The Role of Perceptual Simulation in L2 Vocabulary Acquisition

Min Zhu, L. David Ritchie

Abstract


Research in embodied cognition suggests that perceptual simulation may play a role in language comprehension. In this study we use a combination of experimental and qualitative research to explore the potential of simulation exercises to improve acquisition of esoteric literary English vocabulary by English majors at a Chinese University. Through quantitative analysis of the data from one pre-test and two post-tests of the experimental and control groups, and qualitative examination of the student feedback collected from an open-ended survey and face-to-face interviews, we find that most of the students in both conditions have simulations of the learned words whether based on self-determined Chinese trigger words or given English language prompts to them, and skilled language learners intuitively adopt perceptual simulations. The research findings give teachers some enlightenment on the pedagogical strategies that might encourage less proficient learners to incorporate perceptual simulations in their study habits.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/wjel.v10n2p18

World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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