Keywords: Listening comprehension, correlates of listening, meta-analysis, componential approach, L1 listening, L2 listening
The present meta-analysis aimed to explore the correlates of listening comprehension in first (L1) and second language (L2). In this regard, the overall average correlation scores, obtained from several primary studies retrieved from several databases, between linguistic (vocabulary size, vocabulary depth, syntactic knowledge), cognitive (working memory, metacognitive skills), and affective factors (anxiety and self-concept) and oral comprehension were measured. The results of the analysis revealed that in terms of strengths of association with listening comprehension, linguistic correlates were superior to cognitive correlates in L2 listening comprehension. There existed positive correlations with large effect sizes between vocabulary and grammar knowledge and listening comprehension while working memory yielded a positive correlation with a small effect size. Metacognitive skills, on the other hand, demonstrated a positive correlation with L2 listening comprehension with a large effect size. A similar pattern was observed in L1 listening comprehension with smaller strengths of association. Vocabulary and grammar knowledge yielded positive correlations with L1 listening comprehension and the effect size was medium while working memory weakly correlated with listening comprehension. An important distinction between L1 and L2 listening comprehension was observed in the affective domain. Anxiety and self-concept which were not reported to correlate with L1 listening comprehension were found to display large correlations with listening comprehension in L2. Overall, it was found that listening comprehension in both L1 and L2 is a multi-faceted process with different types of components involved.