John Hedgcock (Ph.D., University of Southern California) is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Houston, TX.
Tuning in on ‘Prime Time’: Channel Effects in L2 Grammaticality Judgment Tasks
Article first published online: 31 DEC 2008
© 1993 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
Foreign Language Annals
Volume 26, Issue 3, pages 297–307, October 1993
How to Cite
Hedgcock, J. and Lefkowitz, N. (1993), Tuning in on ‘Prime Time’: Channel Effects in L2 Grammaticality Judgment Tasks. Foreign Language Annals, 26: 297–307. doi: 10.1111/j.1944-9720.1993.tb02287.x
- Issue published online: 31 DEC 2008
- Article first published online: 31 DEC 2008
ABSTRACT Formerly held distinctions which opposed “conscious” to “unconscious” learning, “controlled” to “automatic” processing, and “learning” to “acquisition“have eroded as tenable models of L2 learning processes. Recent formulations of L2 development instead favor an approach which integrates linguistic theory with the information-processing models advanced in cognitive psychology. Rather than relying on binary distinctions, processing-oriented, task-centered research features continua which accommodate the overlapping, interdependent dimensions of explicit and implicit knowledge, as well as learning with and without awareness.
In this study, learners performed metalingual and preference tasks requiring them to utilize L2 knowledge brought to mind under one of two conditions: 1)byan aural “priming” activity (a listening exercise) designed to tap into memory without recourse to explicit rules, or 2) by a written task (a multiple-choice grammar exercise) aimed specifically at invoking explicit L2 rules. Francophone secondary students of English as a foreign language (N=169) took a 50-item aural test involving judgments of well-formed and ill-formed English syntactic structures, and a parallel written multiple choice test containing corresponding strings. The “primed” group, which took the written test before the aural test, significantly outperformed the “unprimed” group (p ≤ .01), which took the aural test first; performance levels on the written tests were statistically comparable. Two-way ANOVA results indicate important differences between recall with awareness and recall without awareness, strongly suggesting a positive role for “priming” via the written channel in foreign language learning. That is, completion of the written task prior to the listening task appeared to enhance learners performance significantly on the latter, possibly because of the explicit character of the former.