Does the use of translation exercises lead to enhanced L2 morphosyntatic accuracy?

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Does the use of translation exercises lead to enhanced L2 morphosyntactic accuracy?
This paper presents some of the findings from a longitudinal, experimental project investigating the effect of translation as an L2 teaching/learning method on the morphosyntactic accuracy of advanced Swedish (L1) learners of English (L2). The subjects were first-year students of English at a Swedish university, and had had nine years of classroom instruction in English. The curriculum was communicative and translation was used judiciously. The paper covers one of the questions addressed by the project:
Do learners who have been exposed to translation exercises perform equally well on L2 morphosyntactic accuracy as learners who have done equivalent exercises directly in L2 when a) translating a text from L1 into L2, and b) writing more freely in L2?

The design was as follows: two groups of students were exposed to different exercises as part of their first-term course in English grammar. The exercises targeted relatively sophisticated structures in English of the kind that native speakers of Swedish generally have problems with. The ‘translation group’ was given translation exercises (L1 into L2), whereas the ‘non-translation group’ was exposed to exercises in English only, but targeting the same structures the same number of times. Students were randomly assigned to the two groups, and were taught by the same teacher for fifteen weeks. Identical pretests and posttests were used, as well as a short test in week 3, which measured the learning of one type of structure taught in the previous week.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Languages and Literature

Free keywords

  • L2 learning
  • translation
  • advanced learners
  • experimental
  • longitudinal


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