Juffs - Feature Focus in Word Learning
L2 learning of derived words 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?
To answer these questions, Friedline has developed a series of tasks based on previous L1 research. The first task is a fill-in-the-blank type of activity in which students are provided with a base form and a meaningful context and asked to fill-in-the-blank with an appropriate (i.e., morphologically complex) form. This task, similar to the Test of Morphological Structure (Rubin, 1988) that has been used in L1 acquisition research (e.g., Carlisle, 2000; 2003), is designed to assess learners’ productive morphological knowledge in obligatory contexts. An L2 learner would see the base form “friend” and a meaningful context that required the adjective form of “friend” to elicit “friendly” from an L2 learner. Each of the four tasks will test different components of L2 derivational knowledge. Native speakers will pilot the task in the fall of 2009, with a pull out from the ELI in Spring 2010.
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