Are Logical Connectors (LCs) Catalysts for EFL Students’ Reading Comprehension?

| June 4, 2014

Are Logical Connectors (LCs) Catalysts for EFL Students’ Reading Comprehension?

Keywords: EFL reading, Logical connectors, Logical relation type, Cognitive load, Cognitive access.


Sahail Asassfeh
Hashemite University, Jordan


Sahail Asassfeh is a joint associate professor at the Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction and Dept. of English at the Hashemite University, Jordan. His research areas of interest include TEFL/TESL, language acquisition, and academic writing.


Logical Connectors (LCs) are words and phrases (e.g., for example, however, therefore) that signal the direction of the logical relationship between consecutive sentences. They play an important role in text comprehension at beyond-sentential (discourse) level. LCs signal four distinct types of logical relationships: additive, causative, adversative, and sequential. Previous research findings suggest that readers encounter variable levels of difficulty in understanding different logical relation types, hence their respective LCs. Additives have been found less cognitively demanding for the reader to process than causatives and adversatives; thus, they are the easiest to understand in a text. Using two proficiency tests and two versions of Ozono & Ito’s (2003) Logical Relations Reading Test on 429 Jordanian school and English-major undergraduate students, this study examines students’ reading comprehensibility of three logical relation types in both L1 (Arabic) and L2 (English): additive, causative, and adversative. The results support previous findings about variability in understanding different logical relation types across both L1 and L2. However, whereas the findings do not refute a cognitive-load explanation for variability in readers’ treatment of LCs, they suggest a semantic-based as well as a cognitive-access explanation. The study suggests some considerations to be taken into account in future research towards rigorous investigations of reading comprehensibility associated with LCs and some implications for EFL instruction.

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