Chapter 3. Some costs of fooling Mother Nature

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This study compared the effects of the Keyword Method and rote rehearsal on the quality of developing second language (L2) lexical representations. We assessed accuracy and latency of English-to-Spanish translations provided by English-speaking absolute beginning learners of Spanish after each of three learning phases. Each translation was primed by either a keyword used during the learning phase (dad for dado “dice”) or an unrelated word (book for dado “dice”). Keyword primes, which are similar in form to the target L2 words, speeded recall for the rote-rehearsal group but slowed recall for the keyword group. These findings demonstrate clear differences in the quality of developing L2 lexical representations between the two groups, disfavoring the Keyword Method of L2 vocabulary instruction.


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