Effects of immediate task repetition, prompt type, and time pressure on repeated retrieval of vocabulary

  • C.A.M. de Jong (Speaker)
  • J.M. Seman (Speaker)

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic


Repeated retrieval is beneficial for retention of new or familiar words (e.g., Barcroft, 2007; Karpicke & Roediger, 2007) and for retrieval speed (Snellings et al., 2002). because both vocabulary size and retrieval speed support oral fluency (cf. MacWhinney, 2007), the present study investigated whether repeated retrieval of vocabulary items can be promoted by a fluency‐building task. Specifically, it examined the effects of immediate task repetition, prompt type, and time pressure.

In studies on repeated retrieval, words are usually practiced in isolation or in sentence contexts. For teaching purposes, however, it is important to know if repetition can be encouraged in more communicative tasks (cf. Gatbonton & Segalowitz, 2005). This was shown for the 4/3/2 task, in which second language learners speak about a topic for four minutes, and repeat their speech in three and two minutes, respectively (de Jong & Perfetti, 2011). Speakers reused words across repeated deliveries.

The present study partially replicated the de Jong & Perfetti study (2011), with two changes. First, the original study used general topic prompts, such as likes and dislikes. However, these allow for much variability between speakers and retellings. The present study constrained vocabulary choice by using picture story prompts. It was found that speakers reused more words across all three deliveries with picture prompts than with topic prompts. Second, the effect of time pressure was studied: a time pressure group performed the regular 4/3/2 task with progressively less available time, while for a no time pressure group the available time remained constant across deliveries (3/3/3). Time pressure may promote oral fluency (de Jong, 2012) by encouraging greater reliance on recently used, and thus readily accessible words. However, a comparable number of words was repeated across deliveries under both time pressure conditions. In sum, the findings of the current study suggest that immediate repetition of a communicative task can promote repeated retrieval of lexical items. While picture prompts further promote repeated retrieval, time pressure does not promote or hinder it. Ongoing analyses will show whether repeated retrieval leads to increased oral fluency as well.
Period21 Oct 2012
Event titleSecond Language Research Forum
Event typeLecture