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Title:Pronoun Reference Assignment in English as a Second Language (Esl, Reading)
Author(s):Cruickshank, Donald William
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Educational Psychology
Abstract:This study examines the use of six pronoun reference strategies by speakers of English as a Second Language (ESL). The types of reference strategies studied are related to anaphoric or back-reference in English discourse.
The instrument used to test these anaphoric strategies was a 78-item test measure which contained a number of exemplar sentences of each of the six reference strategies studied. These sentences were written in both reversed and non-reversed orders. Members of the foreign student population at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) from a wide range of first language backgrounds and with a similarly wide range in ESL proficiency were tested. A group of adult native speakers of English who were graduate students at the UIUC also took the test and were used as the control group for the experiment.
The test measure was programmed on to the UIUC's PLATO computer, and the subjects took the test at a computer terminal, and the data were stored by subject identification numbers on PLATO. This allowed for easy retrieval of the data for analysis.
The principal method used for analyzing the data was regression analysis. For the regression analyses the dependent variables of correct choice and reaction time were regressed on the independent variable, English language proficiency as stated in terms of the subjects' scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Additionally, points of mean significant differences were computed where possible, to indicate the point on the regression line beyond which the non-native subjects behaved similarly at the .05 level, to the native speaker controls.
These analyses revealed that the non-native speakers had a greater degree of difficulty in using pragmatic reference strategies than in using a purely grammatical strategy for solving anaphoric reference problems. It was further shown that, generally non-native speakers correctly employ pragmatic strategies for anaphoric reference as they increase in English proficiency. Finally, implications of the study for future research and for teaching in ESL are discussed.
Issue Date:1984
Description:166 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1984.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8502119
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1984

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