Difference between revisions of "Juffs - Feature Focus in Word Learning"

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(L2 learning of derived words)
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Native speakers piloted these tassk in the fall of 2009, and preliminary results are reported for each task in the tables below. A pull out from the ELI in Spring 2010 will collect learner data.
 
Native speakers piloted these tassk in the fall of 2009, and preliminary results are reported for each task in the tables below. A pull out from the ELI in Spring 2010 will collect learner data.
  
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''Participants''
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These tasks were administered to native speakers and L2 learners during the fall 2009 and spring 2010 semesters. A total of 23 native-English speakers participated in the study. All of the native speakers were undergraduates at the University of Pittsburgh. Ninety ESL learners participated in this study from three different levels of language proficiency: beginner (n=26), intermediate (n=36), and advanced (n=28). These learners were enrolled in an intensive English program at the University of Pittsburgh.
  
 
'''Descriptive Results'''
 
'''Descriptive Results'''
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| 81%
 
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'''Discussion'''
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''Beginning L2 Learners (Level 3)''
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The results of this study indicate that level 3 learners from the ELI at the University of Pittsburgh often have problems when processing derived words.  Firstly, the lexical decision task may indicate that beginning learners are not sensitive to constraints on the use of morphemes such as –able and –ness or constraints on the ordering of affixes.  For instance, the learners in the present study often judge words such as departable and hopenessful to be real English words in spite of the fact that most native speakers rarely (if ever) consider these words to be real English words.  Sixteen of 26 level 3 learners said that smileable was a real word in English, while only 1 of 23 native speakers said that this was a real word in English.  Likewise, for hopenessful, 18 of 26 learners said that this was a real word, but only 1 of 23 natives considered hopenessful to be a real English word.  Second, the word relatedness task seems to indicate that learners rely heavily on orthographic/phonological overlap when processing the meaning of words.  Put another way, the learners in this study said that word pairs that were related in form only were also related in meaning.  For instance, 12 out of 26 level 3 learners said that the word pair majority-activity were related in meaning, while native speakers (N=23) never say that these words are related in meaning.  Finally, the results from the word analysis task may suggest that learners at this level have significant difficulties with derived words that involve phonological and/or orthographic changes to the base.  In the present study, almost all of the level 3 learners (22 of 26) incorrectly provided the base word for extension.  Native speakers, on the other hand, provided the incorrect base for extension only 4 times out of 23 subjects. 
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''Intermediate L2 Learners (Level 4)''
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For Level 4 L2 learners, the lexical decision task may indicate that even intermediate-level learners are not sensitive to constraints on the use of morphemes such as –able and –ness or constraints on the ordering of affixes.  For instance, the learners in the present study often judge words such as departable and hopenessful to be real English words in spite of the fact that most native speakers rarely (if ever) consider these words to be real English words.  Seventeen of 36 level 4 learners said that smileable was a real word in English, while only 1 of 23 native speakers said that this was a real word in English.  Likewise, for hopenessful, 21 of 36 learners said that this was a real word, but only 1 of 23 natives considered hopenessful to be a real English word.  Second, the word relatedness task seems to indicate that learners rely heavily on orthographic/phonological overlap when processing the meaning of words.  Put another way, the learners in this study said that word pairs that were related in form only were also related in meaning.  For instance, 14 out of 36 level 3 learners said that the word pair majority-activity were related in meaning, while native speakers (N=23) never say that these words are related in meaning.  Finally, the results from the word analysis task may suggest that learners at this level have significant difficulties with derived words that involve phonological and/or orthographic changes to the base.  In the present study, more than two-thirds of the level 4 learners (25 of 36) incorrectly provided the base word for extension.  Native speakers, on the other hand, provided the incorrect base for extension only 4 times out of 23 subjects. 
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 +
''Advanced L2 Learners (Level 5)''
 +
 +
For level 5 L2 learners, the lexical decision task may indicate that even advanced learners are not sensitive to constraints on the use of morphemes such as –able and –ness.  For instance, the learners in the present study often judge words such as smileable and leavable to be real English words in spite of the fact that most native speakers rarely (if ever) consider these words to be real English words.  Fourteen of 28 level 5 learners said that smileable was a real word in English, while only 1 of 23 native speakers said that this was a real word in English.  Likewise, for leavable, 19 of 28 learners said that this was a real word, but only 4 of 23 natives considered leavable to be a real English word.  Second, the word relatedness task seems to indicate that advanced learners still rely to some degree on orthographic/phonological overlap when processing the meaning of words.  Put another way, some advanced learners in this study said that word pairs that were related in form only were also related in meaning.  For instance, 11 out of 28 level 3 learners said that the word pair constantly-conservative were related in meaning, while native speakers (N=23) never say that these words are related in meaning.  Finally, the results from the word analysis task may suggest that learners at level 5 have significant difficulties with derived words that involve phonological and/or orthographic changes to the base.  In the present study, many of the errors on the word analysis task were errors on words that involved a significant orthographic and sometimes phonological change to the base.  For instance, 19 of 28 level 5 students incorrectly provided the base word for extension.  Native speakers, on the other hand, provided the incorrect base for extension only 4 times out of 23 subjects. 
  
