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natasha

VIEWS: 3 PAGES: 83

									What Makes Second Language
   Learning So Difficult?

       Natasha Tokowicz
   Difficulties in Adult Second
       Language Learning
• A lot of information to learn
• Embarrassment at speaking language
Differences between the new language and
  your native language
 (e.g., The Competition Model, MacWhinney & Bates, 1989)
So, Why Learn Another
     Language?
So, Why Learn Another
     Language?


       QuickTime™ and a
         decompress or
are needed to see this picture.
      So, Why Learn Another
           Language?
• Communicate with people of different
  language backgrounds
  – Especially an important message!

• Identify with another group

• Learn about another culture

• Learn more about your own language
 What factors make adult second
  language learning difficult?
• Exp. 1: Meaning differences across
  languages
  – Multiple translations-more than one way to say
    something
• Exp. 2: Syntactic differences across
  languages
  – Grammatical constructions that differ
• Experiment in progress
  – ERP techniques
        Current Knowledge Both
            Helps and Hurts
• Adult second language learners:
   –   Full set of concepts
   –   Full set of labels for these concepts
   –   Full grammatical system
   –   Full system for contrasting sounds

• Sometimes these will transfer appropriately
   – E.g., same or similar labels (cognates): e.g., color-color

 Mismatches between languages create problems
 Connecting Meanings to Labels
• Initially, concepts are strongly connected to
  L1 words

• Eventually concepts must get connected to
  L2 words for comprehension or production
     Two Labels for the Same
           Meaning?
• Most models assume the concepts activated
  by the two languages are the same
  – Exception: Distributed Feature Model
     • Word concreteness
        – cat
        – health
     • Cognate status of translation pair
        – color-color
        – house-casa
Conceptual Salience




  High              Low
conceptual       conceptual
 salience         salience
Distributed Feature Model
     De Groot (1992)
             Concrete Words             lexical
    L1                             L2
          Cognate Translations          (word)
                                         level


                                        conceptual
                                        (meaning)
                                           level
                                        lexical
    L1        Abstract Words       L2   (word)
         Noncognate Translations          level



                                        conceptual
                                        (meaning)
                                           level
   L1: First Language
   L2: Second Language
 Why Else Meanings May Differ
• Different lexical concepts
   – “sibling” in Dutch = broers en zussen
                         (brothers and sisters)
• Culturally-specific concepts
   – “gezellig” in Dutch = ???
• Culturally-distinct meanings
   – “sombrero”, “iglesia”
 Broadness of application of terms in the two
  languages--semantic boundaries
      Prepositions (Ijaz, 1986)
Semantic boundaries differ across languages
  – German learners of English under-emphasize
    contact and over-emphasize movement for “on”
     • close translation equivalent of “on” in German is
       “auf”, which can denote a motional meaning like the
       English word “up”


• Result is multiple translations, which are
  problematic for the L2 learner
Sources of Multiple Translations
• Imprecise correspondence across languages
• Synonymy
  – sofá  sofa or couch

• Ambiguity within a language
  – glass  vidrio or vaso in Spanish
  – to be  ser or estar in Spanish
Ambiguity at Its Worst: “Trunk”

                 “achterbak” or “kofferbak”
        “romp”



                        “stam” or “boomstronk”




  “slurf”
               Experiment 1

• What happens when meanings differ?
• Different consequences depending on type
  of multiple translations
  – synonyms
  – multiple meanings
• Translation Task
+
cat
“gato”
       Method of Experiment 1
• Participants: adult L2 learners
   – 24 Dutch-English Speakers
• Translated words aloud in both directions
   – L1 to L2
   – L2 to L1
• Recorded responses
   – Accuracy
   – Reaction time for correct responses
                     Design
• Manipulated
  – Number and type of translations
     • Number of meanings
     • Number of forms for meaning selected
  – “Conceptual salience” (CS)
     • A composite measure of concreteness and context
       availability
                          Stimuli
• Number of translations norms
   – Number of translations
   – Number of meanings translated
      • E.g., if said “slurf”, translated snout meaning
• Semantic similarity ratings
   – How similar in meaning are these words?
      • All pairs were considered translation equivalents
• Form similarity ratings
   – How similar are these words in spelling/sound?
      • All pairs were considered translation equivalents
   Predictions for Experiment 1
• High conceptual salience words faster than
  low conceptual salience words

• Multiple forms slower than one form
  – Need to select one to say (e.g., vaso, vidrio)

