Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1879-7865
  • E-ISSN: 1879-7873
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This study examines the different learning outcomes of two computer-based cognitive tutors using two approaches to instructing German declension: an additive, bottom-up approach, which focuses on a stepwise introduction of each case, and a concept-based, top-down approach, which focuses on developing students’ conceptual understanding of the functions related to each case form and the case marking system as a whole. The results indicate that both groups learned, but what and how they learned differed depending on the method of instruction. The additive group showed general gains in production and a slight increase in their ability to correctly interpret object-first sentences. The concept-based group showed larger gains, but in fewer areas. Specifically, the production of adjective endings increased, although there were no differences in determiner production or accuracy. The concept-based group also had a larger gain in their ability to interpret non-SVO word order sentences. This study shows how concept-based approaches to grammar can outperform additive ones, and that the development of these concepts can prepare students for future learning.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Arnett, C., & Jernigan, H.
    (2014) A cognitive grammar account of case for L2 students of German. German as a Foreign Language, 1, 68–93.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Arnett, C., & Lysinger, D.
    (2013) A cognitive grammar approach to teaching the Russian case system. Russian Language Journal/Русский язык, 63, 135–168.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Baten, K.
    (2013) The acquisition of the German case system by foreign language learners. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 10.1075/palart.2
    https://doi.org/10.1075/palart.2 [Google Scholar]
  4. (2016) A study on explicit instruction and its relation to knowing/using linguistic forms and individual learner readiness. EUROSLA Yearbook, 16, 116–143. 10.1075/eurosla.16.05bat
    https://doi.org/10.1075/eurosla.16.05bat [Google Scholar]
  5. Baten, K., & Lochtman, K.
    (2014) Das deutsche Kasussystem im Fremdsprachenerwerb: Ein Forschungsüberblick. MUTTERSPRACHE, 124(1), 1–25.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Bley-Vroman, R.
    (1989) What is the logical problem of foreign language learning?InS. Gass and J. Schachter (Eds.) Linguistic perspectives on second language acquisition (pp.41–48). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781139524544.005
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139524544.005 [Google Scholar]
  7. Clahsen, H. & Muysken, P.
    (1996) How adult second language learning differs from child first language development: Commentary on Epstein et al.Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 19, 721–23. 10.1017/S0140525X00043600
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X00043600 [Google Scholar]
  8. Davydov, V. V.
    (1990) Types of generalization in instruction: Logical and psychological problems in the structuring of school curricula. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. De Rycker, A., & De Knop, S.
    (2017) Integrating Cognitive Linguistics and foreign language teaching: Historical background and new developments. Journal of Modern Languages, 19(1), 30–46.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Ellis, N. C.
    (2008) Usage-based and form-focused language acquisition: The associative learning of constructions, learned-attention, and the limited L2 endstate. InP. Robinson & N. C. Ellis (Eds.), Handbook of cognitive linguistics and second language acquisition (pp.372–405). London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Epstein, S., Flynn, S., & Martohardjono, G.
    (1996) Second language acquisition: Theoretical and experimental issues in contemporary research. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 19, 677–714. 10.1017/S0140525X00043521
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X00043521 [Google Scholar]
  12. Fillmore, C. J.
    (1967) The case for case. InE. Bach and R. T. Harms (Eds.), Universals in Linguistic Theory, (pp.1–88). New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Goad, H., & White, L.
    (2004) Ultimate attainment of L2 inflection: Effects of L1 prosodic structure. EUROSLA Yearbook, 4(1), 119–145. 10.1075/eurosla.4.07goa
    https://doi.org/10.1075/eurosla.4.07goa [Google Scholar]
  14. Goldberg, A. E.
    (1995) Constructions: A construction grammar approach to argument structure. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Jackson, C. N.
