Chapter 2. Acquiring second language vocabulary through the use of images and words
Two experiments explored the relative benefits of learning vocabulary in a second language by varying the learning formats both within and between participants. English monolingual speakers were taught vocabulary words in Spanish by pairing those words with their English translations, black-and-white pictures, or color pictures. Testing of those newly acquired words occurred via the use of a Lexical Decision Task (LDT) wherein participants were shown letter strings and were asked to identify them as either real words or nonwords in English (i.e., a word priming procedure). Letter strings were paired with either their correct Spanish translations or an unrelated Spanish word. In Experiment 1, all three learning conditions produced significant priming effects indicating that all the methods used to teach these words yielded similar success in their retrieval. Additionally, the black-and-white picture condition speeded up responses, as compared to the color picture condition. Experiment 2 presented the three learning conditions within subjects and revealed significant priming in the word-word condition and the black-and-white image condition. However, response times were significantly faster in the word-word condition overall supporting the notion of transfer appropriate processing. Results are discussed with regards to this theory of processing.