Volume 4, Issue 1 April 2021, pp. 1–17 Download PDF

Regular Articles

To the best of my memory and belief: Learning new language forms

Konrad Szczesniak https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3669-49831, & Hanna Sitter https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9166-25062

1 Palacky University Olomouc, CZECHIA konrad.szczesniak@upol.cz
2 University of Silesia, POLAND h.sitter@us.edu.pl

DOI: https://doi.org/10.29140/ajal.v4n1.376


We propose a previously unexamined factor instrumental in learning vocabulary accounting for the differences between learning a native and a foreign language: the development of critical thinking in adolescence. We hypothesize that the difficulties experienced in foreign vocabulary development result from the learner’s readiness to question new information. Following Gilbert’s (1991) claim that rigorous critical thought is the last to emerge and children are prone to accept propositions uncritically, we suggest that it is to this absence of doubt that children owe their success in remembering lexical items after a single exposure, a phenomenon referred to as fast mapping. The rationale is that the mental belief systems are memory’s filtering mechanism for what to retain: information labelled as questionable is allowed to decay without being granted access to long-term memory. We present the results of an experiment suggesting that memory of new language forms is enhanced by the learner’s conviction in their validity.


© Konrad Szczesniak, Hanna Sitter

CC  4.0
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Suggested citation

Szczesniak, K., & Sitter, H. (2021). To the best of my memory and belief: Learning new language forms. Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(1), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.29140/ajal.v4n1.376

Related Articles:

Beginning again
Glenn Stockwell
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 1 April, 2018, Volume 1(1), 1–2. Download PDF

Insights from replication on the factors affecting task engagement in mobile-based learning activities
Glenn Stockwell
Technology in Language Teaching and Learning Published: 28 June, 2019, Volume 1(1), 33–51. Download PDF

Syntactical and lexical development in NNS-NNS Asynchronous CMC
Glenn Stockwell
The JALT CALL Journal Published: 31 December, 2005, Volume 1(3), 33–49. Download PDF

Investigating an intelligent system for vocabulary learning through reading
Glenn Stockwell
The JALT CALL Journal Published: 31 December, 2013, Volume 9(3), 259–274. Download PDF

Review of Developing writing skills for IELTS: A research-based approach
Hassan Mohebbi
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 28 April, 2021, Volume 4(1), 34–36. Download PDF

Making global knowledge accessible to EFL speakers of an undergraduate leadership program through a flipped and ubiquitous learning environment
Nobue Tanaka-Ellis, Sachiyo Sekiguchi
Technology in Language Teaching and Learning Published: 28 June, 2019, Volume 1(1), 3–20. Download PDF

Encouraging autonomy through the use of a social networking system
Adrian Leis
The JALT CALL Journal Published: 30 April, 2014, Volume 10(1), 69–80. Download PDF

Exploring EFL teachers’ professional identity development in a CALL teacher preparation program
Hussein Meihami, Rajab Esfandiari
The JALT CALL Journal Published: 25 August, 2021, Volume 17(2), 135–157. Download PDF

(Re)imagining a course in language and intercultural communication for the 21st century
Adriana Raquel Díaz, Paul J. Moore
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 29 December, 2018, Volume 1(3), 83–99. Download PDF

Reframing and hospicing mobility in higher education: Challenges and possibilities
Adriana Raquel Díaz, Marisa Cordella, Samantha Dispray, Barbara E. Hanna, Anna Mikhaylova
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 19 April, 2021, Volume 4(1), 106–121. Download PDF