ERG SES B 04, Parallel Session B 04
Input is undeniably an important factor in acquisition and one must have exposure to a set of grammatical sentences in order for learning to take place. Output also seems to have a potentially significant role in the development of syntax and morphology. Through production students are forced to impose syntactic structure on their utterances, they are able to get feedback, they can use a conversation to test hypotheses and can create greater automaticity. Between the two poles there are many ensuing pedagogical decisions to be made. What kind of input should be made available to students and how should it be delivered? What kind of tasks should learners be provided with to acquire the target structure? Is practice at the level of input more effective than practice at the level of output?
Comparing the two pedagogical procedures will shed light on which kind of explicit instruction makes a difference on the comprehension and production of reflexive pronouns and binding as well as on the theoretical consequences of the results on SLA processes in instructed settings. A comparison of the effects of structured -input instruction with the effects of output-based instruction might offer a better picture of which variables work to promote acquisition of the English reflexive pronouns. Identification of these variables could lead to the development of foreign language teaching curricula that combine the benefits of both instruction types delivered via computer terminals to help students who make certain errors or have difficulty with particular language features, as well as teachers find answers to questions about what to teach and how.
According to Thomas (1989: 281) “the interpretation of reflexives is subject to complex constraints in the grammar of adult native speakers.” The interpretation of reflexives in sentences with a tensed clause, infinitival sentences, and noun phrase sentences presumes an abstract and detailed structural knowledge of English, raising the question of the effectiveness of different kinds of pedagogical intervention. The interpretation of a tensed sentence like (1), a sentence with an INFL to clause like (2), and a sentence with an NP like (3) involves deciding which is the correct antecedent of himself: Tom, Sam, or either Tom or Sam.
(1) Tom said that Sam liked himself.
(2) Tom told Sam to support himself.
(3) Tom read Sam’s criticism about himself.
The learner should also beware that in some cases there is more than one possible antecedent as in (4) in which himself can refer to either John, or Bill.
(4) John showed Bill a picture of himself
The aim of the research is to investigate the effectiveness of the pedagogigal interventions, i.e. structured-input instruction and output-based instruction on the students' ability to comprehend and produce English reflexive pronouns, particularly in terms of two properties, i.e. that local binding is possible and that long distance binding is impossible in English.
Chomsky, N. (1981). Lectures on government and binding. Dordrecht, Foris. Doughty, C. J. and J. Williams (1998). Focus on Form in Classroom second language Acquisition. New York, Cambridge University Press. Ellis, R. (2004). "The definition and measurement of explicit knowledge." Language Learning 54: 227-275. Felser, C., M. Sato, et al. (2009). "The on-line application of binding Principle A in English as a second language." Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 12(485-502). Finer, D. and E. Broslow (1986). Second language acquisition on reflexive binding. Proceedings of the North Eastern Linguistic Society. Izumi, S. (2002). "Output, input enhancement, and the noticing hypothesis: An experimental study on ESL relativization." Studies in Second Language Acquisition 24(541-577). Karyolemou, M. (2003a). Keep your language and I will keep mine. At war with words. D. Nelson and M. N. Dedaic. Amsterdam/New York, Mouton de Gruyter 359-384. Krashen, S. (1985). The Input hypothesis: Issues and Implications. New York, Longman. Lapata, M. (1998). Anaphoric binding in modern Greek. Proceedings of the LFG98 conference. Long, M. H. and P. Robinson (1998). Focus on Form: theory, research, and practice. Focus on form in classroom second language acquisition. C. J. Doughty and J. Williams. New York, Cambridge University Press: 15-41. Norris, J. and L. Ortega (2000). "Effectiveness of L2 instruction: a research synthesis and quantitative meta- analysis." Language Learning 50(3): 417-528. Reinhart, T. and E. Reuland (1993). "Reflexivity." Linguistic Inquiry 24: 657-720. Swain, M. and L. S (1995). "Problems in output and the cognitive processes they generate: A step toward second language learning." Applied Linguistics 16(371-391). Thomas, M. (1989). "The interpretation of English reflexive pronouns by non-native speakers." Studies in Second Language Acquisition 11: 281-303. Thomas, M. (1991). "Universal Grammar and the interpretation of reflexives in a second language." Language 67: 211-239.
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