The relative efficacy of explicit and implicit feedback in the learning of a less-commonly-taught foreign language

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Abstract

In an attempt to test the generalizability of the role and contributions of interactional feedback in second language acquisition, this study examines the issue in the context of learning Korean as a less-commonly-taught foreign language at the post-secondary level. Further, it looks into the explicitness of feedback as a factor in foreign language learning. While explicit feedback contains an alternative correct form, along with metalinguistic comments on a learner's non-target-like form, implicit feedback partially or fully repeats or reformulates a learner's ill-formed utterance with no reference to the source of the non-target-like form. Thirty-four English-speaking learners of Korean were randomly assigned to the following groups: (1) explicit feedback; (2) implicit feedback; and (3) no feedback (control). The research design of pre-test - post-test - delayed post-test consisting of one grammaticality judgment test and one picture description test was utilized. Analyses of the results showed that the experimental groups outperformed the control group, which supports the beneficial role of feedback in the context of learning Korean as a foreign language. There was no statistically significant difference between explicit vs. implicit feedback in facilitating learner knowledge of the target form. The findings provide support for the potential benefits of implicit feedback without interrupting the flow of conversation during dyadic interaction. Implications for further research on interactional feedback and its explicitness are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-324
Number of pages22
JournalIRAL - International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching
Volume47
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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