Immersion through technology
Is Version Of
This study examined whether second language (L2) vocabulary could be learned receptively when a familiar technology's language interface was changed to a learner's L2. More specifically, this study analyzed beginner level Spanish language learners who switched their language interface on Google's email system, Gmail, from their native language to Spanish. To ascertain what vocabulary words were learned receptively through interacting with the Gmail interface in the L2, a pretest with 25 target words (5 of them distractors) was administered to assess the participants' knowledge prior to interacting with the L2 interface. Two weeks later, following the participants' interaction with the L2 interface, a posttest containing the target words was administered, and the posttest scores were compared with the pretest scores to determine whether or not vocabulary growth had occurred. In addition to the tests, the participants were timed and asked to rate the difficulty level of completing various email tasks in the L2 interface at the beginning and end of the study. These times and ratings were analyzed to see whether navigating the L2 interface became less of a burden over time. Also, at the end of the study, the participants were asked to answer questionnaire that addressed how they felt about switching the Gmail interface to their L2. The data from the tests, timings, difficulty ratings and questionnaire suggest that the majority participants learned vocabulary receptively when they were forced to interact with the target words in Gmail; they found navigating the L2 interface to be fairly easy; and they would consider switching the interfaces of other technology applications to their L2 in order to learn more vocabulary.