Enhancing metalinguistic knowledge

Preterite and imperfect in L2 Spanish


  • Gabriela Adela Gánem-Gutiérrez University of Essex




metalinguistic knowledge, preterite vs imperfect, Sociocultural theory, tense/aspect


Framed within a Sociocultural theory perspective to L2 learning, this article investigated the potential of a suite of pedagogical materials for enhancing metalinguistic knowledge in a foreign/second (L2) language context. The linguistic focus of the project was the tense-aspect system, specifically the contrast between the Preterite and the Imperfect in Spanish given the challenges this poses for L2 learners. Six L1 English university students of L2 Spanish at intermediate level volunteered to participate in the study. Drawing on a pre/post-test research design as well as qualitative microgenetic analysis, the study revealed that all the participants benefited from the treatment and interaction with the pedagogical materials. The finding also reveal interesting insights into metalinguistic and strategic resources used by the participants to describe contrasts between the Preterite and Imperfect. The article concludes by discussing pedagogical and research implications regarding the alternative approach to L2 explicit grammar instruction considered in this study.


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How to Cite

Gánem-Gutiérrez, G. A. (2016). Enhancing metalinguistic knowledge: Preterite and imperfect in L2 Spanish. Language and Sociocultural Theory, 3(1), 27–54. https://doi.org/10.1558/lst.v3i1.28803