  

Revision as of 11:51, 19 May 2010

PI Ben Friedline, Alan Juffs
Start date September 2009
End date July 2010
Learnlab English


L2 learning of derived words

Benjamin Friedline and Alan Juffs


Research Questions

Why are ESL learners so poor in their knowledge of English morphology? What are the knowledge components that are the most challenging for learning through normal language exposure? Do learners have a representational problem or a processing problem? Specifically, what instructional interventions can be designed to overcome observed processing differences in L1 and L2 morphology?

Research plan

For year 1, the goal of the research is to analyze the knowledge components of ESL learners to lay the groundwork for a hypothesis-based intervention. The research will systematically investigate the components of L2 learners’ knowledge of English derivational morphology to address the following questions:

1) What are the components of L2 derivational knowledge? 2) Are these components different from L1 derivational knowledge? 3) Does L1 matter for the acquisition of derived words in an L2?

Methodology

To answer these questions, Friedline has developed a series of tasks that will be used to assess what native English speakers and second language learners know about derived words. These tasks included lexical decision, semantic relatedness, and morphological decomposition. Each of these tasks contained several conditions that tested different components of morphological knowledge. Studies on the acquisition of L1 morphological knowledge (e.g., Carlisle, 2000; Carlisle & Fleming, 2003) were consulted in order to develop these conditions. Each condition is outlined below.

Lexical decision task

Explanation: In this task, students were asked to rate words from 1 (not a word) or 6 (definitely a word). All words were morphologically complex (e.g., base + affix). Some of the words were real words in English, while other words were not real words in English. The purpose of this task was to assess if native-speakers were sensitive to the effects of semantic blocking and affix ordering. There were four conditions in this task. The conditions are listed below along with an example to illustrate the types of words that were presented in each condition.

Condition 1: Real words Example: The suffix –able is added to verbs to derive adjectives such as workable or comfortable. A response of 4, 5, or 6 would be counted as accurate.

Condition 2: Semantic blocking Example: Even though you can add the affix –able to many verbs to derive adjectives, there are some verbs like arrivable and departable look that do not normally take the suffix –able to form adjectives. A response of 1, 2, or 3 would be counted as accurate.

Condition 3: Correct affix ordering Example: There are some bases that can take two affixes. You can add the affix –able to the verb respect to derive the adjective respectable. Then, you can add the affix –ity to respectable to derive the noun respectability. A response of 4, 5, or 6 would be counted as accurate.

Condition 4: Incorrect affix ordering Example: In a word like respectability, the word is correct because the affixes are added in the correct order. However, if I add the affix -ity before I add the affix –able, I derive a word like respectitiable. This word is not correct because the affixes are not added in the correct order. A response of 1, 2, or 3 would be counted as accurate.


Word relatedness task

Explanation: In this task, students were asked to rate words based on their meaning from 1 (not related) to 6 (definitely related). There were five conditions in this exercise.

Condition 1: No relationship in meaning Some words are not related in meaning in any way. The words cat and bus are not related in meaning in any way. A response of 1, 2, or 3 would be counted as accurate.

Condition 2: Relationship in meaning Other words are related in meaning. For instance, bank and money are related in that a bank is a place where you deposit your money. A response of 4, 5, or 6 would be counted as accurate.

Condition 3: Relationship in meaning with different affixes. This condition contained words with suffixes that were related in meaning. For example, productive (adj.) and production (n.) both share the base produce (v.). A response of 4, 5, or 6 would be counted as accurate.

Condition 4: Relationship in orthography only, not meaning There are some words that may look like they are related in meaning because they share the same initial letters. In this condition, students saw words like permanence and permission. These words share the letters p-e-r-m, but are unrelated in meaning. A response of 1, 2, or 3 would be counted as accurate.

