Reading in a Foreign Language
Volume 17, Number 2, October 2005
ISSN 1539-0578

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

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.
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Glosses, comprehension, and strategy use
Myong Hee Ko

This study, using both qualitative and quantitative measures, investigates how different types of gloss conditions affect Korean college students' reading comprehension. One hundred and six undergraduates at a university in Korea participated in the study. Twelve were assigned to think aloud, and the rest (ninety-four) took part in the main study only. They read the material under one of three conditions: no gloss, Korean gloss (L1 glossing), and English gloss (L2 glossing). After reading, they were asked to take a multiple-choice reading comprehension test and to answer a questionnaire. The results of the quantitative analyses indicated that only the second language (L2) gloss condition significantly affected students' reading comprehension. However, the think-aloud protocols revealed that both types of glossing made their reading comprehension smoother and faster than was possible for those who read without glosses. In other words, even first language (L1) glosses enabled them to comprehend more easily while reading, although statistics did not indicate a significant difference between the no gloss and L1 gloss conditions. When surveyed, learners showed their preference for glosses in the margin: more than 62% of the learners favored L2 glosses for their reading material.
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Simplification in graded readers: Measuring the authenticity of graded texts
Gillian Claridge

This study examines the characteristics and quality of simplification in graded readers as compared to those of 'normal' authentic English. Two passages from graded readers are compared with the original passages. The comparison uses a computer programme, RANGE (Nation and Heatley, 2003) to analyse the distribution of high and low frequency words in the passages. This is supported by a comparison of the texts in terms of Swaffar's (1985) characteristics of authentic message. The present study is in part a reanalysis and extension of Honeyfield's (1977) seminal study of simplification, but it reaches different conclusions. By not making the simplified versus original text comparison in absolute terms, but in terms of the respective readers, it finds that patterns of use of structure, discourse markers, redundancy, collocations, and high and low frequency vocabulary, are similar in both original and simplification. This suggests that the writing in well-written graded readers can be, for its audience, experienced as authentic and typical of 'normal' English.
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