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ERIC Number: ED171151
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978
Pages: 18
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Exploiting Nonverbal Context to Promote the Acquisition of Word Referent Relations in a Second Language.
Greenfield, Patricia Marks; Alvarez, Maria Gabriela
Nonverbal context is important in the language acquisition process. The present study compares different amounts and ordering of pictorial context with respect to their effect on learning word-referent relations in a second language. Twenty-five monolingual English-speaking high school students were shown twenty Spanish sentences and pictures of the event to which each sentence referred. The sentences and the pictures were broken down into four components: an agent, an object, and an instrument (the arguments), plus an activity (the predicate). The subjects heard these components before and after each sentence. The number of pictures shown with each sentence varied. The predicate was placed after the arguments in half of the component presentations and before the arguments in the rest. The subjects were asked to translate each sentence after the second repetition. Results indicated that as the number of unknown referents decreased, the probability increased of correctly inferring the meaning of the unknown word or words from the context. Also, subjects were able to use context more effectively when the predicate illustration was presented after the argument illustrations. These findings confirmed the hypothesis that there is an optimal level at which nonverbal context facilitates the process of inferring word meanings in a foreign language. It is suggested that the results have implications for immersion programs. (Author/AMH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Los Angeles Second Language Research Forum (2nd, Los Angeles, California, October 7, 1978)