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The lone language learner: a diary study

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Francis Jones


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This article, based on a learner diary, analyses an adult's self-study of Hungarian over a period of 11 months. Despite the complexity of Hungarian grammar, lexis was rated as the major learning priority. Personalized, real-message practice tasks appeared vital, not only for input to become automatized, but also in motivation terms. In terms of real-life performance, a lack of speaking practice was less problematic than a lack of listening practice. Learning strategies changed with increasing proficiency—not incrementally, but in terms of radical paradigm shifts. The crossing of two linguistic thresholds appeared crucial here—the gaining of a large enough stock of word-roots to enable many compound lexical items to be guessed, and the ability to read authentic texts. Below these thresholds, strategies were mainly studial and coursebook-centred; above, comprehensible-input and autonomous strategies played a major role, though comprehensible input appeared inefficient without the backup of studial strategies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jones FR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: System

Year: 1994

Volume: 22

Issue: 4

Pages: 441-454

ISSN (print): 0346-251X

ISSN (electronic): 1879-3282

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/0346-251X(94)90001-9


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