Investigating the Effect of Top-Down and Bottom- up Processing on Iraqi EFL Learners’ Comprehension of Vocabulary
This paper investigates the role of bottom-up and top-down processing of Iraqi EFL learners’ vocabulary comprehension. The researcher conducts two vocabulary tests to university level students. The first test is the Academic Word List test that is used to assess bottom- up vocabulary comprehension while the second one is the Academic Vocabulary Size test that is employed to assess learners’ top-down vocabulary comprehension abilities and to find out whether proficient learners make use of the top-down approach to understand a specific lexical item more than the bottom-up approach. Analysis of the test scores reveals that the bottom-up group slightly outperforms the top-down group. The researcher concludes that employing a specific approach, whether top-down or bottom- up, depends on the level of proficiency and the nature of L2 vocabulary acquisition. The results also refute the aforementioned hypothesis of the study i.e. proficient learners make use of the top-down approach to understand a specific lexical item, while poor learners depend more on the bottom up approach to figure out the meaning of a given lexical item. The study further concludes that Iraqi EFL learners need an intensive and adequate training in top-down processing and bottom up processing to develop their comprehension skills.
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