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THE ROLE OF PHONOLOGICAL MEMORY IN ADULT L2 LEXICAL DEVELOPMENT

Abstract

This paper explores the role of phonological memory (PM) in the vocabulary acquisition of adult second language learners to uncover whether these learners’ PM capacities could explain vocabulary and proficiency gains over an academic semester. Intermediate learners of Korean were tested at both the start and end of a semester on non-word repetition (NWR) tasks in Korean and English as a longitudinal measure of their PM capacities in the two languages. Vocabulary and C-test performances were used to gauge participants’ lexical knowledge and proficiency respectively at the two time points. Results indicated that there was a significant interaction of PM capacity and time such that high PM capacities were associated with an increase in vocabulary breadth and proficiency in Korean. In addition, a significant positive correlation between the Korean and English NWR tasks was found, suggesting PM may be language-independent.

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Kim, S., (2014) “THE ROLE OF PHONOLOGICAL MEMORY IN ADULT L2 LEXICAL DEVELOPMENT”, Journal of Second Language Acquisition and Teaching 21, p.41-70.

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Sunhee Kim (University of Maryland)

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