Grammatical knowledge and reading performance in L2 Dutch: The role of morphosyntax

M. Bril, L Bussing

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleProfessional


Reading comprehension in L2 has been shown to be correlated to vocabulary and grammatical knowledge. However, little is known about the relative contribution of morphosyntactic knowledge in this language competence. In the present study we investigated the contribution of morphosyntactic knowledge of some particular grammatical elements to the reading comprehension of L2 learners of Dutch (n = 33) at a B1 level. A multiple regression analysis on the participant’s scores obtained in a grammaticality judgment task and a reading task was carried out. The results showed that morphosyntactic knowledge of verbs, personal pronouns and past participles in passive constructions did not significantly contribute to reading comprehension in L2 Dutch, in contrast to demonstrative pronouns. Based on the results, we may conclude that morphosyntactic information to be identified in lower order reading processes, does not contribute to the reading comprehension of L2 learners at B1 level. We furthermore conclude that, in the L2 educational practice, the focus on grammar exercises targeting the morphosyntax of particular grammatical elements, might not be effective to enhance reading comprehension.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-46
Number of pages12
JournalThe Reading Matrix
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


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