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Title:An Investigation of English Structure Rules in Adult Learners of English as a Second Language
Author(s):Pluto, Joseph A.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Abstract:Following Corder's (1981) suggestion for the use of intuitional data and building on the study by Schachter, Tyson, and Diffley (1976) of learners' judgements of grammaticality, adult students of English as a Second Language were asked to correctly judge the grammaticality of English sentences containing eight selected preposition structure errors. The errors were selected from compositions written by Spanish speakers of varying English ability. The sentences were presented in three test formats: a paired-comparison task, an isolated rating task, and a multiple-choice task. Contrastive analysis was used to hypothesize a sequence of acquisition for three pairs from among the selected errors. Eight three-way analyses of variance were performed with combined scores for each structure as the dependent variable and with first language background (Spanish or non-Spanish), TOEFL group (high or low), and test type (I, II, or III) as the independent variables. The following error structures were found to be attributable, in part, to Spanish language interference:
1A have that+VERB 1B have+O+VERB2A VERB+a+human OBJECT 2B VERB+to+human OBJECT
3B for to+VERB
The results failed to support a Spanish interference origin for the following errors:
3A for+VERB
TOEFL group by language background interactions for Structures 1A, 1B, and 2A suggest that these errors were more typical of the lower TOEFL group (X(' )=(' )370) than of the higher TOEFL group (X(' )=(' )467). A hierarchy of difficulty of the structures, derived from Tukey comparisons of mean scores on each, has implications for hypothesizing a sequence of acquisition. The analyses suggest that the process of acquisition of a grammar structure is not a process of word-by-word additions and deletions. Implications are presented for test development and classroom practices, including the individualization of materials and instruction for teaching the selected preposition structures.
Issue Date:1982
Description:125 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1982.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8302964
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1982

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