The effect of context clues and grammatical classes on the ability of undergraduate international students to identify meanings of unfamiliar words in English texts
AuthorSakakini, Adel Omar
AdvisorAnders, Patricia L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study is to examine the ability of undergraduate international students to use context clues and grammatical classes to identify unfamiliar works from context. It investigates the difficulty of (a) five types of context clues (contrast, language experience, synonym and/or appositive, direct description, cause-effect relationships), (b) four grammatical classes (nouns, verb, adjective and adverbs), and (c) specific combinations of both. Two hundred and two English compositions students participated in this study. They are native speakers of a language using a Roman alphabet such as French and Spanish (Group 1), and native speakers of a language using a non-Roman alphabet such as Arabic and Japanese (Group 2). This language classification was based on semantic, syntactic and cultural considerations. The instrument, originally devised by Dulin (1968), consists of 25 short paragraphs, each of which is followed by five multiple choice items. The analysis of variance (ANOVA) and the analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) were the two techniques chosen for this study. A 2 x 5 x 5 analysis of covariance with repeated measures was conducted. Significant differences in the performance of (Group 1) and (Group 2) were found, and levels of difficulty were established among the five context clues and the four grammatical classes. This study is significant for several reasons. First, it is one of the few exploratory investigations of context clues in the field of English as a second language. Second, this research provides insight into the processes second language readers use to identify unfamiliar words from context. Last, this study provides a basis for further research on context clues, grammatical classes, ESL readers, their instruction and materials.
Degree ProgramLanguage, Reading & Culture