Condition 5: Relationship in affix only, not meaning In the final condition, students were presented with words that shared the same affix, but were unrelated in meaning. For example, the words reality and curiosity are unrelated in meaning, but share the affix –ity. A response of 1, 2, or 3 would be counted as accurate.


Word Analysis Task

Explanation: On the Word Analysis Task, students were asked to provide the base word of the word provided. Some of these words consisted of a base and an affix such as musician, which has music as a base. Other words, however, could not be broken down into a base and a affix. For instance, dollar cannot be broken down into doll + ar because dollar is a base form. Accuracy was computed for decomposable and non-decomposable words.

Native speakers piloted these tassk in the fall of 2009, and preliminary results are reported for each task in the tables below. A pull out from the ELI in Spring 2010 will collect learner data.

Participants

These tasks were administered to native speakers and L2 learners during the fall 2009 and spring 2010 semesters. A total of 23 native-English speakers participated in the study. All of the native speakers were undergraduates at the University of Pittsburgh. Ninety ESL learners participated in this study from three different levels of language proficiency: beginner (n=26), intermediate (n=36), and advanced (n=28). These learners were enrolled in an intensive English program at the University of Pittsburgh.

Descriptive Results

Lexical Decision Task

Condition NS Accuracy
Condition 1: Real words 93%
Condition 2: Semantic blocking 81%
Condition 3: Correct affix ordering 93%
Condition 4: Incorrect Affix ordering 95%
Condition L2 Beginner Accuracy
Condition 1: Real words 89%
Condition 2: Semantic blocking 48%
Condition 3: Correct affix ordering 66%
Condition 4: Incorrect Affix ordering 53%
Condition L2 Intermediate Accuracy
Condition 1: Real words 90%
Condition 2: Semantic blocking 59%
Condition 3: Correct affix ordering 69%
Condition 4: Incorrect Affix ordering 70%
Condition L2 Advanced Accuracy
Condition 1: Real words 96%
Condition 2: Semantic blocking 53%
Condition 3: Correct affix ordering 77%
Condition 4: Incorrect Affix ordering 81%

Word relatedness task

Condition NS Accuracy
Condition 1: No relationship in meaning 92%
Condition 2: Relationship in meaning 92%
Condition 3: Relationship in meaning with different affixes 97%
Condition 4: Relationship in orthography only 89%
Condition 5: Relationship in affix only 90%
Condition L2 Beginner Accuracy
Condition 1: No relationship in meaning 91%
Condition 2: Relationship in meaning 84%
Condition 3: Relationship in meaning with different affixes 89%
Condition 4: Relationship in orthography only 73%
Condition 5: Relationship in affix only 74%
Condition L2 Intermediate Accuracy
Condition 1: No relationship in meaning 89%
Condition 2: Relationship in meaning 87%
Condition 3: Relationship in meaning with different affixes 89%
Condition 4: Relationship in orthography only 70%
Condition 5: Relationship in affix only 69%
Condition L2 Advanced Accuracy
Condition 1: No relationship in meaning 95%
Condition 2: Relationship in meaning 79%
Condition 3: Relationship in meaning with different affixes 96%
Condition 4: Relationship in orthography only 81%
Condition 5: Relationship in affix only 89%

Word Analysis Task

Condition NS Accuracy
Condition 1: Decomposable 85%
Condition 2: Non-decomposable 92%
Condition L2 Beginner Accuracy
Condition 1: Decomposable 59%
Condition 2: Non-decomposable 73%
Condition L2 Intermediate Accuracy
Condition 1: Decomposable 61%
Condition 2: Non-decomposable 84%
Condition L2 Advanced Accuracy
Condition 1: Decomposable 65%
Condition 2: Non-decomposable 81%

Discussion

Beginning L2 Learners (Level 3)

