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Why are Some Words More Difficult than Others? Some Intralexical Factors that Affect the Learning of Words

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Abstract

Dieser Artikel versucht auf der Grundlage von empirischen Untersuchungen einige Faktoren zu beschreiben, die dafür verantwortlich sind, daß ein neues Wort in einer Fremdsprache schwerer oder leichter erlernt wird. Die Faktoren, die dieser Artikel beschreibt, sind ‘intralexikalisch’, d.h. sie stammen aus dem betreffenden Wort selbst; z.B. Schwierigkeit der Aussprache oder morphologische Komplexität.
... Wyrazy różnią się między sobą: znaczeniem, wymową, przynależnością do części mowy, stopniem konkretności/abstrakcyjności, regularnością odmiany (w przypadku odmiennych), a także długością (Laufer 1990). Ostatni parametr jest nie tylko zauważalny, lecz także obiektywnie mierzalny 3 . ...
... Ogólnie jednak wielu badaczy przyjmuje, że słowa dłuższe są trudniejsze, a krótsze -łatwiejsze (zob. Lado 1955;Laufer 1990;Seretny 2006;Broda i in. 2014;Dębowski i in. ...
... Jeśli tekst zawiera, przykładowo 300 wyrazów, a powinien, biorąc pod uwagę liczbę znaków, mieć ich 400, oznacza to, że większość tworzących go wyrazów musi być dłuższa niż 6 znaków. Uwzględniając dodatkowo fakt, iż słowa funkcyjne są z reguły krótkie (Laufer 1990), słowa autosemantyczne w tym tekście muszą być bardzo długie. Jeśli zaś tekst ma 300 słów, a powinien mieć 200, ponownie biorąc pod uwagę liczbę znaków, to większość jednostek leksykalnych jest w nim krótka 13 . ...
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W niniejszym artykule podjęto próbę znalezienia odpowiedzi na pytanie: Jak długi jest przeciętny polski wyraz? W tym celu w trakcie dwóch badań przeanalizowano 90 próbek tekstów zaczerpniętych z Narodowego Korpusu Języka Polskiego zawierających po 1000 słów W czasie badań kontrolowano średnią liczbę znaków w każdej próbce, jak również medianę liczby znaków na wyraz. Uzyskane wyniki pozwoliły na określenie długości przeciętnego polskiego wyrazu (PW), która wynosi 6 znaków. Przeliczono też liczbę znaków we wszystkich próbkach i ujęto ją za pomocą PW, porównując długość tekstu wyrażoną słowami faktycznymi i przeciętnymi. Zastosowane procedury statystyczne umożliwiły odrzucenie hipotezy zerowej o braku różnicy między użyciem wyrazów konkretnych, a PW jako miary długości tekstu. W podsumowaniu przedstawiono możliwe zastosowania tego modelu dla celów (glotto)dydaktycznych.
... Over the past decades, research evidence has accumulated, supporting the influences of sublexical, lexical and contextual features on visual word recognition (for a review, see Balota, 1994). When it comes to vocabulary learning, such factors are supposed to Orthographic, Semantic, and Contextual Influences on Initial Processing and Learning of Novel Words During Reading: Evidence From Eye Movements moderate the level of difficulty for L2 learners (for a review, see Laufer, 1990). Vocabulary learning is a multi-faceted process. ...
... In the field of short-term memory research, word length effect-that is, serial recall for short words is better than that for long words-has been regarded as one of the benchmark findings (Baddeley et al., 1975). Many studies on L2 vocabulary learning have also revealed similar advantages of short words (for a review, see Laufer, 1990). Hiebert and colleagues (Hiebert et al., 2019) found that number of letters negatively impacted the performance of both L1 and L2 speakers of English in vocabulary knowledge tests. ...
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This study investigated the impacts of orthographic, semantic and contextual variables—including word length, concreteness, and contextual support—on the processing and learning of novel L2 words when first encountered during reading. EFL students were recruited to read sentences for comprehension, embedded with unfamiliar L2 words that occurred once. Immediately after this, they received a form recognition test, a meaning recall test, and a meaning recognition test. Eye-movement data showed significant effects of word length on both early and late processing of novel words, along with effects of concreteness only on late-processing eye-tracking measures. Informative contexts were read slower than neutral contexts, yet contextual support did not show any direct influence on the processing of novel words. Interestingly, initial learning of abstract words was better than concrete words in terms of form and meaning recognition. Attentional processing of novel L2 words, operationalized by total reading time, positively predicted L2 learners’ recognition of new orthographic forms. Taken together, these results suggest: 1) orthographic, semantic and contextual factors play distinct roles for initial processing and learning of novel words; 2) online processing of novel words contributes to L2 learners’ initial knowledge of unfamiliar lexical items acquired from reading.
