Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Impact of Extensive versus Intensive Reading on Iranian Intermediate Efl Learners' Knowledge of Semantic Prosody

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Impact of Extensive versus Intensive Reading on Iranian Intermediate Efl Learners' Knowledge of Semantic Prosody

Article excerpt

1.Introduction

It is commonly believed that reading comprehension is the essential way of learning new information in teaching English as a second or Foreign Language and it is the most significant skill required for the students' success (Pour-Mohammadi & Abidin, 2011a; Pour-Mohammadi & Abidin, 2011b). Moreover, one significant part of improving reading comprehension is teaching vocabulary. As a result of the growing interest in vocabulary teaching by researchers, various techniques and strategies have been suggested for learning and teaching the forms of target language. Researchers started testing and evaluating these techniques in order to reach the best result in the process of language learning and as a result of that a growing body of literature now addresses lexical acquisition. As Csomay and Petrovic (2012, p. 305) put it, "Vocabulary is an essential element of every second/ foreign language teaching and learning program."

Vocabulary teaching and learning has significant effect on communication and acquisition (Richards & Renandya, 2002). One area of word knowledge that has been shown to be especially problematic for learners is the use of appropriate collocation. Without explicit instruction of collocation, learners must rely on evidence that input alone is not sufficient for the acquisition of collocation knowledge, as learners' difficulties in this area have been well-documented over the past 20 years (Nesselhauf, 2005). For this reason, choosing inappropriate words due to lack of knowledge of evaluative meaning (i.e. semantic prosody) is very common among EFL learners of English (Xiao & McEnery, 2006).

In addition, L2 learners' relying on just dictionaries and thesauri makes a number of semantic errors as they provide denotative meanings of lexical items and do not present the subtle implications embedded in contexts (Lee & Liu, 2009).

According to Bednarek (2008, p. 132), SP "refers to POS/NEG [positive/negative] connotation as well as more complex attitudinal connotations, affecting both single words and larger units of meaning such as phrases". It is also defined as "word forms which have a tendency to be (or in some cases which are always) followed by words with certain connotations, basically positive or negative" (Zethsen, 2006, p. 132). In short, it is a kind of (positive, negative, or neutral) connotative meaning which a word takes due to its consistent collocations.

Whilst CAUSE and BRING about have a very similar denotative meaning, their collocational behaviors and semantic prosodies differ markedly. In contrast to the strongly negative prosody of CAUSE, the objects of BRING about more frequently refer to desirable, or at least non-negative, situations.

In addition to CAUSE and BRING about, there are a number of phrasal verbs that share similar meanings but vary in semantic prosodies. They include e.g., RESULT in/from, LEAD to, AROUSE and GIVE rise to RESULT in and RESULT from are quite similar in affective meanings irrespective of some differences in frequency (the former is significantly more frequent than the latter) and syntax (event A results in event B whereas event B results from event A).

Concerning the acquisition of word meaning more generally, Evans (2009) proposed that word meanings, influenced by situated usage-events, are dependent on the utterance context in which they are embedded. So acquiring the semantic knowledge of a word is neither a one-to-one form-meaning mapping process, nor a once-and-for-all learning event, even if some meaning can be temporarily extracted from a single exposure to a word (Horst & Samuelson, 2008). Instead, learners need to learn meaning of a word from varied instances of its use. Crucial to the meaning of a word is its semantic prosody which plays a leading role in the integration of a lexical item with its context.

2.Literature Review

Reading as a basic and complementary skill in language teaching and learning is remarkable in keeping one abreast of new findings and increasing one's academic and professional position. …

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