Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number1.  March 2022                                       Pp. 104-116

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Making Sense of Texts:  EFL Students’ Intercultural Competence and Interpretation Depth 

Iryna Alyeksyeyeva
Department of English Philology and Intercultural Communication,
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine
Corresponding Author:

Tetyana Chaiuk
Educational and Research Law School,
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine

Iryna Kovalchuk
Department of English Philology and Intercultural Communication,
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine

Elizaveta Galitska
Kyiv Gymnasium #86 “Consul”, Kyiv, Ukraine

Received:  12/19/2021                             Accepted: 2/16/2022                              Published: 3/24/2022


The study is aimed at exploring Master’s students’ sense-making of various second language (L2) texts and its correlation with interpretation depth and the students’ intercultural competence. The significance of this research lies in the fact that it provides an insight on culture-specific issues challenging for advanced and proficient Ukrainian learners of English when they make sense of L2 vocabulary, interactions, public, mass and social media discourse. The study is based on a questionnaire with open-ended questions filled in by forty Ukrainian Master’s students. The subjects were asked to interpret several English vocabulary items, idioms, linguistic landscape signs as well as mass media and social media texts. The findings suggest that the students’ intercultural competence rests on the information obtained from English textbooks as well as from current mass and social media content. When facing ambiguity or uncertainty, the students tend to show a lack of cultural awareness and resort to first language (L1) assumptions in their sense-making, which may entail a wrong or inaccurate understanding. The students’ interpretation of public, mass and social media texts reveals their insufficient background knowledge of L2 culture, which does not lead to inaccuracies in sense-making but prevents comprehensive understanding of messages. The study argues that Master’s students majoring in English need to enhance their cultural awareness, to develop their intercultural competence and to be prepared for continuous learning of L2 cultural schemata.
Keywords: cultural schemata, discourse, English language, intercultural competence, language unit, sense-making, text

Cite as: Alyeksyeyeva, I.,  Chaiuk, T. , Kovalchuk, I., & Galitska, E. (2022). Making Sense of Texts:  EFL Students’ Intercultural
Competence and Interpretation Depth. Arab World English Journal, 13 (1) 104-116.


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Received: 12/19/2021  
Accepted: 2/16/2022 
Published: 3/24/2022  

Iryna O. Alyeksyeyeva is an Associate Professor of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine, delivers lectures in Communication Studies and Cross-Cultural Communication and focuses on the problem of culture-language-communication correlation in her works. ORCID ID:

Tetyana A. Chaiuk, an Associate Professor of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine, explores the problem of cross-cultural communication and culture-language-communication correlation, with the results of her studies presented in her articles.
ORCID ID: 0000-0001-5318-688X.

Iryna V. Kovalchuk, an Assistant Professor at the Department of English Philology and Cross-Cultural Communication of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine, teaches courses on General English, Business English, and
Communication Strategies. ORCID ID:

Elizaveta A. Galitska defended her Ph.D. paper in Linguistics at the National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv in 2019. She teaches high school advanced students at Gymnasium # 86 “Consul” in Kyiv, Ukraine, paying special attention to the cross-cultural aspect of studies. ORCID ID: