Edited by Gisela Granena, Daniel O. Jackson and Yucel Yilmaz
[Bilingual Processing and Acquisition 3] 2016
► pp. 185–204
Elicited imitation as a measure of implicit L2 knowledge
The role of working memory and short-term memory capacity
Elicited imitation (EI) is an oral production task considered to be conducive to the retrieval of implicit second language (L2) knowledge (e.g. Bley-Vroman & Chaudron 1994; Chaudron, Prior, & Kozok 2005; Ellis 2005; Erlam 2006). This study aimed at contributing to testing the validity of EI as a measure of implicit language knowledge by examining whether individual differences in working memory (WM) and/or short-term memory (STM) capacity are related to performance on an EI task. The study focused on two types of morpho-syntactic agreement: plural marking and third person subject-verb agreement in English. Sixty intermediate-level learners of English with Chinese as L1 background participated in the study. The results of the study showed that neither WM nor STM moderated accuracy scores on the EI task. These findings were interpreted as evidence of automatic knowledge retrieval during the task and, therefore, as evidence in support of the validity of EI as a measure of implicit language knowledge.