This study examines how Chinese ESL learners recognize English words while responding to a multiple-choice reading test as compared to Romance-language-speaking ESL learners. Four adult Chinese ESL learners and three adult Romance-language-speaking ESL learners participated in a think-aloud study with the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) reading test. As indicated by the think-aloud verbal reports, the Chinese ESL learners generally had more difficulty with English vocabulary, probably due to the vast difference between the writing system of Chinese and that of English. Rather, they were found to compensate for their deficiencies in vocabulary knowledge by extensively relying on test-taking strategies. The findings of this study are well supported by the cross-linguistic transfer theory and the compensatory nature of reading comprehension. The implications for teaching English vocabulary skills to Chinese ESL learners are also discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language