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Title:The effects of simplification, linguistic item, and language experience on second language learners' attention to form contained in the input
Author(s):Leow, Ronald Philip
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Lee, James F.
Department / Program:Spanish, Italian and Portuguese
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Language, Linguistics
Education, Educational Psychology
Abstract:Cognitive theory postulates that during the early stages of second language acquisition (SLA), constraints on adult second language (L2) learners' information processing mechanism are largely responsible for what is attended to in the input. Recently, some psycholinguistic studies have begun to investigate the domain of input processing in an effort to understand what L2 learners attend to in the input and how they process this input. Some studies specifically address the concept of intake, which is distinct from input. Intake is defined in this study as that part of the input that has been attended to by L2 learners while processing input.
The present study addresses three important issues that can contribute to a better understanding of the cognitive processes L2 learners use while processing written input, namely, the effects of simplification, type of linguistic item, and L2 language experience on learner's attention to form contained in the input.
Forty-nine second L2 learners of Spanish in the first semester of university study and 88 learners in the fourth semester received one of the following 4 conditions: a simplified or unsimplified reading passage with the present perfect form or a simplified or unsimplified reading passage with the present subjunctive form. The dependent variable used to measure learners' attention to form was the mean gain scores obtained on a pre- and post test. The task was a multiple-choice recognition assessment task.
A significant main effect was found for simplification, with no other significant main effects nor significant interactions. Subjects exposed to the simplified reading passage allocated significantly more attention to the linguistic items in the input than those learners exposed to the unsimplified reading passage. Sample mean gain scores for the non-significant interaction between passage and language experience were submitted to t-test comparisons which reveal that simplification is responsible for a significant difference in attention between the first semester learners.
These results address the role of simplified written input at the level of intake in SLA, and provide information on the type of linguistic form L2 learners attend to in written input and how different levels of language experience process this input.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Leow, Ronald Philip
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9136657
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9136657

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