Lexical inference in L2: Predictive roles of vocabulary knowledge and reading skill beyond reading comprehension

Anat Prior, Anna Goldina, Michal Shany, Esther Geva, Tami Katzir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study examined the predictive roles of L2 vocabulary knowledge and L2 word reading skills in explaining individual differences in lexical inferencing in the L2. Participants were 53 Israeli high school students who emigrated from the former Soviet Union, and spoke Russian as an L1 and Hebrew as an L2. L2 vocabulary knowledge and decoding accuracy predicted L2 reading comprehension, which in turn was strongly related to lexical inferencing abilities in the L2. In addition, decoding accuracy predicted additional variance in lexical inferencing, beyond the role of reading comprehension. These findings support the idea that beginning L2 readers with more precise and efficient lexical representations demonstrate better lexical inferencing abilities, most likely due to the increased automatization of word reading, which frees up resources for higher level processing. These results suggest that lexical inferencing from text in the L2 might be limited not only by vocabulary knowledge and higher order comprehension processes, but also by basic decoding skills.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1467-1484
Number of pages18
JournalReading and Writing
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Decoding
  • L2
  • Lexical inference
  • Reading comprehension
  • Vocabulary

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Education
  • Speech and Hearing
  • Linguistics and Language


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