The inferencing behaviour of Swedish EFL university students: A quantitative analysis of lexical inferencing in relation to vocabulary depth
Summary, in English
Twenty students participated in the study and were asked to perform two different tasks: a vocabulary depth test (WAT) and a lexical inferencing task. The latter amounted to verbally inferring the meaning of 12 supposedly unknown target words from a reading passage composed for this particular experiment. As a means to investigate the inferencing procedure in relation to the grammatical form (i.e. word class) of a target word, half of the selected words were adjectives and the others were verbs.
The present findings indicate a positive correlation between inferential skills and vocabulary depth, as the students obtaining high WAT-scores were generally more successful in their inferencing than those with a less deep vocabulary. However, although the participants evinced different levels of lexical depth, they all tended to rely on the same knowledge sources. Finally, the current study suggests that the word class of a target word does not have a significant impact on students’ inferential processes, as no statistical difference was observed between the inferences based on adjectives and the guesses based on verbs.