Linguistic Context as Explicators: A Study of ‘Fill in The Gaps’ Exercises in Selected Nigerian Senior Secondary English Textbooks


This study examines the ways in which the linguistic context helps the Senior Secondary School Students to unravel the missing words in the ‘fill up the gap’ exercises in their English textbooks. The aim of the study is to uncover the extent to which the linguistic context helps the students in arriving at the correct vocabulary to be used in the exercises. Applying the context theory as proposed by van Dijk (2008) as the theoretical framework, the study examined two Nigerian Senior Secondary English language textbooks namely The Intensive English for Senior Secondary Schools and Round up English. For the analysis, 10 different exercises were selected, 5 from each of the textbooks and used as data. At the end, the investigation reveals that apart from the knowledge of vocabularies which the students have, the other co-text words and/or phrases surrounding the gap to be filled in the incomplete sentences used as exercises in the textbooks play key roles in ensuring that students arrive at the correct answers. The study also reveals that the chances are high that the writers of these texts deliberately create enabling linguistic context in order to cushion the shock of the missing words in the exercise.

Keywords: Context, English textbooks, Linguistic, exercises, vocabularies


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