|Title:||Structural priming in L2 acquisition of English relative clauses|
|Advisors:||Kim, Sun-A (CBS)|
|Subject:||English language -- Relative clauses|
Second language acquisition -- Methodology
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
|Department:||Faculty of Humanities|
|Pages:||xiii, 264 pages : color illustrations|
|Abstract:||The effects of structural priming in second language (L2) learning have received growing attention over the past decade (Jackson, 2017). However, few studies have explored structural priming and its contribution to proceduralization and automatization of language acquisition through practice with the measure of both response accuracy and speed. Furthermore, L2 priming studies to date have rarely focused on complex hierarchical constructions such as English relative clauses and meanwhile it is still unclear whether structural complexity and individual differences affect priming effects and subsequent learning of target structures. Therefore, this empirical study intends to investigate a) the effects of structural priming as a form of practice, specifically, in L2 comprehension and production of the complex hierarchical structure of English relative clauses through measures of both response accuracy and speed; b) the influence of structural complexity (i.e., inverse preference) in both priming and subsequent learning of target structures; and c) the mediation of individual difference factors (i.e., working memory capacity and language proficiency) in priming and subsequent L2 learning. Target structures in the present study are the English object relative clause (hereafter, ORC, e.g., Here is a senator that a reporter attacked) along with its alternative construction, the passive relative clause (hereafter, PRC, e.g., Here is a senator that was attacked by a reporter). Sixty L2 English learners in mainland China participated in the experiment with thirty-six in the experimental group and twenty-four in the control group. Both groups performed a series of experimental tasks including a C-test, reading span task, pretest, immediate posttest, and delayed posttest. The difference between the two was a priming task for the experimental group and a sentence reading task for the control group conducted between the pretest and immediate posttest phases. The pre-, post-, and delayed posttests were conducted to measure both comprehension and production of target structures, in which a grammaticality judgment task was employed to measure learners' comprehension while an oral sentence completion task was utilized for production.|
The results showed that a) structural priming promoted L2 acquisition of English ORC structure in both comprehension and production with a persistent effect but only partially facilitated subsequent comprehension latency and production accuracy for the English PRC structure; b) the inverse preference effect in regard to structural complexity occurred in subsequent comprehension but not in subsequent production of L2 learning; and c) language proficiency mediated learners' comprehension accuracy of the ORC structure while working memory capacity influenced subsequent production accuracy of the ORC structure and production latency of the PRC structure. This study provides evidence to support that structural priming as a form of practice reflects the knowledge of proceduralization and automatization (as seen in the observed learning curve) in facilitating L2 acquisition of hierarchical structures. The overall results in terms of priming effect, structural complexity and individual differences in working memory capacity and language proficiency are discussed in detail, which provide theoretical, methodological, and pedagogical implications for future studies in second language acquisition.
|Rights:||All rights reserved|
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