Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Intensive vs. Extensive Reading on Iranian Intermediate Efl Learners' Knowledge of Collocations

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Intensive vs. Extensive Reading on Iranian Intermediate Efl Learners' Knowledge of Collocations

Article excerpt


This research studies the effect of extensive vs. intensive reading on Iranian intermediate English Language learners' knowledge of collocations. It aims to determine whether providing students with extensive or intensive reading might have any effect on Iranian EFL learners' knowledge of collocations. To answer the question, 60 intermediate-level language learners from Kish Air language institute in Chalus participated in the study. The subjects took a standard OPT test to demonstrate their English proficiency. The subjects were assigned to two groups (experimental and control), 30 in each group. A collocation pre-test was administered in each group. After 10-sessions of treatment a post-test of collocation was administered. The experimental group received intensive reading, while the control group received extensive reading. The data were analyzed using Independent sample t-test and paired sample t-test. The results showed that both groups were improved, but the experimental group was improved more than control group, which was significantly different.

Key Words: Extensive Reading, Intensive Reading, Collocation,, Iranian EFL Learners, OPT.

1. Introduction

In defining reading, it is important to pay attention to both internal and external factors that deal with the text's readability and understanding; that is, reader's intelligence, experience and background knowledge are as important as words, phrases, sentences and grammatical cues. Schmitt (2002) puts these two kinds of factors in line with each other in proposing what an adequate definition should cover:

"A definition of reading requires some recognition that a reader engages in processing at the phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic and discourse levels, as well as engages in goal setting, text-summary building, interpretive elaborating from knowledge resources, monitoring and assessment of goal achievement, making various adjustments to enhance comprehension, and making repairs to comprehension processing as needed" (p. 234).

According to Richards and Schmidt (2002), Intensive Reading is related to further progress in language learning under the teacher's guidance. It provides a basis for explaining difficulties of structure and for extending knowledge of vocabulary and idioms.

The purpose of extensive reading is to train the students to read directly and fluently in the target language for enjoyment without the aid of the teacher. ER, reading with "large quantities of materials that is within learners' linguistic competence" (Grabe & Stroller, 2002, p. 21) supposedly helps in vocabulary learning by creating opportunities for inferring word meaning in context (see, e.g., Krashen, 2004).

One of the general issues facing both syntax and semantics is the existence of collocations, i.e. constructions in which, unlike in idioms, the idea expressed can be inferred to some extent from the meanings of their constituait parts (cf. Philip, 2011:24-25).

As a subcategory of formulaic language, the notion of collocation has received considerable attention in the field of foreign language learning during the last few decades (Gitsaki, 1999, Webb & Kagimoto, 2009).

The term collocation has been labeled in a variety of ways e.g. prefabs, multi-word units etc. and defined in different manners in both linguistics and language teaching. Collocations have been recognized as one of the ways that differentiate native speakers and second language learners. If a non-native speaker wants to help someone, s/he will say, "Can I help you?" whereas a native speaker will say, "Can I give you a hand?" (Salkauskiene, 2002).

Statement of the Problem

Collocation is one of the most important and problematic parts for EFL learners. The reason for this is not that L2 learners are incapable of learning collocation, but most likely they have never exposed in formal and explicit way to the lexical and grammatical collocations of target language. …

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