The Effect of Glossing on Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition of Teenage Learners of Chinese as a Foreign Language

HE, Xiaoling

International Journal of Chinese Language Education; Jun 2020; Issue No. 7; p.43 – 60

Department of Chinese Language Studies, The Education University of Hong Kong
Chinese Language Program, Columbia University
Chung Hwa Book Co. (H.K.) Ltd.

Research on L2 vocabulary acquisition shows that under the right conditions, incidental learning can take place through reading. It is also known that the likelihood of such learning can be enhanced through effective instructional intervention, mainly in the form of reading glosses. Compared to English and other European languages, relatively little is known about glossing and vocabulary acquisition in the context of Chinese as a second language. In this study, we focus on incidental vocabulary acquisition in Chinese and investigate the relative effectiveness of three kinds of glosses: paper-based glosses (PB); e-dictionary glosses (ED), Pop-up glosses (PD). Regarding the effectiveness of different kinds of glossing, it is found that glossing (of different varieties) is generally useful in bringing about some positive outcome. While no significant differences were found generally between different kinds of glosses, it is found that paper-based glosses performed at least as well as CALL-based ones for both groups in terms of immediate learning results. However, the retention rate in PB environment drops tremendously when compared to the other two CALL-based glossing types. Several possible reasons and observations are offered to explain these differences which relate to the learning styles and preferences of the teenager learners in the study.

Incidental vocabulary learning teenager learners Paper-based glossing E-dictionary Pop-up dictionary


2520-7733 (Print); 2521-4241 (Online)

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