LEXICAL INFERENCING STRATEGIES: THE CASE OF HIGH-PROFICIENCY VERSUS LOW-PROFICIENCY VIETNAMESE EFL STUDENTS
This study examines the lexical inferencing strategies Vietnamese EFL students at high-proficiency (HP) and low-proficiency (LP) levels use when they attempt to guess the meaning of unknown words while reading an English text. The study also intends to find out if there is a difference between HP learners and LP learners in terms of the number of successful guesses that are made. A reading proficiency test was given to participants to classify them into two groups of HP and LP. Data consist of think-aloud protocols of 20 second-year English-majored students of a university in Vinh Long City, Vietnam, who attempted to infer the meaning of unknown words in a written text. Results reveal that students used a variety of strategies for guessing unknown words, but not all students used all strategies for their lexical inferencing. The findings also indicate that both HP and LP learners made a small number of successful guesses in attempting to infer the meanings of the unknown words, and that HP learners made more correct lexical inferencing than their LP counterparts, but the difference is not considerable. This study can inspire teachers, textbook writers, and students to attend more to different strategies and lexical inference.
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