Read the article and:
1) Specify the variables of the study;
Dependent variable (outcome variable)
Main independent variable
Moderating & Intervening variables
Extraneous or confounding variables
2) Look at the notation system in the ppt and describe the design of the study using notation system.
LTR0010.1177/1362168819858443Language Teaching ResearchFarshi and Tavakoli
Effects of differences in
language aptitude on learning
grammatical collocations under
elaborated input conditions
Language Teaching Research
© The Author(s) 2019
Article reuse guidelines:
Najmeh Farshi and Mansoor Tavakoli
University of Isfahan, Iran
The purpose of this study was to find out, whether three methods of presenting input, were
effective in relation to language aptitude. Persian-speaking learners of English were provided with
20 grammatical collocations (verb–preposition collocations) embedded in authentic passages,
lexically/grammatically elaborated passages, and lexically/grammatically elaborated passages
with shorter sentences and enhanced target collocations. Participants were assessed on their
receptive knowledge and productive knowledge of the grammatical collocations by a posttest and
a delayed posttest, and their scores were correlated with various measures of language aptitude.
The results suggested that modified elaborated input, which provided more focus on form (FonF),
positively affected immediate and long-term gains in receptive knowledge and ruled out individual
differences (IDs) in language aptitude. The results also implicated working memory (WM) as an
explanatory variable in immediate and long-term achievements in productive knowledge under all
the conditions of presenting input.
elaborated input, genuine input, grammatical collocation, language aptitude, modified elaborated
input, phrasal verbs
An important concern in the field of second language acquisition (SLA) has been the
necessity of uncovering individual differences (IDs) in the process of learning. Second
language (L2) learners do not benefit from different instructional methods uniformly;
Mansoor Tavakoli, English Department, Faculty of Foreign Languages, University of Isfahan, 8174673441,
Azadi Square, Isfahan, Iran.
Language Teaching Research 00(0)
thus, SLA research has become concerned with the relative effectiveness of L2 instructions when they are matched with IDs (Yalçın & Spada, 2016). Regarding differences
in L2 learners’ cognitive abilities, Aptitude–Treatment–Interaction (ATI) studies deal
with the role that language aptitude plays in mediating the effects of instructional treatments on the cognitive processes that facilitate or impede language acquisition (R.
Ellis, 2012). As a research paradigm, ATI aims to find out the crucial role of aptitude
for language learning, especially in the post-critical period (Granena & Long, 2013).
Some of the studies in the field of ATI are fully crossed in the sense that distinct groups
are set up based on L2 learners’ aptitude profiles and then are matched and mismatched
with particular treatments. In other ATI studies, aptitude measures are treated as continuous variables (in contrast with grouping variables) to gauge the relationship
between L2 learners’ language aptitude and the gains resulting from instructional treatments (Vatz et al., 2013). In the present study, which used intact classes, the second
design was employed.
II Language aptitude
Language aptitude has been defined by Granena (2013) as a ‘combination of cognitive
and perceptual abilities that are advantageous in SLA’ (p. 665). In his first model of aptitude, Carroll (1981) proposed that four, relatively independent, aptitude components represent abilities for foreign language learning: (1) phonetic coding ability (PCA) (the
ability to recognize different sounds, associate them with their representative symbols,
and remember these associations); (2) grammatical sensitivity (the ability to recognize
the grammatical functions of words in sentences); (3) inductive language learning ability
(the ability to infer language rules from a given corpus); and (4) rote learning ability, or
associative memory (the ability to learn the associations of sounds and meanings and
remember these associations). Carroll developed the Modern Language Aptitude Test
(MLAT) to measure these components (Carroll & Sapon, 1959), with the exception of
inductive language learning ability. Carroll’s conceptual framework of foreign language
aptitude has survived in the long run, even better than the MLAT, and it is still a robust
representation of foreign language aptitude (Skehan, 2012).
