Incidental acquisition of receptive versus productive knowledge of adjective-noun order in the first exposure through input-based tasks: A case of Iranian young learners of English


Rostamzadeh, Maryam*
English Department, University of Isfahan, Iran (

Youhanaee, Manijeh
English Department, University of Isfahan, Iran (

Barati, Hossein
English Department, University of Isfahan, Iran (


Being a first exposure one, the current study aimed at answering Gullberg et al.’s (2010) call for studying the relationship between the earliest stages of acquisition in reception and production in order to elucidate how the two modes of language use may interact in the early stages of acquisition. As such, this study was an attempt to compare the effect of first exposure to L2 through input-based tasks on the receptive and productive acquisition of adjective-noun order. The participants of the study were 20 female Persian-speaking young EFL learners aging eight to ten with no prior experience of EFL learning and thus no knowledge of English. An input-based task, in the form of a listen-and-do task, was performed with plenty examples of adjective-noun order, then assessment tasks of comprehension and production of the target grammatical feature were administered to the participants. Unlike the fact that English and Persian employ different word orders for the target feature, L1 effect did not impede the subjects’ acquisition. The reason for this success can be traced back either to the age of participants and on the other hand to the way in which the input-based task facilitated the acquisition. Turning to the relationship between receptive and productive knowledge, results revealed that first exposure learners had a significantly better gain on production of this feature than its comprehension thus supporting more recent views concerning the possibility of the primacy of language production over language comprehension.

Keywords: input-based task; listen-and-do task; incidental learning; young EFL learners; receptive knowledge; productive knowledge



*Corresponding Author