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Experimental Study On The Effect Of Task Condition And L2 Proficiency On Structural Priming Of English Passive Structures In Senior High School Students' Continuation Writing

Posted on:2022-05-01Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:J Q XuFull Text:PDF
GTID:2505306491969439Subject:Curriculum and pedagogy
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Structural priming,or syntactic priming,refers to people's psychological tendency to repeat syntactic structures that have been used or processed during language production(Bock,1986).The previous research paradigms of structural priming are either lack of ecological validity or experimental control.The continuation task proposed by Wang(2012)can effectively improve these shortcomings.It should be noted that the interactive alignment in the continuation task has some imitative element;what language form to imitate is based on learners' attention for it.The effect of language alignment is closely related to the degree of attention.In addition,second language proficiency,as one of the most important factors to distinguish learners,might have a significant impact on structural priming.So,it is of great significance to explore the influence of second language proficiency level as well as learners' attention on the priming effect in the continuation task.In this view,this study uses different task conditions to adjust participants' attention and explores whether task condition affects the priming of English passive structures(e.g.,A wallet was held in his hand.)in senior high school students' continuation writing and whether second language proficiency of senior high school students,affects the priming of English passive structures in the continuation task.Three research questions are addressed in the study: 1)Does task condition affect the priming of English passive structures in senior high school students' English writings in the continuation task? If yes,how?;2)Does second language proficiency affect the priming of English passive structures in senior high school students' English writings in the continuation task? If yes,how?;3)Do three task conditions have different effects on the priming of English passive structures for two groups at different second language proficiency levels respectively in continuation writing? To achieve these research purposes,the study conducted an experiment by using 2(group:intermediate and advanced)3(task condition: no English passive structure task,non-highlighted English passive structure task,highlighted English passive structure task)design.Specifically,180 participants from a senior high school in Guangzhou were evenly divided into two language proficiency groups to participate in three task conditions,namely,the intermediate group and the advanced group,with each level group further divided into three groups to perform three different reading-to-write continuation writing tasks,which are: 1)continuation task with reading material without English passive structures;2)continuation task with reading material with English passive structures that are not highlighted;and 3)continuation task with reading material with English passive structures that are highlighted.One-Way between-Groups ANOVA and Independent-Samples T Test were conducted via SPSS20.0 for statistical analyses.Three major findings are produced as follows.Firstly,whether the reading material in the task condition contains English passive structures affects structural priming in the continuation task.Paying attention to the priming sentences is an important element for the occurrence of structural priming.When the participants read the reading material that contains the sentences with English passive structures,their continuation writings produce more target sentences compared with the task condition without any priming sentence.And textual enhancement in the reading materials improves the strength of priming by drawing the participants' attention to English passive structures,hence,increases the efficiency of producing the target sentences.Secondly,second language proficiency,though it cannot determine whether structural priming occurs,affects structural priming in the continuation task.The priming effect of English passive structures for the advanced group is significantly stronger than that for the intermediate group.Thirdly,different task conditions in the continuation task exert different effects on the priming of English passive structures for participants by different second language proficiency.For the advanced group,as long as English passive structures appear in the task condition,they can notice them and produce the target sentences.The task condition of textual enhancement can improve their attention to the priming sentences and significantly affects the strength of the priming effect.For the intermediate participants,even they are faced with English passive structures,and they fail to pay enough attention to the target syntactic structure if they lack external cues in the task condition,such as the underscores,which affects the occurrence of structural priming in their writings.To conclude,attention allocation from different task conditions for the target syntactic structure under different task conditions affects structural priming in the continuation task.The means of attention promotion used in the task condition can guide learners to allocate attention to the target syntactic structure and accelerate structural priming,consequently promote the acquisition of language form.Only when learners pay enough attention to the target syntactic structure consciously in reading materials can the interactive alignment produce a marked effect in their writings.And the higher second language proficiency learners are at,the greater the priming effect they show.Thus,we should focus on the relationship among interaction,attention and acquisition and should take students' second language proficiency into consideration,so as to provide some enlightenment for the learning of syntactic structures through the continuation task.
Keywords/Search Tags:continuation task, structural priming, second language proficiency, task condition
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