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Dynamic Interfaces in Beginning L2 Mandarin Construction Learning: A Usage-Based Corpus Investigation of Frequency Distribution, Communicative Function and Salience.

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Title:Dynamic Interfaces in Beginning L2 Mandarin Construction Learning: A Usage-Based Corpus Investigation of Frequency Distribution, Communicative Function and Salience.
Authors:Riggs, Reed S.
Contributors:East Asian Lang & Lit-Chinese (department)
Conversation Analysis
Mandarin Chinese
Date Issued:May 2018
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:Constructionist research on L2 learning has focused on the degrees to which skewed
frequency (Goldberg, Casenhiser & White, 2007; Casenhiser & Goldberg, 2005; Goldberg,
Casenhiser, & Sethuraman 2004) in a person's linguistic environment can facilitate entrenchment,
schematization, and contingency learning (Ellis, Römer, & O'Donnell, 2016; Ellis & Ferreira-
Junior, 2009a; Ellis, 2002). Usage-based learner corpus studies by Eskildsen (2009, 2011, 2012,
2014, 2015, 2017), focusing on just one or two L2 learners in an ESL classroom, found evidence
for (1) learning in the forms of entrenchment and schematization as evidence of developmental
sequences (e.g. Bardovi-Harlig, 2002) within individual grammatical constructions, and (2) the
learners' experiences with talk-in-interaction helped to provides some of the exemplars that drive
fixed multi-word expressions (MWEs) toward schematic, end-state constructions. Meanwhile,
Ellis & Ferreira-Junior (2009a) provide an account of contingency learning among adult
immigrants to the UK by comparing their distributions of words across three grammatical
constructions in both the learners' speech and the speech of native speakers. This study found
similar distributions between native and non-native speakers. Gaps remain for
Constructionist/Usage-based research to account for contingency learning in connection with
observable experience in an L2 that is distant from English and during early stages.
Addressing these gaps, this dissertation study investigates contingency learning under
conditions of heavily skewed input in L2 classrooms, i.e. institutional forms of social interaction
(Heritage & Clayman, 2010). A learner corpus was created to follow ten beginning learners from
the Mainland United States during an intensive Mandarin Chinese language camp in Hawai'i.
The learners had minimal or no experience with Chinese learning prior to the start of camp.
Instruction was organized around several types of pedagogy: the comprehension-in-interaction
oriented Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS; Ray & Seely, [1997]
2015; Cahnmann-Taylor & Coda, 2018; Lichtman, 2013), peer-talk-in-interaction oriented Task-
Based Language Teaching (TBLT; Long, 2015, 1985; Ellis, 2009), Cold Character Reading
(CCR; Neubauer, 2018; Waltz, 2015), Extensive Reading (ER; Ro, 2017; Jeon & Day, 2016;
Nation, 2015; Hitosugi & Day, 2004), and Chinese "scaffolded writing" (Waltz, 2015).
Collostructional Analysis (Stefanowitsch, 2013; Stefanowitsch & Gries, 2003) is used to
compare frequency distribution, collexeme strength, and contingency (measured with bidirectional
Delta P) in five main corpora (capturing language that was heard, said, read, and
written) with corresponding test corpora (freely written and spoken stories) across five recording
periods. Concreteness (one form of salience; e.g. Crossley, Kyle, & Salsbury, 2016; Brysbaert,
Warriner, & Kuperman, 2014) is considered as a factor that may complicate effects from
frequency distribution. Finally, institutional interaction (Heritage & Clayman, 2010) is
investigated in regards to how teachers and students use and re-use limited language for talking
their institution into being (p. 20). Findings reveal how the participants used a single Chinese
pattern as a resource to (a) acquire that Chinese pattern, and (b) co-construct institutional
practices around story-building. These analyses illustrate how this institution-specific interaction
resulted in highly skewed frequency. The collexeme analyses reveal a close match between
frequency distribution in classroom experience and the learners' freely written and freely spoken
stories in test corpora. These findings highlight an active role for contingency learning during
early construction learning and language development, given the environments these particular
learners experienced.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2018.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - East Asian Languages and Literatures (Chinese)

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