... The empirical studies (Burner, 2016;Chen, Kettle, Klenowski, & May, 2013;Hwang & Chang, 2011;Ng, 2014) conclude that formative assessment if used correctly has a positive impact on student learning and formative assessment was especially helpful for students who had not performed well in the study. But formative assessment is rarely used in studies on vocabulary learning (Allen, 2002;Coady & Huckin, 2001;Nation, 2004;O'Malley & Chamot, 2001;Schmitt, 2000) (Coady & Huckin, 2001), vocabulary teaching and learning (Schmitt, 2000;Nation, 2004), techniques in vocabulary teaching (Allen, 2002), influential factors in vocabulary learning (Laufer, 1990) and mental lexicon (Jiang, 2000). Nation (2001) also put forward three processes of learners' remembering words. ...
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As critical reading is a process of active reader involvement, learners interact with the author’s exposition and potentially construct conceptual understanding of its content, a process for which Thinking Maps® is a potential catalyst. This study examines the potential effect of an instructional program based on Thinking Maps® on Jordanian EFL tenth-grade students’ critical reading skills. It further probes the perceived effectiveness of Thinking Maps® in developing their critical reading skills. Both quantitative and qualitative data were sought by means of a pre-/post-test and a semi-structured interview. The findings reveal statistically significant differences in the students’ critical reading skills in favor of the experimental group. The qualitative analysis of the interview reveals that the participants perceived Thinking Maps® as highly effective. Some implications and recommendations for EFL practitioners and future researchers are put forth.
... Words vary with respect to visual, phonological, orthographic, semantic, and syntactic characteristics, which can make vocabulary learning more or less difficult (Schmitt, 2019). Laufer (1990) listed a number of intralexical factors that may moderate the difficulty of L2 vocabulary learning, including pronounceability, length, part of speech, inflectional/derivational complexity, abstractness, specificity, idiomaticity, register restriction, and number of meanings. More recently, Peters (2020) added additional factors to this list, such as cognateness and synforms (i.e., words with similar sound/spelling/meaning, originally put forward by Laufer, 1988). ...
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Using eye tracking, this study examined L2 learners’ real-time processing of novel compounds across repeated exposures during reading. Sixty-one L2 speakers of Chinese read 12 stories over two days. Unbeknown to them, 12 novel compounds were embedded, each occurring six times. Growth curve analyses showed that semantic transparency, working memory capacity and morphological awareness had no impact on fixation durations for the novel compounds. However, participants with a larger L2 vocabulary size processed novel opaque compounds significantly faster than those with a smaller L2 vocabulary size. For both transparent and opaque compounds, first fixation durations did not change across exposures, yet similar curvilinear decreasing patterns were found in gaze duration and total reading time, with the rates of decrease moderated by L2 vocabulary size and working memory capacity, respectively. Taken together, such findings provide converging evidence supporting the incidental nature of vocabulary learning through natural reading.
... In relation to the label 'lexical error,' some authors (e.g. Laufer, 1990aLaufer, , 1990bLaufer, , 1991Lennon, 1991aLennon, , 1991bDagut, 1977) do not use a differentiating criterion between diverse categories of errors. They provide an overall classification of errors dividing them into grammar and lexis. ...
... Ghadessy (1980 : 103), par exemple, distingue, à côté des erreurs lexicales, les erreurs dues à l'influence du persan. Il est clair que le second type d'erreurs est d'un ordre totalement différent du premier, qu'il recouvre d'ailleurs partiellement (voir aussi Zughoul, 1991 (Halliday, McIntosh et Strevens, 1964 ;Cass, 1983 ;Laufer, 1990) ont souligné l'importance de ce type d'erreurs. Laufer (1990 : 293 Roey (1990: 48), nous employons le terme « collocation » dans le sens restreint de collocation lexicale fixée par l'usage: « Collocation is the term we shall now use both for the linguistic phenomenon whereby a given vocabulary item prefers the company of another item rather than that of its "synonyms" because of constraints which are not on the level of syntax or conceptual meaning but on that of usage, as also for the word combinations which represent this phenomenon ». ...
... Independently, the learning of false cognates could be hindered by the interference that could occur between the L1 meaning associated with its form and the to-be-associated L2 meaning. This possibility has not been proposed by any model of L2 acquisition, but it has been widely discussed in the SLA literature (Laufer, 1990;Ringbom, 2007;VanPatten et al., 2004) Marecka, et al. Cognition 206 (2021) 104477 learning studies that do not report a disadvantage in the acquisition of false cognates (Otwinowska et al., 2020;Otwinowska et al., 2020b;Vidal, 2011). ...
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