Initital Second Language Vocabulary Learning: A Longitudinal ERP Study.
Yum, Yen Na.
Abstract: Studying lexical learning across writing systems in beginning
learners is one way to provide insight into how second language (L2) learners approach an
entirely unfamiliar orthography and to determine whether previous language learning effects
are generalizable to languages that have minimal overlap. This study examined initial L2
orthographic and semantic acquisition in monolingual ... read morenative English speakers who learned a
fixed set of Chinese words under controlled laboratory conditions. Participants were
tracked to obtain longitudinal behavioral and event-related potentials (ERP) data in 10
sessions of L2 vocabulary learning. Verbal backward translation and semantic categorization
were assessed. Behavioral data supported that participants gradually acquired the L2
stimuli items and several ERP components showed changes during the course of the study.
Compared to L1 items, an enhanced P2 component was seen to L2 items in semantic
categorization. A small but growing N400 component and a late anterior effect in L2 items
were seen to increase at later sessions. These effects appeared to depend on individual
differences and the degree of successful learning, as participants who had better
behavioral results showed distinct patterns of ERP activation compared to those who
performed less well. Complete learners showed a negative shift over the anterior region of
the brain while incomplete learners showed a posterior positive effect, both of which were
right-lateralized. The observed differences could relate to differential processing styles
or strategy use. Interestingly, a shift in latency of the N400 component was seen to
semantic categorization in English (L1 items), suggesting that L1 could be influenced at a
very early point in L2 learning.
Thesis (M.S.)--Tufts University, 2012.
Submitted to the Dept. of Psychology.
Advisor: PHillip Holcomb.
Committee: Katherine Midgley, and Holly Taylor.
Keywords: Cognitive psychology, and Language.read less