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Effects of Keeping a Lexis Notebook in Broadening Depth of Vocabulary Knowledge

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Thesis for the Degree of Master Effects of Keeping a Lexis Notebook in Broadening Depth of Vocabulary Knowledge by Minji Lee Department of TESOL The Graduate School of TESOL and International Studies Sookmyung
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Thesis for the Degree of Master Effects of Keeping a Lexis Notebook in Broadening Depth of Vocabulary Knowledge by Minji Lee Department of TESOL The Graduate School of TESOL and International Studies Sookmyung Women s University Thesis for the Degree of Master Effects of Keeping a Lexis Notebook in Broadening Depth of Vocabulary Knowledge by Minji Lee Department of TESOL The Graduate School of TESOL and International Studies Sookmyung Women s University Effects of Keeping a Lexis Notebook in Broadening Depth of Vocabulary Knowledge Sookmyung Women s University by Minji Lee A Thesis submitted to the Department of TESOL and International Studies and the Graduate School of Sookmyung Women s University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master In charge of major work: Stephen van Vlack Effects of Keeping a Lexis Notebook in Broadening Depth of Vocabulary Knowledge June 2019 This certifies that the degree of master of TESOL of Minji Lee is approved by Chair of Committee (Signature) Committee Member (Signature) Committee Member (Signature) The Graduate School of TESOL and International Studies Sookmyung Women s University June 2019 LIST OF CONTENTS LIST OF CONTENTS... i LIST OF TABLES... iii LIST OF FIGURES... iv LIST OF APPENDICES... v ABSTRACT... vi Chapter 1 Introduction... 1 Chapter 2 Literature Review Lexical Knowledge Depth of Vocabulary Knowledge Lexis Notebook WAT(Word Association Test) Word Types/Class and WATs Language Proficiency and WATs VKS (Vocabulary Knowledge Scale) Chapter 3 Methodology Overview Participants Instruments WAT (Word Association Test) VKS (Vocabulary Knowledge Scale) Naver Dictionary App Procedures Data Analysis i Chapter 4 Results Overview Descriptions Results of WAT and VKS st WAT and VKS nd WAT and VKS rd WAT and VKS Individual Analysis Anslysis by Word Class Chapter 5 Discussion Research Questions Research Question Research Question Research Question Chapter 6 Conclusion Summaries Limitation and Future design References Appendices ii LIST OF TABLES 1. Data collection procedures: Tests, Number of items, Time 2. Target words list 3. The number of responses to noun, verb, adjective, and adverb 4. The number of responses to repeated words iii LIST OF FIGURES 1. Age variation and gender of participants 2. Illustrates of an example of WAT 3. Illustrates of an example of VKS 4. Example captured screen of naver dictionary application 5. Categories for analyzing associates 6. Five scales of VKS 7. Results of 1 st WAT 8. Results of 1 st VKS 9. Results of 2 nd WAT 10. Results of 2 nd VKS 11. Results of 3 rd WAT 12. Results of 3 rd VKS Personal Results (Student 1 to 16) iv 1. Template of lexis notebook 2. Template of 1 st WAT 3. Template of 2 nd WAT 4. Template of 3 rd WAT 5. Template of 1 st VKS 6. Template of 2 nd VKS 7. Template of 3 rd VKS LIST OF APPENDICES v ABSTRACT Effects of Keeping a Lexis Notebook in Broadening Depth of Vocabulary Knowledge Minji Lee Department of TESOL The Graduate School of TESOL and International Studies Sookmyung Women s University As vocabulary learning is both an essential and complex activity for students and language teachers, it is quite a challenging thing to choose an effective way of teaching vocabulary beyond the simple acquisition of form and meaning of the word itself. Since the Korean learning context often values only the breadth of vocabulary knowledge, in the form of simple translation, students hardly experience development of vocabulary depth. As a result, the present study aims to examine the effects of keeping a lexis notebook on broadening the depth of vocabulary knowledge of sixteen 6 th to 9 th grade Korean students. The participants depth of vocabulary knowledge was estimated using techniques called a WAT and a VKS three times, including a pre-test, mid-test and post-test. The results of this study show some positive effects of keeping a lexis notebook in broadening students depth of vocabulary knowledge despite some slight changes. Students also were found to have produced more cognate relations after keeping lexis notebooks. The tendencies of students to produce schematic and cognate words gradually and responding more to cognate associates of verbs than other word types were found as well. Key words: Depth of vocabulary knowledge, Lexis notebook, Word association test vi Chapter 1. Introduction According to Benzitoun and Kaouache (2017), it is common for students to think that once they learn one meaning and spelling of a word, the job of learning that word is done. However, this process is just the first step in vocabulary learning based on numerous, diverse studies. As Kang, Kang, and Park (2012) asserted, vocabulary