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ERIC Number: ED352813
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Apr
Pages: 19
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Investigating the Roles of Structure and Pragmatics: ESL Learners' Interpretation of Elliptical Verb Phrases.
Hardison, Debra M.
A study investigated the role of pragmatics, the factors that govern choice of language in social interaction, on interpretation of elliptical verb phrases (VPs) in spoken English by learners of English as a Second Language (ESL). Ellipsis requires the listener to recall the surface form of a presupposed element and to integrate it into the sentences containing the anaphor. Research indicates that native speakers (NSs) of English generally have poor memory for surface details, and that they try to interpret elliptical VPs initially by attempting to access structural information in short-term memory. However, when this strategy fails, pragmatic information influences the interpretation. The current study involved 141 intermediate to advanced ESL learners who listened to a series of recorded passages including elliptical VPs with either a plausible or an implausible interpretation. Distance between antecedent and anaphor varied between subjects. Each passage was followed by a question suggesting a plausible or implausible reading, to which subjects responded affirmatively or negatively. Analysis of error rates revealed that in contrast to NSs, and regardless of differing proficiency levels, these learners showed a preferred listening strategy of attention to surface form over use of pragmatic information, perhaps due to frequent testing. (Author/MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A