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Wednesday, August 12 • 3:00pm - 3:25pm
The Effect of Shadowing on Subvocal Rehearsal in L2 Reading: An Experiment Using NIRS for Japanese ESL Learners

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Shadowing is a task for improving listening and speaking abilities in L2, in which learners track the heard speech and repeat it as exactly as possible while listening attentively to incoming messages. In the discussion of the effectiveness of the shadowing practice, Kadota (2007, 2012) argues that one of the potential effects of the L2 shadowing is to enhance the speed and efficiency of the subvocal rehearsals in the phonological working memory, and to enhance implicit learning of lexical chunks such as formulaic sequences, etc.

The experiment to be reported is an attempt to compare the brain activation in shadowing and listening and to investigate how shadowing and listening practices differently affect the learners’ behavioral and neural process of subvocalization in reading English silently. Twenty-eight participants learning English as a foreign language (FL) in Japan were instructed to subvocalize (i.e., utter internally) a total of ten English passages in pre- and post-tests while tracing with a cotton swab the lines of the text they were reading, and their behaviors were video-taped. In addition, the learners’ cerebral activities (i.e. the amount of oxyhemoglobin) were measured using the NIRS (near-infrared spectroscopy: Shimazu FOIRE 3000) with a set of 24 channels for each of the left and right hemispheres. The main results were:

1) Shadowing leads to significantly more cerebral activation than listening in such regions as the Broca’s area, frontal cortex, etc..

2) While no significant difference is observed as to the cerebral activation between the after-shadowing and after-listening reading tests, there is a significant increase in reading comprehension rate and conscious subvocalization speed in the after-shadowing reading test.

With these findings, the present research suggests that shadowing may not only enhance the L2 learners’ cerebral activities but increase the L2 learners’ while-reading subvocal rehearsal efficiency in the phonological working memory.

This presentation was made possible with contributions from the following researchers:

HASE, Naoya, Kwansei Gakuin University
NAKANO, Yoko, Kwansei Gakuin University
NORO, Tadashi, Aichi Gakuin University
SHIKI, Osato, Kwansei Gakuin University
KAZAI, Koji, Kwansei Gakuin University


Shuhei Kadota

Professor, Kwansei Gakuin University

Mariko Kawasaki

Kwansei Gakuin University

Hiroshi Nakanishi

Tohoku Gakuin University

Wednesday August 12, 2015 3:00pm - 3:25pm
Barker 110 (Thompson) 12 Quincy St, Cambridge, MA