Type of task, time-on-task and electronic dictionaries in incidental vocabulary acquisition

Monica Hill, Batia Laufer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A computer-based study compared the effect of three task types on incidental L2 vocabulary learning, on task-induced amount of dictionary activity and time-on-task. Ninety-six Chinese ESL students read a text containing twelve unfamiliar target items and performed one of the three tasks: a form-oriented production task, a form-oriented comprehension task or a meaning-oriented task. The text was presented on computer and the words could be looked up in electronic glosses. The results of immediate and delayed vocabulary tests showed that the two form-oriented tasks yielded better results than the meaning-oriented task. There was no significant difference in time-on-task, but there was a significant difference in the amount of dictionary activity the tasks generated. We concluded, therefore, that an important factor determining task effectiveness for vocabulary learning is the amount of word-related activity that the task induces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-106
Number of pages20
JournalIRAL - International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching
Issue number2
StatePublished - 21 Jul 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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