The Roles of Explicit Information and Grammatical Sensitivity in Processing Instruction: Nominative-Accusative Case Marking and Word Order in German L2

Bill Vanpatten, Stefanie Borst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this study, we examine explicit information and aptitude within processing instruction. Forty-six learners of German in their third semester of study were divided into two groups: those who received explicit information prior to treatment (+EI) and those who did not (-EI). Participants also took the grammatical sensitivity portion of the Modern Language Aptitude Test. Treatment consisted of structured input activities in which learners heard a sentence and indicated comprehension by selecting between two drawings. The processing problem was the First-Noun Principle, and the target structure was nominative-accusative case marking on masculine nouns in object-verb-subject and subject-verb-object sentences. Treatment was delivered via computer (SuperLab 4.0). The measurement taken was trials to criterion: how long it took participants to begin processing sentences correctly. Results revealed that the +EI group began processing sentences correctly before the -EI group. As for aptitude, grammatical sensitivity correlated weakly with the scores in the +EI group, but not in the -EI group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-109
Number of pages18
JournalForeign Language Annals
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2012

Keywords

  • Aptitude
  • Explicit information
  • German
  • Processing instruction

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