Dr. Carrie Jackson
March 22, 2024
9:00 am

Dr. Carrie Jackson

“How Prediction and Adaptation Leads to Learning Among Beginning and Intermediate L2 Learners”

Carrie Jackson Ph.D.
Professor & Department Head, Penn State
Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages
and Literatures

Some argue that structural priming and adaptation rely on implicit learning mechanisms, involving adjustment to linguistic representations due to experiencing prediction error (e.g., Chang et al., 2006). This view of priming as implicit learning has gained interest in L2 acquisition, yet the nature and magnitude of adaptation among L2 speakers does not always parallel that of L1 speakers (see Jackson, 2018, for review). A possible explanation lies in potential differences in how much L1 and L2 speakers engage in predictive processing: If L2 learners are less likely to engage in prediction, they would experience less prediction error, and consequently less adaptation. Under this account, if L2 learners are explicitly forced to predict the structure of an upcoming (prime) sentence, they will be more likely to experience prediction error, and hence show greater priming and adaptation. In this talk, Carrie Jackson will present results from several recent studies showing that explicitly forcing learners to predict the structure of an upcoming (prime) sentence leads to greater priming and adaptation compared to simply copying a prime sentence (e.g., Grüter et al., 2021). Findings implicate prediction as a possible learning mechanism in both beginning and intermediate-level L2 learners, but they also highlight the limits of such a mechanism for fostering longer-term learning and learning that extends to the development of more generalizable grammatical knowledge, especially among beginning-level learners.