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Validity of new measures of implicit knowledge: Distinguishing implicit knowledge from automatized explicit knowledge


Accumulating evidence suggests that time-pressured form-focused tasks like grammaticality judgment tests (GJTs) can measure second language (L2) implicit knowledge. The current paper, however, proposes that these tasks draw on automatized explicit knowledge. A battery of six grammar tests was designed to distinguish automatized explicit knowledge and implicit knowledge. While three time-pressured form-focused tasks (an auditory GJT, a visual GJT, and a fill in the blank test) were hypothesized to measure automatized explicit knowledge, three real-time comprehension tasks (a visual-world task, a word-monitoring task, and a self-paced reading task) were hypothesized to measure implicit knowledge. One hundred advanced L2 Japanese learners with first language Chinese residing in Japan took all six tests. Confirmatory factor analysis and multitrait-multimethod analysis provided an array of evidence supporting that these tests assessed two types of linguistic knowledge separately with little influence from the method effects. The results analyzed separately by length of residence in Japan (a proxy for the amount of naturalistic L2 exposure) showed that learners with longer residence in Japan can draw on implicit knowledge in the real-time comprehension tasks with more stability than those with shorter residence. These findings indicate the potential of finely tuned real-time comprehension tasks as measures of implicit knowledge.

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ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Yuichi Suzuki, Department of Cross-Cultural Studies, Kanagawa University, 3-27-1, Rokkakubashi, Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, 221-8686, Japan. E-mail:
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Applied Psycholinguistics
  • ISSN: 0142-7164
  • EISSN: 1469-1817
  • URL: /core/journals/applied-psycholinguistics
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