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ERIC Number: EJ876406
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 47
ISSN: ISSN-1543-4303
Syntactic Complexity Measures and Their Relation to Oral Proficiency in Japanese as a Foreign Language
Iwashita, Noriko
Language Assessment Quarterly, v3 n2 p151-169 2006
The study reported in this article is a part of a large-scale study investigating syntactic complexity in second language (L2) oral data in commonly taught foreign languages (English, German, Japanese, and Spanish; Ortega, Iwashita, Rabie, & Norris, in preparation). In this article, preliminary findings of the analysis of the Japanese data are reported. Syntactic complexity, which is referred to as syntactic maturity or the use of a range of forms with degrees of sophistication (Ortega, 2003), has long been of interest to researchers in L2 writing. In L2 speaking, researchers have examined syntactic complexity in learner speech in the context of pedagogic intervention (e.g., task type, planning time) and the validation of rating scales. In these studies complexity is examined using measures commonly employed in L2 writing studies. It is assumed that these measures are valid and reliable, but few studies explain what syntactic complexity measures actually examine. The language studied is predominantly English, and little is known about whether the findings of such studies can be applied to languages that are typologically different from English. This study examines how syntactic complexity measures relate to oral proficiency in Japanese as a foreign language. An in-depth analysis of speech samples from 33 learners of Japanese is presented. The results of the analysis are compared across proficiency levels and cross-referenced with 3 other proficiency measures used in the study. As in past studies, the length of T-units and the number of clauses per T-unit is found to be the best way to predict learner proficiency; the measure also had a significant linear relation with independent oral proficiency measures. These results are discussed in light of the notion of syntactic complexity and the interfaces between second language acquisition and language testing. (Contains 3 footnotes and 6 tables.)
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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