Comparing Linguistic Learning Studies Comparison Essay by Nicky

Comparing Linguistic Learning Studies
A comparison of two studies on linguistic learning by Kormos and Safar (2008) and Mota (2003).
# 148995 | 724 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2011 | US
Published on Nov 17, 2011 in Communication (Language and Speech) , Linguistics (General) , Language (General)

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The paper examines differences in these two studies' conceptual designs, experimental methodologies and end results. The paper highlights the strengths of the Kormos and Safar study over the Mota study in its better design, more comprehensive methodology and more meaningful results.

Differences in Conceptual Design
Differences in Experimental Methodology

From the Paper:

"The Kormos and Safar study (2008) employed a non-word span test (Kormos & Safar, 2008 p 264) to establish one independent variable (short-term memory) and a backward digit span test to establish another independent variable (working memory). Combined with the crucial inclusion of both advanced foreign language learners and beginners, this experimental methodology allowed the researchers to consider the disparate effects and possible roles of different cognitive processes involved in performance not directly attributable to working memory alone.
"Conversely, the Mota study (2003) employed only a speaking (word) span test (Mota, 2003 p75) without any test of other cognitive processes potentially involved in foreign language learning and recall. Similarly, the non-word span test employed by the Kormos and Safar study, (2008) is a much more direct (and therefore, reliable) measure of raw memory, the word span test employed by the Kormos study (2003) introduces extraneous variables.
That is a function of the complex cognitive mechanisms involved in human language processing and speech, which Kormos explicitly acknowledges as possibly the most complex of all human cognitive processes (Levelt, 1995 in Kormos, 2003 p88). Given that characterization, the use of a word span test - in which performance could quite conceivably measure other variables besides raw working memory, such as parallel recognition and various other associative or pneumonic devices - instead of a non-word span test likely undermined the validity of the Mota study (2003) results."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Kormos, Judit, and Safar, Anna. "Phonetical short-term memory, working memory and foreign language performance in intensive language learning" Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Vol. 11, No. 2; 2008: 261-271.
  • Mota, Mailce Borges. "Working memory capacity and fluency, accuracy, complexity, and lexical density in L2 speech production" Florianopolis, Vol. 24; 2003: 69-104.

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