LINGUIST List 13.867

Thu Mar 28 2002

Diss: Applied Ling: Isabelli "Motivation and..."

Editor for this issue: Karolina Owczarzak <>


  1. cisabell, Applied Ling: Isabelli "Motivation and Extended Interaction..."

Message 1: Applied Ling: Isabelli "Motivation and Extended Interaction..."

Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 10:22:36 +0000
From: cisabell <>
Subject: Applied Ling: Isabelli "Motivation and Extended Interaction..."

New Dissertation Abstract

Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Program: Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2000

Author: Christina L Isabelli 

Dissertation Title: 
Motivation and Extended Interaction in the Study-Abroad Context:
Factors in the Development of Spanish Language Accuracy and
Communication Skills

Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics

Subject Language: Spanish

Dissertation Director 1: Dale April Koike
Dissertation Director 2: Judith Liskin-Gasparro
Dissertation Director 3: Chiyo Nishida
Dissertation Director 4: Thomas Garza

Dissertation Abstract: 

This study examines the impact of a one-semester study-abroad
experience in Argentina on the second language acquisition of five
American university Spanish learners. The goal is three-fold: (1) to
measure development of linguistic accuracy of (a) tense selection, (b)
aspect selection, (c) subject-verb agreement, and (d) adjectival
agreement; (2) to measure development of skills in performing the
functions of narration, description, and opinion; and (3) to relate
patterns of social contact via analysis of social network logs to
development in language proficiency as measured by gains in linguistic
accuracy and oral communication skills over time.

Significant development ws found in accuracy of tense selection and
adjectival agreement and measured development in aspect usage and
subject-verb agreement. Regarding development of oral communication
skills, all learners showed development in fluency but not in the
production of discourse functions. I submit that the two vital
factors that lead to acquisition gains in the study-abroad context are
motivation and extended significant target language interaction with
native speakers in social networks. I show through qualitative and
quantitative data that those who had high motivation were those that
had more extended networks, which correlated with gains in linguistic
accuracy and development in performing discourse functions.

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