The relationship between knowledge of vocabulary and the comprehension and solving of mathematical word problems in L2

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Linguistics

Subject Categories

Science and Mathematics Education


Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


Dept of English and Applied Linguistics

Thesis Adviser

Allan Benedict I. Bernardo

Defense Panel Chair

Remedios Z. Miciano

Defense Panel Member

Corazon V. Balarbar
Danilo T. Dayag
Carolyn D. Castro
Teresita F. Fortunato


Word problems in mathematics have a clear linguistic component as the problem elements are embedded within a text. This study examines the vocabulary found in word problems and how knowledge of this vocabulary relates to the comprehension and solving of word problems. One hundred and ninety-two (192) second year high school students participated in the study. For data collection, quantitative measures were used. These included vocabulary tests, recall protocols, a test on the processes in reading word problems in mathematics, and a test on the outputs of the comprehension of problem structure in word problems. Mean scores and standard deviations were taken and correlations made among the test results. The results of the vocabulary tests revealed that students had difficulties with sub-technical vocabulary and with vocabulary used in the sentence format. The results also revealed that the students found difficulties in translating mathematical phrases and sentences into algebraic expressions. However, the correlations showed that only technical and sub-technical vocabulary used in the mathematical context relates significantly with comprehension of problem text and with translation of mathematical phrases and sentences into algebraic expressions. In addition, there is a significant correlation between technical vocabulary in the synonym format and recognition of mathematical vocabulary.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

1 computer optical disc ; 4 3/4 in.


Vocabulary; Comprehension; Word problems (Mathematics); Problem solving

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