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The acquisition of the subjunctive mood by intermediate-level learners of Spanish: the relationship between mood and modality

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This study examines the effect that the modality (volition, doubt, emotion, belief, knowledge, etc.) of matrix noun clauses has on the ability of intermediate (second-year) Spanish L2 students (n=56) to

This study examines the effect that the modality (volition, doubt, emotion, belief, knowledge, etc.) of matrix noun clauses has on the ability of intermediate (second-year) Spanish L2 students (n=56) to properly produce the subjunctive and indicative moods, the relative order in which students tend to most accurately produce the subjunctive in response to the modalities of volition, doubt, and emotion, and students' level of syntactic ability and mood development. Each participant took a test consisting of twenty questions containing various modalities intended to elicit either the subjunctive or indicative mood. Participants also filled out a questionnaire that was designed to ascertain the participants' level of formal and informal experience with Spanish. The results of this study show that a) when the subjunctive was the target response most participants favored the unmarked indicative mood significantly more than the marked subjunctive mood, b) students most accurately produced the subjunctive to the modality of volition (VL), followed by doubt (DT), and emotion (EM), which is consistent with Collentine's study, and c) students were able to process complex syntax when producing the unmarked indicative mood but not when they were prompted to produce the marked subjunctive mood. The results of this study show that pedagogical expectations regarding the acquisition of the subjunctive mood by second-year Spanish students may be unrealistic as these students were operating somewhere between the pre-syntactic and syntactic stages.

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  • 2011

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A concept-based approach to teaching Spanish mood

Description

This study investigates the effectiveness of the use of Concept-Based Instruction (CBI) to facilitate the acquisition of Spanish mood distinctions by second semester second language learners of Spanish. The study

This study investigates the effectiveness of the use of Concept-Based Instruction (CBI) to facilitate the acquisition of Spanish mood distinctions by second semester second language learners of Spanish. The study focuses on the development of Spanish mood choice and the types of explanations (Rule-of-Thumb vs. Concept-based) used by five students before and after being exposed to Concept-Based Instruction regarding the choice of Spanish mood following various modalities .The students in this study were presented with a pedagogical treatment on Spanish mood choice that included general theoretical concepts based on Gal'perin's (1969, 1992) didactic models and acts of verbalization, which form part of a Concept-Based pedagogical approach. In order to ascertain the effectiveness of the use of concept-based tools to promote the ability to use Spanish mood appropriately over time, a pre and post-test was administered to the group in which students were asked to respond to prompts containing modalities that elicit the indicative and subjunctive moods, indicate their level of confidence in their response, and verbalize in writing a reason for their choice. The development of these abilities in learners exposed to CBI was assessed by comparing pre and post-test scores examining both forms and explanations for the indicative and subjunctive modality prompts given. Results showed that students continued to rely on Rule-of-Thumb explanations of mood choice but they did expand their use of conceptually-based reasoning. Although the quantitative and qualitative analyses of the results indicate that most students did improve their ability to make appropriate mood choices (forms and explanations) after the CBI treatment, the increased use of conceptually-based explanations for their mood choices led to both correct and incorrect responses.

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Date Created
  • 2013