Studies in Second Language Acquisition


TESTING SLA THEORY IN THE RESEARCH LABORATORYEdited by Jan Hulstijn and Robert DeKeyser

THE EXPERANTO EXPERIMENT

(Effects of Explicit Instruction on Second Language Acquisition 1 )


Rick de Graaff a1c1
a1 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Abstract

Theories on the role of consciousness and the enhancement of noticing (Schmidt, 1990, 1994; Sharwood Smith, 1993) predict a facilitative effect of explicit knowledge, as built up by explicit instruction, on the acquisition of implicit second language (L2) knowledge. This study investigates the interaction between the presence or absence of explicit instruction and the variables complexity and morphology/syntax in the acquisition of four L2 structures. Two groups of 27 university students, differing in the exposure to explicit instruction, followed a computer-controlled self-study course in an artificial language. Results from computer-controlled posttests confirm the general hypothesis that explicit instruction facilitates the acquisition of L2 grammar. However, no evidence could be reported for the hypotheses predicting a differential effect of explicit instruction depending on the variables complexity and morphology/syntax.


Correspondence:
c1 Address correspondence to Rick de Graaff, Vrije Universiteit, Department of Applied Linguistics, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands, e-mail: graaff@jet.let.vu.nl.


Footnotes

1 This article is based on a dissertation project titled “The Influence of Grammar Instruction on Foreign Language Acquisition,” which is supported by the Foundation for Language, Speech and Knowledge (under grant 300-73-028), funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). I thank Jan Hulstijn, Peter Jordens, Huub van den Bergh, Robert DeKeyser, Peter Robinson, Mitsuhiko Ota, and an anonymous SSLA reviewer for their comments on an earlier version of this article.



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