Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.711714
Title: A study of the relationships between informal second language contact, vocabulary-related strategic behaviour and vocabulary gain in a study abroad context
Author: Briggs, Jessica G.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 3954
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Abstract:
This thesis reports on a longitudinal, mixed-methods study of the relationships between informal (i.e. out-of-class) second language (L2) contact, vocabulary-related strategic behaviour and vocabulary gain in a study abroad context. The study addressed three main gaps in knowledge that arose from analysis of the literature: (1) the evidence of informal L2 contact was largely unreliable, ungeneralisable, or both; (2) the evidence of vocabulary-related strategic behaviour in informal L2 contact was neither context nor task specific; and (3) there was no evidence of the interplay between informal L2 contact, vocabulary-related strategic behaviour and vocabulary gain in a study abroad context. The sample (n=241) were adults undertaking a study abroad experience (SAE) in England, who comprised a range of nationalities and first language backgrounds and for whom the majority of the SAE was spent outside of the classroom. A vocabulary test was administered at the beginning and end of the SAE. A questionnaire was administered during the SAE to determine the most highly identified with informal L2 contact scenarios and out-of-class vocabulary-related strategies. Subsequently, an innovative research tool comprising computer-based simulations of the most identified with scenarios was developed and used as the stimulus in semi-structured interviews to capture task and/or context-specific vocabulary-related strategic behaviour. Analysis grouped participants by length of stay and location. The most highly identified with informal L2 contact scenarios involved participants seeking information from external sources, such as interlocutors, posters or websites. The vocabulary-related strategies most highly identified with by the sample pertained to the use of a newly encountered lexical item; that is, they were strategies in which the learner used or prepared to use a lexical item that they had decided to engage with strategically. The strategic behaviour manifested in response to the simulation tool (the 'OWLS') provided strong evidence in support of the fundamental considerations of task, context and intention in strategy-based research. Regression analysis revealed that informal L2 contact scenarios that were less strategically prohibitive and strategies that were less context-dependent were predictors of vocabulary gain. The pedagogical implications of these findings are far- reaching in terms of preparing L2 learners for informal contact on a SAE and guiding their manipulation of that contact for maximum linguistic gain.
Supervisor: Macaro, Ernesto Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.711714  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Language and languages--Study and teaching--Case studies ; Second language acquisition--Case studies ; Vocabulary--Study and teaching ; Education--Research ; Foreign study
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