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Title:Second Language Comprehension and Processing Grammatical Form: The Effects of Topic Familiarity, Mode, and Pausing
Author(s):Leeser, Michael John
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:According to VanPatten's (1996) second principle of input processing, second language (L2) learners are able to process grammatical form in the input only if they are able to process the informational content at little cost to attentional resources. Using this principle of input processing as a point of departure, this study examines possible ways of decreasing L2 learners' processing demands by increasing comprehensibility of the input. Specifically, the study examines how topic familiarity, mode (written input vs. aural input), and pausing affect comprehension and the ability of L2 learners of Spanish to process a new morphological form (the Spanish future tense) in the input. Two hundred sixty six participants in an accelerated beginning Spanish course were assigned to one of eight different groups in which they either read or listened to a short narrative in Spanish on either a familiar topic or an unfamiliar one. In addition, half of the listening groups encountered three-second pauses between each sentence. After listening to or reading the passages, the participants performed 4 separate tasks: a recall protocol, a multiple-choice test, a word recognition task to determine noticing of future forms in the passage, and a tense identification translation task to determine whether learners assigned futurity to the -ra Spanish morpheme. The scores on the tasks were submitted to a series of analyses of covariance (ANCOVA), and post hoc tests and revealed the following: (1) subjects comprehended more from written rather than aural input; (2) subjects comprehended more when the input deals with familiar topics; (3) subjects identified significantly more future forms after reading the passages than after listening to them; (4) subjects are less likely to make mistakes about forms they remember encountering when the input is in the written mode and/or deals with familiar topics; and (5) subjects are more likely to make form-meaning connections when the input is in the written mode. The significance of the results are explained within VanPatten's (1996) model of input processing regarding the relationship between comprehension and the making of form-meaning connections.
Issue Date:2003
Description:210 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3086116
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2003

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