The Interplay between Topic Familiarity and Passage Sight Vocabulary: Focusing on its Impact on EFL Learners’ Lexical Inferencing and Recall

Reza Biria, Ali Bahadoran Baghbaderani


Lexical inferencing is one of cognitive processing mechanism which plays a pivotal role in second language reading. The present study sought to investigate the impact of topic familiarity and passage sight vocabulary on lexical inferencing and recall of Iranian EFL students. For this purpose, by administrating a Quick Oxford Proficiency Test (QOPT), a sample of 60 students with an age range of 23 to 30 were randomly selected from the population of sophomore students studying English. The test results were used to categorize the students into intermediate and advanced groups, 30 each. Several instruments were utilized to operationalize the variables in the study. First, a cloze procedure consisting of two passages with familiar topics and two with unfamiliar topics was given to measure the participants’ lexical inferencing ability. Then, a passage sight vocabulary test was applied to assess students’ overall knowledge of words employed in the targeted passages. Finally, after a period of two weeks, a lexical recall test was administered to examine the learners’ retention of lexical items which they had already seen in the four cloze passages. The results obtained via relevant statistical techniques revealed that topic familiarity and passage sight vocabulary had a direct bearing on EFL learners’ lexical inferencing ability and recall.


cognitive processing mechanism, lexical inferencing, topic familiarity, passage sight vocabulary, learners’ prior knowledge

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