Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Language teaching

An Investigation into Correlation Between Tolerance of Ambiguity and Incidental Idiom Acquisition

Author ZhangLiLi
Tutor XiongLiJun
School Changsha University of Science and Technology
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords Tolerance of Ambiguity Incidental Idiom Acquisition Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition Correlation
CLC H319
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Incidental vocabulary acquisition (IVA) through extensive reading has been proved by a large amount of research that it is an effective way to acquire English words. In the field of second language acquisition (SLA), idiom, as a special form of English vocabulary and multiword expression, studies on incidental idiom acquisition (IIA) have seldom been conducted at present. Meanwhile, incidental vocabulary acquisition like other skills, its achievements are affected and restricted by many factors. A large amount of research has been conducted from the subjective and objective angles, such as vocabulary frequency in reading material, dictionary use in IVA, reading tasks, the elaboration and enforcement of words in reading materials, vocabulary knowledge of readers, words’guessing strategy or ability of readers and so on while the affect factor or learning style of learners has not been taken into consideration.Tolerance of ambiguity (TA), as a learning style of learners as well as an affect, is found that there is a close correlation with foreign language learning. The previous studies have proved that TA can predict the foreign language achievement, correlate with listening comprehension, reading comprehension and strategy using of foreign language learning. Tolerance of ambiguity, whether it affects IVA or not, should be explored further. The present study focuses on the correlation between TA and IIA.The investigation into the correlation between TA and IIA can benefit English learners by helping them to know more about their own level of TA. What’s more, such research can provide pedagogical evidences for teachers so that they can help students to actively face and appropriately treat the language ambiguities, enjoy the language learning process and improve the English learning achievement.The subjects who were chosen for the research were 92 sophomores majoring in accounting from one college. Ely’s Second Language Tolerance of Ambiguity Scale (SLTAS) which has been modified both in the version of English and Chinese was adopted to collect data in regarding of subjects’TA. Idiom Knowledge Scale has been designed to quest the idiom knowledge of subjects based on Paribakht and Wesche’s Vocabulary Knowledge Scale. All of the data and scores were put into computer, then were described, processed and analyzed with SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Science), version 17.0. The data were analyzed using paired t-tests, correlation analysis and one-way ANOVA (Analysis of Variance). An investigation into correlation between TA and IIA has produced findings as follows:(a) Idioms can be absolutely acquired more or less incidentally through reading by learners who have mastered the English basic words and grammar and the results of acquisition can also be retained.(b) In general, all the participants’degrees of TA positively correlate with their performances of IIA through reading.(c) If all the participants are divided into five groups according to their TA, the correlation between every group of participants’TA and their corresponding IIA is as follows: for participants with low degree of TA (LTA), the correlation between TA and their performances of IIA is positive and significant; for participants with a little lower than moderate degree of TA (LMTA) and participants with a little higher than moderate degree of TA (HMTA), there is no correlation between TA and their performances of IIA; for participants with moderate degree of TA (MTA), the correlation between TA and their performances of IIA is positive and highly significant; for participants with high degree of TA (HTA), the correlation between TA and their performances of IIA is negative.(d) Participants with LTA comparatively have the worst performance of IIA, participants with LMTA and HTA perform a little better than participants with LTA in IIA; participants with both MTA and HMTA have the best performance of IIA through reading.

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