LINGUIST List 23.4712

Sun Nov 11 2012

Diss: Language Acquisition: Bailey: 'Second Language lexical Acquisition...'

Editor for this issue: Lili Xia <>

Date: 10-Nov-2012
From: Paul Bailey <>
Subject: Second Language lexical Acquisition: A matter of depth of processing or of multiple retrieval?
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Institution: Swansea University Program: Ph.D. Applied Linguistics Dissertation Status: Completed Degree Date: 2012

Author: Paul Bailey

Dissertation Title: Second Language lexical Acquisition: A matter of depth of processing or of multiple retrieval?

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition
Dissertation Director:
Paul Meara
Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis investigates the predictions of Barcroft's type of processing-resource allocation (TOPRA) model. The TOPRA model contends thatin order to learn a second/foreign language word, one must completethree subprocesses. These are processing for form, processing formeaning, and form-meaning mapping. The model posits thatcorresponding amounts of one of these types of processing leads tocorresponding amounts of learning. Thus, semantic processing willlead to the learning of meanings, while structural processing will lead tothe learning of word forms. The model contends that human beings arelimited capacity processers, so in learning a foreign language,excessive processing in one of these areas drains resources that couldbe used for processing and subsequent learning in other areas.Therefore, excessive semantic processing can be detrimental tolearning the structural properties of a word during the initial stages offoreign language lexical acquisition. Indeed, the main thrust ofBarcroft's research in the area has been to demonstrate thedetrimental effects of semantic processing. He has proposed thatlearners should not be forced to undertake activities involving semanticelaboration during the initial stages of learning new words. The seriesof studies conducted during the present thesis found some support forthe predictions of the TOPRA model when Barcroft's experimentalparadigm was followed. However, at the same time, the studies herefound many conflicting results to the predictions of the model.Therefore, the scope of the model seems to be limited. Furthermore, itis contended that multiple retrieval of words rather than the amount oftheir structural or semantic processing is a more important determinantof second language lexical acquisition.

Page Updated: 11-Nov-2012