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LINGUIST List 19.2689

Thu Sep 04 2008

Diss: Applied Ling/Lang Acq/Socioling: Gudmestad: 'Acquiring a ...'

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        1.    Aarnes Gudmestad, Acquiring a Variable Structure: An interlanguage analysis of second-language mood use in Spanish


Message 1: Acquiring a Variable Structure: An interlanguage analysis of second-language mood use in Spanish
Date: 04-Sep-2008
From: Aarnes Gudmestad <agudmestvt.edu>
Subject: Acquiring a Variable Structure: An interlanguage analysis of second-language mood use in Spanish
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Institution: Indiana University
Program: Department of Spanish
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2008

Author: Aarnes Gudmestad

Dissertation Title: Acquiring a Variable Structure: An interlanguage analysis of second-language mood use in Spanish

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            Language Acquisition
                            Sociolinguistics

Subject Language(s): Spanish (spa)

Dissertation Director:
Kimberly L. Geeslin

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation represents an interdisciplinary approach to the study of
interlanguage. It connects issues in classroom-based second language
acquisition to topics in sociolinguistics by exploring the relationship
between native-speaker (NS) and second-language (L2) variation.
Specifically, the linguistic and extra-linguistic variables influencing L2
learners' development of mood use (the subjunctive and indicative contrast)
are described and compared to those characterizing the use of NSs of
Spanish. In this investigation, 150 L2 learners with a range of proficiency
levels and NSs completed three oral-elicitation tasks in Spanish. The
frequency and multivariate statistical analyses, conducted using the
Statistical Package for the Social Sciences 15.0, identified stages of
development at which L2 learners of Spanish begin to employ the subjunctive
mood in the same linguistic contexts as NSs. The cross-sectional data
demonstrated that, as the subjunctive developed, L2 learners expanded and
restructured their form-meaning associations and they produced a range of
verb forms in mood-choice contexts. Furthermore, the sentence-level
variable of semantic category influenced L2 learners' mood use before the
discourse-level features of time reference and hypotheticality and the
word-level variable of form regularity. The extra-linguistic variable of
task was the only factor that predicted mood use for each participant
group. The results also showed that the most advanced L2 learners used the
subjunctive in largely the same linguistic contexts as the NSs; only subtle
differences between the two groups were observed. This dissertation further
supports the idea that the variationist framework (i.e., analyses of
frequency and predictors) enables linguists to systematically analyze,
identify, and describe first and second-language variation, and it
demonstrates that variation must be accounted for in order to truly
understand how L2 acquisition progresses and what processes are involved.



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