Procedural and Declarative Knowledge: The Swedish and Vietnamese learners' acquisition of knowledge in English grammar, and Pedagogical Implications




English language teaching, procedural knowledge, declarative knowledge, second language acquisition


In this study, the L2 acquisition of English third person-s in different settings is examined. Two types of knowledge are declarative knowledge as the knowledge about a grammatical rule, and procedural knowledge as the ability to use these rules in spoken production. Data on procedural and declarative knowledge was collected from 32 young L2 learners in Sweden and 44 in Vietnam. The learners' acquisition of English grammar was assessed using elicitation instruments that captured procedural and declarative knowledge of English subject-verb agreement on third person singular s (3-sg-s). Procedural knowledge was tested using communicative tasks where the participants were asked to describe a boy's habitual action orally in a picture series. Declarative knowledge of grammar was investigated by means of a metalinguistic task. The learners were asked to correct the sentences and explain the reasons for their choices by referring to grammatical rules. The average scores on procedural and declarative tests within each group were statistically analyzed. The results show differences in learner outcomes, in that the Swedish learners are better at procedural knowledge and the Vietnamese learners are better at declarative knowledge. It is suggested the two types of knowledge are independent of each other. Implications for language learning and teaching for young learners will be further discussed based on the teaching practices as found in Son (2018).

Author Biography

  • Vi Thanh Son, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

    Dr. Son is a senior lecturer/ assistant professor in English language education with the focus on learning and linguistics, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. She teaches different courses in English linguistics and the English teaching education program and supervises and examines degree projects (BA and Master theses in English and Education). As a linguist specialising in the teaching and learning of English, she is interested in English language learning and teaching from different contexts, a cross-linguistic perspective as well as from teachers’ and learners’ perceptions. Other research interests are grammatical aspects of second language acquisition (SLA), instructed SLA, form-focused instruction and language didactics, TESOL. She has presented her research at many international conferences and given guest lectures to different universities inside and outside Sweden.


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Research Article

How to Cite

Son, T. V. (2022). Procedural and Declarative Knowledge: The Swedish and Vietnamese learners’ acquisition of knowledge in English grammar, and Pedagogical Implications. International Journal of TESOL & Education, 2(1), 238-250.

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