The results of this study indicate that level 3 learners from the ELI at the University of Pittsburgh often have problems when processing derived words. Firstly, the lexical decision task may indicate that beginning learners are not sensitive to constraints on the use of morphemes such as –able and –ness or constraints on the ordering of affixes. For instance, the learners in the present study often judge words such as departable and hopenessful to be real English words in spite of the fact that most native speakers rarely (if ever) consider these words to be real English words. Sixteen of 26 level 3 learners said that smileable was a real word in English, while only 1 of 23 native speakers said that this was a real word in English. Likewise, for hopenessful, 18 of 26 learners said that this was a real word, but only 1 of 23 natives considered hopenessful to be a real English word. Second, the word relatedness task seems to indicate that learners rely heavily on orthographic/phonological overlap when processing the meaning of words. Put another way, the learners in this study said that word pairs that were related in form only were also related in meaning. For instance, 12 out of 26 level 3 learners said that the word pair majority-activity were related in meaning, while native speakers (N=23) never say that these words are related in meaning. Finally, the results from the word analysis task may suggest that learners at this level have significant difficulties with derived words that involve phonological and/or orthographic changes to the base. In the present study, almost all of the level 3 learners (22 of 26) incorrectly provided the base word for extension. Native speakers, on the other hand, provided the incorrect base for extension only 4 times out of 23 subjects.

Intermediate L2 Learners (Level 4)

For Level 4 L2 learners, the lexical decision task may indicate that even intermediate-level learners are not sensitive to constraints on the use of morphemes such as –able and –ness or constraints on the ordering of affixes. For instance, the learners in the present study often judge words such as departable and hopenessful to be real English words in spite of the fact that most native speakers rarely (if ever) consider these words to be real English words. Seventeen of 36 level 4 learners said that smileable was a real word in English, while only 1 of 23 native speakers said that this was a real word in English. Likewise, for hopenessful, 21 of 36 learners said that this was a real word, but only 1 of 23 natives considered hopenessful to be a real English word. Second, the word relatedness task seems to indicate that learners rely heavily on orthographic/phonological overlap when processing the meaning of words. Put another way, the learners in this study said that word pairs that were related in form only were also related in meaning. For instance, 14 out of 36 level 3 learners said that the word pair majority-activity were related in meaning, while native speakers (N=23) never say that these words are related in meaning. Finally, the results from the word analysis task may suggest that learners at this level have significant difficulties with derived words that involve phonological and/or orthographic changes to the base. In the present study, more than two-thirds of the level 4 learners (25 of 36) incorrectly provided the base word for extension. Native speakers, on the other hand, provided the incorrect base for extension only 4 times out of 23 subjects.

Advanced L2 Learners (Level 5)

For level 5 L2 learners, the lexical decision task may indicate that even advanced learners are not sensitive to constraints on the use of morphemes such as –able and –ness. For instance, the learners in the present study often judge words such as smileable and leavable to be real English words in spite of the fact that most native speakers rarely (if ever) consider these words to be real English words. Fourteen of 28 level 5 learners said that smileable was a real word in English, while only 1 of 23 native speakers said that this was a real word in English. Likewise, for leavable, 19 of 28 learners said that this was a real word, but only 4 of 23 natives considered leavable to be a real English word. Second, the word relatedness task seems to indicate that advanced learners still rely to some degree on orthographic/phonological overlap when processing the meaning of words. Put another way, some advanced learners in this study said that word pairs that were related in form only were also related in meaning. For instance, 11 out of 28 level 3 learners said that the word pair constantly-conservative were related in meaning, while native speakers (N=23) never say that these words are related in meaning. Finally, the results from the word analysis task may suggest that learners at level 5 have significant difficulties with derived words that involve phonological and/or orthographic changes to the base. In the present study, many of the errors on the word analysis task were errors on words that involved a significant orthographic and sometimes phonological change to the base. For instance, 19 of 28 level 5 students incorrectly provided the base word for extension. Native speakers, on the other hand, provided the incorrect base for extension only 4 times out of 23 subjects.


Selected References

Carlisle, J.F. (2000). Awareness of the structure and meaning of morphologically complex words: Impact on reading. Reading and Writing, 12(3-4), 169-190.

Carlisle, J. F., & Fleming, J. (2003). Lexical processing of morphologically complex words in the elementary years. Scientific Studies of Reading, 7(3), 239-253.

Hay, J., & Baayen, R. H. (2005). Shifting paradigms: gradient structure in morphology. Trends in Cognitive Science, 9, 342-348.

Jiang, N. (2004). Morphological insenstivity in second language processing. Applied Psycholinguistics, 25, 603-634.

Lardiere, D. (2006). Ultimate attainment in second language acquisition: a case study. New York: Routledge

Silva, R., & Clahsen, H. (2008). Morphologically complex words in L1 and L2 processing: evidence from masked priming experiments in English. Bilingualism: Language and cognition, 11, 245-260.