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Title:Markedness and instructed SLA: An experiment in teaching the Spanish subjunctive
Author(s):Pereira, Isabel
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):VanPatten, Bill
Department / Program:Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Language, Linguistics
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract:The present study has investigated the role of typological markedness on instructed second language acquisition (SLA). In particular, the study has examined whether instruction in a marked Spanish subjunctive use had an effect on the acquisition of this marked element and triggered the acquisition of unmarked subjunctive uses. For the purpose of the study, the instructional method used was processing instruction.
A typological hierarchy of subjunctive uses was investigated based on the typological and acquisitional literature. This study was focused on six subjunctive categories: VOL, PUR $>$ POSS, TEMP, EVAL $>$ CONC (volition, purpuse, temportal-anticipation, possibility, evaluation and concession). Based on previous research, it was hypothesized that processing instruction limited to a marked present subjunctive use--evaluation use--had a positive impact on learners' acquisition of this marked element and the effect of learning was generalized to the unmarked subjunctive uses--volition and purpose categories.
Subjects (68) were divided into two groups: (l) the marked subjunctive treatment group, who was taught in a marked use of present subjunctive and (2) the control group, who did not receive any explicit instruction on the target subjunctive uses. The effect of instruction was measured on a battery of pre- and post-tests, in which subjects completed two types of written tasks: one Grammaticality Judgment task to measure learners' gain on their knowledge of subjunctive and one Dialogue Completion task to measure learners' gain on the production of subjunctive. The scoring of tests were submitted for statistical analysis.
The results of the statistical analyses for the Grammaticality Judgment test and the Dialogue Completion test did not show a significantly important difference between the experimental and the control groups. However, the present study found limited support for the hypothesis by looking at some descriptive statistical measures. The results thus of the analyses on the level of difficulty of the different subjunctive items have pointed towards supporting the hypothesis, although the instructional effect was small.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Pereira, Isabel
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9712400
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9712400

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