Article published in:ITL - International Journal of Applied Linguistics
Vol. 171:2 (2020) ► pp. 221–252
Extracting multiword expressions from texts with the aid of online resources
A classroom experiment
This article reports on a classroom intervention where L2 learners were prompted to look for multiword expressions in texts. The participants were two intact classes of Vietnamese learners of English as a foreign language. Over a period of eight weeks, the experimental group (n = 26) looked for expressions in texts, while the comparison group (n = 28) used the same texts for content-related activities. In pairs, students in the experimental group consulted online dictionaries and an online corpus to help them determine which word strings in the texts were common expressions. The students’ worksheets and audio-recorded interactions suggest they were by and large successful at this, but also reveal the students found it hard to identify the boundaries of expressions and occasionally failed to find the dictionary (sub-)entries that matched them. The two groups’ ability to recall the expressions was gauged by comparing their scores on a pre-test and a post-test administered one week after the last class and again five months later. The learning gains were greater in the experimental group, although the difference fell short of significance in the delayed post-test. Students in the experimental group whose proficiency in English was relatively high tended to benefit the most.
Keywords: Formulaic language, multiword expressions, vocabulary, EFL, reading
Published online: 25 June 2019
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