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Interrelationships among prior knowledge, prior beliefs, and language proficiency in second language listening comprehension

Posted on:2000-08-28Degree:Ph.DType:Dissertation
University:The University of Texas at AustinCandidate:Chung, Hyun-SookFull Text:PDF
This study attempts to supplement what is known about the influence of prior knowledge on second language listening comprehension. To do so, the study examines the effect of prior knowledge, prior beliefs, and language proficiency on the ability of L2 listeners to understand texts. Two experiments were performed. The purpose of the first experiment was to determine the effect of topic familiarity on the L2 listening comprehension ability of subjects who varied in L2 listening proficiency level. The purpose of the second experiment was to determine how strongly held beliefs interact with the comprehension of persuasive texts. Additionally, the second experiment sought to discover whether listening to a persuasive text in L2 has an impact on an L2 listener's change in attitude toward the topic. The subjects (N = 137) were selected from a population of college students enrolled in the Departments of English and Business in Korea. English listening proficiency levels were designated on the basis of TOEFL listening scores. Subjects listened twice each to informative texts (more familiar and less familiar); in addition, they listened twice to a spoken, persuasive text on capital punishment. After listening to each text, a written free-recall protocol and a ten-item objective test were administered to test the subjects' comprehension of the information presented in the text. The written free-recall protocol was analyzed using a one-way ANOVA. Objective tests were analyzed using repeated measures analyses, factorial analyses of variance, and multiple regression analyses. Post hoc tests were conducted to identify the means that were significantly different. This study yielded the following results: (1) subjects with high prior knowledge comprehended informative texts significantly better than did subjects with low prior knowledge; (2) the level of L2 listening proficiency had a significant effect on the L2 listening comprehension of informative and persuasive texts, but there was no interaction between prior knowledge and the level of L2 listening proficiency; (3) prior beliefs had no significant effect on the ability to comprehend persuasive texts; (4) listening to a persuasive text in a second language resulted in a significant change in attitude among the opponents of capital punishment.
Keywords/Search Tags:Second language, Prior knowledge, Listening, Persuasive text
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