The effect of vocal production on vocabulary learning in a second language

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The Production Effect (PE) is a memory phenomenon, referring to memory advantage for produced items (read aloud) over non-produced items (read silently). Since vocalizing shows consistent memory benefits, it has been suggested as a mnemonic that can be used to assist vocabulary learning. The present study investigated the PE in L2 vocabulary learning and examined whether learning is durable over time. Hebrew speaking students learned new words in Esperanto, either by vocal production or by no-production. Retention interval varied between participants – from immediate, 1-week, and 2-weeks following the learning phase. The results showed a significant PE – a memory advantage for vocally produced over non-produced words across all learning intervals. Memory performance was higher in the immediate tests than in the delayed tests. The produced words were more durable and showed less memory decay over time. These findings support using vocalization as a simple yet effective memory tool in the first stages of L2 learning, as a classroom activity and as a homework practice assignment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-98
Number of pages20
JournalLanguage Teaching Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Production effect
  • Second language learning
  • Verbal memory
  • Vocabulary learning
  • Vocalization


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