Woorden in het vreemde-talenonderwijs
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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In the recent literature on the methodology of foreign language teaching there is a growing consensus that new words should be presented in texts and not in vocabularies. The theoretical background of this assumption is explained through Van Parreren's theory of trace systems in memory.In particular it is argued that a good retention of new words requires that the traces of meaningfully related words be connected in many diffe-rent ways. Words in texts are already so connected (whereas words in vo-cabularies etc. are not). Moreover it is also possible to treat words in texts in a number of different ways.Although it is thus generally acknowledged that presenting words in texts is preferable, little is known about the nature of the psychological processes of comprehending and retaining new words when presented in texts. In order to gain insight into these processes a qualitative investigation was carried out. Texts in different foreign languages were read by adult subjects. These texts contained several words unknown to them. These words were tested twice: after a short and after a longer interval. While recalling the meaning of the words the subjects had to think aloud.These recall protocols were qualitatively analysed with respect to a number of questions. It was concluded that presenting words in texts offer many possibilities to ''embed" words in meaningful memory systems.However some linguistic and psychological conditions (concerning the text and the treatment of the text by the subjects) have to be taken into ac-count. In particular attention has to be paid only to a part of the unknown words, i.e. to the words in linguistically favourable positions. As a fa-vourable psychological condition for comprehension and retention diversity of treatment of the target words by the subjects seems to be required.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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