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Lexical and Conceptual Awareness in L2 Reading

An Exploratory Study

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Jennifer Schluer

The book explores the novel field of lexical and conceptual awareness in L2 reading from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective. The theoretical part consists of a thorough literature review of the key terms. The empirical part presents an in-depth analysis of L2 learners’ lexical and conceptual awareness/challenges based on text and worksheet data as well as 110 hours of video material. In total, data from 156 L2 learners participating in video-taped collaborative reading scenarios and the corresponding stimulated recall sessions have been analyzed in a primarily qualitative manner. The results demonstrate the multidimensionality of the two major constructs and highlight learners’ need for further support. Theoretical, methodological and practical recommendations are provided.

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12. Conclusion

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12. Conclusion

This study has investigated the largely unexplored field of lexical and conceptual awareness in L2 reading. To approach this topic, the four core constructs of awareness, lexis, concepts, and L2 reading have been examined in an exhaustive manner and have continuously been refined during the analytical process. In essence, the notions of lexical and conceptual awareness reflect the relevance of language awareness and cultural awareness on the level of words and concepts, respectively. Words can be considered as important building blocks of learning and reading comprehension (cf. e.g. Long & Richards, 1997, p. ix; Koda, 2005, pp. 29, 54) and concepts as the fundamental building blocks of thought (cf. e.g. Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977, p. 111; Rumelhart, 1980). However, both can turn into critical stumbling blocks if pertinent linguistic and non-linguistic knowledge is lacking. Yet, such challenges are frequently invisible to the outside observer in L2 reading given that reading is a largely lonely and hidden process (cf. Finkbeiner, 2005, p. 422). In that regard, the video-based approach adopted in the present study helped to lift several invisible aspects to the visible surface. Learners were video-taped while working on an authentic English text with the help of collaborative strategic reading tasks. These tasks encouraged learners to talk about their text comprehension and the obstacles they encountered. Additional data from a comprehensive stimulated recall complemented the insights that were gained from the task sessions. This video corpus was originally compiled during the ADEQUA project on strategic reading...

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