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Age/order of acquisition effects and the cumulative learning of foreign words: A word training study / Cristina, Izura
Journal of Memory and Language, Volume: 64, Issue: 1, Pages: 32 - 58
Swansea University Author: Cristina, Izura
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Early acquired words are processed faster than later acquired words in lexical and semantictasks. Demonstrating such age of acquisition (AoA) effects beyond reasonable doubt, andthen investigating those effects empirically, is complicated by the natural correlationbetween AoA and other word properti...
|Published in:||Journal of Memory and Language|
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Early acquired words are processed faster than later acquired words in lexical and semantictasks. Demonstrating such age of acquisition (AoA) effects beyond reasonable doubt, andthen investigating those effects empirically, is complicated by the natural correlationbetween AoA and other word properties such as frequency and imageability. In an effortto find a laboratory analog of AoA effects which would allow such issues to be addressedmore easily, we conducted three experiments in which participants learned foreign words,with some (‘early’) words trained from the outset while other (‘late’) words were introducedsome time later then interleaved with the early words. Order of acquisition effectswere observed in picture naming, lexical decision and semantic categorization, persistingfor several weeks after the end of training. The results demonstrate an important role fororder of acquisition in the formation of lexical representations that is independent of otherfactors such as cumulative frequency, frequency trajectory and imageability. Analyses ofcumulative learning effects offer the potential to investigate the differential impact of earlyand later experiences on the formation of lexical and other mental representations. Thediscovery of order of acquisition effects in word learning also has implications for classroomteaching of second language vocabulary.
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