While some researchers have claimed that, compared to children, adults have a reduced ability or are incapable of learning language unconsciously (implicitly), studies using artificial languages have shown that adults can acquire grammar rules implicitly, provided they receive ample language input. This project extends the latter line of research by investigating whether these findings also hold when a purely natural language (German) is used. In addition, we link the question of implicit learning with that of noticing the gap, that is, the conscious registration of a mismatch between the learner’s interlanguage form (eg. *the sheeps) and the input target form (eg. the sheep). L2 German learners of intermediate to advanced proficiency level will take part in two experiments targeting a stem vowel change (eg. sprechen > spricht) in strong German verbs. The first experiment measures the learners' ability to perceive the stem-vowel change in spoken input when production data suggest this form is not fully acquired yet. The second experiment, which involves the same participants and takes place one year later, tests participants’ ability to use the stem vowel as a cue to grammatical number (singular or plural) during real-time listening. By combining performance data on both tasks, we can study whether noticing the gap (experiment 1) functions as a precursor to learning (experiment 2) and integrate these two distinct lines of research in the literature.
Effective start/end date1/01/1531/12/18

    Research areas

  • linguistique et littérature, linguistics and literature

    Flemish discipline codes

  • Linguistics not elsewhere classified

ID: 3614493