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Contrasting contributions of phonological short‐term memory and long‐term knowledge to vocabulary learning in a foreign language

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The contributions of phonological short-term memory and existing foreign vocabulary knowledge to the learning of new words in a second language were compared in a sample of 40 Greek children studying English at school. The children's speed of learning new English words in a paired-associate learning task was strongly influenced by their current English vocabulary, but was independent of phonological memory skill, indexed by nonword repetition ability. However, phonological memory performance was closely linked to English vocabulary scores. The findings suggest that in learners with considerable familiarity with a second language, foreign vocabulary acquisition is mediated largely by use of existing knowledge representations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Durham, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2005

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