Language Teaching Research vol:18 issue:1 pages:75-94
This paper examines how form recall of target lexical items by EFL learners is affected 1) by repetition (1, 3 or 5 number of occurrences), 2) by the type of target item (single words versus collocations), and 3) by the time of post-test administration (immediately or one week after the learning session). The learning treatment consisted of non-communicative, (partly) decontextualized activities, in which the target items (12 single words and 12 collocations) occurred once, three or five times. In all activities, participants had to supply the target items’ form. Data were collected in a classroom setting in two groups, differing only in the time of test administration. In group 1, participants took two unannounced post-tests, one test immediately after the experimental treatment and the second one two weeks later, whereas participants in group 2 took their first unannounced post-test only one week after the experimental treatment and the second test two weeks after the treatment. The findings showed a large effect of repetition that was independent of the time of post-test administration. The difference in recall scores of items occurring once or five times appeared to be crucial in both groups and for both single words and collocations. Moreover, the effect of repetition was durable. The results also indicated that collocations were more difficult to learn than single words.