Beginning ESL Learners’ Noticing of Morphological and Syntactic Changes in Recasts

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Sunhee Song


Recasts, a type of implicit corrective feedback, are thought to be capable of drawing learners’ attention to mismatches between their non-target-like items and the corresponding target forms. While a great many studies have tried to compare the effectiveness of recasts, few have attempted to determine whether learners actually notice the language forms used in the recasts. The present study has sought to bridge this gap by investigating the extent to which beginning learners actually notice the morphological and syntactic changes that occur in recasts of their non-target-like utterances in the context of dyadic oral interaction. The participants in the study, two Korean beginning learners of English, received intensive recasts of their morphological and syntactic errors over a period of four months. Learner responses were taken as the primary indication of noticing, which is viewed in this study as “what is both detected and then further activated following the allocation of attentional resources” (Robinson, 1995, p. 297). Results suggest that the learners’ noticing was constrained not only by the number of changes in the recasts, but also by the linguistic domains of those changes. Issues related to the study’s findings, such as working memory capacity and perceptual salience, are discussed.

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