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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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Pragmatic competence: the case of advice in second language acquisition (SLA) abroad

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Using Spencer-Oatey's rapport management approach, the present study evaluates the interlanguage pragmatic development of 17 native English-speaking American learners over the course of a semester in Spain, specifically in terms

Using Spencer-Oatey's rapport management approach, the present study evaluates the interlanguage pragmatic development of 17 native English-speaking American learners over the course of a semester in Spain, specifically in terms of the strategies they used in their second language (L2) to manage rapport in an advice-giving, oral role-play situation at semester start and semester end. To allow for a more in-depth analysis of the effect that a semester abroad has on Spanish L2 advice-giving behaviors, the learners were grouped into two distinct proficiency levels. Group 1 (n=9) represents learners who entered the semester abroad with a beginning to intermediate-low proficiency level and group 2 (n=8) represents learners who entered the semester abroad with an intermediate-high proficiency level. The results indicate that both learner groups had similar overarching behavioral expectations in this context. Specifically, both sets of learners expressed empathy, involvement, and respect for the interlocutor, while at the same time they used advice-giving strategies of varied illocutionary force to claim authority in addressing the interlocutor's dilemma. Both groups also balanced face sensitivities through strategies that both enhanced and challenged the interlocutor's identity face. However, it is argued that in this context claiming authority and challenging the interlocutor's identity face were permitted behaviors that emphasized the relational goals of the participants. Additionally, when developmental differences between the two proficiency levels were analyzed, the results showed that learner proficiency had an impact on specific strategy choices.

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  • 2011

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A concept-based approach to teaching Spanish mood

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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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  • 2013

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Exploring the use of tense and aspect morphology in Spanish oral narratives by intermediate and advanced learners

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Previous research (e.g., Bardovi-Harlig & Reynolds, 1995; Cadierno, 2000; Camps, 2002; Robison, 1990, 1995; Salaberry, 1999, 2003, 2011) has tested the validity of the Lexical Aspect Hypothesis (LAH), developed by

Previous research (e.g., Bardovi-Harlig & Reynolds, 1995; Cadierno, 2000; Camps, 2002; Robison, 1990, 1995; Salaberry, 1999, 2003, 2011) has tested the validity of the Lexical Aspect Hypothesis (LAH), developed by Andersen and Shirai (1994), which proposes that in beginning stages of the L2 acquisition process, the inherent lexical (meaning-based or semantic) aspect of a verb determines the selection of tense and aspect verbal morphology (preterit vs. imperfect) rather than the grammatical aspect, which is related to the viewpoint of the speaker (e.g., whether s/he wants to highlight the beginning, middle or end of an action or event). These studies analyzed written and oral data from personal and story retell learner narratives in classroom contexts. While many studies have found support for the association of lexical aspect with L2 verbal morphology, the claim of the LAH that such association is highest during beginning stages of learning has been questioned. For instance, Salaberry (1999, 2003) found evidence for the preterit acting as a past tense default marker across all lexical aspectual classes, while the association of lexical aspect with verbal morphology increased with L2 proficiency; both of these findings contradict the LAH. Studies have also investigated the influence of task type on tense and aspect morphology. Salaberry's (1999, 2003) beginning L2 learners utilized the preterit as a past tense default marker in a story retell (SR) task whereas the imperfect was used as a default marker in a personal narrative (PN) (2003). To continue testing the validity of LAH, the present study analyzed SR and PN data from twenty two university-level intermediate and advanced L2 Spanish learners. This study also explored the relationship between task type (SR vs. PN) and verb morphology. Results show that both intermediate and advanced learners appear to be using the preterit as a past tense default marker across all lexical aspectual classes, corroborating Salaberry's (1999, 2003) findings with beginning learners, and contradicting the LAH. Results of the present study also reveal that narrative task type (SR vs. PN) appears to play a role in the distribution of tense and aspect morphology among intermediate and advanced classroom L2 Spanish learners.

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  • 2013

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Code-switching behavior in Antonito, CO and Phoenix, AZ: a comparative study

Description

The subject of bilingual language use in the southwestern United States has been widely researched. However research pertaining to the Phoenix Metropolitan area is lacking. Studies have shown that language

