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  • Titill er á ensku At the Core of Comprehension: An Exploration of Complex Sentence Structures and the Relationship between Syntactic Awareness and Reading Comprehension
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  • Útdráttur er á ensku

    Navigating through a challenging informational text and maintaining understanding can be a difficult task for many in their L2. The nature of complex syntactic devices used to construct informational texts written in English complicates the reading process. They involve nominalization, formulaic language, multi-phrasal coordination, and long, high- density sentences. However, having the ability to read such texts in today´s globalized world promotes not only learners´ future prospects in developing personally and professionally but also their potential in seeking answers and acquiring knowledge independently. As sentence complexity contributes to comprehension problems, the role of syntactic knowledge contribution to reading comprehension needs to be addressed. Determining Icelandic learners´ knowledge of complex syntactic structures by way of measuring their proficiency level of informational texts may assist in identifying gaps and instructional methods to increase learners´ awareness of syntactic clues. The following study examines sixty-six upper secondary school learners´ vocabulary depth, syntactic knowledge, and reading comprehension of informational texts as well as the relationship between variables. Three types of instruments are used to measure the participants´ proficiency: Paribakht´s and Wesche´s (1993) Vocabulary Knowledge Scale (VKS) to measure vocabulary depth, an Accuplacer Placement Test from the College Board (2016) and Academic English Online from Queen Mary University of London´s website (2010) to measure syntactic knowledge, and two informational texts; one Compass Test and one SAT Reading Test to evaluate reading comprehension. Aside from vocabulary depth´s significant contribution to the participants´ comprehension, the results revealed a highly significant relationship between syntactic knowledge and reading comprehension. The wide range of findings indicates learners´ individualized proficiency affecting their ability to comprehend. Based on the results, syntactic knowledge promotes fluent bottom-up processing of complex rhetorical devices characterizing informational texts.
    Key words: syntactic knowledge, vocabulary depth, reading comprehension

  • 5.5.2017

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