Working Papers (1982-2000)

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    Performance Assessment of ESL and EFL Students
    ( 2000) Brown, James Dean ; Hudson, Thom ; Norris, John M. ; Bonk, William ; Brown, James D. ; University of Hawaii at Manoa. Department of Second Language Studies.
    Thirteen prototypical performance tasks were selected from over 100 based on their generic appropriateness for the target population and on posited difficulty levels (associated with plus or niinus values for linguistic code command, cognitive operations, and communicative adaptation, as discussed in Norris, Brown, Hudson, & Yoshioka, 1998, after Skehan, 1996, 1998). These l3 tasks were used to create three test forms (with one anchor task common to all forms), two for use in an ESL setting at the University of Hawai'i, and one for use in an EFL setting at Kanda University of International Studies in Japan. In addition, two sets ofrating scales were created based on task-dependent and task-independent categories. For each individual task, the criteria for the task-dependent categories were created in consultation with an advanced language learner, a language teacher, and a non-ESL teacher, all ofwhom were well-acquainted with the target population and the prototype tasks. These criteria for success were allowed to differ from task to task depending on the input ofour consultants. The task-independent categories were created for each of three theoretically motivated components of task difficulty in terms of the adequacy of: (linguistic) code command, cognitive operations, and communicative adaptation. A third rating scale was developed for examinees to rate their own performance in terms of their familiarity with the task, their performance on the task, and the difficulty of the task. Pilot data were gathered from ESL and EFL students at a wide range of proficiency levels. Their performances were scored by raters using the task dependent and task-independent criteria. Analyses included descriptive statistics, reliability estimates (interrater, Cronbach alpha, etc.), correlational analysis, and implicational scale analysis. The results are interpreted and discussed in terms of: (a) the distributions ofscores for the task-dependent and task-independent ratings, (b) test reliability and ways to improve the consistency of measurement, and (c) test validify and the relationship of our task-based test to theory.
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    Reading Reluctant Readers
    ( 2000) Day, Richard R. ; Bamford, Julian ; Brown, James D. ; University of Hawaii at Manoa. Department of Second Language Studies.
    Yet it is possible for students to discover the benefits and pleaiures of being able to read in English. This can happen if extensive reading is incorporated into the EFL curriculum. This article introduces extensive reading as a way of improving students' attitude and motivation toward EFL reading as well as improving their proficiency in reading and their English language ability. we begin by explaining that easy and interesting reading material is the key factor in extensive reading. we discuss how to gather a library of suitable reading materials and how to encourage students to read them' Finally, we propose several ways of fitting extensive reading into the EFL curriculum.
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    Negotiating the L2 Linguistics Environment
    ( 2000) Doughty, Catherine ; Brown, James D. ; University of Hawaii at Manoa. Department of Second Language Studies.
    Increasingly, the interests of L2 teachers and social interactionist SLA researchers have converged upon the aim of understanding language leaming processes that are engaged as a consequence of the kinds of tasks and participation patterns that teachers (or researchers) choose to use in order to promote SLA. This convergence of practical and empirical interests is well represented in a line of classroom-oriented SLA research known as negotiation studies. In contrast to the increasingly frequent use of negotiation to describe pedagogical constructs such as the negotiated syllabus or the negotiated curriculum, in which the notion of negotiation is more akin to the everyday sense of (teachers and learners) reaching explicitly stated agleement on language leaming (and other) goals, in second Language Acquisition (SLA) research, negotiation has, thus far, referred particularly to the negotiation of meaning, which is an incidental, discourselevel language acquisition process that occurs typically during communicative language leaming tasks. This paper presents the negotiation model and discusses a number of empirical studies in order to convey the unique perspective which SLA brings to the notion ofnegotiation and to assess its relevance for language teaching practice. To this end, the aims are (a) to present the social interactionist perspective on SLA in a historical fashion, tracing its early tendency to emphasize the importance of meaning and communication to SLA through to its increasingly sophisticated recognition that SLA involves the continual mapping by leamers of L2 forms, meanings, and communicative function; (b) to review critically the negotiation studies which sought empirically to establish a connection between interaction and SLA, and (c) to show how the shortcomings ofthe empirical research on negotiation has been the impetus for the promising line ofclassroom SLA research known as focus on form.
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    Perspective and Narrative Structure Structure–A Cognitive Perspective
    ( 2000) Jacobs, Roderick A. ; Brown, James D. ; University of Hawaii at Manoa. Department of Second Language Studies.
    Written narrative discourse demands sophisticated tracking of mental spaces (Fauconnier, 1994). Such tracking requires readers to construct complex mental models incorporating much that is inexplicit h the prose. These models interact in subtle and intricate ways. The construal task involves more than the evocation of sequential scenarios, since particular stages in a narrative may arise from the blendrng of two or more mental models drawing on subsets of features of the source models. During this process of creative construal, readers construct, activate, and adiust a spatio-temporal focus enabling them to integrate the interpretation of indiyidual sentences into more global interpretations. This focus, referred to as the "deictic center" (Rapaport et.al, 1999), shifts constantly as the narrative Progresses. Characters in a narrative shift in and out of this center over the coutse of the narrative. Although such linguistic phenomena as anaphora, motion verbs, tense-marking, relative clause structures, and nominalizations may matk the ever-shifting deictic center, it is also true that readers must also draw on complex inferential skills to intelptet the narrative flow, i.e., to construct a coherent model of the narrative events, incorporating unexpressed information. The mental spaces evoked are interrelated, even blended, in complex and sometimes subde ways illustrated here in an examination of narrative segments from novels by Philippa Pearce, John Grisham, and Ann Tyler, and a Blake lyric.
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    Application of Markedness Theory to Japanese Learners' Acquisition of Discourse Factors in the Dative Alternation
    ( 2000) Katsufuji, Kazuko Shimabukuro ; Brown, James D. ; University of Hawaii at Manoa. Department of Second Language Studies.
    Transfer is an important element in second language acquisition, and researchers have sought to identify the conditions that promote and inhibit transfer. One of the most rigorous claims in research on transfer is that the degree of transferability of different features depends on their degree of markedness. Eckman (1977 , 1981 , 1996) has advanced the Markedness Differential Hypothesis (MDH) to account for "(1) why some NL-TL differences do not cause diffrculty, and (2) why some differences are associated with degrees of difficulty and others are not (Eckman, 1996, p.199)." Eckman claims that the transfer effects surface when the area of L1 is unmarked and the area of L2 marked, but does not exist when the area of L1 is marked and the L2 unmarked. In this paper, data from native language (NL), interlanguage (IL), and target language (TL) are analyzed to examine how discourse factors of English dative alternation are acquired by Japanese adult learners of English, then the results are interpreted within the framework of Eckman's MDH. The first section of this paper briefly reviews the concept of markedness in general and in MDH. In the second section, what is known about discourse constraints on the dative alternation in English is discussed. In the third section, a brief review of research on Japanese dative structures is provided, since the MDH makes predictions dependent on the universal principles and the native language of the learner. The subsequent sections outline the research hypotheses, describe the experiment, and interpret the results, which are in general consistent with the hypothesis. Finally, suggestions are made for additional research.