Type JournalArticle
Date 1998
Volume 9
Tags language learning
Journal ARELE: Annual Review of English Language Education in Japan
Pages 149--159

What Makes Language Learners False Beginners?: Data Analysis of Word Vocalization Performance


A study in Japan investigated second language skill loss and maintenance in three groups of English-as-a-Second-Language learners: (1) ninth graders studying basic vocabulary and sentence structures (true beginners); (2) students in the lowest level English class at a technical college, but with some English language skills (false beginners); and (3) successful students in the highest level English class at the college (successful learners). The research explored in what areas false beginners encountered backsliding, in which areas false beginners achieved better than true beginners, and what the main problems of false beginners were. Data were gathered using a standardized test of written and spoken (read-aloud) English, and a list of both regular and irregular English words, read aloud. Results indicate that the false beginners' backsliding occurred in comprehension, in which their skill level was about equivalent to that of true beginners. False beginners could read passages aloud better than true beginners, and the main difficulty for false beginners was in recoding and decoding of English words. Contains 17 references. (MSE)

Name Role
Tomoko Nakamura Author