Applied Psycholinguistics


The role of feedback in adult second language acquisition: Error correction and morphological generalizations

Susanne Carrolla1 c1, Merrill Swaina1 and Yves Robergea2

a1 Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

a2 University of Toronto


This study looked at the effects of feedback (explicit correction) on the learning of morphological generalizations in an experimental setting. Subjects Were 79 adult native speakers of English with intermediate (39) and advanced (40) levels of proficiency in French. All subjects were individually trained on two rules of French suffixation. Experimental subjects received correction if they gave erroneous responses to stimuli in a “feedback” session. Afterward, all subjects “guessed” responses to novel stimuli and were retested (twice) on the feedback items. Comparison subjects dealt with the same stimuli but were never corrected. Analyses of feedback responses indicated differences in favor of the experimental groups, but comparisons of guessing responses between experimental and comparison groups showed no evidence of learned generalizations. The learning of absolute exceptions was more likely among advanced learners.


c1 Susanne Carroll, Modern Language Centre, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 252 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1V6, Canada