The subject of bilingual language use in the southwestern United States has been widely researched. However research pertaining to the Phoenix Metropolitan area is lacking. Studies have shown that language choice is governed by linguistic as well as social constraints (Gumperz, 1977; Poplack 1980; 1981). This study examined and compared the code-switching behaviors of two communities in the southwestern United States: Antonito, Colorado and the Phoenix Metropolitan area in Arizona. The study explored the social and linguistic factors that are said to govern code-switching behaviors such as the type of switches made (intra-sentential or single lexical switches), the position in the utterance where the switch occurs (final or other), the direction of the switch (an utterance beginning in English and ending in Spanish, or beginning in Spanish and ending in English), the gender and level of education of the participants (college or above; high school or below), the ethnicity of the interviewer (Anglo or Hispanic), as well as which of the aforementioned social and linguistic factors most favored intra-sentential switches. The study used corpus data, with four participants from each community for a total of eight interviews. Participants from each corpus were selected to control for gender, the highest level of education achieved and the ethnicity of the interviewer. The study found that in the corpora looked at, linguistic factors such as position of the switch and direction of the switch affected intra-sentential switches more than social factors, although in terms of frequencies within individual factor groups, social factors such as the ethnicity of the interviewer, and the participant's level of education were found to be significant in affecting code-switching behavior.

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  • 2013

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The effect of "chatting" on the oral production of Spanish present tense forms in the foreign language classroom

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Current research shows a positive relationship between the use of written synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC) and oral production (Isenberg 2010; Kern 1995; Payne & Whitney, 2002). No prior investigations specifically

Current research shows a positive relationship between the use of written synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC) and oral production (Isenberg 2010; Kern 1995; Payne & Whitney, 2002). No prior investigations specifically analyze the effect of SCMC on the conjugation of simple present tense verbal forms in narratives produced by learners of Spanish in online environments. This semester-long study addressed this issue by systematically analyzing the effect of written SCMC on the oral production of present-tense verb conjugations in two different oral tasks by students in two different intermediate level online Spanish courses. Written chat (WC), a type of synchronous group discussion, was used in the treatment group in order to examine the crossover effects of written SCMC on present tense forms in oral production tasks among intermediate Spanish students in online courses. Both online groups engaged in 30 minutes of concentrated interaction with the instructor and other students each week. The control group engaged in 30 minutes of oral interaction per week while the experimental group was exposed to 15 minutes of oral chat and 15 minutes of WC in the 30 minute session of interaction. Specifically, this study employed a pretest/posttest quasi-experimental design and tested the differential effects of a combination of oral and written SCMC online interaction and SCMC solely oral online interaction on the acquisition of Spanish present tense verb forms. The findings show a significant difference in oral gains among the experimental group.

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  • 2012

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Teaching Spanish refusals

Description

A number of studies have been carried out on Spanish pragmatics and the speech act of refusals (Félix-Brasdefer 2006; García 1992). Many studies have also been conducted on the teaching

A number of studies have been carried out on Spanish pragmatics and the speech act of refusals (Félix-Brasdefer 2006; García 1992). Many studies have also been conducted on the teaching of pragmatics and speech acts in the classroom (García 1996; Koike 1989). However, to date, not many studies have been conducted analyzing the acquisition of Spanish refusals in the classroom. To the author's knowledge, no study has investigated the acquisition of Spanish refusals at the various different levels in a university. Therefore, this study will analyze whether there is a significant effect of the level of Spanish instruction of intermediate and advanced university L2 learners on their ability to carry out appropriate refusals. Through discourse completion tests, data from students at the Spanish 202 and 314 levels will be analyzed to see how closely they compare to native Spanish speakers in their refusals. The results will be compared with previous studies on refusals in order to create a teaching plan for acquiring this speech act.

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  • 2014

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Performing directives in Spanish: the case of advice by Nicaraguan and Panamanian women

Description

Although pragmatic analyses based on empirical data have been conducted throughout most of the Spanish-speaking world, Central America remains the most underrepresented region. This study examines the pragmatic strategies used

Although pragmatic analyses based on empirical data have been conducted throughout most of the Spanish-speaking world, Central America remains the most underrepresented region. This study examines the pragmatic strategies used by female Spanish speakers of Nicaragua and Panama in an advice-giving context. The data consists of eighteen role-plays recorded in Masaya, Nicaragua and Panama City, Panama in June and July of 2011. In the role-play situation, the interlocutor (fixed-role) requests advice from the participant, her best friend, regarding a serious issue in her marriage. The participant's advice-giving strategies are classified according to a categorization adapted from Blum-Kulka's request strategy taxonomy. This allows for a statistical analysis of how these strategies correspond to the three elements of Spencer Oatey's rapport management approach: behavioral expectations, face sensitivities and interactional wants. The results indicate strong similarities between participants from Nicaragua and Panama, both electing to respect all components of the association principle and to violate the equity principle, especially its autonomy control component. These results suggest that, at least in this advice-giving context between intimates, both Nicaraguan and Panamanian Spanish speakers prefer to impose their opinions and suggestions rather than respect the person's right to be treated fairly (i.e. equity principle) as well as to maintain a rapport-enhancing orientation rather than preserve their right to associate with others (i.e. association principle). The results of the pragmatic analysis show similarities with other research on directives in the Spanish-speaking world, including empirical studies in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Venezuela and Spain. Specifically, these cultures are all associated with direct strategies and less mitigation, positive politeness, conventional indirectness and high involvement.