The MLAT was developed prior to more recent SLA research on aptitude demands of
implicit learning (Robinson, 2012) and working memory capacity (WMC) (e.g. Conway
et al., 2005). As an impermanent cognitive workspace, working memory (WM) includes
storage and processing of language (Juffs & Harrington, 2011). A well-known WM
model by Baddeley (2000) is comprised of a multi-component system, where a ‘central
executive’ organizes the information that flows between three specialized domains: the
phonological loop, the visuospatial sketchpad, and the episodic buffer. The phonological
loop deals with phonological information, the visuospatial sketchpad handles visual
information, and the episodic buffer is a place for integrating and reusing the information. The phonological loop is generally indexed by non-word recognition (Juffs &
Harrington, 2011). If non-words are based on the syllable structure of the L2, not first
language (L1), phonological non-word tests can adequately represent PCA (Skehan,
2012). Measures of WMC evaluate the function of the central executive and are different
and independent from measures of phonetic capacity (Wen, 2015).
Farshi and Tavakoli
Integration of WM makes language aptitude research accord with contemporary cognitive psychology. Research studies suggest that implicit processing can necessitate
employing WMC by L2 learners. Sáfár and Kormos (2008) investigated the relation of
language aptitude with a communicative language teaching with focus on form (FonF)
instruction and found WM to be a key cognitive variable affecting learning. In another
study, Indrarathne and Kormos (2017) showed that WM was closely related to receptive
knowledge of a grammatical construction in implicit learning contexts with input flood
and input enhancement. However, productive knowledge was not strongly influenced by
WMC in the implicit conditions.
Following developments in psycholinguistics and cognitive science, Robinson
(2012) and Skehan (2002, 2012) have further emphasized the role of language aptitude
as a combination of cognitive abilities. They proposed that different L2 learners may
have different aptitude profiles when the occasion arises; some learners in a group, for
example, may have high WMC while other members of that group may be better at
analyzing language. Robinson and Skehan developed two models of language aptitude
that may help to tailor L2 learners’ traits and needs to L2 instruction (Yalçın & Spada,
2016). In their models, they underlined the important role of WM, especially in FonF
conditions in which L2 learners’ attention is drawn to features (grammar or lexis) while
they are attending to meaning. In Robinson’s Aptitude Complex/Ability Differentiation
framework, language aptitude is a multi-componential construct, and it is implicated in
various L2 learning contexts. Robinson proposed that language aptitude is comprised of
primary abilities which combine into high-order ability factors. These ability factors, in
turn, make aptitude complexes, or combinations of cognitive abilities, differentially
involved in acquisitional processes of different FonF conditions of exposure to L2
input. Among these L2 learning conditions, incidental learning via written input was
associated with the aptitude complex of WM and deep semantic processing.
While in Robinson’s model conditions of L2 instruction were the operational platform, Skehan’s (1998) Processing Stage framework carried possible implications for
matching language aptitude components to input, central processing, and output stages
of SLA acquisition and their corresponding cognitive processes. Skehan (2002, 2012)
identified various L2 cognitive processes involved in learning: input processing, noticing, pattern identification, extension, complexification and restructuring, integration,
error avoidance, automatization, repertoire and silence creation, and lexicalization. In his
Processing Stage model, the first cognitive process concerns the stage of input processing, the next five processes emphasize central processing and interlanguage development
stages, and the final four processes, from error avoidance to lexicalization, deal with
using language in output. Skehan argued that input processing and noticing pertain to
PCA and WM. Moreover, perceiving patterns in input and restructuring them (for further
generalization), and extending these patterns (to suit meaningful contexts) are linked to
language analytic ability (LAA) and WM.
