Phonological memory predicts second language oral fluency gains in adults

Irena O'Brien, Norman Segalowitz, Barbara Freed, Joe Collentine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship between phonological memory and second language (L2) fluency gains in native English-speaking adults learning Spanish in two learning contexts: at their home university or abroad in an immersion context. Phonological memory (operationalized as serial nonword recognition) and Spanish oral fluency (temporal/ hesitation phenomena) were assessed at two times, 13 weeks apart. Hierarchical regressions showed that, after the variance attributable to learning context was partialed out, initial serial nonword recognition performance was significantly associated with L2 oral fluency development, explaining 4.5-9.7% of unique variance. These results indicate that phonological memory makes an important contribution to L2 learning in terms of oral fluency development. Furthermore, these results from an adult population extend conclusions from previous studies that have claimed a role for phonological memory primarily in vocabulary development in younger populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-581
Number of pages25
JournalStudies in Second Language Acquisition
Volume29
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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