Incidental Learning of the Target Language System through a Semi-artificial Language
Keywords:Incidental learning, semi-artificial language systems, implicit knowledge, explicit knowledge, language awareness
In recent years, there have been studies on incidental learning utilizing semi-artificial languages at the sentence level focusing on specific grammatical features. This study investigates whether extended exposure to texts in a semi-artificial language would result in incidental learning of the target language system. A pretest/posttest experimental design was adopted. Learners in the experimental group were exposed to texts both in English and a semi-artificial language system while learners in the control group were only exposed to texts in English. A grammaticality judgment test, error analysis, and semi-structured interviews were used to evaluate learning and learners’ perceptions of their own learning. The experimental group scored significantly higher in the post-test than the pre-test in the grammaticality judgment test while the control group did not. Error analysis did not result in a significant difference across two writing tasks in either group in the number of errors, though the experimental group demonstrated a decrease in four error categories as opposed to one by the control group. The interview data showed an increased awareness of the structural difference between the two languages and also the target language system. Results may indicate that using semi-artificial languages facilitates awareness and learning of the L2 input.
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