Date of Award

12-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

German

Major Professor

Thorsten Huth

Committee Members

Bernard Issa, Maria Stehle

Abstract

Both children and adults naturally play with language, manipulating it for the purpose of enjoyment. A growing body of research in the last twenty years or so demonstrates that such ludic language play entails a variety of benefits for second language learners. I focus in this thesis on the intersection between language play and vocabulary acquisition. Ludic language play entails several processes known to aid in the learning of words, and instructors can implement planned language play tasks in the classroom. In this thesis, I present materials which I designed for beginning language students around the concept of language play, and I demonstrate how these materials elicited language play in my own beginning German class at the University of Tennessee. Based on my research on language play and vocabulary acquisition, I offer a framework for how instructors can design materials which use ludic language play to teach vocabulary.

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