Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Variables Impacting on The Development of Metalinguistic Knowledge

By Kitty Lee on September 14, 2010

The multiple regression analysis (see Table 3) revealed that cumulative years of study of other L2s and years of formal study of the L2s under investigation jointly accounted for 45 percent of the variance in the participants' level of metalinguistic knowledge. In other words, length of exposure to form-focused language instruction in itself predicts to a considerable extent the quality and quantity of metalinguistic knowledge the instructed L2 learners participating in the current study developed.

All participants were university students enrolled in a language programme; they were Cartier Pasha Replica all educated adults who had had ample exposure to form-focused L2 instruction, both in the context of the L2s under study and in the context of other foreign languages. The participants were thus experienced language learners who had progressed through the educational system successfully; given their interest in foreign languages, they had taken up a course of study that emphasised, valued, and indeed often necessitated the development of metalinguistic knowledge. Hence, the participant sample consisted of a selected group of learners who had proved themselves able to acquire a certain command of explicit L2 knowledge alongside their developing L2 proficiency (see also Roehr, 2008b).

In sum, our result seems to support the claim that the development of metalinguistic knowledge is influenced not only by learner-internal individual difference variables, as hypothesised previously (Collentine, 2000; DeKeyser, 2003, 2005), but also by learner-external variables such as prolonged exposure to formal L2 instruction in itself (see also Elder & Manwaring, 2004; Elder et al., 1999; Renou, 2000; Sorace, 1985). Of course, more likely than not, these two sets of variables interact with one another (see below).

The outcome of the principal components analysis (see Table 2) indicates that metalinguistic knowledge is a construct which is separate and distinguishable from both language-learning aptitude and working memory for language. The independence of metalinguistic knowledge and working memory for language is particularly clear. Neither LI nor L2 reading span correlated significantly with any of the metalinguistic measures (see Table 1). Moreover,cartier love ring rose gold, in the principal components analysis, the metalinguistic measures and the measures of working memory for language loaded on two separate, clearly identifiable components. Whilst it is worth bearing in mind that the principal components analysis was conducted in an exploratory mode with data Replica Jaeger-LeCoultre from a relatively small sample, the results obtained seem coherent and highly interpretable.

A possible reason for the lack of a significant relationship between metalinguistic knowledge and working memory for language in the present study is the type of measurement employed. The MLK test was not timed, whereas the LI and L2 span tests obviously required online storage and processing of language, i.e. participants performed under time pressure. It is thus plausible to hypothesise that whilst the span tests taxed the participants' working memory resources, performance on the MLK. Test remained mostly unaffected by individual differences in working memory capacity. Future research using a timed measure of metalinguistic knowledge would therefore be desirable.

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