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Seminar by Dr Esmaeel Abodallahzadeh (University of Exeter)

Text types, signals, and reading comprehension

Prior research on the role of textual markers in reading comprehension suggests a complex picture of the relationship between textual signals and comprehension. These studies have come up with positive, neutral, and differential effects of these markers on processing and comprehension. This talk reports on how undergraduate EFL readers of English approach narrative, expository, and argumentative text types in which propositional relations have been explicitly or implicitly marked. Participants with different proficiency levels read passages of each text type in both their explicit and implicit versions. The results demonstrate significant differences between learner level, text version, and text type. Less advanced groups were found to enjoy most from the presence of such textual markers. The effect of the type of text and text structure on the comprehension of the learners on both the explicit and the implicit versions was also discovered. Further results demonstrated a consistent pattern of a text-specific hierarchy for the comprehension of conjunctive relations across learners with different proficiency levels. Finally, the results confirm the contributory effect of these markers in text comprehension. They boost our understanding of the rhetorical and cognitive nature of different text types and the positive role of logical connectors in their comprehension. Therefore, language teachers, testers, and materials developers need to further consider the relationship between textual signals and text types in devising appropriate materials and techniques to improve foreign language learners’ reading comprehension.

Event details

Speaker biography

Esmaeel Abodallahzadeh  is a researcher and lecturer in language education. He has presented and published nationally and internationally on issues in second language academic reading and writing, discourse analysis, ESP, as well as language learning strategies.

A recording of this seminar can now be found on the College Intranet (apologies for poor sound quality)


Esmaeel_Abdullahzadeh.pdf (3486K)


Baring Court 114