Glossing for meaning and glossing for form : a computerized study of the effects of glossing and type of linguistic item on reading comprehension, noticing, and L2 learning
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references. The relative effectiveness of annotating L2 texts for improved comprehension has been generally supported by studies on glossing. The assumption has been that glosses are effective decoding devices that help L2 readers overcome their limited proficiency by making meanings more accessible to them. At the same time, glosses have been investigated in relation to noticing and learning in incidental contexts. In spite of its centrality, this question has not generally been addressed empirically in previous studies on glossing and L2 learning because qualitative measures of L2 processing, and concurrent data elicited via those measures, were generally not available in these studies. The present study addresses this important methodological problem in the glossing strand of research by utilizing a pretest-posttest-delayed posttest hybrid design that incorporates a combination of outcome and processing measures to investigate the issue of L1-translation glosses and type of linguistic item in relation to reading comprehension, noticing and learning. First-year college students learning Spanish were asked to read one of two versions of an L2 Spanish text on a computer. In the glossed version, exemplars of three types of linguistic items embedded in the text were glossed with L1 English translations presented at the bottom of page. In the no-gloss conditions, participants were exposed to a different version of the same text without glosses. After exposure to the L2 reading task, participants completed a multiple-choice comprehension questionnaire previously announced to them, and two unannounced production and recognition immediate posttests, which were repeated three weeks later. The results of the study indicate that the presence of a gloss has a positive effect on a reading comprehension. However, the quantitative and qualitative evidence of the study does not support an effect of glosses on noticing and L2 learning of targeted items. Rather, the study provides evidence that glosses work in combination with other variables to impact different types of items differentially. Combined effects of glossing and type of linguistic item found in the study strongly suggest that glosses do not work in isolation but in combination with other factors to affect noticing and learning.
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