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Desirable difficulties while learning collocations in a
second language: Conditions that induce L1 interference
Bilingualism: Language and Cognition
Published online: 11 October 2019, pp. 1-16
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Learning conventional verb-noun combinations in a second language is known to be highly problematic when word
choices differ from those in the native language. Grounded on recent proposals of desirable difficulties in vocabulary
learning (Bjork & Kroll, 2015), we tested Spanish learners of English on a new paradigm that aimed to induce
interference from the native language during lexical selection in a second language, as a way to train regulation of
the dominant language. Results showed that recall rates were significantly higher in the group of learners that
practiced in conditions of L1-interference. Faster RTs showed more efficient lexical selection in those same learners.
Additionally, RTs revealed that the more successful learners in both groups incurred a cost in accessing verb choices
congruent with the native language, a finding that is consistent with an inhibitory account.
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