The need for vocabulary knowledge

Introduction

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1. 1 Record and motivation

The goal of the present thesis is to research the partnership between EFL learners' depth and breadth of vocabulary knowledge[1] and the degree to which vocabulary knowledge contributes to listening comprehension in British as a overseas language[2].

Over the previous 20 years vocabulary has assumed a more prominent role within the field of second dialect acquisition research, and vocabulary is no longer "a neglected facet of language learning" as it was designated by Paul Meara in 1980. While analysts in applied linguistics were previously concerned mainly with the development of learners' grammatical, and to some degree phonoreasonable, competence, more attention is now being paid with their lexical competence. It has happened because of the growing realisation that lexical competence forms an important part of learners' communicative competence in a spanish. As noticed by McCarthy (1990: viii) in the launch to his publication Vocabulary:

No subject how well the college student learns grammar, no subject how efficiently the looks of L2 are mastered, without words expressing a variety of meanings, communication within an L2 just cannot happen in virtually any important way.

The importance of vocabulary knowledge in communicative competence has similarly been pressured by Meara who have argued that "lexical competence reaches the heart of communicative competence" (1996a: 35) and this "vocabulary knowledge is intensely implicated in all practical language skills (Meara and Jones, 1988: 80).

In order to totally uncover the role of vocabulary knowledge in second terminology use, we therefore need to explore the degree to which it contributes to different dialect skills. These says by Meara have been solidly reinforced by findings from a considerable number of empirical studies investigating the partnership between learners' vocabulary knowledge and their reading comprehension. Such studies have discovered that vocabulary knowledge is a significant determinant of reading success in L1 as well as L2. However, as will be come visible in today's thesis, hardly any research has tackled the relationship between vocabulary knowledge and the skill of listening in L2 and, at the moment, we can only tentatively believe that vocabulary knowledge will also play some type of role in learners' being attentive comprehension in British as a spanish. Research of the relationship between vocabulary knowledge and tuning in is important as conclusions from studies of reading cannot automatically be applied to listening even though reading and hearing are both receptive skills.

The present study is thus determined by a crucial lack of empirical research on the partnership between vocabulary knowledge and listening understanding and by the resultant need to explore the scope to which learners' vocabulary knowledge will donate to their listening success in L2.

A prerequisite for checking out the partnership between vocabulary knowledge and listening, or any other language skill, is a notion of what is involved with being lexically qualified in a foreign language. A further motivation behind the analysis therefore springs from the necessity to gain more inperception into the character of learners' vocabulary knowledge. As evidenced in the research literature, the field suffers from a lack of consensus concerning ways of determining learners' vocabulary knowledge, partly because of the difficulty and multi-dimensionality of the build. Very often the partnership between vocabulary knowledge and L2 performance has been attended to simply from the perspective of vocabulary size. However, as other sizes of learners' vocabulary knowledge have been recognized, notably the aspect of depth, we have to empirically investigate how such dimensions interact and how they can make specific contributions to learners' vocabulary use.

1. 2 Seeks and research questions

The overriding goal of the thesis is to empirically investigate the associations between

  1. depth and breadth of vocabulary knowledge, and
  2. vocabulary knowledge and being attentive comprehension in British as a spanish.

The point of departure for this analysis is the construct of vocabulary knowledge, specifically depth of vocabulary knowledge. Although the notion of depth in L2 learners' vocabulary has received a growing degree of attention in recent vocabulary research, the build severely lacks conceptual quality. Because of this an analytic goal of the thesis is to provide a clear and constant theoretical framework for explaining and operationalising the construct of depth of vocabulary knowledge. That is done by attracting on research within the field of L2 vocabulary acquisition and tests. The analytic aim then serves as a prerequisite for empirically looking into the next two main research questions:

  1. To what extent are EFL learners' depth and breadth of vocabulary knowledge interrelated?
  2. To what amount is vocabulary knowledge associated with successful being attentive comprehension in English as a foreign language?

While the first research question addresses the interrelationship between two measurements of learners' vocabulary knowledge, specifically a qualitative and quantitative dimension, the second research question can be involved with the magnitude to which both of these dimensions will donate to successful listening understanding in English as a foreign language. The above mentioned research questions will be tackled through an empirical study comprising 100 Danish advanced learners of British. The theoretical basis and the strategy of this analysis will be launched below.

1. 3 Theoretical basis

Although the present study draws on research in various fields, it is first and foremost a study rooted within the field of second vocabulary vocabulary knowledge and acquisition. The widely recognised theoretical difference between depth and breadth of vocabulary knowledge will provide as a theoretical basis for critiquing different ways of defining and operationalising L2 learners' vocabulary knowledge and then for empirically investigating the relationship between quantitative and qualitative areas of learners' vocabulary knowledge and their listening comprehension.

