The Role of Vocabulary Knowledge in Iranian EFL Students' Reading Comprehension Performance: Breadth or Depth?

Taghi Farvardin, Mohammad; Koosha, Mansoor
November 2011
Theory & Practice in Language Studies;Nov2011, Vol. 1 Issue 11, p1575
Academic Journal
Two important aspects of vocabulary knowledge, namely breadth and depth, continue to play an indispensable role in vocabulary research. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension, and to find out which aspect of vocabulary knowledge, breadth or depth, has greater impact on determining reading comprehension performance. Hence, three language tests were used viz. a reading comprehension test, Vocabulary Levels Test revised by Schmitt et al. (2001), and Read's (1998) Word Associates Test. A total of 78 freshmen majoring in TEFL at Islamic Azad University of Najafabad, Iran, participated in the study. The results of the two-tailed Pearson Correlations and multiple regression analyses revealed that 1) test scores on vocabulary breadth, depth of vocabulary knowledge, and reading comprehension were positively correlated 2) vocabulary breadth was a stronger predictor of reading comprehension than depth of vocabulary knowledge and 3) breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge were closely interrelated (r= .85, p< .01).


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