    (2007) Information, word order, and case markings during comprehension by L2 Learners of German. The Modern Language Journal, 91(3), 418–432. 10.1111/j.1540‑4781.2007.00588.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2007.00588.x [Google Scholar]
  16. Jordens, P.
    (1992) The cognitive function of case marking in German as a native and a foreign language. InS. Gass & L. Selinker (Eds.), Language transfer in language learning (pp.138–175). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/lald.5.11jor
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lald.5.11jor [Google Scholar]
  17. Kempe, V. & MacWhinney, B.
    (1998) The acquisition of case marking by adult learners of Russian and German. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 20(4), 543–587. 10.1017/S0272263198004045
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263198004045 [Google Scholar]
  18. (1999) Processing of morphological and semantic cues in Russian and German. Language and Cognitive Processes, 14(2), 129–171. 10.1080/016909699386329
    https://doi.org/10.1080/016909699386329 [Google Scholar]
  19. Köpcke, K. & Zubin, D.
    (1983) Die kognitive Organisation der Genuszuweisung zu den einsilbigen Nomen der deutschen Gegenwartssprache. Zeitschrift für germanistische LinguistikII, 166–182.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. (1984) Sechs Prinzipien für die Genuszuweisung im Deutschen: Ein Beitrag zur natürlichen Klassifikation. Linguistische Berichte, 93, 26–50.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Liamkina, O.
    (2005) The role of explicit meaning-based instruction in foreign language pedagogy: Applications of Cognitive Linguistics to teaching the German dative case to advanced learners (Doctoral dissertation). Available from Dissertations and Theses database (UMI No. 3193301).
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Liamkina, O. & Ryshina-Pankova, M.
    (2012) Grammar dilemma: Teaching grammar as a resource for meaning making. The Modern Language Journal96(2), 270–289. 10.1111/j.1540‑4781.2012.01333_1.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2012.01333_1.x [Google Scholar]
  23. Lipka, L.
    (1976) Topicalization, case grammar and lexical decomposition in English. Archivum Linguisticum, 7, 118–141.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Long, M. H.
    (1991) Focus on form: A design feature in language teaching methodology. InK. de Bot, R. B. Ginsberg, & C. Kramsch (Eds), Foreign language research in cross-cultural perspective (pp.39–52). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/sibil.2.07lon
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sibil.2.07lon [Google Scholar]
  25. Lysinger, D.
    (2015) The case for hidden meaning: An application of cognitive linguistics in the Russian classroom. InK. Masuda, C. Arnett, & A. Labarca (Eds.), Cognitive Linguistics and Sociocultural Theory: Applications for second and foreign language teaching (pp.233–258). Berlin: de Gruyter. 10.1515/9781614514442‑012
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9781614514442-012 [Google Scholar]
  26. MacWhinney, B.
    (1978) The acquisition of morpho-phonology. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 43(1).
    [Google Scholar]
  27. MacWhinney, B. J., Leinbach, J., Taraban, R., & McDonald, J. L.
    (1989) Language learning: Cues or rules?Journal of Memory and Language, 28, 255–277. 10.1016/0749‑596X(89)90033‑8
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0749-596X(89)90033-8 [Google Scholar]
  28. Meisel, J. M., Clahsen, H., & Pienemann, M.
    (1981) On determining developmental stages in natural second language acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 3, 109–135. 10.1017/S0272263100004137
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263100004137 [Google Scholar]
  29. Mills, A.
    (1986) The acquisition of gender: A study of English and German. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. 10.1007/978‑3‑642‑71362‑0
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-71362-0 [Google Scholar]
  30. Negueruela, E., & Lantolf, J.
    (2006) Concept-based instruction and the acquisition of L2 Spanish. InR. Salaberry and B. A. Lafford (Eds.) The art of teaching Spanish: Second language acquisition from research to praxis (pp.79–102). Buffalo, NY: University of Buffalo Center for Cognitive Science.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Pallotti, G.
    (2007) An operational definition of the emergence criterion. Applied Linguistics, 28 (3), 361–382. 10.1093/applin/amm018
    https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amm018 [Google Scholar]
  32. Pienemann, M.
    (1998) Language processing and second language development: Processability theory. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing. 10.1075/sibil.15
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sibil.15 [Google Scholar]
  33. Plonsky, L. & Oswald, F.
    (2014) How big is “big”? Interpreting effect sizes in L2 research. Language Learning, 64(4), 878–912. 10.1111/lang.12079
    https://doi.org/10.1111/lang.12079 [Google Scholar]
