1992．第20卷第2期（Vol. 20 No. 2）．pp. 113129
Teaching English Vocabulary to Cantonese-speaking Students with the Keyword Method
See-Shing YEUNG & Rex M. HEYWORTH（楊書誠、夏偉富）
Effectiveness of four instructional conditions for teaching 18 English target words in a 35-min session to Cantonese-speaking Chinese students in Hong Kong was examined in two experiments. The four conditions were: (a) The context method which placed the target word in a linguistic context exemplifying its meaning, (b) the keyword method which provided a Cantonese sound similar to the target English word and a picture showing the referent of the target word and that of the Cantonese keyword interacting with each other, (c) the context + keyword method which applied both strategies a and b, and (d) rote-memory control. In Experiment 1 with 101 low-ability subjects in Form 4, the keyword method and the context + keyword method were found to be effective in enhancement of immediate recall and delayed recall two weeks and ten weeks after initial acquisition. Retention rates in conditions b and c were better than those in conditions a and d. In Experiment 2, a comprehension subtest of a standardized English examination was used to categorize 240 Form 3 subjects from 8 classes of 2 schools into high- and low-ability groups. Analysis with a 4 (conditions) × 2 (abilities) × 2 (immediate test and 2 weeks' delayed test) ANOVA with repeated measures indicated condition by ability interaction. High-ability subjects did not differ significantly in either of the tests; but in the delayed test, low-ability context + keyword subjects outperformed the context subjects and the control subjects, and keyword subjects outperformed the context subjects. Retention rates of low-ability subjects in conditions b and c were better than those in conditions a and d at both levels of ability. The keyword method proved to be a potential effective mnemonic aid in a classroom situation to supplement the context method in vocabulary instruction to low-ability Chinese learners of English as a second language, and it has the potential to minimize the difference between high- and low-ability learners.