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L2 Instruction and Collocation Learning: Classroom intervention research on input processing with L1 Swedish adolescent learners of English
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Language Education.
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

An important dimension of learning a second language (L2) is to build up a store of recurring word combinations that native speakers use. These so-called formulaic sequences (FSs) serve many functions in fluent language use. One category of FSs is collocations, defined in the present thesis as combinations of a verb and a noun in English with a significant attraction to each other, for example ‘carry a risk’. Research has shown that L2 English learners struggle with the appropriate use of collocations but reviews of instructional interventions have concluded that few guidelines for effective pedagogical treatment of collocations are available. 

The thesis has investigated the impact of L2 instruction on collocation learning by manipulating the conditions for input processing of treatment materials containing target collocations (TCs). Three classroom pre-test/post-test intervention studies (Studies I-III) were conducted, with a total of 165 L1 Swedish adolescent learners of English. Study I compared a form-focused approach to a meaning-focused approach to the same materials to find out why the former may be more effective than the latter as shown in previous studies. Study II focused on the effects of three manipulations of the materials: how deeply the learners process the TCs, whether re-exposures to TCs are spaced or concentrated, and whether the learners process TCs with or without post-test announcement. Study III examined the potential for a collaborative text reconstruction task to facilitate TC learning. Two modified versions of the task were created that contained different types of priming to the TCs in a pre-task activity.

Results of Study I show that learners in the form-focused condition, having studied decontextualized TCs and been introduced to the term ‘collocation’, were able to connect words that they previously only knew as single words into collocations. Results also show that a researcher-developed version of stimulated recall interviews was successful in probing learners’ mental processes. As for Study II, surprisingly, neither deep processing nor a spaced re-exposure schedule was effective for TC learning, while post-test announcement was. Results of Study III reveal that a pre-task activity that induced learners to elaborate on TC meaning outperformed a pre-task activity with a form-focused elaboration of TCs, notably for the delayed post-test of productive TC knowledge.

Taken together, the results of Studies I-III show that L2 English teachers, with relatively small changes in their classroom procedures, can actively contribute to increasing their learners’ collocational competence, an integral part of more advanced proficiency. It is hoped that the successful implementation of the three studies will inspire more instructional interventions on L2 vocabulary learning in Swedish schools and universities, targeting single words and FSs.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Language Education, Stockholm University , 2019. , p. 107
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar i språkdidaktik - Dissertations in Language Education ; 13
Keywords [en]
L2 English collocation learning, instructional intervention, Swedish adolescent learners, input processing
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Language Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-166045ISBN: 978-91-7797-620-2 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7797-621-9 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-166045DiVA, id: diva2:1288085
Public defence
2019-03-29, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-03-06 Created: 2019-02-12 Last updated: 2019-02-27Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Using qualitative methodologies in research on formal L2 collocation learning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Using qualitative methodologies in research on formal L2 collocation learning
2016 (English)In: Collocations Cross-Linguistically: Corpora, Dictionaries and Language Teaching / [ed] Begoña Sanromán Vilas, Helsinki: Société Néophilologique , 2016, p. 193-218Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This article reports on a quasi-experimental study of formal L2 collocation learning focusing on intermediate level EFL learners in two Swedish high schools. The study aimed at investigating the potential for qualitative methodologies to account for the learning of target items (verb-noun collocations) in form-focused compared to meaning-focused treatment conditions. Using a pre-test/post-test design, the study utilized two verbal reports – introspective think-aloud protocols (TAPs) and retrospective stimulated recall interviews (SRIs) – to probe participants’ memory processes of learned target items as displayed in post-tests. The data was analysed using thematic analysis. Results showed that the introspective report as a rule put too much cognitive strain on participants in both conditions, while the retrospective report offered insights into the mental mechanisms of participants that had processed target items with an explicit focus on target forms. Implications for language pedagogy and further research are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Helsinki: Société Néophilologique, 2016
Series
Mémoires de la Société Néophilologique de Helsinki, ISSN 0355-0192 ; 100
Keywords
Collocations, Quasi-experimental research, Qualitative methodologies
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Language Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-136356 (URN)978-951-9040-57-8 (ISBN)
Available from: 2016-12-05 Created: 2016-12-05 Last updated: 2019-02-27Bibliographically approved
2. Improving English Learners’ Productive Collocation Knowledge: The Effects of Involvement Load, Spacing, and Intentionality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Improving English Learners’ Productive Collocation Knowledge: The Effects of Involvement Load, Spacing, and Intentionality
2017 (English)In: TESL Canada Journal, ISSN 0826-435X, E-ISSN 1925-8917, Vol. 34, no 11, p. 140-164Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article reports on a classroom-based experiment which tested the effects of three vocabulary teaching constructs on the learning of English verb-noun collocations, for example shelve a plan. Laufer and Hulstijn’s (2001) ‘involvement load’ predicts that the higher the motivational-cognitive load of a task, the more effectively it promotes word retention. ‘Spacing’ refers to the advantage of spreading out learning opportunities for words as opposed to massing them. ‘Intentionality’ comprises two word processing modes: intentional learning (post-test announced) and incidental learning (post-test unannounced), where the former is claimed to outperform the latter. The constructs were integrated into an intervention study with 59 adolescent L1 Swedish learners of English in within- and between-subjects designs. Learners processed target items three times when performing tasks that operationalized the constructs. Three post-tests of productive knowledge of target items were administered. Statistical analyses of gain scores show that neither involvement load nor spacing had a significant positive impact on learning gains. Significant effects were found on three measures for intentional learning when compared to incidental learning. The findings are discussed in relation to previous research and their implications for English language teaching (ELT).

Keywords
English language teaching (ELT), collocation learning, involvement load, spacing, intentionality
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
Language Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-154500 (URN)10.18806/tesl.v34i3.1277 (DOI)000437762300008 ()
Available from: 2018-03-29 Created: 2018-03-29 Last updated: 2019-02-12Bibliographically approved
3. How dictogloss can facilitate collocation learning in ELT
Open this publication in new window or tab >>How dictogloss can facilitate collocation learning in ELT
2019 (English)In: ELT Journal, ISSN 0951-0893, E-ISSN 1477-4526, Vol. 73, no 1, p. 41-50Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This instructional intervention investigated the potential for the text reconstruction task dictogloss to facilitate the learning of English verb–noun collocations, for example ‘carry a risk’. Research has shown that learners have difficulties in using such collocations, but few useful instructional techniques are on offer. Participants in the study were 64 L1 Swedish adolescent learners of English. The effectiveness of two modified versions of the dictogloss was compared in a within-subjects design. This implied that participants in pairs co-reconstructed two texts containing target collocations, where each co-reconstruction was preceded by a specific priming activity to induce learners to process collocations as intact wholes. Results showed that having learners elaborate on the meaning of collocations in a pre-task activity outperformed a form-oriented pre-task activity on all measures, notably for productive knowledge on delayed post-tests. The findings are discussed in relation to previous research and their implications for ELT.

Keywords
ELT, collocation learning, dictogloss
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
Language Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-166005 (URN)10.1093/elt/ccy024 (DOI)000462574400005 ()
Available from: 2019-02-11 Created: 2019-02-11 Last updated: 2019-11-14Bibliographically approved

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