The Use of Dictogloss as an Information Gap Task in Exploiting Dual Application Principle in Learning Irregular Verbs

Sirhajwan Idek, Lee Lai Fong


Irregular verbs are one of the most challenging grammatical structures for ESL students to learn. The Dual-Mechanism Model states that there are two mechanisms of how regular and irregular verbs are processed, regular verbs are processed through rule application mechanism whereas irregular verbs are retained and retrieved from associative memory. This sometimes results in the heavy use of rote-learning and raw memorization of irregular verbs in order for ESL learners to acquire these grammatical structures. However, it is implied that dictogloss, an information gap task, may assist learners to learn irregular verbs without strong emphasis on drilling and memorizing. 34 students of a vocational college in Malaysia were selected and assigned into an experimental group and a control group. The experimental group was given three types of dictogloss tasks involving three different cognitive processes of matching, ordering and listing which required them to conjugate irregular verbs whereas conventional drilling exercising was given to the control group. Paired and unpaired samples t-tests indicate that dictogloss is effective in facilitating learners’ mastery of past tense forms of irregular verbs. The findings from the questionnaire also denote positive perceptions on the tasks in assisting their learning of the target form. Hence, dictogloss can substitute drilling and memorizing exercise in learning irregular verbs.

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