SLS Faculty & Researcher Works

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Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
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    Materials for visual-world experiment in Grüter, Lau & Ling (2019, LCN)
    ( 2019) Grüter, Theres ; Lau, Elaine ; Ling, Wenyi
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    Academic language socialisation in high school writing conferences
    (University of Toronto Press, 2014-08) Gilliland, Betsy
    This study examines multilingual high school writers’ individual talk with their teachers in two advanced English language development classes to observe how such talk shapes linguistically diverse adolescents’ writing. Addressing adolescent writers’ language socialization through microethnographic discourse analysis, the author argues that teachers’ oral responses during writing conferences can either scaffold or deter students’ socialization into valued ways of using academic language for school writing. She suggests what forms of oral response provide scaffolding and what forms might limit multilingual adolescent learners’ academic literacy. Constructive interactions engaged students in dialogue about their writing, and students included content or phrasing from the interaction in their texts. Unhelpful interactions failed to foster students’ language development in observable ways. Although teachers attempted to scaffold ideas and language, they often did not guide students’ discovery of appropriate forms or points. These interactions represent restrictive academic language socialization: while some students did create academic texts, they learned little about academic language use.
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    High school teacher perspectives and practices: second language writing and language development
    (Taylor & Francis, 2015) Gilliland, Betsy
    Teachers' understandings of second language learning influence their practices in the classroom. This paper analyzes interview and classroom data collected during a year-long ethnographic study of two high school English language development classes to identify (1) what the teachers understood about second language (L2) development and L2 academic writing, and (2) to what extent these perspectives manifested in the teachers’ writing instruction. Analyses suggest that both the teachers felt that language could be learned inductively through exposure to models and that writing instruction should focus on essay structure and correctness. Their teaching, however, was also constrained by accountability pressures from high stakes writing assessments. I argue that the teachers? approaches reflected a restrictive understanding not aligned with a situated perspective on language and writing development and therefore denied their multilingual students’ opportunities to learn academic language for writing.
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    Differences between native and non-native English listeners in the use of prosodic focus and event structure to anticipate discourse structure and resolve reference
    ( 2017) Schafer, Amy J.
    A series of experiments tested discourse processing in native speakers of English and Japanese- and Korean-native adult second-language learners of English. Results from offline (story continuation) and online (visual world) experiments show that both groups can show sensitivity in their processing decisions to prosodic prominence, grammatical aspect, verb bias, and the form of referential expression, but that the groups are not identical, especially in their tendency to generate expectations relevant to co-reference.
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    Contrastive prosody and the subsequent mention of alternatives during discourse processing
    ( 2018-07-07) Schafer, Amy J. ; Camp, Amber ; Rohde, Hannah ; Grüter, Theres
    Linguistic research has long viewed prosody as an important indicator of information structure in intonationally rich languages like English. Correspondingly, numerous psycholinguistic studies have shown significant effects of prosody, particularly with respect to the immediate processing of a prosodically prominent phrase. Although co-reference resolution is known to be influenced by information structure, it has been less clear whether prosodic prominence can affect decisions about next mention in a discourse, and if so, how. We present results from an open-ended story continuation task, conducted as part of a series of experiments that examine how prosody influences the anticipation and resolution of co-reference. Overall results from the project suggest that prosodic prominence can increase or decrease reference to a saliently pitch-accented phrase, depending on additional circumstances of the referential decision. We argue that an adequate account of prosody’s role in co-reference requires consideration of how the processing system interfaces with multiple levels of linguistic representation.
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    Using corpus linguistics to examine the extrapolation inference in the validity argument for a high-stakes speaking assessment
    (Sage Journals, 2017-09-19) LaFlair, Geoffrey T. ; Staples, Shelley
    Investigations of the validity of a number of high-stakes language assessments are conducted using an argument-based approach, which requires evidence for inferences that are critical to score interpretation (Chapelle, Enright, & Jamieson, 2008b; Kane, 2013). The current study investigates the extrapolation inference for a high-stakes test of spoken English, the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) speaking task. This inference requires evidence that supports the inferential step from observations of what test takers can do on an assessment to what they can do in the target domain (Chapelle et al., 2008b; Kane, 2013). Typically, the extrapolation inference has been supported by evidence from a criterion measure of language ability. This study proposes an additional empirical method, namely corpus-based register analysis (Biber & Conrad, 2009), which provides a quantitative framework for examining the linguistic relationship between performance assessments and the domains to which their scores are extrapolated. This approach extends Bachman and Palmer’s (2010) focus on the target language use (TLU) domain analysis in their study of assessment use arguments by providing a quantitative approach for the study of language. We first explain the connections between corpus-based register analysis and TLU analysis. Second, an investigation of the MELAB speaking task compares the language of test-taker responses to the language of academic, professional, and conversational spoken registers, or TLU domains. Additionally, the language features at different performance levels within the MELAB speaking task are investigated to determine the relationship between test takers’ scores and their language use in the task. Following previous studies using corpus-based register analysis, we conduct a multi-dimensional (MD) analysis for our investigation. The comparison of the language features from the MELAB with the language of TLU domains revealed that support for the extrapolation inference varies across dimensions of language use.
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    eye gaze data reported in Grüter et al. (2018, Cognition)
    ( 2018-04) Grüter, Theres ; Takeda, Aya ; Rohde, Hannah ; Schafer, Amy J.
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    Intersentential coreference expectations reflect mental models of events
    (Elsevier, 2018) Grüter, Theres ; Takeda, Aya ; Rohde, Hannah ; Schafer, Amy J.
    Comprehenders’ perception of the world is mediated by the mental models they construct. During discourse processing, incoming information allows comprehenders to update their model of the events being described. At the same time, comprehenders use these models to generate expectations about who or what will be mentioned next. The temporal dynamics of this interdependence between language processing and mental event representation has been difficult to disentangle. The present visual world eye-tracking experiment measures listeners’ coreference expectations during an intersentential pause between a sentence about a transfer-of-possession event and a continuation mentioning either its Source or Goal. We found a temporally dispersed but sustained preference for fixating the Goal that was significantly greater when the event was described as completed rather than incomplete (passed versus was passing). This aligns with reported offline sensitivity to event structure, as conveyed via verb aspect, and provides new evidence that our mental model of an event leads to early and, crucially, proactive expectations about subsequent mention in the upcoming discourse.
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    Coreference and discourse coherence in L2: The roles of grammatical aspect and referential form
    ( 2017) Grüter, Theres ; Rohde, Hannah ; Schafer, Amy J.
    Discourse-level factors, such as event structure and the form of referential expressions, play an important role in native speakers’ referential processing. This paper presents an experiment with Japanese- and Korean-speaking learners of English, investigating the extent to which discourse-level biases that have gradient effects in L1 speakers are also implicated in L2 speakers’ coreference choices. Results from a story continuation task indicate that biases involving referential form were remarkably similar for L1 and L2 speakers. In contrast, event structure, indicated by perfective versus imperfective aspect, had a more limited effect on L2 speakers’ referential choices. The L2 results are discussed in light of existing accounts of L1 reference processing, which assume that referential choices are shaped by speakers’ continually updated expectations about what is likely to be mentioned next, and argued to reflect L2 speakers’ reduced reliance on expectations.