Taalonderwijs aan gevorderden
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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Two investigations were carried out to estimate the usefulness of the context method for the explanation of word meanings. This method provides the L2 learner with a sample sentence for each target word, without translation into LI.A sample of 100 sentences was selected from a monolingual vocabu-lary learning course book for adult learners of Dutch as a second language (Hart & Polter 1983). In the first study, these sample sentences were presented to 40 educated Dutch native speakers. They were asked to judge the appropriateness of the sentences (i.e. the extent to which the contexts constrained the meaning of the target words). In the second study, the same sentences, from which the target words had been deleted, were presented as a "fill-in-the-blank" test to 20 11/12-year old and 20 17/18-year old Dutch native speakers.In the discussion, it is argued that word meanings can seldom be successfully induced from the context. In general, the context method seems to be an ineffective way for initial explanation of word meanings, frequently causing noncomprehension or miscompre-hension on the part of the learner.However, the context method seems to offer an excellent means for further illustrating word meanings after they have been initially explained by translation.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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