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This study extends the work of Paciorek and Williams (2015b) on implicit learning of semantic preference (abstract vs. concrete) in verb-noun collocates to advanced L2 learning. Importantly, it explores the contributive role of similarity between the testing items and the training items to the implicit learning obtained. The researcher conducted two experiments. In Experiment 1–advanced learners provided evidence for the implicit learning of the abstract vs. concrete distinction, a result that echoes Paciorek and Williams (2015b). In Experiment 2, another group of participants were made aware of the training-testing similarity before the test. Results showed a greater degree of implicit learning. Furthermore, a significant correlation was found between the obtained learning and the semantic relatedness. These findings confirm that semantic implicit learning is possible in L2 learning. They further add that the learning obtained is mainly driven by the semantic similarity between the training and test items.
Keywords: semantic preference; semantic–relatedness; implicit learning; false-memory; semantic generalization