knowledge is vital even from the beginning of language learning, as without it, these learners cannot process and comprehend meanings of even simple sentences or clauses. Shmitt (2006) identified that vocabulary learning is incremental, as the mastery of vocabulary is gradual and a language learner needs to be exposed to vocabulary items many times (Schmitt, 1998, 2000, 2010). According to Alharthi (2014), mastery of second language vocabulary item requires the learner to be exposed to a complicated process of engaging in comprehensive understanding of different aspects of vocabulary knowledge such as form, meaning, and use (Schmitt, 2000). Vocabulary, however, cannot be simply defined as just single words, but they can be related to each other in various ways. It has been mentioned that learners are often confused in second language acquisition, due to their lack of vocabulary knowledge of various dimensions/types of words such as syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic properties (McKeown & Beck, 2004). Nation (1990, p.31) also presented a list of the word knowledge types that native-speakers typically have; a word's spoken form, a word's written form, a word's part-of-speech, derivative forms, grammatical patterns, collocations, how frequently a word is used in a language, many stylistic constraints which determine if a word is appropriate in a particular context, a word's conceptual meaning, and a word's semantic network of associations. The assumption is made that if EFL learners aspire to native-like proficiency in the use of words they must not merely be able to know L1 translations of the words, but also know when 1 and how to use those words in context. As many researchers have asserted, development in vocabulary knowledge is not a simple construct, and researchers have focused on two types of lexical knowledge; breadth and depth. Read (2000) and Vermeer (2001) explained vocabulary knowledge as a mixed-contracture of two dimensions of breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge. Although these claims have been defined in different ways (Nassaji, 2004; Qian, 2002; Zareva, 2005), a general definition breadth of vocabulary knowledge represents one s vocabulary size, or approximately how many words one knows. In contrast, the depth of vocabulary knowledge indicates the quality of one s knowledge of words which is to say how well one knows a specific word or a set of words. Since the Korean learning context often values only the breadth of vocabulary knowledge, meaning the simple translation/definition of targeted words, students insufficiently experience development of depth. Due to the difficulty in learning, various factors have been noticed as the focusing point in developing depth of knowledge, such as word families. A word family is a group of words that share a common base to which different prefixes and suffixes are added; e.g. for wordwords, reword, wordy, wordless. According to Onysko and Michel (2010), language users are able to analyze complex words and to establish synchronic relations between words both formally and semantically because they have an implicit or even explicit knowledge of word-family organization. Through learning word family, learners can decode many new or unfamiliar words through understanding what different prefixes and suffixes do to a root word without learning them individually (Onysko & Michel, 2010). Since vocabulary learning is both an essential and complex activity for students, for language teachers, it is quite challenging to choose an effective way of teaching vocabulary over simple acquisition of form and meaning of the word itself. It has been insisted that teaching vocabulary should not only consist of acquisition of 2 specific word, but also aim at helping learners with the learning/teaching methods that are necessary to expand their vocabulary knowledge (Morin & Goebel, 2001). While a Lexis notebook may contain various aspects of lexical knowledge; such as word families stated above, they were originally brought up merely as means of exposing the learners to various methods of recording vocabulary (Fowle, 2002). According to Khanmohammad and Homayoun (2014) as well, lexis notebooks can be learning tools that learners use to record elements that improve their learning of new and useful vocabulary items. As McCarthy claims that The very act of writing a word down often helps to fix it in the memory (McCarthy, 2007), and learning through a lexis notebook is categorized as a cognitive strategy within the larger division of consolidation strategies. However, there have not been many studies conducted that teaching depth of vocabulary knowledge by using a lexis notebook, especially focusing on word families. Moreover, a word association test is not generally used with young learners as a mean of checking their progress regarding depth of vocabulary knowledge due to the language proficiency. To this end, examining the findings and limitations listed above, the present study thus aims to examine the effects of keeping a lexis notebook on broadening the depth of vocabulary knowledge, and to that end conducted research with sixteen Korean middle school students. The mixed method research design was applied to this study to investigate whether students showed progress in their depth of vocabulary knowledge. Due to the participants academic context as Korean middle school students, they could only participate in academy work for two hours a week, and the period of conducting the study was be short and designed as a low-intensity form of practice with the following research questions; 1. In what way does working with a lexis notebook change the vocabulary knowledge of students? 