Attention, Awareness, and Foreign Language Behavior


Ronald P. Leow Department of Spanish & Portuguese, ICC 403, 37th & O Sts., NW, Washington, DC 20057,


This study qualitatively and quantitatively addressed the role of awareness in relation to Schmidt's noticing hypothesis in second language acquisition (1990, 1993, 1994, 1995). It analyzed both the think-aloud protocols produced by 28 beginning adult L2 learners of Spanish (selected carefully from a pool of 85 people on the basis of relevant criteria) completing a problem-solving task and their immediate performances on 2 post-exposure assessment tasks, a recognition and written production task. The qualitative and quantitative analyses of learners' performances suggest the following conclusions: (a) Different levels of awareness lead to differences in processing, (b) more awareness contributes to more recognition and accurate written production of noticed forms, and (c) the findings provide empirical support for the facilitative effects of awareness on foreign language behavior.