Processing glosses: A qualitative exploration of how form-meaning connections are established and strengthened

Rott, Susanne
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University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center
Center for Language & Technology
Using a think-aloud procedure this study explored why certain vocabulary interventions are more facilitative for word learning than others. Second Language (L2) readers' quality and quantity (Hulstijn, 2001) of word processing strategies were recorded to determine the effect on (a) establishing and (b) strengthening lexical form-meaning connections (FMCs) as well as (c) text comprehension. L2 learners read a text enhanced with either multiple-choice glosses (MCGs) or single-translation glosses (STGs). In both conditions the target words (TWs) occurred three more times in the text after the first glossed occurrence. The data-analyses suggested that MCGs may lead to more robust and complete FMCs than STGs. Strengthening of FMCs seemed to be related to the integration of multiple meta-cognitive and semantic-elaborative resources, the repeated search and evaluation of individual word meanings as well as recursive reading strategies. Weaker FMCs were marked by the use of only meta-cognitive resources, linear text processing, and a lack of motivation to assign concrete word meaning. Readers in both conditions comprehended main ideas equally well. But MCG readers showed a tendency to comprehend more supporting ideas.
lexical acquisition, word interventions, word processing, involvement load hypothesis, text comprehension
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