Motivating the form-meaning connection of new L2 words to foster vocabulary learning: Which elaborative strategies do learners deploy?

Onderzoeksoutput: Unpublished abstract


If the pace at which new L2 words are acquired is informed by the degree of engagement with them on the part of the learner (cf. Schmitt 2008), applied cognitive linguists have endeavored to foster this engagement mostly by helping learners appreciate the motivated nature of the meaning of certain items (e.g. polysemous words and figurative idioms). In a bid to stimulate the acquisition of word form and meaning equally, we previously reported on a word learning experiment (n=56) that explored the pedagogic promise of inducing learners to evaluate the potentially motivated nature of the connection between word form (new) and word meaning (known). Findings reveal that simply prompting learners to rate the form-meaning match is particularly conducive to the recall and retention of word form -as opposed to comparison treatments-, yet it does not inhibit the acquisition of word meaning either.
Our analyses suggest that the degree to which target words benefit from this type of engagement is affected by their perceived form-meaning transparency. If learners construct knowledge by bringing what they already know into (unconscious, implicit) interaction with new information - as constructivist learning theories proclaim (cf. Little 2007) - , then this type of rating exercise, albeit explicit, should appear natural and relevant. We therefore report on a qualitative follow-up study (n=30) designed to reveal whether individual learners can 'motivate' their ratings, be it on the basis of loanwords and cognates, 'sound symbolism', or idiosyncratic associations. Findings of this think-aloud protocol should also uncover to what extent different learners appreciate the relevance of this exercise, and whether the advantage of our experimental treatment for form recall could have been granted by an affective dimension that comparison treatments did not afford. The paper will evaluate the results in terms of the overall mnemonic merits of the proposed intervention and its scope of applicability.


- Little, D. (2007). Language learner autonomy: some fundamental considerations revisited. Innovations in Language Learning and Teaching 1 (1), 14-29.

- Schmitt, N. (2008). Review article: Instructed second language vocabulary learning, Language Teaching Research 12 (3), 329-363.
Originele taal-2English
StatusPublished - 29 apr 2011
EvenementAmerican Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) 2011 Conference - Chicago, United States
Duur: 6 mrt 201126 mrt 2011
Congresnummer: 2011


ConferenceAmerican Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) 2011 Conference
Verkorte titelAAAL
Land/RegioUnited States


Duik in de onderzoeksthema's van 'Motivating the form-meaning connection of new L2 words to foster vocabulary learning: Which elaborative strategies do learners deploy?'. Samen vormen ze een unieke vingerafdruk.

Citeer dit