IJSSH 2012 Vol.2(6): 509-513 ISSN: 2010-3646
DOI: 10.7763/IJSSH.2012.V2.158

Reading Scientific Texts: Some Challenges Faced by EFL Readers

Samsiah Abdul-Hamid and Moses Samuel

Abstract—This paper looks at the difficulties encountered by five EFL readers as they read and negotiated two scientific texts. Respondents were five first year undergraduates enrolled in a biology degree programme at a public university in Malaysia. Think aloud procedures and retrospective interviews were conducted to identify the obstacles and difficulties faced by the respondents while reading the texts and how they overcame the reading problems. The findings of this study revealed that general English words in the scientific texts posed more problems compared to scientific terminology. Known scientific terminology in a complex sentence was much easier to comprehend compared to complex English sentences with only general English words. This is because, the scientific terminology previously learned in the EFL readers’ L1 provided them with a ‘window’ to other rich information not mentioned in the particular sentence or text.

Index Terms—Reading comprehension, scientific texts, EFL readers, language of science.

S. Abdul-Hamid is with the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, 21030Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia (e-mail: samsiah@umt.edu.my).
M. Samuel is with the University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (e-mail: mosess@um.edu.my).

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Cite: Samsiah Abdul-Hamid and Moses Samuel, "Reading Scientific Texts: Some Challenges Faced by EFL Readers,"  International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 2, no. 6, pp. 509-513, 2012.

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