The effects of explicit instruction on written accent mark usage in basic and intermediate Spanish heritage language courses

Antoni Fernández Parera, Andrew Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study measured the impact of explicit instruction on accent usage in the written production of Spanish heritage language (SHL) learners. 163 university students were divided into two types of basic—and intermediate—level SHL courses: one in which they received explicit instruction regarding accent marks (EI), and another in which they did not (non-EI). Findings suggest that the effectiveness of explicit instruction depends upon level of study and task type. In EI, the accuracy of first semester SHL students improved significantly, while their counterparts in non-EI course showed no appreciable gains. The case of intermediate-level learners, who had some prior formal study, was more variable. Although high-, mid-, and low-performing learners in second semester EI courses showed significant improvement in a dictation task (while their non-EI counterparts did not), performance on open-ended exam responses did not reflect significant improvement. In the analysis we consider task effects and within-group differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-31
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Spanish Language Teaching
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Accent marks
  • formal instruction
  • heritage language learning
  • literacy
  • spelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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