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Role of individual differences in incidental L2 vocabulary acquisition through listening to stories: metacognitive awareness and motivation

Hye Won Shin ORCID logo, Sarah Sok ORCID logo and Juhyun Do ORCID logo


This study examined the moderating role of two individual difference factors, metacognitive awareness of listening and motivation, in young second language (L2) learners’ incidental vocabulary acquisition from listening to stories. Participants were 66 fifth-grade English as a Foreign Language learners in South Korea who were randomly assigned to one of two groups: listening to stories or control. A vocabulary meaning recognition test was administered as a pretest, posttest, and delayed posttest. Self-reported questionnaires were employed to assess participants’ metacognitive awareness and motivation. Metacognitive awareness of listening, or more specifically, mental translation strategies, were shown to moderate the effects of treatment such that L2 learners who indicated greater awareness of translation strategies learned more vocabulary from listening to stories than L2 learners who had less awareness of these strategies. Motivation also moderated the effects of treatment such that L2 learners who had higher intrinsic motivation to learn English were able to acquire more vocabulary through listening to stories than learners who were less motivated.

Corresponding author: Juhyun Do, Jangdong Elementary School, 112, Dalgubeol-daero 304-gil, Dalseo-gu, Daegu 42687, South Korea, E-mail:

Appendix A

Part of speech and frequency of occurrence of the target words.

Target word Parts of speech Frequency
1. cadet noun 1
2. capture verb 2
3. chase verb 1
4. decorate verb 1
5. feed verb 4
6. general noun 2
7. ground noun 1
8. hop verb 1
9. little adjective 2
10. mad adj 8
11. plant noun 1
12. pour verb 1
13. ready adjective 2
14. refrigerator noun 1
15. remind verb 1
16. soap noun 2
17. tickle verb 1
18. trim verb 1
19. wagon noun 1
20. zookeeper noun 2

Appendix B

Test of meaning recognition.

1. capture He captured the mouse. (a) 잡다 (b) 놓아주다 (c) 사진찍다 (d) 던지다
2. remind I will remind you of the date. (a) 데려가다 (b) 신청하다 (c) 생각하다 (d) 알려주다
3. zookeeper I talked to the zookeeper. (a) 간호사 (b) 사육사 (c) 경찰 (d) 의사
4. ground The ground was flat. (a) (b) (c) 언덕 (d) 지구
5. plant The plant was growing quickly. (a) 동물 (b) 식물 (c) 야채 (d) 과일
6. trim I want to trim my hair. (a) 다듬다 (b) 염색하다 (c) 파마하다 (d) 올리다
7. little A little fly was in my room. (a) 뚱뚱한 (b) 강한 (c) (d) 작은/조금
8. pour I pour the milk. (a) 마시다 (b) 데우다 (c) 따르다 (d) 먹다
9. soap I used a lot of soap. (a) 비누 (b) 샴푸 (c) 지우개 (d) 분필
10. ready Are you ready? (a) 준비된 (b) 빠른 (c) 급한 (d) 느린
11. chase The cat chases the mouse. (a) 잡아먹다 (b) 놀리다 (c) 괴롭히다 (d) 쫓다
12. cadet He was a cadet. (a) 검사 (b) 소방관 (c) 변호사 (d) 사관생도
13. decorate She likes to decorate her room. (a) 청소하다 (b) 정리하다 (c) 치우다 (d) 꾸미다
14. mad I was mad. (a) 화난 (b) 기쁜 (c) 신나는 (d) 슬픈
15. hop Let’s see who can hop the farthest. (a) 눕다 (b) 뛰다 (c) 걷다 (d) 달리다
16. feed He feeds the children. (a) 옷입히다 (b) 놀아준다 (c) 씻겨준다 (d) 먹여준다
17. general The general gave his orders. (a) 의장 (b) 장군 (c) 순경 (d) 상사
18. tickle He likes to tickle his brother. (a) 놀리다 (b) 괴롭히다 (c) 때리다 (d) 간지르다
19. wagon My dad built a wagon. (a) 자전거 (b) 비행기 (c) 거위 (d) 마차
20. refrigerator I looked in the refrigerator. (a) 옷장 (b) 세탁기 (c) 냉장고 (d) 신발장

Appendix C

In order to estimate the treatment effect and interaction effects of mental translation subscale scores, we fitted the following OLS regression model (see Table 2):

RCOG i = β 0 + β 1 TRT i + β 2 RCOG i + β 3 GMRT i + β 4 MENT i + β 5 TRT X  MENT i + ε i

where RCOG i represents the outcome score for the learner i. Coefficient β 0 is the intercept for student i and coefficient β 1 represents the main treatment effects in regard to learner i. Coefficients β 2, β 3, and β 4 represent the covariates, initial knowledge of target words (RCOG i ), prior general vocabulary knowledge (GMRTi), and scores on the mental translation subscale of the MALQ (MENT i ), respectively, for learner i which were included in order to improve the precision of the estimation. β 5 represents the fitted slope parameter associated with the interaction effects of the listening condition and mental translation subscale scores. Residual ε i is the error term for student i.

The regression model that we fitted to gauge the effects of treatment and the interaction effects of motivation (see Table 3) was:

RCOG i = β 0 + β 1 TRT i + β 2 RCOG i + β 3 GMRT i + β 4 ESMS i + β 5 TRT X  ESMS i + ε i

The two regression models in Tables 2 and 3 are similar in that both models estimated the same vocabulary outcomes at immediate and delayed posttests. The primary difference is that instead of MENT scores as a predictor, the model in Table 3 uses motivation (ESMS), and the interaction effects of treatment and motivation as predictors (i.e., see Table 3).


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Received: 2021-12-03
Accepted: 2022-04-25
Published Online: 2022-05-13

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