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Title: Vocabulary acquisition through extensive reading of unsimplified English material in a Saudi Arabian tertiary context
Author: Sivardeen, Hussain Ziya Zaeem
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 6991
Awarding Body: University of Bedfordshire
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 2016
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A number of studies seem to indicate that Extensive Reading (ER) enhances language proficiency in general and vocabulary knowledge in particular. However none of those surveyed focused on poorly motivated lower level language learners in a normal course of study that incorporated ER of unsimplified material, and few addressed partial vocabulary gain and the other factors that could have affected this. In this study the participants were young adult male Saudi Arabians, who were elementary English language learners and who were not used to reading for pleasure even in Arabic. Tests were used to gauge their partial vocabulary acquisition when they engaged in ER involving an open choice of simplified and unsimplified English material during a regular English preparatory course of just one semester. If ER could be linked to improved vocabulary acquisition in such difficult but natural conditions, the case for ER‘s wider implementation could be strengthened. The study also used diaries, surveys and interviews to delve into the reading habits, academic background and cultural context that could also explain any observed vocabulary gain. The results showed there were few statistically significant partial vocabulary gains after the ER programme, and although the experimental cohort that received the ER programme showed greater gains than the control in most of these cases, the difference was not large in terms of the absolute number of words. The diaries, surveys and interviews gave a rich profile of the participants with a level of detail that surpassed that of any other surveyed study, offering several possible reasons for their modest vocabulary gains and yielding unanticipated findings, such as an exposition of their motivations for academic study. It is concluded that a greater awareness of the learners‘ context is essential when applying ER, which in this particular context leads to the view that pure ER may not be suitable for vocabulary learning, and instead a significantly modified version could be more appropriate. These modifications include selecting appropriate books for the students and adding explicit vocabulary learning activities, and they even include linking the reading to the students‘ final grade. Further research is needed to gauge the effectiveness of such modifications, while a more inductive approach is also important when investigating ER and vocabulary acquisition to give the opportunity for unforeseen results to emerge.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English language learning ; Saudi Arabia ; reading ; simplified English