The Contribution of Lexical Breadth, Lexical Depth, and Syntactic Knowledge to L2 Reading Comprehension Across Different L2 Reading Proficiency Groups


ENGLISH TEACHING AND LEARNING, vol.45, no.2, pp.145-165, 2021 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 45 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s42321-020-00065-z
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, EBSCO Education Source, MLA - Modern Language Association Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.145-165
  • Keywords: L2 reading comprehension, Lexical breadth, Lexical depth, Syntactic knowledge, VOCABULARY KNOWLEDGE, WORD KNOWLEDGE, LEARNERS, SKILLS, SIZE, L1, PERFORMANCE, CHINESE, ABILITY
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


This study aimed to find out the relative contribution of lexical breadth, lexical depth, and syntactic knowledge to second language (L2) reading comprehension of 254 adult Turkish learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) with different L2 reading proficiency levels. The participants were divided into three groups based on their Reading Comprehension Test scores. The data of the study were collected through a Reading Comprehension Test compiled from TOEFL, Vocabulary Levels Test, Word Associates Test, and Syntactic Knowledge Test. Correlational analyses and multiple regression analyses showed that syntactic knowledge outperformed in terms of predictive power in L2 reading comprehension of the participants having high reading proficiency level. On the other hand, lexical breadth made the largest contribution to L2 reading comprehension of the participants with intermediate and low reading proficiency levels. It was also observed that while lexical depth made no significant unique and direct contribution to L2 reading comprehension of either high, intermediate or low L2 reading proficiency groups, significant contribution of lexical breadth remained constant across the three groups. The results of the study were discussed in line with the previous literature and pedagogical implications were presented.