Recent Submissions

  • Computerized Dynamic Assessment of Vocabulary Knowledge (CDA-V): Vocabulary Depth Assessment and Zone of Proximal Development

    Luke, Javon; Department of Applied Linguistics
    This study presents the Computerized Dynamic Assessment of Vocabulary (CDA-V). The CDA-V is an existing depth of vocabulary assessment approached with Dynamic Assessment. The Word Associates Test (Read, 1993) and Graduated Prompts (Gutiérrez-Clellen & Peña, 2001), respectively. As a result of this combination, the CDA-V measures both depth and partial depth of vocabulary knowledge. The impact of the CDA-V’s Graduated Prompts was examined with 32 native English speakers. I focused on four aspects of the CDAV. The impact of mediation on the CDA-V’s duration, the usefulness of the CDAV’s scores, the types of errors produced throughout the CDA-V, and the connection between typing correctness and speed and depth of vocabulary knowledge. Results indicated that mediation greatly impacted the CDA-V’s overall duration. To minimize this impact an appropriate cut off point maintain the benefits of mediation such as assessing partial knowledge while limiting the negatives of a longer duration. Additionally, the results showed that CDAV’s scores were useful. Specifically, the CDAV did not produce a ceiling effect and the scores recognized the differences between individuals with similar amounts of knowledge. Also, the results indicated that collocation errors occurred significantly more than association errors. Furthermore, an analysis of typed responses in the study revealed that if typed correctly individuals are significantly more likely to answer the subsequent CDAV question quickly. In addition, the fewer number of mediations used predicts faster typing speeds. In other words, the amount of mediation significantly predicts the speed of the preceding typing task. I argue that depth and Dynamic Assessment more accurately assesses how well an individual ‘knows a word’ than current vocabulary assessment standards. Additionally, I demonstrate that depth and Dynamic Assessment can be recognized as a potential new alternative in vocabulary assessments. Finally, potential practical applications of the CDA-V and recommendations for further research are discussed. Ultimately, the CDA-V may be the first depth assessment approached with Dynamic Assessment, thus encouraging future unorthodox vocabulary assessments to improve the assessment of whether an individual ‘knows a word’ and the degree to which they ‘know the word’.
  • The effects of various combinations of form-focused instruction techniques on the acquisition of English articles by second language learners of English

    Lloyd, Jackie S.; Department of Applied Linguistics
    Although English articles (the/a(n)) are two of the most frequently occurring words in the language, second language (L2) learners of English tend to exhibit extraordinary difficulty acquiring them. Uniquely resistant to instruction and often overlooked due to a lack of inherent meaning, articles are a suitable linguistic target for form-focused instruction (FFI), an approach that has demonstrated its efficacy over decades of research, across multiple domains of instructed L2 acquisition. With the aim of integrating attention to form into communicative L2 instruction, FFI encompasses numerous instructional techniques that promote various types of linguistic processing that contribute to L2 learning. The current study in particular focuses on three proactive FFI techniques—input enhancement, metalinguistic explanations, and practice—that sequentially facilitate noticing, awareness, and practice, respectively (Lyster, 2007, 2017; Ranta & Lyster, 2018). Targeting English articles, an experimental study was conducted to measure the differential effects of various combinations of the three FFI techniques, in order to examine the benefits attributable to each technique and its corresponding linguistic processing. Forty-six L2 learners of English were randomly assigned to four conditions: input enhancement only (n = 12); input enhancement and metalinguistic explanations (n = 11); input enhancement, metalinguistic explanations, and practice (n = 11); and a control condition (n = 12). The L2 learners each completed six hours of online English lessons. The three treatment groups received instruction on English articles according to their respective condition, while the control group received general instruction with no focus on articles. The participants’ knowledge of English articles was measured by four tasks (i.e., grammaticality judgment task, metalinguistic knowledge task, elicited imitation task, and picture-description task) in a pretest, an immediate posttest, and a delayed posttest. Results showed that the group that received input enhancement and metalinguistic explanations exhibited clear and durable gains in the metalinguistic knowledge task after the lessons. Furthermore, a subset of participants who benefitted the most from the instructional treatment revealed two factors in common, which were their article-less native languages and a high level of participation during the lessons. Based on these results, the present study contributes meaningfully to the current understanding of FFI and the L2 acquisition of English articles. In addition, it seeks to bring L2 research and L2 pedagogy one step closer together by offering evidence-based insights that further inform instructed L2 acquisition.
  • Examining the morphological decomposition of complex words in native and non-native speakers of English

    Chattha, Osama; Department of Applied Linguistics
    Word knowledge is an essential component of second language acquisition. For many second language learners of English, acquiring new words can be a difficult task. Understanding the structure of words may be a valuable strategy for vocabulary development. This study examines the processing of morphologically complex English words by native and non-native speakers of English in a word typing task. The evaluation of the stimuli through word typing is also explored as a possible measure of functional ability in English in non-native speakers. A total of 270 complex affixed words were used as stimuli with true and pseudo-affixed words making up the real word-stimuli and novel-possible and novel-impossible stimuli. A total of 33 native speakers completed the lexical decision task in Experiment One that provided a validity check on the stimuli. Experiment Two had 52 native and 55 non-native speakers complete a typing task. Results indicated that complex real affixed words were typed more quickly than complex novel affixed words. Of particular interest were changes in typing speed at the morpheme boundary within a word. Native speakers displayed a greater slowing at the morpheme boundary than the non-native speakers, indicating a greater sensitivity to the internal structure of words. With respect to functional ability, the results suggest that typing sensitivity to morpheme boundaries relates to more general functional ability.
  • Co-activation in the bilingual lexicon: Evidence from Chinese-English bilinguals

    Gallant, Jordan; Department of Applied Linguistics
    Investigation of the bilingual mental lexicon suggests that one of its defining characteristics is integration. Words across both languages are subject to parallel co-activation during language processing. An auditory stimulus typing task was used to assess connectivity on the basis of both morphology and phonology. English loanwords in Chinese and transparent English noun-noun compounds with Chinese translation equivalents with corresponding compound structure (corresponding compounds) were used as the critical stimuli. Accent was also manipulated to determine whether or not phonological cues may influence the degree of cross-linguistic co-activation. Results suggest cross-linguistic co-activation on the basis of phonological overlap in different script bilinguals but only weakly supported morphological integration in Chinese-English bilinguals. Accent led to greater co-activation of phonologically similar loanword pairs. Results are discussed in terms of inhibitory control, language acquisition, and the structure of the bilingual lexicon.
  • The Effects of Drama on Oral Fluency and Foreign Language Anxiety: An exploratory study

    Galante, Angelica; Department of Applied Linguistics (Brock University, 2013-03-20)
    Previous research has suggested that drama has positive effects on learners' oral communication and anxiety; however, it is unclear which dimensions, or to what extent, they are affected by drama. This research narrows the investigation by examining how a drama-based EFL program impacts three dimensions of oral communication: fluency, comprehensibility, and accentedness, and one anxiety factor - foreign language speaking anxiety (FLSA) -, over time. Speech samples were collected from EFL learners in a treatment and a control group, and subsequently assessed by untrained Canadian-born raters. FLSA levels were measured through questionnaires and interviews. Pre- and post-test analysis indicate that learners in the treatment group made significant gains in oral fluency while oral fluency among learners in the control group remained unchanged. There was a significant reduction in FLSA levels among learners in both groups. Finally, qualitative analyses suggest that drama activities, among others, enhance learners' comfort levels in speaking English.