A Dynamic Perspective on Second Language Development. Tal Caspi

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1 A Dynamic Perspective on Second Language Development Tal Caspi i

2 The work in this thesis has been carried out under the auspices of the School of Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience (BCN) and the Center for Language and Cognition Groningen (CLCG). Both are affiliated with the University of Groningen. Groningen Dissertation in Linguistics 85 ISSN ISBN Tal Caspi ii

3 RIJKSUNIVERSITEIT GRONINGEN A Dynamic Perspective on Second Language Development Proefschrift ter verkrijging van het doctoraat in de Letteren aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen op gezag van de Rector Magnificus, dr. F. Zwarts, in het openbaar te verdedigen op donderdag 7 oktober 2010 om uur door Tal Caspi iii

4 Promotor: Copromotor: Prof. dr. C.L.J. de Bot Dr. W. M. Lowie Beoordelingscommissie: Prof. dr. D. Larsen-Freeman Prof. dr. N. Schmitt Prof. dr. P. van Geert iv

5 TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION...1 CHAPTER 2 THE DYNAMICS OF L2 DEVELOPMENT Background: Dynamic Systems Theory Key concepts in DST Nestedness and ongoing interaction Iterative growth Self-organization Limited resources Precursors and dependents The island metaphor The value of variation Models of dynamic growth and interaction Summary...21 CHAPTER 3 INVESTIGATING LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT FROM A DYNAMIC PERSPECTIVE Introduction General study design Data collection Data description and exploration (variability analyses) Model specification Model fitting Considering extensions Methods of growth and variability analysis Growth trajectory plots De-trended data values (residuals) Moving correlation Smoothing by local regression: spline interpolation Pitfalls of variability analyses Modeling a dynamic system: general considerations A basic growth model Modeling connected growth Precursor interactions: unidirectional support Precursor interactions: unidirectional support and competition Precursor interactions: bidirectional support by level; unidirectional competition by change Aggregated support and competition Summary...44 CHAPTER 4 A DYNAMIC PERSPECTIVE ON L2 VOCABULARY KNOWLEDGE Introduction Background: Overall vocabulary growth Aspects of vocabulary knowledge The receptive-productive gap...53 v

6 4.1.4 A dynamic perspective on vocabulary knowledge Research questions and predictions Methodology Participants and procedures Materials The knowledge paradigm Free production Controlled production Recall and recognition Testing and scoring considerations Results The data at a glance Linear trends Correlations The Portuguese speaker The Mandarin speaker The Vietnamese speaker The Indonesian speaker Summary of the correlation analyses Linear regression analysis De-trended values: residuals Moving correlations Summary of the variability analyses A precursor model of vocabulary knowledge development Model optimization Model outcome The Portuguese speaker Generalizing the model The Mandarin speaker The Vietnamese speaker The Indonesian speaker Summary of the modeling procedures Summary Discussion CHAPTER 5 DYNAMICS OF L2 WRITING DEVELOPMENT Introduction Complexity vs. accuracy Lexical vs. syntactic development A combined paradigm of the complexity-accuracy and lexical-syntactic distinctions Research questions and predictions Participants, materials and procedures Lexical complexity indexes Lexical accuracy indexes Syntactic complexity indexes Syntactic accuracy indexes Results: data and variability analyses Complexity vs. accuracy in the lexical dimension Complexity vs. accuracy in the syntactic dimension Representativeness of the within-syntax findings Interactions within and between lexicon and syntax, across complexity measures Interactions between general measures of complexity and accuracy in lexicon and syntax vi

7 5.3.5 Summary of the data analyses Modeling complexity and accuracy in lexicon and syntax The Portuguese speaker Comparing correlation matrixes across the data, spline and model Validating the interpretation of the data and variability analyses The Mandarin speaker The Vietnamese speaker The Indonesian speaker Testing a different precursor hierarchy Summary Discussion CHAPTER 6 GENERAL SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION Summary Differences between the vocabulary knowledge and writing performance models Discussion Implications REFERENCES NEDERLANDSE SAMENVATTING vii

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