Effect of reduced forms on ESL learners' input-intake process

Ito, Yasuko
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The distinction between input and intake was first proposed by Corder (1967). Whether or not target language input becomes intake is determined by various factors, one of which is perceptual saliency. The language phenomenon called reduced forms, which is observed in informal spoken languages, decreases perceptual saliency, and is thus believed to influence the input-intake process in SLA. Henrichsen (1984) examined how the presence and absence of reduced forms influence ESL learners’ input-intake process. The purpose of the study reported here was to investigate further the influence of reduced forms on the input-intake process, by modifying two aspects of Henrichsen’s study: (a) sentence complexity in the test and (b) differences in reduced form type. The data were collected from 18 ESL learners and nine native speakers at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa using a dictation test. Two two-way repeated measures ANOVAs indicated that the presence of reduced forms, students’ language proficiency, and the type of reduced form (lexical vs. phonological forms) affected the learners’ listening comprehension. The interaction effect was also found to be statistically significant between the type of reduced form and proficiency, but not between the presence of reduced forms and proficiency. This study provides further understanding, not only of whether or not reduced forms influence listening comprehension, but also of which type of reduced form influence learners’ listening comprehension more than others.
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