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ERIC Number: EJ901551
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1539-0578
Glossing Is Sometimes a Distraction: Comments on Cheng and Good (2009)
Taylor, Alan M.
Reading in a Foreign Language, v22 n2 p353-354 Oct 2010
The author really enjoyed reading the study by Cheng and Good (2009). The results of their study seem especially interesting from the point of view of reading comprehension. Indeed, their results mirror to some degree Joyce's (1997) study, in which glossing actually had a somewhat negative effect on third semester second language (L2) readers' reading comprehension, especially when compared to first and second semester readers. Glosses have the potential of getting in the way of reading comprehension because of the important relationship between learner level and text level. As Cheng and Good (2009) suggest, if a text is difficult enough, the glosses become more relevant. If the text is not difficult, glosses become less helpful. Of course, there are other variables that can influence L2 reading comprehension. For example, amount or frequency of glossing can be a key variable. More glosses available proportionate to the number of words in a text or more frequent L1 glossing of the same lexical items (Rott, 2007) may result in better L2 reading comprehension. Based on Cheng and Good's study results, the author analyzed that glossing, or at least some types of glossing, can be a distraction from the process of comprehending a reading text. It is plausible that the flow of reading can be interrupted by glossing for higher-level students because attentional resources are not allocated toward L2 text comprehension.
Reading in a Foreign Language. National Foreign Language Resource Center, 1859 East-West Road #106, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A