  34. Rankin, T.
    (2014) Word order and case in the comprehension of L2 German by L1 English speakers. EUROSLA Yearbook, 14, 201–224. 10.1075/eurosla.14.08ran
    https://doi.org/10.1075/eurosla.14.08ran [Google Scholar]
  35. Ritterbusch, R., LaFond, L., & Agustin, M.
    (2006) Learner difficulties with German case: Implications from an action research study. Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German, 39, 30–45. 10.1111/j.1756‑1221.2006.tb00014.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1756-1221.2006.tb00014.x [Google Scholar]
  36. Robinson, P.
    (1995) Attention, memory, and the ‘noticing’ hypothesis. Language Learning, 45, 283–331. 10.1111/j.1467‑1770.1995.tb00441.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-1770.1995.tb00441.x [Google Scholar]
  37. (2007) Task complexity, theory of mind, and intentional reasoning: effects on L2 speech production, interaction, uptake and perceptions of task difficulty. International Review of Applied Linguistics, 45(3), 193–213. 10.1515/iral.2007.009
    https://doi.org/10.1515/iral.2007.009 [Google Scholar]
  38. Salimi, A., & Dadashpour, S.
    (2012) Task complexity and language production dilemmas (Robinson’s Cognition Hypothesis vs. Skehan’s Trade-off Model). Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 46, 643–652. 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.05.177
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.05.177 [Google Scholar]
  39. Schmidt, R.
    (1990) The role of consciousness in second language learning. Applied Linguistics, 11, 129–158. 10.1093/applin/11.2.129
    https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/11.2.129 [Google Scholar]
  40. (1994) Deconstructing consciousness in search of useful definitions for applied linguistics. AILA Review, 11, 11–26.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. (1995) Consciousness and foreign language learning: A tutorial on the role of attention and awareness in learning. InR. Schmidt (Ed.) Attention and awareness in foreign language learning (pp.1–63). Honolulu, HI: Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Center, University of Hawai’i.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Schwartz, B. D., & Sprouse, R.
    (1994) Word order and nominative case in nonnative language acquisition: a longitudinal study of (L1 Turkish) German interlanguage. Language Acquisition Studies in Generative Grammar, 31(4), 71–89.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Thielmann, W.
    (2007) Fallstudie: Kasus in Sprachtheorie und Sprachvermittlung. Zielsprache Deutsch, 34(3), 11–34.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Tracy, R.
    (1986) The acquisition of case morphology in German. Linguistics, 24(1), 47–78. 10.1515/ling.1986.24.1.47
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.1986.24.1.47 [Google Scholar]
  45. van Compernolle, R. A., Gomez-Laich, M. P., & Weber, A.
    (2016) Teaching L2 Spanish sociopragmatics through concepts: A classroom-based study. The Modern Language Journal, 100(1), 341–361. 10.1111/modl.12318
    https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12318 [Google Scholar]
  46. VanPatten, B. & Borst, S.
    (2012) The roles of explicit information and grammatical sensitivity in Processing Instruction: Nominative-Accusative case marking and word order in German L2. Foreign Language Annals, 45(1), 92–109.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. VanPatten, B., Collopy, E., Price, J. E., Borst, S., & Qualin, A.
    (2013) Explicit information, grammatical sensitivity, and the first-noun principle: A cross-linguistic study in Processing Instruction. The Modern Language Journal, 97(2), 506–527. 10.1111/j.1540‑4781.2013.12007.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2013.12007.x [Google Scholar]
  48. Walter, D. R., & van Compernolle, R. A.
    (2017) Teaching German declension as meaning: a concept-based approach. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 11(1), 68–85. 10.1080/17501229.2015.1041961
    https://doi.org/10.1080/17501229.2015.1041961 [Google Scholar]
  49. White, L.
    (1986) Markedness and parameter setting: some implications for a theory of adult second language acquisition. InF. R. Eckman, E. A. Moravcsik, & J. R. Wirth (Eds) Markedness (pp.309-327). Boston, MA: Springer. 10.1007/978‑1‑4757‑5718‑7_16
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4757-5718-7_16 [Google Scholar]
  50. Zubin, D. & Köpcke, K.
    (1981) Gender: a less than arbitrary grammatical category. Chicago Linguistic Society17, 439–449.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

Most Cited

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error