The Role of Vocabulary vs. Syntactic Knowledge in L2 Reading Comprehension

Zafer Susoy
Anadolu University
Seray Tanyer
Anadolu University
Keywords: Vocabulary knowledge, syntactic knowledge, vocabulary breadth, vocabulary depth, EFL reading comprehension


Research in literature reports the importance of L2 vocabulary and syntactic knowledge on the learners’ reading comprehension. In this regard, the current study investigated the role of vocabulary knowledge that is disunited into depth and breadth dimensions and syntactic knowledge in the reading comprehension scores of an advanced cohort of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners. In particular, this study examined the relationship of vocabulary knowledge (with its two dimensions) and syntactic knowledge with reading comprehension scores of 30 Turkish EFL learners and the extent to which these knowledge types explain the variance in reading comprehension scores. Measures of vocabulary breadth, vocabulary depth, syntactic knowledge and reading comprehension were used. The data analysis procedure included the descriptive statistics, Pearson product-moment correlations and multiple regression analysis. The results showed that the depth of vocabulary knowledge predicts the L2 reading comprehension the best when the effect of vocabulary size and syntactic knowledge is controlled. These findings are discussed at the end of the study with future research suggestions and limitations.

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