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Grammaticality judgment tests (GJTs) have been used to elicit data reflecting second language (L2) speakers’ knowledge of L2 grammar. However, the exact constructs measured by GJTs, whether primarily implicit or explicit knowledge, are disputed and have been argued to differ depending on test-related variables (i.e., time pressure and item grammaticality).
Using eye-tracking, this study replicates the GJT results in R. Ellis (2005). Twenty native and 40 nonnative English speakers judged sentences with and without time pressure. Analyses revealed that time pressure suppressed regressions (right-to-left eye movements) in nonnative speakers only. Conversely, both groups regressed more on untimed, grammatical items. These findings suggest that timed and untimed GJTs measure different constructs, which could correspond to implicit and explicit knowledge, respectively. In particular, they point to a difference in the levels of automatic and controlled processing involved in responding to the timed and untimed tests. Furthermore, untimed grammatical items may induce GJT-specific task effects.
Ellis (2005) and his coresearchers developed
a number of tests with a view to providing relatively separate measures of
explicit and implicit knowledge. The aim in the development of these tests
was to resolve a continuing problem in SLA studies—namely the
construct validity of tests used to measure acquisition—and, more
specifically, to provide a basis for investigating the relationship
between implicit and explicit knowledge (i.e., the strong interface, the
weak interface, and the noninterface positions).
This article reviews previous studies of the effects of implicit and
explicit corrective feedback on SLA, pointing out a number of
methodological problems. It then reports on a new study of the effects of
these two types of corrective feedback on the acquisition of past tense
-ed. In an experimental design (two experimental groups and a
control group), low-intermediate learners of second language English
completed two communicative tasks during which they received either
recasts (implicit feedback) or metalinguistic explanation (explicit
feedback) in response to any utterance that contained an error in the
target structure. Acquisition was measured by means of an oral imitation
test (designed to measure implicit knowledge) and both an untimed
grammaticality judgment test and a metalinguistic knowledge test (both
designed to measure explicit knowledge). The tests were administered prior
to the instruction, 1 day after the instruction, and again 2 weeks later.
Statistical comparisons of the learners' performance on the posttests
showed a clear advantage for explicit feedback over implicit feedback for
both the delayed imitation and grammaticality judgment posttests. Thus,
the results indicate that metalinguistic explanation benefited implicit as
well as explicit knowledge and point to the importance of including
measures of both types of knowledge in experimental studies.This research was funded by a Marsden Fund grant
awarded by the Royal Society of Arts of New Zealand. Researchers other
than the authors who contributed to the research were Jenefer Philip,
Satomi Mizutami, Keiko Sakui, and Thomas Delaney. Thanks go to the editors
of this special issue and to two anonymous SSLA reviewers of a
draft of the article for their constructive comments.
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