Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Foreign Language and Linguistics, Shiraz University


This study examined the possible effects of orthographic/phonologic priming techniques on the receptive language skills of Iranian EFL learners with different proficiency levels. From an initial pool of 700 EFL learners from a language learning institute, two hundred and seventy learners form both genders were selected based on their performance on a English proficiency test, and classified into six experimental and three control groups of . After gaining certitude about the participants' English proficiency levels, the semantic and orthographic/phonologic priming phase was conducted and consequently, the participants' contextualized comprehension of the primed words was assessed via a set of reading and listening comprehension tasks. The performances of the participants on the designed tasks indicated that semantic primes were more efficient for improving both comprehension skills compared with the orthographic-phonologic primes. Moreover, based on the results, language proficiency affected the success of the primes on both reading and listening comprehension tasks; advanced learners showed a greater improvement than the beginners and the intermediates under the influence of the priming techniques. Orthographic-phonologic primes were found to be more efficient for beginners, whereas the advanced learners showed an enhanced performance with regard to the semantic primes. Overall, semantic primes showed more facilitative effects across various comprehension tasks due to their activation of deeper cognitive processing. Orthographic-phonologic primes were also successful, however, they were more efficient for the early stages of language learning where visual recognition plays a more critical role.


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