III Aptitude–treatment interaction
As already mentioned, different types of language instruction encourage different types
of processing that rely on aptitude components. In a study that compared the effects of
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deductive instruction, inductive instruction, and structured input instruction on the acquisition of direct object pronouns, Erlam (2005) applied Skehan’s (1998) processing
framework. She selected PCA, LAA, and memory to be measured with the Sound
Discrimination test of the Pimsleur Language Aptitude Battery (PLAB) (Pimsleur, 1966),
the Words in Sentences subtest of the MLAT, and a test of memory, respectively. The
aptitude measures were correlated with the learners’ listening comprehension, reading
comprehension, written production, and oral production outcomes. The results indicated
that IDs were neutralized with the effect of deductive instruction. In another study,
Nagata, Aline, and R. Ellis (1999) examined the impact of language aptitude on comprehension of modified input (oral directions in a non-reciprocal listening task) and incidental acquisition of infrequent words incorporated into modified input. They correlated the
results of five aptitude tests with comprehension and word-acquisition scores. The aptitude tests, associated with the component model proposed by Skehan, included the
Sound Discrimination and Sound–Symbol Association subtests of the PLAB, Words in
Sentences subtest of the MLAT, and a Finnish memory test along with the Paired
Associate subtest of the MLAT. The results indicated that the components of language
aptitude contributed to comprehending oral directions, and only memory ability to the
acquisition of new lexical items. Yalçın and Spada (2016) supported Skehan’s (2002)
proposal that different stages of language acquisition may relate to different components
of aptitude. Using a quasi-experimental design, they explored the relationship between
learning difficult and easy English structures and the components of the LLAMA (Meara,
2005), which is an aptitude test modeled on the MLAT. The results demonstrated that L2
learners relied on their memory ability to deal with easier structures.
Many studies have focused on the acquisition of language rules by investigating
the dynamic interplay between language aptitude and explicit or implicit learning
conditions (e.g. Granena, 2013; Li, 2013; Robinson, 2002; Sheen, 2007; Yilmaz &
Granena, 2016). The few studies exploring the acquisition of L2 collocations have
concerned the interaction of very advanced L2 learners’ aptitude components with
learning in mostly natural contexts. For example, Forsberg Lundell and Sandgren
(2013) investigated the relationship between language aptitude, as measured by the
LLAMA, and production of L2 French verb–noun collocations. The results indicated
that the scores were positively related to the aptitude measures, including grammatical inferencing and sound–symbol correspondence, but only the correlation between
the test scores and the sound recognition subtest of the LLAMA was significant.
Forsberg Lundell and Sandgren’s findings were compatible with Granena and Long’s
(2013) results that revealed a significant correlation between scores on the auditory
subtests of the LLAMA and the acquisition of L2 collocations. Even though these
studies expand our knowledge, questions still remain about the role that language
aptitude might play when L2 learners encounter collocations in meaningful learning
contexts in L2 classrooms.
IV Background to the study and research questions
Long (2015b) pointed out that one lacuna in ATI concerns the performance of L2 learners
with different cognitive abilities when they encounter grammatical collocations in
Farshi and Tavakoli
elaborated input. This study follows Long’s suggestion by examining how various aptitude
components are associated with the learning of collocations through three types of L2 input
that not only differ in their degree of linguistic complexity but also their level of implicitness. In this study, implicit learning was operationalized as selective attention to some
aspects of the input for promoting FonF when L2 learners are learning incidentally
Another aim of the present study is to shed light on the interplay between the aptitude components in the Processing Stage model and learning through L2 written input. SLA research
has been primarily concerned with associating phonetic capacity with analyzing aural input
(Forsberg Lundell & Sandgren, 2013). There is growing evidence that phonological processing skills are central to approaching L2 written input as well, because for word recognition to
happen, readers need to access lexical entries in their mental lexicon that include phonological,
orthographic, semantic, and syntactic information (Grabe, 2009). As a result, readers who code
letter-sound links more efficiently may be better able to activate phonological forms for successful word recognition and thus comprehension during reading.
Probing the interaction of implicit-FonF input conditions with language aptitude can
be both theoretically and practically important. Theoretically, it might be necessary to
know the construct validity of different aptitude components hypothesized to have major
roles at different stages of acquisition. At the practical, pedagogical, decision-making
level, it is important to match learners’ aptitude profiles to appropriate treatments where
possible. In the present study, the treatments contained authentic passages (genuine
input), lexically/grammatically elaborated passages (elaborated input), and lexically/
grammatically elaborated passages with typographically enhanced collocations and optimized sentence length (modified elaborated input). These types of input were deemed to
attract L2 learners’ attention to the forms and meanings of English grammatical collocations to different degrees. Based on the preceding theoretical considerations, the study
was designed to address the relationship between three learning conditions (namely,
genuine input, elaborated input, and modified elaborated input) and Skehan’s (2002,
2012) main components of aptitude (i.e. PCA, LAA, and WM):
To what extent is language aptitude related to L2 learners’ acquisition of L2 collocations when they receive genuine input?
