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Incidental, explicit, and implicit language learning during meaning-based exposure: Their effectiveness and relationship to individual cognitive abilities

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Incidental, explicit, and implicit language learning during meaning-based exposure: Their effectiveness and relationship to individual cognitive abilities

Bell, Philippa/K (2012) Incidental, explicit, and implicit language learning during meaning-based exposure: Their effectiveness and relationship to individual cognitive abilities. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Isolated grammar tasks develop different types of learning: incidental (pick up grammar), explicit (conscious learning) and implicit (unconscious learning). Cognitive abilities affecting the accuracy of these types of learning have been discussed (Robinson, 1997a). We know much less about learning during meaningful tasks, common in second language classrooms, during which language is used to understand or communicate information. This study employed tasks of this type to further knowledge of the: a.) incidental acquisition of form, b.) possibility of simultaneous explicit and implicit learning, c.) quantitative differences between explicit and implicit accuracy, d.) role of learner cognitive abilities on quantity and type of learning, and e.) effects of classification of type of learning on the results.
Eighty-one Anglophone adults completed two crosswords and two reading passages presented using a semi-artificial language (Rebuschat, 2008), which ensured experimental control, and between-participant equal vocabulary knowledge. After, participants completed a surprise, timed grammaticality judgement test to measure learning. Type of learning (explicit and/or implicit) was assessed using three awareness measures (confidence ratings, source attributions, and verbal reports). Participants’ working memory, inductive ability, processing speed, and verbal reasoning were measured.
The results demonstrated participants incidentally acquired some of the language. The majority of participants (n = 63) learnt the language explicitly and implicitly, and explicit learning was slightly more accurate. Cognitive abilities were unrelated to incidental acquisition, and the accuracy of explicit and implicit learning. However, inductive ability predicted the quantity of language processed explicitly positively and implicitly negatively.
The findings further knowledge of the effectiveness of incidental, explicit, and implicit learning during language use. They demonstrate for the first time that adults learn language form using explicit and implicit processing simultaneously when focused on meaning. The small differences in accuracy of explicit and implicit learning suggest that when learning form is a by-product of understanding, implicitly-learnt information may be as accurate as explicitly-learnt information. Furthermore, as cognitive abilities did not affect the accuracy of incidental, explicit, and implicit learning, learning form whilst using may not disadvantage certain learners. However, as ability to induce patterns affects how information is processed, learners may benefit from practising pattern induction.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Bell, Philippa/K
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Education
Date:2012
Thesis Supervisor(s):Collins, Laura
ID Code:974095
Deposited By:PHILIPPA BELL
Deposited On:29 Oct 2012 15:52
Last Modified:29 Oct 2012 15:52
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