Browsing Doctoral Degrees (Ancient Studies) by browse.metadata.advisor "Oosthuizen, Johan"
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- ItemLearning biblical hebrew vocabulary : insights from second language vocabulary acquisition(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2011-12) Thompson, Jeremy Paul; Van der Merwe, C. H. J.; Oosthuizen, Johan; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Ancient Studies.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Though Biblical Hebrew (=BH) is no longer a spoken language, students continue to learn it for the purpose of reading, or at least interacting at a deeper level, with the text of the Hebrew Bible. This suggests that BH shares with any modern language learning course the goal of learning to read. One important part of learning to read is the acquisition of an adequate number of vocabulary items. The purpose of this study is to determine which insights from Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition (=SLVA) research and related fields hold the most promise for a new — and possibly more effective — approach to learning BH vocabulary, to evaluate currently existing BH instructional materials in light of these insights, to develop a new approach based on these insights, and to test aspects of the new approach empirically. Researchers in SLVA have uncovered a number of helpful insights concerning how vocabulary and vocabulary learning should be defined as well as concerning how vocabulary is best learned. On the other hand, BH instructional materials reflect little to no influence from these insights. These materials have continued to define vocabulary narrowly as individual words and continued to conceive of vocabulary learning primarily as pairing form and meaning in contrast to the much more sophisticated definitions found in the SLVA literature. For example, SLVA researchers consider items beyond the word level, such as idioms, to be vocabulary (Moon 1997; Lewis 1993, 1997). BH instructional materials have also failed to include a significant number of beneficial Vocabulary Learning Strategies (=VLSs), while including some VLSs that are either intrinsically problematic or problematic in the ways they are employed. For example, the strategy of learning semantically related items together is common in BH instructional materials, though it has been shown to be problematic in a considerable number of experimental studies (e.g. Nation 2000; Finkbeiner & Nicol 2003; Papathanasiou 2009). Since SLVA research has yet to influence BH instructional materials, a new approach to BH vocabulary learning is warranted. This new approach is based on sound theory concerning what vocabulary is and what it means to learn it, while offering learners as many helpful strategies for learning lexical items as possible. To justify this new approach, a set of experimental studies was run including one longitudinal case study and three larger-scale experiments. This testing was partial in nature since it was only possible to test one variable at a time. The testing revealed a number of important areas for future research into BH vocabulary learning.