• Multiple meanings slower than one meaning
  – Need to select one to translate (e.g., trunk)
 Data Analysis of Experiment 1
• Hierarchical regression analysis
• Covaried effects of word length and
  frequency
• Directionality taken into account
  – Data collapsed across direction
       Results of Experiment 1
1200
         One Meaning, One Form for Meaning Selected    • Unambiguous
                                                         words show CS
         Two Meanings, One Form for Meaning Selected
         One Meaning, Two Forms for Meaning Selected


1100                                                     effect
                                                       • Cost for multiple
1000                                                     forms similar for
                                                         high and low CS
 900
                                                         words
                                                       • Cost for multiple
 800
                                                         meanings only for
       Low
             Conce ptual Salie nce
                                      High
                                                         high CS words
                               Accuracy Data: Experiment 1

                         100
                                                                                  • Unambiguous
                          90
                                 One Meaning, One Form for Meaning Selected
                                 Two Mea nings, On e Form for Mea ning Selected
                                                                                    words show CS
                          80
                                 One Meaning, Two Forms for Mea ning Selected
                                                                                    effect
Estimated Accuracy (%)




                                                                                  • High CS words
                          70

                          60

                          50                                                        with multiple
                          40                                                        meanings lower
                          30
                                                                                    in accuracy
                          20

                          10

                           0
                                 Low                          High
                                       Conceptual Salience
      Tokowicz & Kroll
 Model of Language Production
• Adapted from Poulisse & Bongaerts (1994)

• Stages of language production

• Sources of competition
     Tokowicz & Kroll Model

                                                Meaning
                                                 Level


                                                    Word
door strawberry raspberry   deur aardbei framboos   Level



   strawberry                 “aardbei”
     Tokowicz & Kroll Model

                                                Meaning
                                                 Level


                                                    Word
door strawberry raspberry   deur aardbei framboos   Level



   strawberry                 “aardbei”
     Tokowicz & Kroll Model

                                                Meaning
                                                 Level


                                                    Word
door strawberry raspberry   deur aardbei framboos   Level



   strawberry                 “aardbei”
     Tokowicz & Kroll Model

                                                Meaning
                                                 Level


                                                    Word
door strawberry raspberry   deur aardbei framboos   Level



   strawberry                 “aardbei”
     Tokowicz & Kroll Model

                                                Meaning
                                                 Level


                                                    Word
door strawberry raspberry   deur aardbei framboos   Level



   strawberry                 “aardbei”
     Tokowicz & Kroll Model

                                                Meaning
                                                 Level


                                                    Word
door strawberry raspberry   deur aardbei framboos   Level



   strawberry                 “aardbei”
       Tokowicz & Kroll Model
           Multiple Forms
                                                 Meaning
                                                  Level


                                                  Word
door    throat   mouth   deur    strot    keel    Level



        throat                  “strot”
       Tokowicz & Kroll Model
           Multiple Forms
                                                 Meaning
                                                  Level


                                                  Word
door    throat   mouth   deur    strot    keel    Level



        throat                  “strot”
       Tokowicz & Kroll Model
           Multiple Forms
                                                 Meaning
                                                  Level


                                                  Word
door    throat   mouth   deur    strot    keel    Level



        throat                  “strot”
       Tokowicz & Kroll Model
           Multiple Forms
                                                 Meaning
                                                  Level


                                                  Word
door    throat   mouth   deur    strot    keel    Level



        throat                  “strot”
       Tokowicz & Kroll Model
           Multiple Forms
                                                 Meaning
                                                  Level
                                                        competition

                                                  Word
door    throat   mouth   deur    strot    keel    Level



        throat                  “strot”
       Tokowicz & Kroll Model
           Multiple Forms
                                                 Meaning
                                                  Level


                                                  Word
door    throat   mouth   deur    strot    keel    Level



        throat                  “strot”
    Tokowicz & Kroll Model
      Multiple Meanings
                                               Meaning
                                                Level


                                                Word
door calf thigh calf cow   deur dij kuit koe    Level



         calf                  “kuit”
    Tokowicz & Kroll Model
      Multiple Meanings
                                               Meaning
                                                Level


                                                Word
door calf thigh calf cow   deur dij kuit koe    Level



         calf                  “kuit”
    Tokowicz & Kroll Model
      Multiple Meanings
                                               Meaning
                                                Level


                                                Word
door calf thigh calf cow   deur dij kuit koe    Level



         calf                  “kuit”
    Tokowicz & Kroll Model
      Multiple Meanings
                                               Meaning
                                                Level
                                                        competition
                                                Word
door calf thigh calf cow   deur dij kuit koe    Level



         calf                  “kuit”
    Tokowicz & Kroll Model
      Multiple Meanings
                                               Meaning
                                                Level


