The Role of Prosody and Explicit Instruction in Processing Instruction

Nick Henry, Carrie N. Jackson, Jack Dimidio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This study investigates the role of prosodic cues and explicit information (EI) in the acquisition of German accusative case markers. We compared 4 groups of 3rd-semester learners (low intermediate level) who completed 1 of 4 Processing Instruction (PI) treatments that manipulated the presence or absence of EI and focused prosody. The results showed that, when training included EI or prosodic cues, the groups improved on comprehension and production tasks in an immediate posttest. Four weeks after training, the groups sustained gains on the comprehension task, but not on the production task. Participants who did not receive EI or prosody only showed improvement on the comprehension task in the immediate posttest and did not sustain these gains. These findings replicate previous findings on the role of EI in PI, showing an advantage for EI with the target form (e.g., Henry, Culman, & VanPatten, 2009). Moreover, the results suggest that prosodic cues help learners process morphosyntactic forms, and that they can enhance grammar instruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-314
Number of pages21
JournalModern Language Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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