Wim Gombert

58 CHAPTER 4 LITERATURE LEXICAL AND GRAMMATICAL KNOWLEDGE IN LISTENING AND IN READING e strong relationship between vocabulary knowledge and successful reading comprehension is well documented (Urquhart & Weir, 1998; Koda, 2005; Perfetti et al., 2005; Grabe, 2009), leading some researchers to propose a vocabulary threshold needed for general language comprehension (e.g., Laufer & Sim, 1985; Hazenberg & Hulstijn, 1996; Laufer, 1992;) and e ective comprehension of written texts speci cally (Hu & Nation, 2000; Laufer, 1989; Nation, 2006). Apart from lexical knowledge, grammar knowledge has also been posited as a prerequisite for successful reading comprehension, because learners need to grasp a text’s coherence (Gívon, 1995). Grabe (2005) has even composed a (check)list for grammar cues that play an important role in learners’ comprehension of written texts. e relative importance of lexical and grammatical knowledge for the development of reading comprehension has recently been closely examined by Zhang (2012), in a study comprising 190 adult EFL learners in China. A structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis of the data showed that, a er controlling for grammar knowledge, vocabulary knowledge contributed signi cantly to reading comprehension, but the opposite did not hold: grammar knowledge did not signi cantly contribute to the model a er controlling for vocabulary knowledge. Similar results were obtained by van Gelderen et al. (2004) and Raudszus et al. (2018), who found that lexical knowledge (in addition to working memory) was a strong predictor of reading comprehension scores. On the other hand, Jeon and Yamashita (2014), in a meta-analysis examining 58 studies on L2 reading comprehension published between 1979 and 2011, found a stronger correlation between L2 reading comprehension and L2 grammar knowledge (r=.85) than between L2 reading comprehension and L2 vocabulary knowledge (r=.77). With past studies thus pointing at both lexical and grammatical skill development as predictors of reading comprehension, listening skills seem to be more unambiguously modulated by vocabulary knowledge. In a study in which 154 fourth-semester students of Spanish at the college-level participated, Mecartty (2000) found vocabulary knowledge to play an important role in the development of listening comprehension, but the same was not found for grammatical knowledge. is is supported by Stahr (2009), who found a strong correlation between L2 vocabulary knowledge and listening comprehension in a study comprising 115 advanced Danish EFL students. Finally, in a study with 84 Canadian learners of L2 French in a French immersion program, designed to investigate the contribution of di erent variables to successful listening comprehension, Vandergri and Baker (2018) found that L2 vocabulary knowledge was the strongest predictor, while auditory discrimination ability and working memory were only moderate predictors.