Language Learning Journal vol:40 issue:1 pages:65-79
This article reports a small-scale study that investigated the effect of (1) an instructional method, viz. directing learners’ attention to formulaic sequences (FS) in a text, and (2) typographic salience, i.e. bold typeface and underlined, on foreign-language (FL) learners’ recall of FS and single words (SW). Twenty-eight FL learners read a glossed German text in two conditions. The experimental group was instructed to pay attention to both FS and SW during reading and write down unfamiliar FS and SW, whereas the control group was instructed to pay attention to unfamiliar vocabulary in general. All the participants were forewarned that a vocabulary posttest would follow the reading task. Unlike the control group, the experimental group was explicitly told that they would have to translate SW as well as FS into German. The target items were divided into 12 SW and 12 FS. Half of these SW and FS were underlined and printed in bold typeface, the other half was not. The results indicate that typographic salience had an effect on participants’ recall scores, whereas the instructional method did not. Furthermore, the effect of typographic salience seemed to be particularly beneficial for learning FS. These findings suggest that typographic salience facilitates FL learners’ noticing and learning of unknown lexical items and of FS in particular.