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The impact of instruction and out-of-school exposure to foreign language input on learners’ language proficiency in two languages

This cross-sectional study investigated the impact of formal instruction and informal language language learning on learners’ language proficiency in two foreign languages: French (first foreign language) and English (second foreign language).  We collected data from three subgroups: language learners in grade 8, grade 10 and the first year at university. Despite fewer years of English instruction, participants’ scores on a vocabulary and listening comprehension test in English were considerably higher than on the French tests, which can be explained by their large amounts ofout-of-school exposure to English language input. Participants’ online activities in particular had a positive effect on their vocabulary knowledge in English. The findings suggest that, although length of instruction correlated positively with vocabulary knowledge in English and French, the gains remained modest when out-of-school exposure to the foreign language input was limited. Although gender influenced participants’ engagement with online activities in English, gender did not have a direct effect on their vocabulary knowledge, as the structural equation modeling analysis showed.

Date:1 Jan 2015  →  20 Dec 2019
Keywords:extramural English, formal language instruction, informal language learning, out-of-school exposure, English, French
Disciplines:Language acquisition, English language, French language, Language didactics