The role of negative and positive feedback in the second language acquisition of the passé composé and imparfait

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Abstract

This study tests the effectiveness of written recasts versus models in the acquisition of the aspectual distinction between two past tenses in French, the passé composé and the imparfait with a pretest, repeated exposure, and posttest design. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: R (recasting: implicit negative feedback), M (modeling: pre-emptive positive evidence), and G (grammar: explicit positive evidence and negative feedback). The M and R groups read a different story with illustrations each week: (a) In the M condition, participants were shown a sentence corresponding to the illustration for 3 seconds, then were asked to answer a related question; (b) in the R condition, participants formed a sentence with given elements based on the illustration, then were exposed to the correct answer for 3 seconds; (c) the G group read traditional grammar lessons, took a short practice, and were presented with the answer key. Posttest results reveal that the R group performed significantly better than the G group but not the M group, partially supporting the hypothesis that recasting is the most effective form of feedback.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-243
Number of pages18
JournalModern Language Journal
Volume85
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2001

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics

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