Effects of retrieval formats on second language vocabulary learning

  • 1 Faculty of Foreign Language Studies, Kansai University, 3-3-35 Yamate-cho, Suita-shi, Osaka 564–8680, Japan
Tatsuya Nakata

Abstract

The present study set out to examine how we can optimize paired-associate learning of second language (L2) vocabulary. In paired-associate learning, retrieval, where learners are required to access information about an L2 word from memory, is found to increase vocabulary learning. Retrieval can be categorized according to dichotomies of (a) recognition versus recall and (b) receptive versus productive. In order to identify the optimal retrieval format, the present study compared the effects of the following four conditions: recognition, recall, hybrid (combination of recall and recognition), and productive recall only. In this study, 64 English-speaking college students studied 60 Swahili-English word pairs using computer-based flashcard software. Results suggested that for paired-associate learning of L2 vocabulary, (a) recall formats are more effective than recognition for the acquisition of productive knowledge of orthography and (b) recognition formats are more desirable than recall when knowledge of spelling is not required.

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IRAL is devoted to problems of general and applied linguistics in their various forms. Its focus of interest lies in areas of research which concern first- and second-language acquisition (including sign language and gestural systems). Contributions cover topics such as naturalistic and instructed language learning, language loss, bilingualism, language contact, language for specific purposes, language technology and mother-tongue education.

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