In exploring whether vocabulary knowledge is associated with successful being attentive understanding in L2, the study also pulls on theory and research from the field of L1 and L2 listening. Prevalent theoretical models of listening and tuning in understanding will be layed out, and factors assumed to effect successful being attentive will be detailed, but this bill is far from exhaustive and can only provide as a backdrop for analyzing the role of vocabulary in tuning in comprehension. This may furthermore be visible from the theoretical platform developed to spell it out and explore the relationship between vocabulary knowledge and listening comprehension in the study. This framework attracts on principles from vocabulary as well as listening research, however the pivotal factor of the platform is vocabulary knowledge, emphasising that is the primary portion of research in the study.

In attempting to operationalise vocabulary knowledge and develop devices that can touch learners' depth of vocabulary knowledge within the context of the present research design, the analysis furthermore attracts on ideas from evaluating theory and words testing research. However, the analysis will limit itself to generally attract on research within the field of vocabulary testing and in particular concentrate on the examination of depth of vocabulary knowledge. As will become visible, depth of vocabulary knowledge is frequently conceptualised with regards to what is made possible by assessment instruments, and the build often becomes an artefact of the musical instruments used to assess it. This means that an important aspect of looking at how this build has been defined in a variety of research contexts is to look at how it has been operationalised. Because of the, concepts mainly related to vocabulary tests will be attracted upon in the present study.

In addition to the, it's important to note that the vocabulary tests developed in the analysis are intended totally as research tools you can use for the exploration of learners' vocabulary knowledge within the context of today's research design. No attempts have been made to develop common and sensible vocabulary tests that could be used for other sorts of research or pedagogical purposes.

1. 4 Data and methodology

The empirical research comprises 100 Danish EFL learners who are first-year students of British at the Copenhagen Business Institution. These participants receive a variety of tests designed to touch the depth and breadth of these vocabulary knowledge as well as their listening comprehension in English. Although some of the checks are standardised measures of vocabulary size and being attentive comprehension, others have been designed specifically for the present study to determine the participants' depth of vocabulary knowledge. Hence, a central facet of the technique is the operationalisation of depth of vocabulary knowledge. Different theoretical methods to the construct will be discussed and these will serve as a basis for operationalising the construct from two distinctly different perspectives.

The quantitative data collected through these checks will be subjected to different varieties of statistical analyses to explore associations between the different variables of the analysis. SPSS[3] is chosen as the statistical program used for the research of the info and the principal statistical methods will be correlational and multiple regression analyses.

As mentioned above, hardly any research has been done on the partnership between vocabulary knowledge and being attentive comprehension in L2 and none of them of the research has attended to the role of depth of vocabulary knowledge in hearing. This means that there exists little solid ground for the present study to generate on and it must therefore be characterised as an exploratory analysis.

1. 5 Framework of the thesis

The thesis comes in two main parts. The first part, comprising Chapters 2 and 3, supplies the theoretical history for the thesis, while the second part, composed of Chapters 4 to 7, identifies the theoretical construction of the empirical study as well as the research design, and presents and discusses the results of the analysis. Although Chapter 4 is included in the empirical part, it can be viewed as a bridge between your two elements of the thesis. This will become obvious from the explanation of the chapters below.

Chapter 2 constitutes the main theoretical section of the thesis. This chapter provides an consideration of different ways where the constructs of depth and breadth of vocabulary knowledge have been described and operationalised in the study literature. Furthermore, the chapter reveals two comprehensive conceptualisations of lexical competence and capacity that attempt to integrate different proportions of vocabulary of knowledge and describe their interrelationships.

Chapter 3 examines the role of vocabulary knowledge in listening comprehension. While the first area of the chapter presents key concepts related to listening, the second part centers explicitly on the role of lexis in tuning in comprehension. This consists of a brief information of word acknowledgement models, accompanied by a more sophisticated review of studies from empirical studies looking into the relationship between vocabulary knowledge and being attentive understanding in L2.

Chapter 4 outlines the theoretical framework underpinning the empirical analysis. Pulling on theoretical solutions and empirical findings handled in Chapters 2 and 3, the key constructs of the analysis will be identified and the explanation for including them will be provided. Additionally, the section proposes a construction for describing the partnership between vocabulary knowledge and listening comprehension and presents a number of more specific research questions which will be addressed in the study.

Chapter 5 presents the research design of the study, describing the way the theoretical framework is operationalised. This consists of information about members, research instruments, the info collection and the info analyses. Furthermore, a pre-testing phase involving native loudspeakers of English will be referred to and the results of a pilot analysis will be reported.

Chapter 6 explains the statistical analyses conducted and reveals the results of the analysis in six phases. These phases address the many, specific research questions of the analysis.

Chapter 7 interprets the findings of the analysis, discusses implications for theory and evaluation and suggests directions for future research. Furthermore, the section addresses lots of limits of the analysis and includes ideas for further analyses of the info collected.

Chapter 8 sums up the main findings and contributions of the thesis.

[1] The ideas of depth and breadth of vocabulary knowledge will be identified in the chapters to come. However, at this time, it should be mentioned that the conditions breadth of vocabulary knowledge and vocabulary size will be utilized interchangeably in the thesis.

[2] No difference will be made between British as second vocabulary and English as foreign language (EFL). The terms second terms and foreign language will be used interchangeably.

[3] Statistical Package for the Community Sciences

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