Open Access Peer-reviewed

The Comparative Effect of Types of Contextual Clues on Iranian EFL Learners’ Prediction of the Meaning of Unknown Vocabularies

Kolahi SH.1, Alikhademi Azam1,, Kehtari M.1

1Islamic Azad University, Central Tehran Branch

American Journal of Educational Research. 2013, 1(8), 272-278. DOI: 10.12691/education-1-8-1
Published online: August 25, 2017


Understanding the meaning of unknown vocabularies has always been a great challenge for ESL/EFL learners. This study was an attempt to examine whether Iranian EFL learners’ use of contextual clues has any significant impact on their knowledge of unknown vocabularies. The participants of the study were Sixty Iranian intermediate learners of Kish institute in Tehran, Iran. To homogenize the participants in terms of their English language proficiency Practice Tests (PET) was run Forty participants whose score fell one standard deviation above and below the mean were selected to take part in the study. The participants then were randomly divided in to two groups. A Reading test was administered at this stage to check if the participants’ reading proficiency was not significantly different at the outset of the study. The experimental group received the treatment. Four types of contextual clue _ Explanation, Example, Antonym, Synonym _ were taught and practiced during ten sessions of instruction. The control group, on the other hand was taught based on the routine program with no emphasis on contextual clues. The reading section of another version of PET was administered as the post test. A t-test was run to analyze the results. The participants in the experimental group significantly outperformed those in the control group. The analysis of data revealed that knowledge and use of contextual clues has a significant impact on guessing the meaning of unknown vocabularies among Iranian EFL learners. Moreover, the researchers examined the comparative effect of types of contextual clue on learners’ prediction of the meaning of unknown vocabularies. Their finding revealed that synonyms initially have the most effect. Then, explanations (definitions) and antonyms alternatively have effects on learners’ prediction of the meaning of unknown vocabularies.


types of contextual clues _ explanation, example, antonym, synonym _ prediction of meaning, unknown vocabularies
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