ERIC Number: ED176535
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976-Jul-14
Reference Count: 0
Evidence of the Need for a Second Language Acquisition Index of Development.
Larsen-Freeman, Diane E.
Studies were conducted to help determine criteria for describing the stages through which second language learners pass as they acquire a new language. The ability of 24 beginning adult students of English as a second language to supply ten morphemes in obligatory contexts was predicted on the basis of contrastive analysis between English and each student's native language. Out of 13 predictions, nine were confirmed by student performance on the Bilingual Syntax Measure. The same students were retested after two months of intensive English instruction; only six predictions were confirmed by the second test. At the same time, the 24 subjects were also tested for ability to repeat correctly 16 sentences containing the morphemes of the syntax test. The rank order of morphemes from the first administration indicates that morphemes with high perceptual saliency were produced correctly more often than those with low perceptual saliency. After the second administration, the rank order conforms to an order established on the basis of a speaking task. These results indicate that, in determining the nature of universals in language development, researchers must take into account shifts in strategies between beginning and intermediate learning levels. (JB)
Descriptors: Adult Students, Bilingualism, Contrastive Linguistics, English (Second Language), Language Processing, Language Proficiency, Language Research, Language Tests, Language Universals, Learning Processes, Learning Theories, Measurement Techniques, Morphemes, Second Language Learning, Syntax
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Conference on Second Language Learning and Teaching (Oswego, New York, July 14, 1976)