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Title:The Effects of Attentional Focus, Presentation Mode, and Language Experience on Second Language Learners' Sentence Processing
Author(s):Binkowski, Donna Deans
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Lee, J.F.,
Department / Program:Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Bilingual and Multicultural
Language, Modern
Abstract:The present study sought to explore the effects of attentional focus, presentation mode, and level of language experience on second language (L2) learners' processing of Object-Verb-Subject sentences in Spanish. The Competition Model and the first language sentence processing research that centers on it served as one source of insight into the development of processing strategies. The information processing view of second language acquisition and L2 sentence processing research provided a second perspective for research design and analysis.
Second and third year university students of Spanish were presented with simple declarative sentences in either written or oral form and asked to complete one of three tasks: multiple choice picture selection, agent identification, or transcription. The multiple choice and agent identification tasks were designed to focus subjects' attention on processing for meaning, while the transcription task was a form-focused task. Cues to argument structure were systematically varied in the sentences in order to examine the specific cues attended to in processing.
The results of the present study suggest that L2 sentence processing is affected by the quantity of potentially conflicting cues to argument structure. In situations of greater cue conflict, learners are more likely to employ a work order processing strategy, attending only to nominal morphology. Subjects are more accurate in processing written sentences than those presented orally, and subjects with greater L2 experience are more accurate than less advanced subjects, regardless of attentional focus. However, subjects with greater L2 experience process written input for form in assigning argument structure, while those with less L2 experience do so only in transcribing cues.
The research presented here may provide insight into the importance learners assign to all types of cues to argument structure at varying levels of language experience and under a wide range of experimental conditions.
Issue Date:1992
Description:328 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1992.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9305468
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-17
Date Deposited:1992

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