ERIC Number: ED329897
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Vocabulary Acquisition in Context Reconsidered: The Effect of Word Type and Exposure Level on the Learning of Unknown Words.
Durkin, Pia M.
A study examined the effects of word type and frequency of exposure on the incidental learning of unknown words in context. A target word pool of 60 words was selected to ensure unfamiliarity to the subjects, 110 male and female average fifth-grade students attending three private elementary schools in New York City. Students were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: Simple-Synonym (SS) words, one exposure; SS words, 4 exposures; Concept-Challenge (CC) words, 1 exposure; and CC words, 4 exposures. (SS words consisted of unknown words whose concept was known by the students and could be defined by a one-word definition; CC words consisted of words whose concepts were not known but could be taught by using familiar examples.) Two vocabulary measures were administered to assess the students' ability to define the target words. Students were asked: (1) to supply a definition; and (2) to select a definition from a multiple-choice format. Results revealed a main effect for exposure level in which more contextual exposures produced better acquisition of meaning of unknown words than fewer exposures. Results also revealed that more CC words were learned than SS words, which was opposite to the trend expected. Findings suggest that CC words by virtue of their conceptual nature may require a deeper form of processing since they are embedded in more elaborative passages. (One figure and one table containing data are included; one appendix listing sample words is attached.) (KEH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Reading Conference (40th, Miami, FL, November 27-December 1, 1990).