To what extent is language aptitude related to L2 learners’ acquisition of L2 collocations when they receive elaborated input?
To what extent is language aptitude related to L2 learners’ acquisition of L2 collocations when they receive modified elaborated input?
V Context and methodology
The present study was conducted in a language learning institute for Iranian high school
students aged between 14 and 18 years old. They received four hours of English instruction per week, which mainly focused on communicative skills. Additionally, for all of
them, three hours of learning English was obligatory at high school. Eighty-seven L2
learners of English participated in this study. Data from four participants who were
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absent during the treatment sessions or the posttests were removed. Participants (n = 83)
had received two years of English instruction at the language institute and were considered to be at an intermediate level of English proficiency according to the Oxford
Placement Test and their teacher’s ratings. Participants gave their consent to participate
in the study during their English course.
This quasi-experimental pre-/post-/delayed posttest intervention study took place with
four intact classes, which were selected as the four study groups: genuine input (GI)
group (n = 22), elaborated input (EI) group (n = 22), modified elaborated (MEI) group
(n = 21), and a control group (n = 18). Measures of receptive knowledge and productive
knowledge of the target items were given as a pretest, posttest, and delayed posttest to all
the groups. These tests were administered in the same versions. The purpose of the pretest was to determine whether participants knew the target grammatical collocations, and
it was administered two weeks before the treatment in order not to attract L2 learners’
attention to the target items. The treatment spanned three weeks (within five treatment
sessions), and was followed by the posttest (five days after the treatment) for finding the
immediate gains, and the delayed posttest (three weeks after the treatment) for finding
the long-term gains. As explained later, both the posttest and delayed posttest contained
a productive knowledge and a receptive knowledge test. Based on the instructor’s experience with a group of intermediate L2 learners who had been administered receptive and
productive collocation knowledge tests in a language institute, participants in the present
study were given 20- minute and 15-minute time limits to complete the productive
knowledge test and the receptive knowledge test, respectively. Participants in the treatment groups were administered the posttest and delayed posttest at the same time and
place. During the testing sessions, most of the participants (more than two-thirds) completed the collocation knowledge tests a few minutes before the test time ended. To
insure higher reliability, other participants also were prompted by their instructor to hand
in their test papers because when they were observed, they were not using their time for
performing the test items. Polio, Fleck, and Leder (1998) state that extra test time that
does not involve participants in linguistic processing may decrease test reliability.
For the treatment groups (n = 65), the aptitude measures provided the independent
variables, and the scores on receptive and productive knowledge posttests and delayed
posttests presented the dependent variables. The control group followed the normal curriculum of the language institute without receiving any of the specific types of input but
took the pretest, posttest, and delayed posttest at the same time as the other groups (for a
schematic representation of the study procedure for the treatment and control groups, see
The GI, EI, and MEI groups received genuine input, elaborated input, and modified
elaborated input, respectively, by their regular instructor in their usual 120-minute class
sessions. The target items to learn were 20 grammatical collocations (see Appendix 1).
Each session, L2 learners in the treatment groups encountered four collocations. Each
collocation was embedded in five passages that were presented together. The passages
had been produced in genuine, elaborated, and modified elaborated versions, as explained
Farshi and Tavakoli
Figure 1. Schematic representation of the study procedure.
later. In order to encourage meaningful interaction with the texts, each passage was followed by a statement, which included the target collocation in the passage, and tapped
L2 learners’ general comprehension. Indeed, L2 learners were required to determine that
the statement was true or false (for an example, see Appendix 2).
The time to read the passages did not vary between the groups in order to determine
the effect of the treatments rather than time-on-task differences (Long, 2015a). By piloting the three versions of some of the passages with L2 learners similar to the main participants, an average of two minutes was specified for reading each passage. Therefore,
the time spent on each collocation (embedded in five passages) was 2 × 5 minutes, and
on four collocations thus 4 × 2 × 5 minutes. In order to prevent L2 learners’ fatigue,
after each 10 minutes dedicated to the treatment, the class conventional activities were
performed. Table 1 shows the time and the activities in instructional sessions.