3 2. How does word class/type affect changes in vocabulary knowledge? 3. How do association types differ among participants? 4 2.1 Lexical Knowledge Chapter 2. Literature Review Through the years, vocabulary researchers have defined the nature of word knowledge and its different dimensions of word knowledge in a list of considerations. Verhallen (1994) suggested a few lexical categories, which can be produced on WAT, including paradigmatic relationship (subordinates; super ordinates; synonyms, e.g. animal/dog, plant/flower/rose, or fast/quick), syntagmatic relationship (definitional aspect of a word and possible collocations, e.g. furniture/desk), partonomic relationship (part-whole relationship, e.g. banana/peel), conceptual relationship (e.g. banana/yellow), cognate relationship (words in the same word family that are often related semantically, perceived as having a same root or being cognate forms, e.g. photo/photograph/photography). Richards (1976) similarly asserted that word knowledge should be defined by syntactic characteristics, associations, constraints, semantic value, usages, different contextual meanings, morphology, and underlying form and derivations. Nation (1990), suggested eight types of word knowledge including; 1) the spoken form of a word 2) the written form of a word 3) the grammatical behavior of a word 4) the collocational behavior of the word 5) the frequency of the word 6) the stylistic register constraints of the word, 7) the conceptual meaning of the word and 8) the associations the word has with other words. Based on these three studies by Verhallen (1994), Richards (1976) and Nation (1990) this study will also parse vocabulary into eight specific categories. 5 2.2 Depth of Vocabulary Knowledge Vocabulary knowledge has been identified as one of the major contributors to reading comprehension (Bauer & Arazi, 2011; Braze, Tabor, Shankweiler, & Mencl, 2007; Freebody & Anderson, 1983; Pae, Greenberg, & Williams, 2011; Proctor, August, Carlo, & Snow, 2005; Tannenbaum, Torgesen, & Wagner, 2006; Thorndike, 1917a/1971, as cited in Kang, Kang, & Park, 2012, p.3). According to Choi (2013), breadth of vocabulary or vocabulary size represents the number of words known, while depth of vocabulary indicates how well one knows a word. Choi (2013) goes on to say that depth of vocabulary knowledge ranges of a partial understanding of a word to full mastery of several aspects of a given word including its related meanings and appropriate uses in specific contexts(kieffer & Lesaux 2012, Qian 1999), while breadth of vocabulary knowledge represents the number of vocabulary items known for which a language learner has at least minimum knowledge of their meanings. Li and Kirby (2015,) suggested that breadth/size of vocabulary can be defined as knowing the oral and written forms of the words, the surface meanings, and basic uses of the words (p. 612). Qian (1999, 2002) insisted the importance of knowing the meaning of words and regarded vocabulary size as the number of words for which language learner has at least some superficial knowledge of meaning. Generally, in investigating the relationship between reading comprehension and vocabulary knowledge, vocabulary knowledge has been estimated by breadth, which is determined by the size of learner s receptive vocabulary knowledge. Various past studies have also demonstrated that one's vocabulary breadth strongly affects reading comprehension ability (Beck & McKeown, 1991; Freebody & Anderson, 1983; Nation, 2001; Pasquarella, Gottardo, & Grant, 2012; Torgesen, Wagner, Rashotte, Burgess, & Hecht, 1997; 6 Verhoeven & van Leeuwe, 2008, as cited in Kang, Kang, & Park, 2012, p.4). According to Hirsh and Nation (1992), to be able to read a complex text in English for pleasure, the reader needs a vocabulary size with a breadth, of around 5,000 words. Nation (2006) suggests that EFL learners need a vocabulary size between 6,000 and 7,000 for listening, and 8,000 and 9,000 for reading. Similarly, in order for a language learner to begin reading authentic texts, a vocabulary size of 3,000 words is regarded as the basic threshold, and 5,000 words will be enough to be able to read them (Schmitt, Schmitt & Clapham, 2001). Another claim is that native speakers of English have around 20,000 words at their disposal (Goulden, Nation & Read, 1990). For non-natives, a vocabulary knowledge of around 10,000 words in English is considered as a requirement for university education (Hazenberg & Hulstun, 1996). However, these figures should be regarded with precaution, especially for foreign language learners because their vocabulary sizes are not stable and may fluctuate because although some lexical items are known at one point and in time these might be forgotten (Meara & Rodriguez, 1993). Comparing to that, vocabulary depth reflects accurate knowledge of words, and it has been identified as an important predictor of reading comprehension abilities (Muter, Hulme, Snowling, & Stevenson, 2004; Nation & Snowling, 1998, 2004; Ouellette & Beers, 2010; Roth, Speece, & Cooper, 2002; Tannenbaum et al., 2006). As Qian (1999) asserted, the depth of knowledge should cover multiple components such as pronunciation, spelling, meaning, register, and frequency, as well as morphological, syntactic, and collocational properties. Most lexical researchers seem to accept that those two areas of breadth and depth tap different dimensions of vocabulary knowledge (Read 2000, Tannenbaum, Torgesen, & Wagner 2006), whereas some conflicting argument appear in the literature as to whether this dichotomous distinction between the breadth and depth is valid (Kieffer & Lesaux, 2012) 7 Nation and Snowling (2004) focused on the predictive role of depth of vocabulary knowledge which was evaluated by an exercise of meaning aspect for the improvement of academic reading comprehension. The results from L2 vocabulary research gave evidence that a distinct relationship existed concerning depth of vocabulary knowledge and L2 proficiency. Razmjoo and Kian (2011) examined the similar issues in a different context, i.e., an EFL context. Their findings showed that depth of vocabulary knowledge proved to have greater influence over the academic reading proficiency of the students from a university in Iran than breadth of vocabulary knowledge. In the Korean EFL context, Kang, Kang, and Park (2012) found that in comparison with breadth of vocabulary knowledge, vocabulary depth worked as more significant predictor to reading comprehension of Korean high school students. 2.3 Lexis notebook Even in the basic form of simply recording an entry, the vocabulary notebook is found to be helpful to the learner, as McCarthy (as cited in Kim, 2009, p.188) claims, The very act of writing a word down often helps to fix it in the memory. In detail, as mentioned by McCrostie (2007), a common vocabulary notebook format includes the form of the L2 entry along with an L1 equivalent and an example sentence; L2 definitions are left optional. While some vocabulary notebooks may contain other aspects of lexical knowledge, as demonstrated in Fowle (2002), they were brought up merely as means of exposing the learners to various methods of recording vocabulary (Cited in Kim, 2009, p.189). Keeping a vocabulary notebook is categorized as a cognitive strategy within the larger division of consolidation strategies. 8 Bozkurt (2007) studied the effects of vocabulary notebooks on vocabulary acquisition, especially on pre intermediate level of English learners, and some attitudes of both teachers and learners on keeping vocabulary notebooks. Data was gathered through vocabulary testing to show the progress and group interview was taken as well to both teachers and students. According to the study, the experimental group, students who studied with vocabulary notebooks showed better vocabulary acquisition compared to the control group based on the normal curriculum. Students also developed their autonomy towards studying and productivity of using words. Bozkurt also stressed the need for applying words that students recorded in their notebooks during the language class so that they could have real contextual practice with the lexical items. Kostova, Minkov and Tsvetkov (2013) found a similar case with students of Bulgarian medical universities. During the experimental period, foreign students used Bulgarian-English training dictionaries, which they used to organize English technical terms into Bulgarian language and even derivatively related forms. The results showed that keeping this notebook was beneficial for foreign students to learn something in another language and this can be not only a handbook, but also a mediator in communication. Based on this, the positive impact of keeping a lexical notebook can be linked to the expectation of future experimentation even though the focus contents and students may then be different from the plan of their current study. Moreover, as it is mentioned in other studies as well, teachers should consider in keeping students focus on the activity since it is very timeconsuming work. Arab (2015) studied the usefulness of the lexical notebook as a vocabulary learning strategy and its positive impact on vocabulary acquisition with the firstyear, secondary school EFL students with low proficiency in English. Students and teachers were required to fill in two types of questionnaires, pre/posttest, to 9 see the progress. Arab quoted the arguments of many researchers regarding how keeping vocabulary notebooks is co
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