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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Expert Knowledge, Distinctiveness, and Levels of Processing in Language Learning
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science
Subject Language: English
Abstract: The foreign language vocabulary learning research literature often attributes strong mnemonic potency to the cognitive processing of meaning when learning words. Routinely cited as support for this idea are experiments by Craik and Tulving (C&T) demonstrating superior recognition and recall of studied words following semantic tasks (“deep” encoding) compared to structure-related tasks (“shallow” encoding). However, participants in C&T were not language learners but native speakers of English studying known English nouns. These experiments have never been directly replicated using nonnatives to establish the relevance of the findings to nonnatives and learners. The present study replicated C&T Experiment 5, comparing effects of shallow and deep encoding tasks on subsequent recognition of target words by native and nonnative speakers of English with equivalent short-term memory function. The results showed depth effects similar to C&T for all participants, indicating that C&T's results do generalize to less proficient speakers of the target language. It is crucial, however, that nonnative speakers of English benefited less from semantic encoding than native speakers, suggesting an effect of preexisting knowledge representations on mnemonic effects derived from semantic processing, and hence, a limit to the relevance of C&T for learners. Results are discussed in terms of the constructs of the mental lexicon, expert knowledge, distinctiveness and levels of processing in memory research and language learning.


This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 33, Issue 4.

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