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Title: An empirical psycholinguistic investigation of input processing and input enhancement in L1 English
Authors: Agiasophiti, Zoe
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Input Enhancement (IE) and Processing Instruction (PI) manipulate input in different ways in order to draw learners‟ attention to the target linguistic form. For IE the objective is to make input salient to make it more likely to become processed (Sharwood Smith, 1991; 1993). For PI the aim is to force learners to process the target form in order to decode the meaning of the sentence (VanPatten, 1996; 2004). Studies in PI and IE have shown positive effects for instruction, with explicit and more obtrusive types of PI and IE instruction being more effective than less explicit and less obtrusive (Norris and Ortega, 2000; Doughty, 2003; Lee and Huang, 2008). Despite promising results, the validity of PI and IE studies has been questioned because of small sample sizes and short time lapses before the administration of the delayed post-test (Norris and Ortega, 2000; Doughty, 2003; Lee and Huang, 2008). In addition, the theoretical underpinnings of PI (and to some extent IE studies [see Sharwood Smith and Trenkic, 2001] have been criticised for being vague and adopting outdated psycholinguistic theories (Carroll, 2004; DeKeyser et al. 2002; Collentine, 2004). The present study examines the L2 acquisition of German V2 and case marking and investigates if and to what extent PI, IE, the combination of the two compared to no targeted instruction are effective in the acquisition of the target form in the short and long term. A hundred and thirty one secondary school English learners of German were randomly assigned to four groups, namely: +IE –PI, -IE+PI, +IE +PI, -IE –PI and received a two day instruction. An online pre-test, immediate post-test and delayed post-test including error correction, comprehension, production and interpretation tasks were administered. The +IE+PI group performed significantly better than the other groups in both immediate and delayed post-tests, according to the following hierarchy: +IE+PI>PI>IE>C. The results are discussed in the light of the theories traditionally thought to underpin PI and IE, and Modular Online Growth and Use of Language (MOGUL) is used to provide a more sophisticated and coherent interpretation of the results obtained (Sharwood Smith and Truscott, 2004, 2005; Truscott and Sharwood Smith, 2004; Sharwood Smith and Truscott, in prep.). The present study‟s findings provide support that combining PI and IE is more effective as a teaching intervention than the sole application of the two and/or no instruction. PI can successfully alter learners‟ strategies when processing German OVS sentences by forcing them to pay attention to word order and case marking. IE is successful in drawing learners‟ attention to the target linguistic form, although gains are short lived. However, it remains to be seen whether the benefits of the combined method, which are maintained to some extent in the delayed post-test, are still present in the longer term.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Modern Languages

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