The Effects of Handing out Japanese Translation Beforehand on Activation of Top-Down Strategies in Spoken Word Recognition

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In listening, learners must turn to both bottom-up and top-down strategies in order to successfully parse the acoustic signals and segment the speech into individual words. However, topdown strategies are sometimes less fully utilized, especially by the listeners with lower levels of proficiency. In the present study, it is examined if providing the learners with semantic and contextual hints before listening would help activate their top-down strategies, thereby enhancing their word recognition. In the experiment, only the participants in the experimental group were given Japanese translations before dictation practices and instructed to guess on the text they would soon hear. The results showed that the participants in the experimental group fared better in the posttest even without the scaffolding of semantic and contextual cues than those in the control groups. In particular, their recognition of function words was significantly improved, which was presumably caused by their reference to contextual, semantic, and linguistic knowledge.


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