Date of Award

8-7-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Applied Linguistics and English as a Second Language

First Advisor

YouJin Kim

Second Advisor

Scott A. Crossley

Third Advisor

Stephanie Lindemann

Fourth Advisor

Melissa Baralt

Abstract

Decades of research has shown that speakers mutually adapt to each other’s linguistic behaviors at different levels of language during dialogue. Recent second language (L2) research has suggested that alignment occurring while L2 learners carry out collaborative activities may lead to L2 development, highlighting the benefits of using alignment activities for L2 learning. However, despite the notion that speakers linguistically align in interactions happening in socially-situated contexts, little is known about the role of social factors in the magnitude and learning outcomes of alignment occurring in L2 interaction. The purpose of the study was to examine the pedagogical benefits of alignment activities for the development of L2 grammar and vocabulary during peer interaction across two different interactional contexts: Face-to-Face (FTF) and synchronous mobile-mediated communication (SMMC; mobile text-chat). The target vocabulary items included 32 words and the target structure was a stranded preposition construction embedded in an English relative clause. Furthermore, this study investigated whether social factors (i.e., L2 learners’ perceptions of their interlocutor’s proficiency, comprehensibility of the interlocutor’s language production, and task experience with the interlocutor) and cognitive factors (i.e., individual differences in language aptitude, cognitive style, and proficiency) would modulate alignment effects. Ninety-eight Korean university students were assigned to either the FTF or SMMC group. They completed two alignment activities in pairs, three measurement tests (pre-, post-, and delayed post-test), various cognitive ability tests, and perception questionnaires over four weeks. Results indicated that alignment occurred at the structural and lexical levels in FTF and SMMC modes, but also that structural alignment was facilitated significantly more in the SMMC mode when compared to FTF. However, there was no significant modality effect on the degree of lexical alignment. Findings also demonstrated beneficial role of alignment activities in L2 grammar and vocabulary learning, irrespective of the modality. Furthermore, results suggested that language proficiency and explicit language aptitude were significantly associated with structural alignment driven learning. Learners’ perceptions did not show a significant impact on the degree of alignment and learning outcomes. Implications for the benefits of interactive alignment activities for L2 development and the effect of modality, social factors, and cognitive factors are discussed.

Available for download on Thursday, July 02, 2020

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