Word-Meaning Inference: A Longitudinal Investigation of Inference Accuracy and Strategy Use

| December 5, 2011
Title
Word-Meaning Inference: A Longitudinal Investigation of Inference Accuracy and Strategy Use

Keywords: L2 word learning, word-meaning inference, reading, incidental word learning, word-knowledge development

Authors
Megumi Hamada

Chaehee Park
Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA
Bio Data

Megumi Hamada is an associate professor in the English Department at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana. Her specialty is second language reading and vocabulary.

Chaehee Park is an English instructor at Kangwon National University.

Abstract
Ability to infer the meaning of unknown words encountered while reading plays an important role in learners L2 word knowledge development. In order to provide a longitudinal inquiry into this topic, this study conducted a qualitative analysis of three Korean college-level ESL learners meaning-inference behaviors over a 4 week period, focusing on inference accuracy and strategy use. The learners were engaged in weekly reading and meaning-inference training, in which they read academic texts, identified unknown words in the texts, and inferred the meanings of the unknown words. The analysis of the think-aloud protocol indicated that (a) learners with higher inference accuracy used the same types of strategies consistently; (b) learners with lower inference accuracy used a wider variety of strategies more frequently; and (c) learners with higher inference accuracy preferred global strategies over local strategies. Implications for meaning-inference instruction are discussed.

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See pages 288-299

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Category: Quarterly Journal