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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29825

Title: Facilitating Lexical Acquisition in Beginner Learners of Italian through Popular Song
Authors: Natale Rukholm, Vanessa
Advisor: Lettieri, Michael
Helms-Park, Rena
Department: Italian Studies
Keywords: teaching Italian, vocabulary learning, lexical acquisition, second-language pedagogy, second-language lexicon, elaborate processing, song, incidental vocabulary learning
Issue Date: 31-Aug-2011
Abstract: This study examines the effects of Song and Involvement Load on the acquisition and retention of lexical items by beginner learners of Italian. Lexical acquisition is investigated via an incidental learning experiment that is based on the premise that growth in L2 vocabulary results from rehearsal and repeated exposure to lexical items in a variety of contexts. More specifically, the study hypothesizes that Song contributes to subvocal rehearsal, a mechanism that facilitates the retention of phonological information. In addition, the study hypothesizes that Involvement Load, as posited by Laufer and Hulstijn (2001), contributes to retention through “elaborate processing”(Craik & Tulving, 1975) of lexical items. In order to evaluate participants‟ lexical acquisition, an experiment with pretest/posttest design was carried out. Participants were divided into one of five groups consisting of a Control Group and four treatment groups. Treatment groups were exposed to a Song either in a sung condition or read as a poem (i.e. without music) while the Control Group completed only the pretest and posttests. Treatment groups also completed lexical tasks designed with either low or high levels of Involvement Load. The pretest and posttests (administered at four and eight weeks respectively after the pretest) were based on Paribakht and Wesche‟s (1996) Vocabulary iii Knowledge Scale. It was hypothesized that in the case of both short-term acquisition (four weeks after the pretest) and retention (eight weeks thereafter) (i) participants exposed to Song would obtain higher scores than participants only exposed to the lyrics; (ii) participants completing High Involvement tasks would score higher than participants completing Low Involvement tasks; and (iii) the effects of Song would be greater than the effects of Involvement Load on test scores. Results indicated that at both posttests, participants exposed to Song obtained higher scores than participants only exposed to lyrics (p=0.004). Additionally, participants carrying out High Involvement tasks scored higher than participants carrying out Low Involvement tasks (p=0.017). However, a comparison of the strength of the effects of Song and Involvement Load on acquisition and retention of target items yielded inconclusive results (p=.383). The validation of many of the hypotheses suggests that song and involvement load are effective in the acquisition and retention of L2 lexical items and should be implemented in the L2 curriculum.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29825
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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