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Title: The effects of different types of textual input enhancements on incidental and intentional vocabulary learning from reading
Author: Sauer, Bianca Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 2578
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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This study investigates the effects of three kinds of textual input enhancements (TIEs) - bold-printing, L2 glossing, and a combination of the two - on tasks aimed at facilitating incidental and intentional vocabulary learning from reading. It explores which other task-related and learner-internal factors influence vocabulary acquisition. Previous research on vocabulary learning from reading found positive effects for the provision of enhancements. However, findings are inconclusive regarding which types of enhancements are most effective for which type of vocabulary knowledge, and there has been little research investigating the effects of ‘obtrusiveness’, i.e. the interruption of the reading flow through consulting glosses. Likewise, few studies have considered how learners interact with TIEs. 269 Danish secondary school L2 learners of English participated in three reading/testing sessions. They read either unmodified texts (control group) or texts in which target words were highlighted in the three enhancement forms. Immediate active and passive recognition and passive recall of target word meaning were assessed in a vocabulary post-test. Volunteers participated in retrospective interviews. To compare the effects of incidental and intentional word learning, for the analysis the data were split into those collected after the first session, where no focus on vocabulary learning was assumed, and subsequent reading/testing sessions, where learners increasingly focussed on vocabulary learning. Correlation computations confirmed the assumed relationship between TIE-use and vocabulary acquisition. The results concerning the impact of the different TIE types varied from session to session, but showed that enhancement use of any type had the greatest impact on establishing a form-meaning link measured in a receptive meaning recall test. Regression calculations revealed that variables such as testing session or text type significantly predicted the outcomes of the vocabulary post-test. Even though many interviewees perceived ‘obtrusiveness’ as problematic, the enhancement types involving glosses led to significantly higher vocabulary post-test scores than bold-printing only. The interviews suggest that especially the enhancement type which combined bold-printing and glossing encouraged learners to focus on the target words in ways that initiate deep processing. Bold-printing of target words, however, often procured results that were similar to those from reading unenhanced texts. Several interviewees found working with such typographic enhancements ‘confusing’. The interviewees described behaviour specific to the different TIE types. Their general TIE approach seemed habit-driven, economical, and related to the cognitive involvement load factor ‘need’. The statistical analysis and the interviews showed that repeated testing had an effect on how learners approached the tasks. These findings shed light on the complexity of the relationship between incidental and intentional word learning and on how research procedures can influence outcomes. The outcomes confirm the usefulness of enhancements for vocabulary learning. However, they also show that great care has to be taken when providing TIEs for any language learning purpose, as learner behaviour related to their application is far more complex, and therefore deserves more consideration, than is currently given.
Supervisor: Andon, Nicholas John ; Wingate, Ursula Christine Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available