ERIC Number: EJ1065542
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Can Colors, Voices, and Images Help Learners Acquire the Grammatical Gender of German Nouns?
Dias de Oliveira Santos, Victor
Language Teaching Research, v19 n4 p473-498 Jul 2015
Knowledge of lexical items is arguably the most essential aspect of being able to communicate in a foreign language (Richards, 2000). Many studies have examined effective strategies for retaining the meaning of foreign words, but studies investigating the effectiveness of different methods for the retention of essential grammatical features of those words are unfortunately fewer. This study investigates whether memorizing the gender of German nouns concomitantly to their meaning results in a decreased ability by undergraduate native speakers of English to remember noun meaning, and whether a mnemonic approach to retaining the grammatical gender of German nouns may prove effective. In possibly the largest study of its kind (n = 283), the effectiveness of several mnemonic devices (colors, voices, images, and a combination of these) is also investigated for the retention of noun gender in German. The sole use of images simultaneously coding for noun meaning and gender led to the best observed results, as indicated by scores on two post-tests. The use of images seems to be a promising mnemonic technique for helping learners remember the gender of German nouns, while at the same time not significantly compromising their ability to recall noun meaning. The results of the present study have possible implications for German materials development and teaching, and for computer assisted language learning (CALL) in general.
Descriptors: Color, Imagery, Second Language Learning, Second Language Instruction, Form Classes (Languages), Retention (Psychology), Scores, Pretests Posttests, Nouns, Grammar, Undergraduate Students, Native Language, English, Mnemonics, Teaching Methods, Coding, Material Development, Computer Assisted Instruction, Instructional Effectiveness, German, Vocabulary Development, Statistical Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
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