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LINGUIST List 22.767

Tue Feb 15 2011

Diss: Applied Ling: Katsarou: 'The Use of Lexical Inferencing ...'

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        1.     Eirene Katsarou , The Use of Lexical Inferencing Strategies in the Identification and Comprehension of L2 Phrasal Idioms During Reading by Greek Learners of English

Message 1: The Use of Lexical Inferencing Strategies in the Identification and Comprehension of L2 Phrasal Idioms During Reading by Greek Learners of English
Date: 15-Feb-2011
From: Eirene Katsarou <ekatsaiotenet.gr>
Subject: The Use of Lexical Inferencing Strategies in the Identification and Comprehension of L2 Phrasal Idioms During Reading by Greek Learners of English
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Institution: University of Essex
Program: MPhil/PhD in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Eirene Katsarou

Dissertation Title: The Use of Lexical Inferencing Strategies in the Identification and Comprehension of L2 Phrasal Idioms During Reading by Greek Learners of English

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)
                            Greek (ell)

Dissertation Director:
Philip Scholfield

Dissertation Abstract:

This study investigates the extent of identification and comprehension
success, and the types of lexical guessing strategies used by Greek EFL
high school students encountering phrasal idioms while reading English as a
foreign language. The study also examines the relationship of the above
with five idiom type features, i.e. (i) contextual guessability, (ii)
frequency of words in the idiom, (iii) interlingual similarity, (iv)
transparency and (v) existence of an idiom in Greek and four learner
factors: (i) L2 language proficiency, (ii) gender, (iii) motivation and
(iv) field-independence/-dependence.
Data was collected from 60 Greek EFL senior high school students in first
and second grades using five instruments: an Idiom Identification and
Comprehension Elicitation Instrument, Nation's (2001) Vocabulary Levels
Test, the Greek Version of the Groups Embedded Figures Test, the Oxford
Placement Test and an Individual Background Survey. Qualitative
semi-structured oral interviews of 10 subjects chosen randomly, were also
conducted to supplement and verify the quantitative data.

The results indicate that overall scores for L2 idiom identification,
comprehension and confidence were remarkably low. Successful L2 idiom
identification was found to correlate strongly but negatively both with
frequency of occurrence of the component words of the idioms and with
interlingual similarity while L2 idiom comprehension as well as Greek EFL
learners' self-reported confidence were both found to correlate
significantly positively with interlingual similarity only. No significant
correlations were obtained between any of the four learner-related
variables and the three main variables of L2 idiom identification,
comprehension and L2 learners' confidence in the task of guessing the
meaning of unknown target idioms in text context. With respect to the
frequency of use and effectiveness of use of lexical guessing strategies in
the task of L2 idiom comprehension, results showed overall low scores
indicating that L2 learners did not tend to use lexical guessing strategies
very often and in cases insufficient clues in the text context did not help
them guess accurately the meaning of unknown L2 idiom phrases. Frequent use
of 'use of idiom equivalence' in L1 Greek and 'use of the meaning of words
in the idioms' were found to most strongly correlate with successful L2
idiom comprehension. Furthermore, effective use of almost all strategies
except for 'use of background knowledge' was found to correlate
significantly with accuracy of L2 idiom comprehension. Finally, no
significant correlations were found between (i) accurately identified and
accurately inferred L2 unknown idioms, or (ii) confidence and L2 idiom
comprehension.



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