Correlation and Prediction of Syntagmatic and Paradigmatic Relations to Academic Reading Comprehension Among Tertiary Level EFL Learners

Document Type : Research Article


1 United International University, Dhaka, Bangladesh

2 Department of English, Foundation University Islamabad (FUI), Islamabad, Pakistan.



An in-depth investigation of vocabulary depth knowledge by lexical researchers plays an important role in language teaching and learning. However, little is known of empirical research related to the correlation and prediction of syntagmatic and paradigmatic relations, which represent vocabulary depth knowledge to reading comprehension in an EFL context like Bangladesh. Therefore, this study examined the correlation and prediction of syntagmatic and paradigmatic relations to academic reading comprehension, employing standard multiple regression analysis under a quantitative approach amongst 175 Bangladeshi undergraduate EFL students.  The results of this study showed that a significant and strong correlation existed between paradigmatic relations and reading comprehension. In addition, paradigmatic relations made a statistically more significant unique prediction to reading comprehension than syntagmatic relations, and it had a larger effect on reading comprehension than syntagmatic relations. Providing an insight into the research gap, the present study suggests that paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations’ knowledge of vocabulary depth knowledge would have practical use for EFL students, English teachers at the tertiary level, and further implications for lexical researchers.