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Evolutionary Syntax

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Academic Paper

Title: Re-Examining the Role of Explicit Information in Processing Instruction
Author: Claudia Fernández
Institution: Knox College
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: Spanish
Abstract: The present study sought to observe, through online treatments, whether explicit information assists acquisition in a way that has not been measured in previous processing instruction (PI) studies. Two experiments examined learners' behavior while they processed Spanish sentences with object-verb-subject (OVS) word order and Spanish subjunctive under two treatments: with explicit information (the PI group) and without explicit information (the structured input [SI] group). Participants in both groups worked individually with a computer and processed a series of 30 SI items. They received feedback right after each response, and both accuracy and response time were recorded. It was expected that learners in the PI group would start to process both of the linguistic targets sooner in the sequence of input items and would submit their responses faster than learners in the SI group, because explicit information in the PI treatment would help learners notice the target items early in the series. The results showed no difference between the SI group and the PI group when processing OVS sentences, but the PI group processed subjunctive forms sooner and faster than the SI group. The results suggest that the benefits of explicit information might depend on the nature of the task and the processing problem.


This article appears IN Studies in Second Language Acquisition Vol. 30, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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