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  • 2012

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An activity theoretical analysis of microblogging and blogging by Spanish L2 learners in a bridging activities framework

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The use of blogging tools in the second language classroom has been investigated from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives (Alm, 2009; Armstrong & Retterer, 2008; Dippold, 2009; Ducate

The use of blogging tools in the second language classroom has been investigated from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives (Alm, 2009; Armstrong & Retterer, 2008; Dippold, 2009; Ducate & Lomicka, 2008; Elola & Oskoz, 2008; Jauregi & Banados, 2008; Lee, 2009; Petersen, Divitini, & Chabert, 2008; Pinkman, 2005; Raith, 2009; Soares, 2008; Sun, 2009, 2012; Vurdien, 2011; Yang, 2009) and a growing number of studies examine the use of microblogging tools for language learning (Antenos-Conforti, 2009; Borau, Ullrich, Feng, & Shen, 2009; Lomicka & Lord, 2011; Perifanou, 2009). Grounded in Cultural Historical Activity Theory (Engestrom, 1987), the present study explores the outcomes of a semester-long project based on the Bridging Activities framework (Thorne & Reinhardt, 2008) and implemented in an intermediate hybrid Spanish-language course at a large public university in Arizona, in which students used microblogging and blogging tools to collect digital texts, analyze perspectives of the target culture, and participate as part of an online community of language learners with a broader audience of native speakers. The research questions are: (1) What technology is used by the students, with what frequency and for what purposes in both English and Spanish prior to beginning the project?, (2) What are students' values and attitudes toward using Twitter and Blogger as tools for learning Spanish and how do they change over time through their use in the project during the semester course?, and (3) What tensions emerge in the activity systems of the intermediate Spanish-language students throughout the process of using Twitter and Blogger for the project? What are the underlying reasons for the tensions? How are they resolved? The data was collected using pre-, post-, and periodic surveys, which included Likert and open-ended questions, as well as the participants' microblog and blog posts. The quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and the qualitative data was analyzed to identify emerging themes following the Constant Comparative Method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Finally, three participant outliers were selected as case studies for activity theoretical analysis in order to identify tensions and, through their resolution, evidence of expansive learning.

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  • 2015

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La: extensión semántica de estar en la estructura cópula + adjetivo en el español de Puerto Rico

Description

The presence of two copula verbs (ser and estar) in Spanish has caused a semantic competition between the two. This semantic competition has been documented from the XII century (Vañó-Cerdá,

The presence of two copula verbs (ser and estar) in Spanish has caused a semantic competition between the two. This semantic competition has been documented from the XII century (Vañó-Cerdá, 1982). Some scholars (Brown & Cortés-Torres, 2012; Cortés-Torres, 2004; Gutiérrez, 1992; Ortiz-López, 2000; Silva-Corvalán, 1994) have demonstrated the presence of this competition in which estar has been occupying structures traditionally reserved for ser in different Spanish varieties. This study investigates the extent to which the extension of estar to contexts previously limited to ser is present in the Spanish of Puerto Rico in adjectival structures (copula + adjective). The investigation analyzed 21 Puerto Rican Spanish speakers, who completed five different instruments (interview, description of a picture, 2 questionnaires and grammar judgment). Nine of the participants completed the five tasks and the other 12 completed the 2 questionnaires. A multi-variable and qualitative analysis were employed to examine the linguistics (class or individual frame of reference, copulas the adjective allows, animacy, susceptibility to change, and type of adjective) and social factors (sex, age, level of education, and bilingualism) that favor the phenomenon. The results showed that type of adjective, copulas the adjective allows, susceptibility to change, and type of questionnaire favored the innovative use of estar. Both analyses showed a clear tendency of the linguistics factors that favor the innovative use of estar. The results of this study concur with previous studies (Cortés-Torres, 2004; Gutiérrez, 1992; Ortiz-López, 2000; Silva-Corvalán, 1994) about the phenomenon in other monolingual and bilingual Spanish dialects. This study confirms Puerto Rican Spanish follows the internal change tendency in Spanish language about the uses of ser and estar. The use of different instruments for data collection provides a clear view of the phenomenon in Puerto Rican Spanish. The use of questionnaires with confirmed estar predictors shows that some adjectives resist the phenomenon more; even with the perfect conditions for the use of estar, the participants did not allowed its use.

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  • 2013