The mnemonic effect of noticing alliteration in lexical chunks

Seth Lindstromberg, Frank Boers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)


If good proficiency in L2 entails the acquisition not only of many single words but many lexical chunks as well, it must then be asked how all this lexis is to committed to long term memory in the limited time available on non-intensive classroom-based language courses. If it is the case that a significant fraction of probably conventionalized lexical chunks exhibit mnemonic phonological repetition -in this case, alliteration--then the L2 learner's task may be, or may be made, less daunting. Evidence is noted that alliteration is relatively common in lexical chunks in English. Experiment 1 addresses the possibility that two word alliterative phrases such as day dream are more memorable to young adult EFL speakers than 'no repetition' phrases such as phone call. Experiment 2 assesses the likely ability of similar subjects to notice alliteration in chunks autonomously. Experiment 3 assesses the effect on the recall of alliterative chunks of very brief highlighting by a teacher of the phonemic/orthographic repetition involved. Implications for TESOL methodology are discussed, with particular reference to the Lexical Approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-222
Number of pages23
JournalApplied Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2008


  • alliteration
  • lexical chunks
  • language teaching
  • memory


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