The role of input variability and learner age in second language vocabulary learning

Sinkeviciute, R., Brown, H. ORCID: 0000-0001-9404-9515, Brekelmans, G. and Wonnacott, E., 2019. The role of input variability and learner age in second language vocabulary learning. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 41 (4), pp. 795-820. ISSN 0272-2631

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Input variability is key in many aspects of linguistic learning, yet variability increases input complexity, which may cause difficulty in some learning contexts. The current work investigates this trade-off by comparing speaker variability effects on L2 vocabulary learning in different age-groups. Existing literature suggests that speaker variability benefits L2 vocabulary learning in adults, but this may not be the case for younger learners. In this study, native English-speaking adults, 7-8 year-olds, and 10-11 year-olds learned six novel Lithuanian words from a single speaker, and six from eight speakers. In line with previous research, adults showed better production of the multi-speaker items at test. No such benefit was found for either group of children either in production or comprehension. Children also had greater difficulties in processing multiple-speaker cues during training. We conclude that age-related capacity limitations may constrain the ability to utilise speaker variability when learning words in a new language.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Studies in Second Language Acquisition
Creators: Sinkeviciute, R., Brown, H., Brekelmans, G. and Wonnacott, E.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Date: 20 June 2019
Volume: 41
Number: 4
ISSN: 0272-2631
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 06 Mar 2019 16:54
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2020 09:02

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