Academic journal article Journal of Management Research

The Use of Dictogloss as an Information Gap Task in Exploiting Dual Application Principle in Learning Irregular Verbs

Academic journal article Journal of Management Research

The Use of Dictogloss as an Information Gap Task in Exploiting Dual Application Principle in Learning Irregular Verbs

Article excerpt


Irregular verbs are one of the most challenging grammatical structures for ESL students to learn. The Dual-Mechanism Model states that there are two mechanisms of how regular and irregular verbs are processed, regular verbs are processed through rule application mechanism whereas irregular verbs are retained and retrieved from associative memory. This sometimes results in the heavy use of rote-learning and raw memorization of irregular verbs in order for ESL learners to acquire these grammatical structures. However, it is implied that dictogloss, an information gap task, may assist learners to learn irregular verbs without strong emphasis on drilling and memorizing. 34 students of a vocational college in Malaysia were selected and assigned into an experimental group and a control group. The experimental group was given three types of dictogloss tasks involving three different cognitive processes of matching, ordering and listing which required them to conjugate irregular verbs whereas conventional drilling exercising was given to the control group. Paired and unpaired samples t-tests indicate that dictogloss is effective in facilitating learners' mastery of past tense forms of irregular verbs. The findings from the questionnaire also denote positive perceptions on the tasks in assisting their learning of the target form. Hence, dictogloss can substitute drilling and memorizing exercise in learning irregular verbs.

Keywords: dual mechanism, irregular verbs, reconstruction, conjugation, dictogloss, information gap tasks

1. Dual-Mechanism Model in Learning Irregular Verbs

According to Pliatsikas and Marinis (2013), dual-system models suggest that English past tense morphology comprises two processes: rule application for regular verbs and memory retrieval for irregular verbs. English past tense forms can be divided into two types: regular past tense forms (regular verbs) where suffix "ed" is added at the end of the base form of a verb and irregular past tense forms (irregular verbs), where the verb has different structures as past tense or past participle forms (Pinker & Prince, 1988; Pinker & Ullman, 2002).

The dual-mechanism model (Pinker and Prince, 1988; Pinker, 1999; Ullman, et al, 1997; Baayen et al, 1997; Marslen-Wilson and Tyler, 2003, Clahsen, 1999, Ulman, 2001, Pinker and Ulman, 2002) distinguishes the difference between two distinct processing mechanism of regular and irregular forms in which regular forms are computed in real time by a distinct rule-processing system. This allows individuals to merely employ rules to indicate the different structures of regular verbs (e.g. bake & baked, shout & shouted, cry & cried) with the use of inflection "d", "ed" and "ied" on the base form of a verb . Meanwhile, irregular forms are actually stored in a mental lexicon that bears associative properties which are similar but not fully identical and these irregular past tense forms are retrieved as already inflected forms from associative memory (e.g. blow & blew, sleep & slept, eat & ate, take & took, bear & bore). This means that individuals have to retain memories of the different structures of irregular verbs and how they can be associated to each other. As a result of the specific mechanism of memorizing irregular verbs as the only way to learn the structures, most teaching methods of irregular verbs are confined to memorization, drilling, rote-learning and repetition (Tesarova, 2009; Sinhaneti and Kyaw, 2012; Setianingsih, 2010 ;Abadia, 2012).

1.1 Morphology, Phonology and Frequency of Irregular Verbs

However, it is crucial to identify ways of teaching or learning irregular verbs without heavily dependent on rote-learning and memorization. Abadia (2012) proposes the application of the principles of frequency, phonological modularity and morphological similarity as a way of teaching irregular verbs other than raw memorization. He (2012) conducted a study on 17 adult learners and attempted to obtain their feedback on the application of the phonological and morphological similarities of the conjugation of irregular verbs and the findings indicate that the learners discovered that there is consistency in phonological pattern and morphological rules in conjugation of irregular verbs. …

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