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ERIC Number: EJ778918
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 27
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 95
ISSN: ISSN-0026-7902
Students' and Teachers' Assessments of the Need for Accuracy in the Oral Production of German as a Foreign Language
Chavez, Monika
Modern Language Journal, v91 n4 p537-563 Win 2007
Previous research indicates that foreign language learners are much more focused on accuracy, particularly grammatical accuracy, than their teachers are. The purpose of the current study was to gain a more detailed understanding of American learners' views of the need for accuracy in the oral production of a foreign language (German) by (a) distinguishing among 4 different purposes of language use (deriving a personal sense of accomplishment; being comprehensible to a native speaker [NS]; being pleasant to an NS; receiving an A in the course); (b) specifying 19 different language forms (grammatical, phonological, lexical, and pragmatic) of German; (c) asking the learners to assess the likelihood of ever attaining 90% or higher accuracy in each of these features; (d) examining learners in 4 different years of instruction; and (e) comparing the learners' beliefs to those of their teachers. The results revealed that (a) the learners in this study were not universally motivated toward accuracy in oral production generally or toward grammatical accuracy specifically; (b) they assumed that the grade requirements demanded much higher levels of accuracy than were necessary (as reported by the teachers) and were needed for communication with NSs or for their personal sense of accomplishment; (c) the year of instruction distinguished ratings of needed accuracy in specific forms, but not ratings of the overall degree of needed accuracy; and (d) the views of beginning learners especially and their teachers differed on the degree of accuracy needed to obtain a grade of A in the course, to derive a sense of accomplishment, and in the usage of specific language forms. Here, the learners appeared to construct unwarranted equivalencies between form-meaning relationships in the first language (L1) and the second language (L2) when they perceived that a low degree of accuracy was needed in certain German forms, particularly case endings and suprasegmental features. These findings suggest that judgments of required accuracy: (a) interact with the specific language-use purpose and specific language forms; (b) may vary by specific L1-L2 pairings; and (c) may have reflected in previous research the learners' perceptions of grade requirements rather than their true personal motivations.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A