An investigation into the use of contextual clues in guessing among Hong Kong secondary school students

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An investigation into the use of contextual clues in guessing among Hong Kong secondary school students

 

Author: Chau, Suk-man Eva
Title: An investigation into the use of contextual clues in guessing among Hong Kong secondary school students
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1996
Subject: English language -- Study and teaching (Secondary) -- China -- Hong Kong
Vocabulary
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of English
Pages: vi, 68, [2] leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1246528
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/4782
Abstract: The present study attempts to investigate the use of contextual clues in guessing meanings of unknown words in reading with special reference to a group of Hong Kong fifth-formers. It intends to seek answers to the following questions: 1) How do students use contextual clues in general? 2) How effectively do they use contextual clues? 3) What complexities are involved in the process of guessing? Both quantitative and qualitative methods, which included a Preliminary Interview, a Vocabulary Test and Questionnaire, and a Post-test Interview, were used to collect data for the study. Among the five different types of contextual clues reported to be used in the process of guessing, Thematic Knowledge was found to be the clue most commonly and effectively used while Syntactic Clue was the least used. The findings in the Vocabulary Test also have shown that only 17% of the total number of guesses made were correct. On the other hand, complexities involved in the process of guessing were revealed in the Post-test Interview. It was found that there were basically three reasons for students' incorrect guesses: misidentification and misinterpretation of clues, misidentification of graphemes and morphemes and incomplete knowledge of word formation. Findings of the study do not only have significant implications on the teaching of vocabulary in the Hong Kong Classroom but have also thrown light on the complicated processes involved when learners use the guessing strategy in reading. In addition, this study has also revealed the limitation of research which employs only quantitative analysis, defects observed by a considerable number of researchers.

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