Article published in:Aptitude-treatment interaction in second language learning
Edited by Robert M. DeKeyser
[Journal of Second Language Studies 2:2] 2019
► pp. 258–280
Verbal working memory as a predictor of explicit and implicit knowledge of English passive voice
While there is copious evidence concerning the effectiveness of different instructional options in teaching grammar (e.g., Nassaji, 2017; Pawlak, 2017), less is known about the extent to which the contribution of pedagogical intervention is mediated by individual factors. The same can be said about the product of instructed but also uninstructed second language acquisition, that is the knowledge of target language grammar. The paper attempts to shed light on one such variable, that is working memory, which has recently been an object of intensive empirical inquiry (e.g., Li, 2017; Wen, Biedroń, & Skehan, 2016). It reports the results of a study that investigated the role of verbal working memory in the development of explicit and implicit knowledge of the English passive voice. Participants were 156 Polish university students enrolled in a three-year BA program in English. The data on verbal working memory were collected by means of the Polish Listening Span Test (PLSPAN), developed by Zychowicz, Biedroń and Pawlak (2017). Explicit knowledge was tapped by means of an untimed grammatically judgment test, which focused on reception, and a traditional grammar test, which targeted production. Implicit knowledge was tapped through a timed grammaticality judgment test for reception and a focused communication task (Ellis, 2003) for production. Correlational analysis demonstrated that verbal working memory was a weak predictor of explicit productive and receptive knowledge but not implicit knowledge.
Keywords: working memory, central executive, automatized knowledge, passive voice, production vs. comprehension
Published online: 08 October 2019
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