How do differences in exposure affect English language learning? A comparison of teenagers in two learning environments


out-of-school input
in-school input
linguistic distance

How to Cite

Muñoz, C., & Cadierno, T. (2021). How do differences in exposure affect English language learning? A comparison of teenagers in two learning environments. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 11(2), 185–212.

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This study investigates whether potential differences in the weight of out-of-school and in-school learning environments affect the acquisition of L2 English by teenagers in two geographical contexts, more and less English-rich, and with less and more linguistic distance to English, respectively. Participants were two groups of 14-15-year-olds, from Denmark and Spain. Language measures included a listening comprehension test, a metalinguistic knowledge test, and a grammaticality judgment test. Data about out-of-classroom exposure was elicited via a questionnaire. The study showed that (a) the Danish group attained a significantly higher level in all language tests except for the metalinguistic knowledge test; (b) the Danish group engaged longer in out-of-school activities although the preference for some activities over others was similar in the two groups; and (c) the types of associations between out-of-school activities and language measures were different between the two groups. These results suggest that the potential influence of out-of-school activities on different language aspects is related to the particular context in which the L2 is learned and to the language proficiency of the learner.


Grant PID2019-110594 from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation

Grant SGR 560 from the Catalan Agency for Management of University and Research Grants

the students, parents and teachers of the schools

Anastasia Pattemore

Elsa Tragant

Mikkel Hansen


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