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Bookmark and Share Paper 3096

Embodied Experiences in Second Language Learning of English Modal Verbs
Sakol Suethanapornkul
181-192 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Human bodily states influence and shape many aspects of cognitive processing. In language, physiological experiences (e.g., force and gravity) ground abstract linguistic constructions. The present study tested the role of embodied experiences in second language (L2) learning of English modals, a notoriously difficult construction for many learners. A simple computerized game was created such that participants under the embodied condition manipulated characters following modal verb prompts on the screen (e.g., You must drive a car, You may call the hotel), with the aim of strengthening the mapping between embodied experiences and modal verbs. Alternatively, through a computerized self-instruction program, participants in the non-embodied condition studied modal verbs along with their corresponding functions and did communicative activities. Results demonstrate that participants in both conditions significantly performed better on the test after the training. There was no significant difference in the post-test scores of the two conditions; however, the fact that participants in the embodied group showed substantive gains highlights some benefits of embodied learning. Implications for future research are discussed.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 2012 Second Language Research Forum: Building Bridges between Disciplines
edited by Ryan T. Miller, Katherine I. Martin, Chelsea M. Eddington, Ashlie Henery, Nausica Marcos Miguel, Alison M. Tseng, Alba Tuninetti, and Daniel Walter
Table of contents
Printed edition: $290.00