Using Input and Tasks to Improve L2 Vocabulary Learning: The Examples of Acoustically Varied Speech and Opportunities for Target Word Retrieval



Professor of Spanish and Second Language Acquisition
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
Washington University in St. Louis



Associate Professor of Linguistics, Head of Germanic Studies
Director, German Basic Language Program
University of Illinois Chicago

12:00-1:00 pm CST, Friday, December 3, 2021

Session recording coming soon.


One of the main achievements of second language (L2) vocabulary research has been the discovery of concrete instructional interventions that help learners to develop their lexicon in the most effective ways. Research on lexical input processing, for example, has identified how certain types of input and learner-completed tasks can increase L2 word learning when compared to alternatives. In this presentation we review which types of input and tasks are effective while highlighting two specific examples. The first concerns how acoustically varied speech (based on the use of sources such as multiple talkers and multiple speaking styles) increases the quantity and quality of novel word learning among beginning L2 learners. The second example concerns how providing learners with receptive and productively oriented opportunities to retrieve target words improves word learning and retention. Both theoretical and instructional implications will be highlighted.

About the speakers:

Joe Barcroft is Professor of Spanish and Second Language Acquisition and Affliate Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. His research focuses on second language vocabulary learning; lexical input processing; acoustic variability in language learning and speech processing; and psycholinguistic approaches to issues in second language acquisition. His publications include articles in journals such as Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Language Learning, Applied Psycholinguistics, and Applied Linguistics and the books Input-Based Incremental Vocabulary Acquisition (2012, TESOL International) and Lexical Input Processing and Vocabulary Learning (2015, John Benjamins).

Susanne Rott is Associate Professor of Linguistics, Head of Germanic Studies and Director of German Basic Language Program at the University of Illinois Chicago. Her principal area of research is the development of lexical semantics in second language learners. She is particularly interested in (a) the acquisition of individual words, formulaic sequences, and lexical-grammatical constructions, (b) the impact of instructional interventions that foster the noticing and incremental acquisition and (c) the usage of conventionalized language by intermediate and advanced learners. Her research goals include (a) determining the complexity of lexico-grammatical constructions of German by applying tools from Cognitive Linguistic theory and (b) developing a language pedagogy that accounts for metaphorical aspects of language and meaning extensions, principles of construal, and the frequency of usage events. In her research she integrates linguistic, cognitive, and socio-motivational approaches to the study of classroom-based language learning. Her second area of interest concerns the effective integration of SLA theory and research and social networking technology to develop blended learning units.

Delivery format: Zoom meeting

Contact: Jana Martin, Associate Director, Language Institute. Email Jana for access to a recording of the session.

Sponsors: Language Institute and Second Language Acquisition Doctoral Program, with funding through the Anonymous Fund and the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic+.

The UW-Madison Language Institute is committed to inclusive and accessible programming. To request an accommodation for this event, please contact Jana Martin three business days in advance.