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ERIC Number: ED319574
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Feb-12
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Microstudy: An Experiment in Second Language Reading Comprehension.
Mann, William
This paper reports on an experiment designed to determine whether a novice second-language (L2) reader can be characterized as concept-oriented or syntactic-structure oriented. The operating premise was that high school L2 students read and understand not so much by translating as by combining conceptual fragments into a tentative "script," which develops as the student reads the passage. This premise implies that the novice reader does not rely on grammatical or syntactic cues to extend meaning. The sample consisted of 32 high school French students in two schools (one rural and one urban) and a control group of three French-fluent adults. The subjects were asked to read a French passage and retain as much information as possible. Each subject performed written and oral reviews. A check-off sheet was devised to cover 103 most likely conceptual fragments to be mentioned in the course of the oral interview. The students were able to read just over half of the conceptual fragments understood by the control group. Comprehension of the passage ranged from average to excellent. Experimenters observed that students generally were able to process new conceptual items in an "intuitive" rather than systematic approach to L2 reading. The analysis also indicates that conceptual processing over time facilitates L2 reading performance. The way the subjects maintained glaringly weak scripts in the face of common sense supports the premise that L2 reading is automatic, compelling, and persistent. Suggestions for L2 instruction include maximizing pre-reading vocabulary practice. (TES)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Dissertations/Theses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A