Visible words: Using writing in second language vocabulary learning
The project aims to use English proficiency programmes effectively in preparing students from non-alphabetic language backgrounds for successful tertiary study in NZ. The focus is on the quality of L2 (second language) lexical knowledge - orthographic lexical representations. Since one of the main academic activities of tertiary students is reading, fluency of lexical processing in written English is a key predictor of student ability to “pick up” new concepts from the text and successfully participate in academic discourses. The research will evaluate the validity of a theoretically and empirically motivated prediction that writing practice improves the quality of L2 lexical representations.
Participants (native Chinese speakers) recruited primarily from Victoria University English Proficiency Programme (EPP) will learn sixty previously unknown L2 (English) vocabulary items through: silent retrieval (no writing/no speaking), spoken retrieval (no writing) and written retrieval (no speaking). Finally: immediate and delayed visual, auditory priming experiments and a sentence reading experiment will evaluate the quality of learning.