The effects of processing instruction and its components on the acquisition of gender agreement in Italian

Alessandro Benati

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This paper reports an experimental investigation of the relative effects of processing instruction, structured input activities and explicit information on the acquisition of gender agreement in Italian adjectives. Subjects were divided into three groups: the first received processing instruction; the second group structured input only; the third group explicit information only. One interpretation and two production measures were used in a pre- and post-test design (immediate effect only). The results were similar to those of previous studies (e. g. Benati, 2003; VanPatten Oikkenon, 1996). The processing instruction group and the structured input group made significant gains on a sentence-level interpretation test and a sentence-level production test, while the explicit information group made no gains. The structured input group also made identical gains to the processing instruction group in the oral production task, compared to the explicit information group. The findings strengthen the evidence from previous studies regarding the positive effects of structured input practice ? this time, with a different processing problem, a different structure and a more spontaneous and communicative task.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)67-80
Number of pages14
JournalLanguage Awareness
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • input processing, processing instruction, structured input activities, explicit, information

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