Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

Cooperating Triangle? Incidental Learning Gloss Types and Motivation

Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

Cooperating Triangle? Incidental Learning Gloss Types and Motivation

Article excerpt

Abstract

Lexical competence is one of the core elements of communicative competence (Coady & Huckin, 1997). The present study is an attempt to investigate the role of two types of glosses and their influences on lexical competence, especially their relationships with incidental vocabulary learning. In addition, this study tries to examine the influence of motivation and its effect on/or relationship to incidental vocabulary acquisition. Fifty-eight university students of English as a foreign language took part in this study. A list of twenty L1 and L2 glosses, were administered among the participants and they were required to read the passage by the help of these glosses. After each session of treatment, a version of State Rating Task was used to show the participants' change of cognitive state. After the last session of treatment, participants were required to fill out a motivation questionnaire to find the relationship between incidental vocabulary learning and their motivation. The findings indicate that incidental process of learning vocabulary in the form of glosses have contribution to a change in participants' cognitive state, but regarding the type of glosses, this contribution varies. The analysis of motivation questionnaire showed that learners involved in incidental vocabulary learning were instrumentally motivated.

Keywords: Incidental vocabulary learning, Glosses, Motivation, State rating task

1. Introduction

Research has indicated that the core element of learning a second language is the task of learning its vocabulary (Gass, 1999). In spite of the bulk of research done in this regard, there is still need to have focus on the way second language learners try to acquire l2 vocabularies. Hulstijn (2003) distinguishes between two approaches learners deal with L2 vocabularies; incidental and intentional. There is still research done on these two processes of vocabulary acquisition and it shows that there are concerns to shed more light in this regard. Hulstijn (2003) defines the term incidental as follow:

"The term incidental learning is used, in applied linguistics, to refer to the acquisition of a word or expression without the conscious intention to commit the element to memory, such as "picking up" an unknown word from listening to someone or from reading a text" (p. 350 ).

On the other side of the continuum there is the concept of intentional learning which again according to Hulstijn (2003) refers to "a deliberate attempt to commit factual information to memory, often including the use of rehearsal techniques, like preparing for a test in school or learning a song by heart (p. 355).

The dilemma in vocabulary acquisition is the advantages of the commonly distinguished incidental and intentional vocabulary acquisition, especially regarding the role played by attention. Gass (1999) brings some counter-evidences about the concept of attention in vocabulary learning. It is said that attention is one of the pivotal elements of second language acquisition and by emphasizing incidental learning, which is actually the absence of attention, one should not expect an ideal learning. She argues that this is not the case by stating that "rather, the ease with which a vocabulary item might be learned will depend on a number of factors". Input must have three characteristics which help learners to acquire it more easily; there are cognates between the two languages, there are lots of exposures of L2 lexical items and finally there are other L2 associations. Fraser (1999) confirms this finding by stating that higher retention rate occurs when noticing words occur in these three ways; the word should have the same origin in L1 and a related association in L2 and finally it should be a frequently-encountered word. According to Gass (1999) these features (+ cognates, + exposure, + known L2 words) are suggested to be associated with incidental vocabulary learning that is the effortless process of vocabulary leaning, as opposed to intentional process which requires more time and energy. …

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