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JALT Journal, Vol. 31, No. 2, November 2009 159 The Newspaper Word List: A Specialised Vocabulary for Reading Newspapers (Teresa) Mihwa Chung Korea University of Sejong , South Korea The primary purpose of this study is to identify words that are of special importance for reading newspapers. In the Newspaper Corpus of 579,849 running words, 588 word families are identified as Newspaper Words. These words account for 6.8% of the running words in the corpus. When combined, proper names and 2,521 families of the General Service List of English Words (GSL) and the NWL make up 92.5% of the running words in the corpus. This is lower than the 98% ideal coverage required for understanding a text successfully, but very high given the small vocabulary size. Thus, the NWL will give the best return for vocabulary learning to learners of English as a foreign language who wish to read newspapers as soon as possible. 本研究の目的は新聞を読むのに必要な語彙を特定することである。Newspaperコーパスに記 載された579,849語の中から6.8%に上る588語をNewspaper Wordsとして選び出した。固有名 詞、General Service List of English Wordsの2,521語、NWLの語彙を総計するとコーパスの92.5 %になる。テキストを理解するのに必要とされている98%よりはやや低い数値であるが、NWL 全体の総語数を考慮すれば非常に高い値であるということができる。したがってNWLは新聞英 語を早く読めるようになりたいと望む英語学習者にとっては最も効率のよいものであるということ ができる。
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160 JALT Journal, 31.2 • November 2009 R eading is one of the most common and important ways of learning another language and one major type of reading material is news- papers. Newspapers are often used in reading classes in order to develop reading skills and expand vocabulary knowledge (Hwang & Nation, 1989; Klinmanee & Sopprasong, 1997). There are several reasons for this. Firstly, newspapers are easily and cheaply available in hard copy or online. Secondly, newspapers are authentic materials that are commonly read by the native speakers of the language. Thirdly, they provide a wide choice of interesting topics from which teachers or learners can choose reading texts. Finally, reading newspapers is considered to be not only a good way of re- to be not only a good way of re- not only a good way of re- viewing old vocabulary learned, but also of learning new vocabulary from context (Hwang & Nation, 1989). Despite these potential advantages, many learners find it difficult to read unsimplified newspaper texts. There are a number of factors that contribute to difficulty in reading, but vocabulary knowledge has consistently been found to be the most influential factor affecting comprehension (Hirsh & Nation, 1992; Nation & Coady, 1988).
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