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CLL Session 3: L2 Research Methodology LAEL, Lancaster University Florencia Franceschina.

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Presentation on theme: "CLL Session 3: L2 Research Methodology LAEL, Lancaster University Florencia Franceschina."— Presentation transcript:

1 CLL Session 3: L2 Research Methodology LAEL, Lancaster University Florencia Franceschina

2 Exercise: Investigating the effects of instruction A teacher has drilled her students in the structure called 'indirect questions': Do you know where my book is? Do you know what time it is? Did he tell you what time it is? As a direct result of the drills, all students in the class were able to produce the structure correctly in class. After class, a student came up to the teacher and asked: Do you know where is Mrs Irving? In other words, only minutes after the class, in spontaneous speech, the student used the structure practised in class incorrectly.

3 1. What do you think is the reason for this misuse? 2. Had the lesson been a waste of time? 3. How would you find out? 4. What can you conclude from this example? G&S (2001: 13)

4 Problem: Is this competence or performance? One can only ever observe performance, and infer competence from it. Then … How can one be confident that particular performance samples are a reflection of competence of the type we are targeting?

5 Towards a solution 1. Select tasks in a careful and principled way 2. Whenever possible, elicit more than one type of performance measure and then triangulate.

6 Another common problem Elusive language: Some types of language are usually very hard to find (at least in enough quantities) Solution: Be as inventive as possible!

7 Exercise: Devise a task to elicit many examples of questions in children in a way that is as natural as possible.

8 Methodological decisions What do you want to find out about learner language? What design and data are appropriate for your RQ? – Longitudinal vs. cross-sectional designs – Experimental vs. naturalistic data – Investigating competence vs. performance – Triangulation

9 What types of learners will you be working with? – Child vs adult – Literate vs illiterate – Educated vs uneducated – Level of L2 proficiency – Etc. The above will restrict your choice of tasks.

10 Are you clear about: – the theory of language that you will adopt? (e.g., functionalist, formalist, etc.) – the theory of language learning that you will adopt? (e.g., UG-based, emergentist, etc.) Your answers to these questions will determine the type of data/analysis that will be appropriate for your study.

11 Types of analyses What type of linguistic analysis is required? – Sociolinguistic – Linguistic – Psycholinguistic – Neurolinguistic – Etc.

12 What level of linguistic analysis is required? – Phonetic – Phonological – Morphological – Syntactic – Semantic – Pragmatic – Stylistic This will determine the basic units of analysis that are appropriate.

13 Warning A common mistake is to assume to accuracy (i.e., target- like behaviour) is the only relevant criterion in interlanguage analysis However, other criteria can also be informative, such as Decrease incomplete absence of an L2 feature Increase in attempts at expressing that L2 feature Temporary oversuppliance of an L2 feature Increased accuracy

14 Types of data Exercise: Classifying tasks and data

15 Tools for analysis Transcription conventions (e.g. LIDES manual CLAN ( Wordsmith, etc. Statistics Psychological testing (e.g., working memory tests)

16 Some commonly used techniques for analysis SOC TLU MLU (mean length of utterance) MLS (mean length of sentence) MTUL (mean T-unit length) Type/token ratio … Exercise: Trying out SOC and TLU

17 Resources 1. Corpora CHILDES ICLE (International Corpus of Learner English; see Graeme Hughes about access) 2. Other Linguist-List web site SLARG links page

18 Reading Gass, S. and L. Selinker 2001: Second language acquisition. An introductory course. (2nd edition) Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. (Chapter 2)

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