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Investigating the effect of contextual clues on the processing of unfamiliar words in second language listening comprehension

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-05-03, 01:47 authored by Cai, Wei, Lee, Benny P. H.
This study examines the effect of contextual clues on the use of strategies (inferencing and ignoring) and knowledge sources (semantics, morphology, world knowledge, and others) for processing unfamiliar words in listening comprehension. Three types of words were investigated: words with local co-text clues, global co-text clues and extra-textual clues. Data were collected from 20 participants using the procedures of immediate retrospection without recall support and of stimulated recall. The results indicate that contextual clues are an important factor in learners treatment of unfamiliar words in listening comprehension. Contrary to what some theories of inference generation predict, this study reveals that learners use the inferencing strategy more frequently for words with global co-text clues and words with extratextual clues than for words with local co-text clues. In terms of the use of knowledge sources for inferring word meaning, the learners in this study use the knowledge sources in accordance with the different types of contextual clues. Copyright 2010 Wei Cai and Benny P. H. Lee. No part of this article may be reproduced by any means without the written consent of the publisher.


Date originally published



Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, vol. 33, no. 2 (2010), p. 18.1-18.28. ISSN 1833-7139

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