Taalonderwijs aan gevorderden
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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In this research a comparison was made of reading speed in mother tongue (Dutch) and foreign language (French). Subjects were two groups of Dutch university students in the 3rd or 4th year of their study: students of French language and literature (advanced group), and students of history and Dutch literature (intermediate group) respectively. There was no beginners groupsince all the the students involved had passed through a six year high school French curriculum. Texts of about 150 words (adapted from introductory handbooks, an encyclopedia and a political magazine) were presented in segments of about 1 sentence on a microcomputer screen. Self paced reading rate was registered segment by segment. After each text subjects were asked to give a short summary of the text they had read. The summary was recor-ded on tape. All the texts contained two interwoven topics. Texts were presented to the two groups of students with different reading tasks:1. Read the text and give a summary (neutral condition)2. Read the text and give a summary of what it says about topic χ3. Read the text and give a summary of what it says about topic yAs expected, no significant difference was found between the two groups in Dutch. In the neutral condition the intermediate readers read twice as fast in Dutch as in French. The difference for the advanced readers was a factor 1,3. In the topic oriented Dutch and French reading tasks subjects generally had a faster reading speed in the irrelevant segments.An additional analysis of the results revealed that in the topic oriented French reading tasks only the faster readers (=faster mother tongue readers) had a faster reading speed in the irrelevant segments. The slower readers made no or little difference between relevant and irrelevant segments in the French texts. It was concluded that for slower readers the use of efficient strategies in topic oriented reading tasks is only possible beyond a fairly high level of language proficiency.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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