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THE EFFECTS OF INFERRING, VERIFYING, AND MEMORIZING ON THE RETENTION OF L2 WORD MEANINGS: An Experimental Comparison of the “Meaning-Inferred Method” and the “Meaning-Given Method”

  • Jan-Arjen Mondria (a1)

This study investigated whether a word-learning method in which learners infer the meaning of unknown words from the context, subsequently verify the meaning with the aid of a word list, and finally memorize the meaning (“meaning-inferred method”) leads to better retention than one in which the meaning of unknown words is given in the form of a translation so that learners can immediately start memorizing (“meaning-given method”). Additionally, the learning effect of the various stages of the meaning-inferred method (inferring, verifying, and memorizing) was investigated. In all cases the amount of time invested was recorded. The most important findings were: (a) The meaning-inferred method leads to a similar level of retention as the meaning-given method, but the former is considerably more time-consuming and therefore less efficient; and (b) each separate stage of the meaning-inferred method leads to retention, but the learning effect of memorizing is the greatest, and the learning effect of verifying is about the same as that of inferring.

Corresponding author
Address correspondence to: Jan-Arjen Mondria, University of Groningen, Department of Language and Communication, P.O. Box 716, 9700 AS Groningen, the Netherlands; e-mail:
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Studies in Second Language Acquisition
  • ISSN: 0272-2631
  • EISSN: 1470-1545
  • URL: /core/journals/studies-in-second-language-acquisition
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