                                                Word
door calf thigh calf cow   deur dij kuit koe    Level



         calf                  “kuit”
    Tokowicz & Kroll Model
      Multiple Meanings
                                               Meaning
                                                Level


                                                Word
door calf thigh calf cow   deur dij kuit koe    Level



         calf                  “kuit”
           Interim Summary
• Multiple forms create competition

• Multiple meanings create competition if
  simultaneously active

• Conceptual salience interacts with type of
  multiple translations
                 Extensions
• Add sentence or paragraph context
  – Reduce or eliminate conceptual salience effect
  – Reduce meaning effect
  – Not reduce form effect
• Developmental change
  – Less proficient learners will show less
    competition
 Competition at Other Levels of
    Language Production
• Start out like L1 and shift to L2
  – Like prepositions (e.g., McDonald, 1987)


• Does the L1 really interfere with L2
  grammatical processing?
         Experiment 2:
     Grammaticality Judgment
• What happens when the two languages are in
  direct conflict?

• 14 Native English speakers learning Spanish as a
  second language
• Read grammatical and ungrammatical sentences in
  Spanish
• Push button responses regarding grammaticality
    Grammatically Acceptable
           Stimuli
• Correct in Spanish (not English)
  – Se lavó el coche.
    *Was washed the car.
• Correct in both languages
  – El coche fue lavado.
    The car was washed.
  Grammatically Unacceptable
           Stimuli
• Correct in English (not Spanish)
  – *El coche estuvo lavado.
    The car was washed.
• Correct in neither language
  – *El coche lavado.
    *The car washed.
     Predictions-Experiment 2
• If L1 grammar interferes with L2 grammar:
  – “yes” responses
     Should see difference between “both” and “Spanish”
      conditions
  – “no” responses
     Should see difference between “neither” and
      “English” conditions
     Should be difficult to reject English sentences
Reaction Time Data-Experiment 2
                • RT corrected for
                  length of sentences

                • More difficult to reject
                  English sentences

                • No difference between
                  Spanish and Both
Accuracy Data-Experiment 2
             • Accuracy corrected for
               length

             • More accurate at
               rejecting English
               sentences

             • False alarms in
               Neither condition
                 Conclusions
• Stimuli in “both” condition less familiar?, or

• Accuracy in L1 leads learners to question
  acceptability in “Both” condition?

• Good at English only, but slow

 Strategic effects?
 Event-Related Brain Potentials
• Temporally sensitive measure of on-line
  processing
• Derived from the electroencephalographic
  (EEG) record
• Reflect synchronous depolarization of
  populations of neurons
ERP Setup
     • Electrodes are placed
       painlessly on the surface
       of the scalp

     • These electrodes record
       brain activity
        – Background activity
        – Stimulus-locked activity
          ERP Components
• Grammatical violations elicit a “P600”
  response
  – A positive-going deflection in voltage that
    occurs between approximately 500 and 700 ms
    post stimulus
                    Lege nd:




                               Osterhout & Nicol (1999)
          ERP Components
• Semantic violations elicit a “N400”
  response
  – A negative-going deflection in voltage that
    occurs between approximately 300 and 500 ms
    post stimulus
                    Lege nd:




                               Osterhout & Nicol (1999)
 Grammaticality Judgment-ERP
• Native English speakers learning Spanish as
  a second language
• Read grammatical and ungrammatical
  sentences in English and Spanish
  – Separate blocks for English and Spanish
• Push button responses regarding
  grammaticality
The
old
blender
doesn’t
crushing
ice
cubes.
?
                Predictions
• Ungrammatical sentences will elicit a P600
  response compared to grammatical
  sentences
  – Significantly more positive amplitude between
    500 and 700 ms post-stimulus
Acceptability in English

                    P600
                             Acceptable
                             Unacceptable
             N400




The old blender doesn’t crushing ice cubes.
Acceptability in Spanish

               P600?    Acceptable
                        Unacceptable
        N400




      Él trabajando cada día.
                    Summary
• Why is second language learning so
  difficult?
  – Differences between the two languages
     • Multiple levels
        – Multiple forms
        – Multiple meanings
        – Different grammatical constructions
           Future Directions
• On-line examination of semantic
  differences
  – E.g., The pizza was too hot to eat/*drink.
• Are the effects similar for different
  language pairs that have more/fewer
  differences?
• Are there competition effects in phonology?
• Would context reduce the competition
  observed in Experiment 1?
          Acknowledgments
•   Brian MacWhinney
•   Judith Kroll
•   NIH
•   NSF
•   Sigma Xi
•   Penn State RGSO

								
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