A Comparative Study of Two Vocabulary Activities for Indonesian Language Learners

Hughes, R.L.
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Previous work exploring vocabulary acquisition in second languages focuses on which words are most beneficial to learners, but there is less focus on systematic ways to instruct second language (L2) vocabulary acquisition. While rote memorization has been said to be the most effective and efficient way for L2 speakers to learn vocabulary, the importance of vocabulary for L2 acquisition is so vital that students and teachers should engage in any practice that bolsters word-knowledge (Read, 2004; Hellman, 2011; Nation, 2001). This study focuses on 10 discrete forms in Indonesian that learners have difficulty using (Nugraha, 2003). This study applied two interactive, color coded web-based tools: a flashcard activity and chart-based visual aid activity. The goal of this study is to determine the relative word-recognition effectiveness of an Indonesian-specific vocabulary activity compared to the more traditional method of flashcards for vocabulary recognition. Nine students of Indonesian as a foreign language (BIPA) participated in two word-learning phases, one with each activity, and they performed pre- and post-testing with a Lexical Decision Task. The quantitative comparison shows significant results in recognition of existing-word items introduced with both activities. The results provide further empirical evidence that instruction for vocabulary is an important part of developing foundational word knowledge and the understanding of new words.
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