Two Types of Text Modification and Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition Simplification vs. Elaboration

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Volume 7-1 February 2011.

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Two Types of Text Modification and Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition: Simplification vs. Elaboration


Maryam Shirin Zarii (M.A.)

Islamic Azad University, Dezful Branch, Dezful, Iran

Mehdi Mardani (Ph.D candidate)

University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran


Bio Data

Maryam Shirinzarii is an EFL instructor at Department of English Language Teaching, Islamic Azad University, Dezful Branch, Dezful, Iran. She completed her MA in TEFL at Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch, Tehran, Iran. Her research interests are reading comprehension and vocabulary instruction.

Mehdi Mardani is a Ph.D. candidate in Isfahan University, Isfahan, Iran. His main research interests are: Reading comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, and testing. He has published in some international journals including Journal of Language, Society, and Culture, and Reading in a Foreign Language. He has also submitted an article for the prestigious journal of Language Assessment Quarterly, and another one for Iranian EFL Journal.


The present study investigated the effects of text modification (i.e. simplification and elaboration) on EFL learners’ incidental vocabulary acquisition. A sample of 150 university students majoring mechanics, chemistry, and metallurgy were selected to participate in this study. First, Nelson English Language Test was employed to select an almost homogenous group of participants. The mean score was computed, and 90 students who scored between one Standard Deviation (SD) above and one SD below the mean score were selected.  They were divided into three groups.  Four baseline passages were selected and two modified versions (simplified and elaborated) were derived out of each one (a total of 12 different texts). Each group read one type of text. Then in four sessions, after reading the texts, four vocabulary posttests were administered to the subjects of three groups to assess the extent of acquired incidental vocabulary. Then the means of three groups were compared through analysis of variance (ANOVA).  The results indicated that those students who read the elaborated texts had scored the least whereas the scores of the readers of the baseline texts and simplified texts were the highest with a slight superiority of the scores of the former group.

Keywords: Simplification and elaboration, incidental vocabulary acquisition, EFL learner

Category: 2011