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Volume 10 Number 3, Autumn 2013, Pages 1-131   

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Incidental Vocabulary Learning Through Extensive Reading: A Case of Lower-level EFL Taiwanese Learners

    Yen-Hui Wang

The study aimed to examine whether EFL extensive reading could lead to increased word knowledge of lower-level EFL Taiwanese learners. The participants were 45 lower-level proficiency English as a foreign language Taiwanese technological college freshmen. They read 30 English texts within a 15-week EFL extensive reading program. The data were collected through the vocabulary pre- and post-tests to measure learners' incidental vocabulary learning gains in the 50 randomly selected target words achieved through the program. Results revealed that the significant vocabulary gains were achieved by the participants after the EFL extensive reading program, suggesting that the EFL extensive reading treatment had produced a beneficial effect on the incidental word learning gains of the participants with lower EFL competence. However, the improvement in word pick-up rate reached to a modest extent with at least 6% to at most 15% of the 50 measured words being moved from unknown to known and achieved mainly at the recognition level only. The possible factors which led the participants to achieve a significant advantage but at only a modest rate in the number of the target words recognized correctly were discussed. Also, some pedagogical implications for EFL vocabulary instruction in the Taiwanese educational context were provided.

Keywords: incidental vocabulary learning, extensive reading, EFL (English as a foreign language), lower-level EFL Taiwanese learners