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LINGUIST List 21.482

Sat Jan 30 2010

Diss: Applied Ling/Lang Acq: Sundqvist: 'Extramural English Matters...'

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        1.    Pia Sundqvist, Extramural English Matters: Out-of-school English and its impact on Swedish ninth graders' oral proficiency and vocabulary

Message 1: Extramural English Matters: Out-of-school English and its impact on Swedish ninth graders' oral proficiency and vocabulary
Date: 29-Jan-2010
From: Pia Sundqvist <pia.sundqvistkau.se>
Subject: Extramural English Matters: Out-of-school English and its impact on Swedish ninth graders' oral proficiency and vocabulary
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Institution: Karlstad University
Program: English linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Pia Sundqvist

Dissertation Title: Extramural English Matters: Out-of-school English and its impact on Swedish ninth graders' oral proficiency and vocabulary

Dissertation URL: http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?searchId=1&pid=diva2:275141

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            Language Acquisition

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Solveig Granath
June Miliander
Moira Linnarud
Hugo Wikström

Dissertation Abstract:

The present study examines possible effects of extramural English (EE) on
oral proficiency (OP) and vocabulary (VOC). The study is based on data
collected from Swedish learners of ESL in grade 9 (aged 15-16; N=80; 36
boys, 44 girls) over a period of one year. EE was defined as linguistic
activities that learners engage in outside the classroom in their spare
time. EE was measured with the help of a questionnaire and two language
diaries, each covering one week. In the diaries, the learners recorded how
much time they had spent on seven given EE activities (reading books,
reading newspapers/magazines, watching TV, watching films, surfing the
Internet, playing video games, listening to music). There was also an open
category. Speech data were collected with the help of five interactional
speaking tests; learners were in random dyads on each occasion. Each
student performance was assessed by three raters with the help of a profile
scheme, resulting in an overall grade. Based on these grades from the
tests, a mean grade for OP (the OP grade) was calculated for each student.
OP was defined as the learner's ability to speak and use the target
language in actual communication with an interlocutor. Learners' VOC was
measured with an index variable based on the scores on two written
vocabulary tests. For a selection of ten learners, additional analyses were
made of oral fluency and the use of advanced vocabulary in speech. A mixed
methods research design was used, but the lion's share of data was analyzed
using inferential statistics.

Results showed that the total amount of time spent on EE correlated
positively and significantly (p < .01) both with learners' level of OP and
size of VOC, but that the correlation between EE and VOC was stronger and
more straightforward than the one between EE and OP. The conclusion drawn
was that although EE impacts both OP and VOC, the causal relationship is
more salient in the case of VOC. Results also showed that some activities
were more important than others for OP and VOC respectively; i.e., the type
of EE activity mattered. EE activities that required learners to be more
productive and rely on their language skills (video games, the Internet,
reading) had a greater impact on OP and VOC than activities where learners
could remain fairly passive (music, TV, films). An important gender
difference was identified. Boys spent significantly more time on productive
EE activities than girls; therefore, EE had a greater impact on OP and VOC
for boys than for girls. Four background variables were also studied. The
conclusion was that EE is an independent variable and a possible path to
progress in English for any learner, regardless of his or her socioeconomic
background.



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