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The Effect of Vocabulary Knowledge Instruction on Lexical Inferencing Ability of Chinese EFL Learners

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DOI: 10.23977/ICEIPI2020038


Luo Lan

Corresponding Author

Luo Lan


Lexical inferencing ability refers to deriving the meaning from unfamiliar words in a reading passage, which is critical for English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in terms of learners’ reading comprehension competence. To improve students’ lexical inferencing ability, the present study implemented a vocabulary knowledge intervention in students from Grade 10 to 11. There were sixty students randomly assigned into two groups: experimental group (n=30) and control group (n=30). We conducted a two-month vocabulary knowledge instruction for the experimental group, which intended to strengthen the depth of vocabulary. The experimental group were instructed to find the definitions of ten Tier 2 words in a dictionary, read aloud, and discussed about the meaning of the new words under different contexts in each lesson. The control group took their regular English classes during the two months. Both groups took a lexical inferencing ability test abstracted from Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) before and after the intervention. The data was analysed by means of mixed ANOVA method. After two-months, both the experimental group and the control group showed a significant improvement in lexical inferencing ability (F = 109.141, p < .001), but the experimental group showed a higher improvement than that of the control group (interaction effect: F = 20.564, p <.001). Findings indicated that our vocabulary knowledge intervention is effective in improving students’ lexical inferencing ability in reading test, which have important implications for EFL learner’s education.


Vocabulary knowledge, lexical inferencing ability, EFL learners

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