Incidental acquisition of foreign language vocabulary through multi-modal situations

Bisson, Marie-Josee (2013) Incidental acquisition of foreign language vocabulary through multi-modal situations. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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There are many advantages to learning a foreign language, such as a better understanding of another culture, a better chance of employment, as well as metalinguistic and cognitive benefits. Unfortunately, language learning can be a long and difficult process, partly because of the amount of words necessary to achieve fluency in a language. However, informal exposure to languages can help language learning. The aim of this thesis was to explore the impact of informal exposure on the incidental acquisition of foreign language vocabulary with complete beginners in a foreign language. This was investigated in the context of multi-modal situations including verbal (auditory and written) and pictorial information.

The first study investigated the acquisition of foreign language vocabulary through watching a film with subtitles, as well as the processing of subtitles using eye-tracking. In the second study, a simpler multi-modal situation (one spoken and written foreign language word form along with a line drawing depicting the meaning of the word) was used to investigate incidental vocabulary acquisition. In addition, this study investigated the use of a potentially more sensitive measure of early vocabulary learning based on the savings paradigm. The third study reported in this thesis explored the number of exposures to multi-modal stimuli necessary for incidental learning to occur. The fourth study, explored the type of connections resulting from the multi-modal incidental learning situation in the context of the current models of FL word learning. Finally, in the fifth study, the allocation of attention to the verbal and pictorial elements of the multi-modal situation were investigated using eye-tracking, as well as the impact of attention on vocabulary acquisition.

The results of the studies presented in this thesis showed that incidental acquisition of foreign language vocabulary happens rapidly during a simple multi-modal situation, and that the pictorial information plays an important role. Furthermore, this type of situation was shown to be effective even with complete beginners in a foreign language and therefore could be exploited to promote informal language learning.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: van Heuven, W.
Conklin, K.
Tunney, R.
Keywords: Vocabulary learning, incidental learning, foreign language learning, multi-modalities, eye-tracking
Subjects: P Language and literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Item ID: 13883
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2014 10:58
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 03:19

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