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Minor manipulations matter: Syntactic position influences the effectiveness of incidental vocabulary acquisition during L2 reading

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Title:Minor manipulations matter: Syntactic position influences the effectiveness of incidental vocabulary acquisition during L2 reading
Authors:Rogahn, Maria
Bordag, Denisa
Kirschenbaum, Amit
Tschirner, Erwin
Date Issued:01 Jan 2018
Publisher:Cengage
Citation:Rogahn, M., Bordag, D.,Kirschenbaum, A.& Tschirner, E. (2018). Minor manipulations matter: Syntactic position influences the effectiveness of incidental vocabulary acquisition during L2 reading. The American Association of University Supervisors, Coordinators and Directors of Foreign Languages Programs (AAUSC), 38-57. http://hdl.handle.net/102015/69781
Abstract:This chapter reports on a study that addresses the role of syntactic prominence,
that is, the perceived importance of sentence constituents, in L1 and L2 incidental
vocabulary acquisition. In a self-paced reading study with 80 native German
speakers and 64 advanced learners of German, we explored the initial stages of
vocabulary acquisition. The results revealed an acquisition advantage for the
meanings of new words that appeared as subjects in main clauses compared to
those that appeared as objects in subordinate clauses in L2, but not in L1. We
argue that the acquisition advantage for words with high syntactic prominence
in L2 can be attributed to a higher allocation of the readers’ attention to prominent
sentence constituents. L1 participants did not display this benefit because
their high linguistic competence allowed sufficient processing of both subject and
object, main and subordinate clauses. The findings demonstrate that syntactic
prominence has, so far, been an overlooked factor in incidental vocabulary acquisition,
which, however, has important implications for teaching material design
and vocabulary presentation.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/69781
Volume:2018
Appears in Collections: 2018 UNDERSTANDING VOCABULARY LEARNING AND TEACHING: IMPLICATIONS FOR LANGUAGE PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT


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