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Title:The Effect of Textual Enhancement on Second Language Learner Reading Comprehension and Form Recognition
Author(s):Overstreet, Mark Holman
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):VanPatten, Bill
Department / Program:Spanish
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Abstract:Research in second language acquisition has established that some sort of focus on form may be beneficial to adult second language learners. One type of focus on form that has received attention is textual enhancement. The instructor attempts to draw the learner's attention to specific forms by using any of a variety of enhancement techniques, such as bolding, underlining, italics, and so on. Previous textual enhancement research, however, has produced equivocal results. The present study examined the effects of textual enhancement on second language learner reading comprehension and form recognition based on how much of the target verb was enhanced and the relative communicative value of the target items. Two main variables were defined. The first was amount of enhancement. In previous research with verbs, the entire verb word was enhanced. In the present study there are two enhancement conditions: whole word and morphology only. The second main variable was communicative value of the target. The progressive has high communicative value and the imperfect subjunctive has low communicative value. A total of 109 participants enrolled in third-semester Spanish read a text in one of five conditions: no enhancement, morphology enhancement/progressive, whole word enhancement/progressive, morphology enhancement/imperfect subjunctive, whole word enhancement/imperfect subjunctive. After reading the text, participants completed a free recall task and a form recognition task. Results on the free recall task suggest that neither of the main variables had an effect on global recall, but that enhancement of the entire word increased recall of target sentences. Results on the form recognition task suggest that amount of enhancement has no effect, but relative communicative value does have an effect. Learners detected and identified the item of higher communicative value more than the item of lower communicative value. These results indicate that textual enhancement of a form of lower communicative value does impede processing of both form and meaning, but that enhancement of the item of greater communicative value does not.
Issue Date:2002
Description:155 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2002.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3070405
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2002

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