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研究生:林靖偉
研究生(外文):Ching-wei Lin
論文名稱:使用英語語境線索推敲字義之研究:以台灣的大學生為例
論文名稱(外文):Using Context Clues to Infer Word Meanings: A Case Study of EFL University Students in Central Taiwan
指導教授:尤菊芳
指導教授(外文):Jyu-fang Yu
學位類別:碩士
校院名稱:東海大學
系所名稱:外國語文學系
學門:人文學門
學類:外國語文學類
論文種類:學術論文
論文出版年:2007
畢業學年度:95
語文別:英文
論文頁數:166
中文關鍵詞:字彙量閱讀理解字彙學習策略根據上下文語境推敲字義語境線索
外文關鍵詞:vocabulary sizereading comprehensionvocabulary learning strategiesinferring from contextcontext clues
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以英語為外語的學習者字彙量的不足,直接影響了他們的閱讀理解和學術成就,這是英語教師不得不面對的問題。從事字彙與閱讀研究的學者們建議學習者優先學習英文中的高頻率字彙:包括常用字彙表內的2,000個字彙家族以及學術字彙表內的570個字彙家族。因為這些高頻字彙家族幾乎涵蓋了任何英文文體中90%的字。除此之外,學習者更須使用各種不同的策略來協助理解文章中不熟悉的字彙以增加閱讀的流暢度。
在眾多字彙和閱讀策略中,最為學者推崇的就是根據上下文語境去推敲生字字義。英語教師必須注意學生是否能察覺語境線索,因為使用上下文語境推敲字義的能力,和字彙知識及閱讀技巧一般重要,都是學習成功的指標。因此,關於學生如何使用英語語境線索推敲字義來幫助閱讀理解的相關資訊,對教師而言顯然相當重要。
本研究採用Ames(1969)對英語語境線索的分類來探索台灣學生對不同語境線索的敏感度;對象為台灣中部地區某私立大學外國語言學系的101位大一新生。根據自行設計的英語語境線索考卷考試結果,研究者企圖建構出一個語境線索使用頻率表及難度表。為避免研究對象因字彙量不足影響語境線索推敲字義的表現,致使本研究做出錯誤的結論,這份語境線索考卷中所有的考題用字都仔細地控制在英文最常用的1,000個字彙表(GSL)內;同時,1000(Huang, 1999)及2000高頻字彙(Schmitt, Schmitt, & Clapham, 2001)測驗卷也被用來當過濾未通過基本門檻的研究對象。
研究結果顯示:88.1%的研究對象通過這1,000個高頻率字彙的門檻;在滿分為78分的語境線索測驗中,他們平均得到73.5分。這表示研究對象普遍具備在閱讀中使用各種語境線索推敲字義的能力。根據研究對象表現整理出來的語境線索難易表,可提供了語言教師明確指標以檢視及修正字彙策略教學方式。此外,本研究結果亦建議:當選擇語境線索的閱讀練習教材時,必須考慮學生的字彙能力──至少必須認識95%的字。最後,本論文亦針對探討語境線索的其他研究方式提出討論與建議。
Inadequate vocabulary size of EFL learners, which directly influences reading comprehension and academic success, is an unavoidable problem for language instructors. Vocabulary and reading researchers thus suggest that EFL students make it a priority to learn the 2,000 high frequency word families and the 570 word families in the Academic Word List that together cover approximately 90% of common words used in typical English passages. Further, EFL learners need to use various strategies that will help them construct the meanings of unfamiliar words encountered in reading.
The most compelling strategy researchers in both vocabulary and reading fields have promoted is using context clues to infer the meanings of unknown words during the reading process. Language instructors need to be aware of how sensitive their students are to context clues, since the ability to use this strategy, along with vocabulary knowledge and reading skills, is a predictor of academic success. Therefore, information about how well students can use context clues to gain knowledge of unknown words in text and to increase English reading comprehension is essential to language instructors.
Adopting the framework of context clues developed by Ames (1966), the current study explores Chinese-speaking EFL learners’ sensitivity to different context clues. One hundred and one college freshmen from Tunghai University in central Taiwan participated in the study. A frequency and a difficulty rank order of context clues were constructed, based on the results from a vocabulary controlled context clues test (CCT). All the lexical items used in the assessment instrument were carefully controlled within the limit of the 1,000 most frequently used word families from the revised General Service List (1998), to prevent the vocabulary insufficiency of the subjects from impeding their performance and thus yielding erroneous conclusions. Huang’s (1999) 1,000 word level and Schmitt, Schmitt, and Clapham’s (2001) 2,000 word level of the Vocabulary Levels Test (VLT) served as the criteria to exclude participants lacking the requisite vocabulary knowledge from interpreting the CCT results.
