Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Language instruction improved with fun and games

Date:
April 16, 2013
Source:
University of Nottingham
Summary:
Playing simple games using words and pictures can help people to learn a new language with greater ease, researchers have shown.

Playing simple games using words and pictures can help people to learn a new language with greater ease, researchers from The University of Nottingham have shown.

Their study, published by the scientific journal PLOS ONE, revealed that using fun, informal ways of learning not only helped complete novices to acquire a new language but also made more traditional methods of language learning more effective.

PhD student Marie-Josée Bisson of the University's School of Psychology, who led the study along with Drs Walter van Heuven, Kathy Conklin and Richard Tunney, said: "The results of this study have implications not only for language learning and teaching, but also for anyone interested in improving their knowledge of a foreign language.

"They show that informal exposure can play an important role in foreign language word learning. Through informal exposure, learning can occur without intention, in a more effortless manner. Anyone attempting to learn another language would benefit from activities such as simple games using foreign language words and pictures, or foreign language films with subtitles where they can enjoy the activity without focusing on trying to learn the words. The results of this study suggest that these kinds of informal activities can facilitate language learning, even days afterwards."

There are many advantages to learning a foreign language, such as a better understanding of another culture or better employment prospects in an increasingly multilingual society. However, picking up another language can be a difficult process.

Many language learners believe that informal learning -- for example, watching a foreign language film or spending time in another country immersing oneself in the culture -- is helpful for learning the lingo.

This has now been validated by the results of the Nottingham study, which used spoken and written foreign language words along with pictures depicting their meaning to measure foreign vocabulary learning in complete novices.

In the first phase of the study, English speakers who did not know any Welsh, viewed Welsh words on a computer screen and were asked to indicate whether a particular letter appeared in each word. While viewing the word, they also heard the word being spoken and saw a simple picture showing its meaning. Importantly, the pictures and spoken words were irrelevant to their task and they had not been asked to 'learn' the Welsh words.

In the second phase of the study, English speakers were explicitly asked to learn the correct translations of Welsh words. They were presented with pairs of written English words and spoken Welsh words and had to indicate each time whether the English word was the correct translation of the Welsh. Information about whether or not their responses were correct was provided so that they could learn the correct translations. Importantly, half of the Welsh words had been presented in the first phase of the study.

Results indicated that participants performed better on the Welsh words they had previously been exposed to, indicating that during their informal exposure they had started to learn the meaning of the Welsh words.

Better performance in the explicit learning task was found immediately after the informal exposure as well as the next day. The researchers found that participants retained knowledge unintentionally learnt during the informal phase even as much as a week later following further explicit learning of the Welsh words.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Nottingham. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marie-Josée Bisson, Walter J. B. van Heuven, Kathy Conklin, Richard J. Tunney. Incidental Acquisition of Foreign Language Vocabulary through Brief Multi-Modal Exposure. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (4): e60912 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060912

Cite This Page:

University of Nottingham. "Language instruction improved with fun and games." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130416085302.htm>.
University of Nottingham. (2013, April 16). Language instruction improved with fun and games. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130416085302.htm
University of Nottingham. "Language instruction improved with fun and games." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130416085302.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins