The Relationship Between Prior Knowledge and EFL Learners' Listening Comprehension: Cultural Knowledge in Focus

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Abstract The present study investigated the impact of cultural familiarity on improving Iranian EFL learners’ listening comprehension. To do this, forty English language learners were selected at a private language institute in Isfahan based on their scores in FCE test and were randomly assigned to four groups of ten. A pre-test was administered to the four groups before any treatment. During the experiment, Group A had exposure to target culture texts. The participants in Group B had exposure to international target culture texts. The participants in Group C had exposure to source culture texts. The participants in Group D had only exposure to culture free texts. At the end of this treatment, the four groups took a post-test which was the same as pretest to see whether the treatment had any influence on their listening proficiency. The results of the post-test showed that the four groups performed differently on the post-test, which indicated that greater familiarity with specific culturally-oriented language listening material would improve Iranian EFL learners’ listening proficiency.

Keywords: Listening comprehension, Cultural knowledge, EFL learners, Source culture, Target culture


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