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PhD ceremony Ms. H. Smiskova-Gustafsson: Chunks in L2 development: a usage-based perspective

When:Mo 17-06-2013 at 09:00

PhD ceremony: Ms. H. Smiskova-Gustafsson, 9.00 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Chunks in L2 development: a usage-based perspective

Promotor(s): prof. C.L.J. de Bot

Faculty: Arts

Hana Smiskova-Gustafsson’s dissertation investigates the learning of “chunks” in high school learners of English as a foreign language (L2 English) in two conditions: high input (bilingual education) and low input (regular education). Chunks are expressions consisting of relatively fixed combinations of words such as of course, grow up, the sky is the limit, and occur frequently in language. From a usage-based perspective chunks can be seen as conventionalized mappings of meaning and form. In order to achieve a high level in the L2, learners have to acquire a large number of chunks. Therefore, the aim was to investigate important aspects of chunks in the development of L2 English. From a usage-based perspective, the most important findings are the following: (1) The acquisition of chunks in individual learners is non-linear. (2) There is a significant difference between high-input and low-input learners in the use of various chunk types, especially in longer word sequences that may not be seen as chunks (such as when I grow up instead of when I am a grown up adult), here defined as “conventionalized ways of saying things” (CWOSTs). (3) In contrast to what happens during L1 acquisition, the construction of CWOSTs in L2 can be seen as an analytical process that is strongly influenced by entrenched L1 constructions and available L2 resources.

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