Article first published online: May 14, 2015
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This study aims to compare the effects of a Cognitive Linguistics-inspired (CLI) method with those of traditional teaching on Japanese English as a foreign language (EFL) learners’ understanding of dative alternation in English. A quasi-experimental research design was adopted in this study. A total of 62 Japanese university students were instructed to take part in the experiment. Judging from their scores of Oxford Quick Placement Test (OQPT, Version 2), students from two homogeneous classes in a university were placed in an experimental group (n = 31) and control group (n = 31) before evaluation by implementing the same grammaticality judgment test three times at the following time intervals: i.e. pre-test, post-test, and delayed test. After completing the pre-tests, a technique from the CLI method was applied to the experimental group, in which semantic prototypical verbs were introduced as effective input. Meanwhile, the control group received the traditional teaching method, where emphasis was on paraphrasing exercises. The scores on each test under the different methods were analyzed by means of two-way ANOVA, showing that the teaching method used in the experimental group had a significant effect on long-term retention: the CLI method resulted in more long-term progress compared to traditional teaching. In addition, the findings from a questionnaire-based survey indicated a significant difference in motivation to learn English grammar between two groups: the CLI method enhanced participants’ motivation to further learn English grammar more positively.