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Title: Learner error in second language acquisition : the transfer of form or concept?
Author: Austen, Samantha
ISNI:       0000 0004 5989 2023
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2016
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Italian L1 speakers of English L2 make specific and predictable errors when expressing particular temporal concepts in English. This was study principally designed to ask to what extent these errors are caused by L1 conceptual transfer: the influence of conceptual knowledge and patterns of conceptualisation from one language on production of another; A cognitive linguistics framework was adopted to: i) delineate the cognitive processes that may underlie conceptual transfer in general; and ii) reveal areas of potential conceptual difference for investigation within the tense and aspect systems of English and Italian. Taking a mixed methods approach, a twenty item cloze test was developed to target areas of potential conceptual difference between Italian and English. This was also used to generate qualitative think aloud reports. Allowing the investigator access to the thought processes underlying tense choice for target concepts, think aloud reports were able to reveal and explain more specifically examples of conceptual transfer in the first instance, and also as analysis progressed to distinguish between concept and conceptualisation transfer. Concept transfer refers to the influence of L1 stored conceptual knowledge and conceptualisation transfer to the influence of L1 conceptualisation patterns - both developed through exposure to one language - on the production of another. This thesis provides evidence for these two types of transfer as two distinct stages in interlanguage development. All participants - 54 Italian L1 speakers of English L2 (experimental group), 30 native English speakers (control), 50 native Italian speakers (control) and 40 Maltese speakers (control) - completed the cloze test, and 6 of the experimental group did this while thinking aloud. All the participants also performed a non-verbal task. Results of the statistical analysis show the experimental group had an increased error rate for target concepts. The concurrent think aloud protocols were analysed and cross referenced with the cloze test results. Think aloud reports indicated that participants thinking for the target concepts is constrained by L1 mediated cognitive processes giving rise to potential evidence for conceptual transfer distinguishing it from formal transfer and revealing L1 conceptual influence even in ‘correct’ responses. Moreover, the think aloud reports also provided evidence with which to differentiate between concept and conceptualisation This novel methodological approach represents an important and original contribution to the state of the art of conceptual transfer research to date as it serves to unmask conceptual transfer despite its numerous guises.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: P Philology. Linguistics