Most of the participants (88.1%) reached the vocabulary threshold in this study, and the mean of the context clues test was 73.5 (the maximum score is 78), indicating that college participants from Chinese-speaking backgrounds in Taiwan overall have good knowledge of the use of context clues when encountering unknown words in text. The difficulty rank order of context clues test from the descriptive statistics provides useful guidelines for language instructors to inspect and modify their vocabulary strategy instruction. Moreover, the findings suggest that materials in which at least 95% of the words are known to the readers better enable them to practice the strategy of inferring from context. Suggestions for the language instructors, textbook writers, and language learners are also discussed. Finally, further research based on different data collection approaches on diverse subjects is proposed.
ABSTRACT (Chinese) i
ABSTRACT (English) iii
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS vi
TABLE OF CONTENTS viii
LIST OF TABLES xi
LIST OF FIGURES xii
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1
1.1 Background of the Study 2
1.2 Statements of the Problem: the Research Gap 3
1.3 Purposes of the Study and the Research Questions 4
1.4 Significance of the Study 6
1.5 Definitions of Terms 7
CHAPTER TWO REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 8
2.1 The Importance of Reading in Second Language Learning 8
2.2 Relationship between Vocabulary and Reading 12
2.2.1 The Density of Unknown Words and Reading Comprehension 15
2.3 Dimensions in Vocabulary Learning and Reading Comprehension 17
2.3.1 Vocabulary Size 20
2.3.1.1 High frequency word families and word lists. 20
2.3.1.2 Vocabulary Levels Test. 25
2.3.2 Vocabulary Depth 26
2.3.3 Vocabulary Strategies 28
2.4. Inferring from Context and Previous Studies on Context Clues 29
2.4.1 Studies on Context Clues 31
2.4.2 The Use of Context Clues among Chinese Speakers 39
CHAPTER THREE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 43
3.1 Participants 43
3.2 Instruments 44
3.2.1 The Context Clues Test (CCT) 44
3.2.1.1 Known words and unknown words ratio. 45
3.2.1.2 Categories of the context clues. 46
3.2.1.3 Web Vocabulary Profilers. 47
3.2.1.4 The process of making the CCT. 50
3.2.2 Vocabulary Levels Test (VLT) 54
3.3 Pilot Study: Reliability, Item Analysis, and Validity 55
3.3.1 Scoring Rubrics 56
3.3.2 Statistical Procedures 57
3.3.3 Preliminary Results from the Pilot Study 58
3.3.3.1 The reliability of the self-made CCT. 64
3.3.3.2 Item analysis of the self-made CCT. 65
3.3.3.3 Examination of the validity and items of the CCT. 68
3.4 Data Collection Procedure 70
3.5 Data Analysis 71
CHAPTER FOUR RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS 72
4.1 Results of the Study 72
4.1.1 Results of the Two Levels of the VLT 73
4.1.2 Results of the CCT 76
4.1.2.1 Overall scores of the CCT. 76
4.1.2.2 Item analysis and reliability of the CCT. 78
4.1.2.3 Results of the CCT at clue type level. 79
4.1.2.4 Descriptive results of the CCT at item level. 82
4.2 Discussion on Findings 84
4.2.1 Discussion of the VLT Results 84
4.2.2 Discussion of the Overall Performance on the CCT 85
4.2.3 Discussion of Item Analysis and Reliability of the CCT 88
4.2.4 Discussion on the CCT at Clue Type and Item Level 90
4.2.4.1 C1: Clues provided through words connected or in series. 90
4.2.4.2 C2: Clues utilizing modifying phrases or clauses. 91
4.2.4.3 C3: Clues derived from language experience and familiar expression. 92
4.2.4.4 C4: Clues given from cause and effect relationship. 94
4.2.4.5 C5: Association clues. 95
4.2.4.6 C6: Referral clues. 96
4.2.4.7 C7: Synonym clues. 97
4.2.4.8 C8: Clues utilizing definition or description. 98
4.2.4.9 C9: Preposition clues. 99
4.2.4.10 C10: Clues drawn from question and answer pattern. 100
4.2.4.11 C11: Comparison or contrast clues. 101
4.2.4.12 C12: Clues derived from the main idea and supporting details 102
4.2.4.13 C13: Clues drawn from non-restrictive clauses 103
CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSION 105
5.1 Implications for English Learners, Instructors, and Textbook Writers 108
5.2 Limitations of the Study and Suggestions for Future Research 109
APPENDIX A The 1,000 Word Level VLT by Huang (1999) 112
APPENDIX B The 2,000 Word Level VLT by Schmitt et al. (2001) 113
APPENDIX C Context Clues Test: Version A 114
APPENDIX D Context Clues Test: Version B 118
APPENDIX E Item-total Statistics of Reliability Analysis of the CCT of the Pilot Study 122
APPENDIX F Item-total Statistics of Reliability Analysis of the CCT of the Thesis Study 125
APPENDIX G Descriptive Statistics of the 13 Clues of the Thesis Study 128
APPENDIX H Frequencies of Choices of the 13 Clues of the Thesis Study 133
REFERENCES 138
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