Effects of Lexical Elaborative Devices on Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition: Evidence from Reading

Document Type : Original Article


1 Allame Tabatabaee University, Iran

2 Lorestan University, Iran



The present study investigates the effects of explicit and implicit lexical elaboration devices on the acquisition of L2 vocabulary acquisition through reading by 99 Iranian freshman students in Iran. The primary research questions are whether (1) explicit and implicit lexical elaboration devices have an effect on L2 vocabulary acquisition through reading, and whether (2) two specific types of lexical elaboration devices, explicit and implicit, differentially affect L2 vocabulary acquisition. Participants were exposed to 26 low-frequency target words (TWs) by reading one of the three versions of an experimental text containing these words. The study adopted two factorial univariate analyses of variance design with lexical elaboration with three levels (explicit, implicit, and unelaborated) as the independent variable and form- and meaning-recognition posttests as two dependent variables. The results were: (a) lexical elaboration devices did not aid form recognition of L2 vocabulary; (b) lexical elaboration devices assisted in meaning recognition of L2 vocabulary; and (c) neither explicit nor implicit lexical elaboration devices seemed to make a difference in the acquisition of either the forms or meanings of the  previously unknown words in the text. Pedagogical implications are discussed and suggestions for future research are proposed.