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Multilingual reading proficiency in an emerging parallel-language environment
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2013 (English)In: Journal of English for Academic Purposes, ISSN 1475-1585, E-ISSN 1878-1497, Vol. 12, no 3, 166-179 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Rapid changes have taken place in the linguistic environment of higher education in Europe, where many students attend parallel-language courses, leading to a use of English (officially a foreign language) for academic purposes alongside the local language. This study investigated the relationship of Swedish students’ reading habits and abilities in Swedish and English. Their reading abilities were assessed with an interview and a Swedish and English reading test, and their reading habits with an interview, questionnaire, and Author Recognition Test. The study found correlation between English reading ability and some of the reading habits measures which is more reminiscent of situations where English is an official language. This was reflected in the students’ reading habits. Their leisure reading included both Swedish and English material, and their choice between the two depended primarily on factors such as quality and availability, and not language. So for these students there is little difference between reading difficulty in L1 and L2. These results suggest that many students in the parallel-language environments are highly biliterate, implying very different EAP requirements than encountered elsewhere. Implications are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 12, no 3, 166-179 p.
Keyword [en]
academic biliteracy, EAP, parallel-language environment, reading, second/foreign language
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
English
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-89271DOI: 10.1016/j.jeap.2013.02.001ISI: 000324782600002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-89271DiVA: diva2:616728
Available from: 2013-04-18 Created: 2013-04-18 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Advanced Second-Language Reading and Vocabulary Learning in the Parallel-Language University
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Advanced Second-Language Reading and Vocabulary Learning in the Parallel-Language University
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Due to the internationalisation of higher education, the use of English at higher education institutions has become widespread. Today an increasing number of students participate in courses with the local language as medium of instruction but with textbooks in English. These have been called parallel-language courses, because they are expected to facilitate learning disciplinary discourse in two languages: the local language and English.

This thesis reports an exploration of Swedish students' reading and learning from English textbooks in parallel-language courses. The overarching aim was to investigate the relationship between the students' Swedish and English reading habits and reading proficiency, their academic biliteracy, and incidental learning of subject-specific terminology in English from reading. The study also set out to identify pedagogical solutions to facilitate students' reading and learning from reading in English.

The investigation comprised four studies which utilised a variety of methods and approaches, both qualitative and quantitative. Participants were Swedish and British students of biology and Swedish students of English.

The results show that many Swedish students are capable of reading and learning from texts in Swedish and English without experiencing serious difficulties, although additional support is required for the learning of English terminology. The findings also indicate that some students' difficulty when reading in English is not due to poor English language proficiency, but rather a range of other factors such as weak general literacy skills, low motivation, low subject and vocabulary knowledge, note-taking strategies, slow reading speed, and time. For some students, learning is also rendered difficult by their self-perceptions and beliefs about reading and learning.

Based on my findings, I propose a range of practices for EAP and subject teachers to adopt in order to improve reading and learning in parallel-language courses.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of English, Stockholm University, 2013. 83 p.
Keyword
advanced second-language reading, biliteracy, content courses, English textbooks, higher education, incidental vocabulary learning, parallel-language courses, reading to learn, Sweden
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
English
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-94766 (URN)978-91-7447-779-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-11-16, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 4: Submitted.

 

Available from: 2013-10-24 Created: 2013-10-11 Last updated: 2013-10-30Bibliographically approved

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