Discourse analysis in diagnosing difficulty in efl reading comprehension

Marsha Bensoussan, Judith Rosenhouse

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This study examines student translations into the LI (Hebrew or Arabic) as a means of evaluating reading comprehension of an English text. Attention focused on the following research questions: What kinds of errors in translation are students likely to make frequently? Which of these errors reflect reading comprehension difficulty? Units of student translations were analysed in terms of micro-structure: Utterance-Level (Propositional Content, Communicative Function — Explicit and Implicit) and Word-Level (Vocabulary/Expressions, Parts of Speech/Verb Tense, Pronoun Agreement, and Cohesion). Also macro-structures were examined, namely the frame or schema of the text. Mistranslations in these areas were compared with misinterpretations of the same translated units evaluated also on the macro-level. Vocabulary/Expressions and Utterance-Level mistranslations proved to be good indicators of lack of comprehension. Results also indicate that in addition to surface structure and semantic equivalence, the linguistic background of the readers, their prior knowledge and cultural empathy with the text need to be considered.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)323-343
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - 1987

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cultural Studies
    • Education
    • Linguistics and Language


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