DS0804 -

Word learning and development of the L2 lexicon in a school learning context – APPREL2

Submission summary

The APPREL2 project aims to provide an account of the learning and development of the foreign language (FL or L2) lexicon in a schooling context. This context is characterized by the fact that L1 reading acquisition in still ongoing in children and that exposure to the L2 is quantitatively low. The project draws upon theoretical models developed in cognitive psycholinguistics: first, the well-structured models of skilled visual word recognition in bilinguals (especially, the BIA and BIA+ models, Dijkstra et al, 1998; Dijkstra et al 2002); and second, the models developed to describe the process of learning to read in monolinguals (Ehri, 2014). The project aims to test a developmental version of bilingual visual word recognition, BIA-d (Grainger et al, 2010), and to extend it by integrating a phonological component. This approach will be complemented by a language-teaching perspective that aims to connect our experimental studies to classrooms situations and to situate (visual) word recognition within a broader spectrum of emerging L2 skill and knowledge. Models of L2 lexical development (DevLex, MacWhinney) will therefore also be considered. The scientific objectives are to demonstrate how L2 words are progressively integrated in the lexicon and to analyse how L1 –L2 lexical and sublexical information interacts. We will assess how L2 word processing, especially written words, evolves according to children’s age and reading level. We also will examine orthographic processing during L2 word learning. How FL lexicon development is related to reading skills will also be explored through the impact of a partial L2 school immersion on the learning of a L3. The challenge is to trace the benefits of the early learning of two languages and the mastery of two systems of grapheme to phoneme correspondences. The project is organized into four tasks. Task 1 consists of compiling a lexical database, from textbooks, reflecting English written language instruction in secondary school. Quantitative analyses will define word lexical and sublexical characteristics, which will be used to construct assessments of L2/L3 word acquisition. The written database will be completed by transcripts of lessons. The following three tasks are organized according to participant age –leading to the use of different paradigms: word learning in primary school vs. visual -and to a lesser extend spoken- word recognition in secondary school- and the L2/L3 learning context (traditional vs. after partial immersion in L2). Task 2 aims to assess L2 word recognition development in secondary school via several experiments and will focus on L1 and L2 lexical and sublexical interactions. Task 3 is designed to investigate the effects of partial L2 immersion during L3 word processing, in terms of the development of both linguistic and word recognition skills. The aim is to assess the effects of partial immersion in L2 during L3 word processing, in terms of both linguistic development and word recognition. Task 4 uses learning experiments conducted with developing reading at primary school to assess the contribution of orthographic information in L2 word memorization. Task 4 also includes experiments in immersion programs in order to locate the benefits of the immersion situation by manipulating the L2/L3 linguistic proximity of words in word learning experiments.
The project brings researchers with expertise in reading acquisition, L2 word learning, lexical databases and language teaching. The main deliverables from the project are a lexical database for L2 English words in secondary school, dissemination papers, and concrete methodological recommendations for L2 teaching. Scientific papers will be submitted to high-impact journals and conferences, and papers will be published in professional journals to reach leading players (teachers, conseillers pédagogiques, the Inspection) in foreign language teaching in primary and secondary schools.

Project coordination

Séverine Casalis (Université de Lille - Sciences Humaines et Sociales)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LPNC - CNRS ALPES Laboratoire de Psychologie et NeuroCognition UMR 5105
EA CRTT - UNIV LYON 2 Centre de recherche en terminologie et traduction (CRTT)
UNiversity of Dundee
University of Minho
LPC - UNISTRA Laboratoire Psychologie des Cognitions
UDL - SHS Université de Lille - Sciences Humaines et Sociales

Help of the ANR 304,500 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: October 2016 - 48 Months

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