 intermediate-level EFL learners. Based on their perceptual learning style preferences (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic/tactile, mixed), they were divided into a reading group (consisting of three subgroups: Matched, Mismatched, Mixed) and a control group. The reading group read a graded reader containing 16 target words and then completed immediate and delayed (three weeks later) vocabulary post-tests. The findings revealed no significant differences between the three reading subgroups in terms of incidental vocabulary acquisition and retention. Third Paper: The Impact of Learner-related Variables on L2 Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition through Listening This study explores the impact of five learner-related variables on L2 incidental word learning from listening. These variables were gender, L2 vocabulary size, amount of L2 listening (for academic purposes and pleasure), level of enjoyment, and (self-reported) level of comprehension. The participants were 99 intermediate-level EFL learners, who were randomly assigned to a listening group and a control group. Sixteen target words were chosen in a graded reader and were then replaced by 16 English-like non-words. The participants listened to the graded reader and completed a vocabulary post-test immediately after the listening session. The post-test measured participants’ knowledge of five different dimensions of word knowledge (i.e., spoken form, written form, part of speech, syntagmatic association, and form-meaning connection). The findings revealed that while gender and amount of L2 listening appear to have no impact on incidental vocabulary gains from listening, L2 vocabulary size, level of enjoyment, and level of comprehension are important facilitating factors.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • 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
    • Department of Educational Psychology
  • Specialization
    • Studies in Teaching and Learning English as a Second Language
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Rossiter, Marian (Educational Psychology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Horst, Marlise (Department of Education, Concordia University)
    • Derwing, Tracey (Educational Psychology)
    • Dunn, William (Secondary Education)
    • Moussu, Lucie (English and Film Studies)
    • Abbott, Marilyn (Educational Psychology)