Since participants had to read five passages (related to one target collocation) and
their comprehension statements in 10 minutes, they were instructed to read each passage
and its following statement within two minutes. They were not told about the collocation
knowledge posttest and delayed posttest they were going to take.
3 Target items
Twenty infrequent grammatical collocations, with around 60 occurrences in the Corpus
of Contemporary American English (COCA), were selected as the target items. We
selected infrequent collocations in order to reduce the likelihood that these collocations
were already known, or at least being experienced, by the participants before the study.
Distinguished from lexical collocations, grammatical collocations are the co-occurrence
of lexical words and grammatical words; they are the combination of a dominant word
such as verb, noun, or adjective and a preposition or grammatical structure (Barfield,
2013). In the present study, the target grammatical collocations were verb–preposition
combinations, also commonly referred to as phrasal verbs. Long (2007) also suggested
using this type of collocations as target stimuli in genuine and elaborated reading
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Table 1. Time management in each treatment session.
Time (120 minutes)
materials. The frequency of verb–preposition co-occurrences, without possible noun
phrases or pronouns between them, was the criterion for their selection.
Both receptive and productive knowledge tests were used. The content validity of the
tests was endorsed by three experts with a specialization in L2 teaching. As measures of
the main components of Shehan’s model of language aptitude, L2 learners completed
four aptitude tests. Although some SLA researchers (e.g. Robinson, 2012) have expressed
skepticism over the measures of LAA as predictors of learning from purely incidental
conditions, employing these measures as potential predictors of success under implicit
learning conditions has been clearly justified (Li, 2013; Robinson, 2002; Skehan, 2002).
a Phonetic coding ability test. The PLAB emphasizes auditory factors by including the
Sound Discrimination and the Sound–Symbol Association subtests that assess PCA
(Nagata et al., 1999). For taking the Sound Discrimination test, some words should be
learned in a rare language and have to be told apart in different contexts. The Sound–
Symbol Association test measures the ability to link graphological and phonological
forms of tape-recorded, nonsense words such as thurskle. Participants were tested with
the Sound–Symbol Association test as a way of evaluating PCA in this research. Using
Cronbach’s alpha, reliability of the test for the participants (n = 65) was α = 0.72 (M =
18.10, SD = 14.20).
b Language analytic ability test. The Language Analysis subtest of the PLAB is similar to
the Words in Sentences subtest of the MLAT, but it measures inductive language ability.
In the present study, the Language Analysis subtest of the PLAB was used, first, because
the initial L2 instruction that all the participants of the present study had received at their
schools was based on grammar. According to Harley and Hart (1997), who preferred the
Language Analysis subtest of the PLAB over the Words in Sentences subtest of the
MLAT in their incidental classroom-context study, earlier training in grammar may bias
the Words in Sentences subtest results in favor of the assumption that LAA would have
an important role in late immersion students’ success.
Farshi and Tavakoli
Second, encoding the input data and the extraction of form-function relations in the
context of the target lexical items requires inductive language ability (Williams, 1999).
In addition, inferring the meanings of the lexical items from their repeated use in different contexts could call for inductive learning mechanisms (N. Ellis, 1994). Third, the
PLAB makes an appropriate aptitude test for high school students (Skehan, 2002).
In the Language Analysis test, participants were presented with the words from a
foreign language and the English equivalent of these words. Then, using multiple-choice
items, they had to figure out the equivalent of 15 English statements in that language.
Reliability of the test was calculated on the scores of the participants involved in the
treatments (n = 65), using Cronbach’s alpha again. The obtained alpha was low, (α =
0.53). This can be related to the low variation in the scores (M = 11.90, SD = 2.13)
(Erlam, 2005). The low number of items on the test compared to other tests used may
also explain this low reliability (Fulcher, 2010).
c Working memory test. Operation span, counting span, and reading span tasks have been
widely used in cognitive psychology as both valid and reliable measures of WMC (Conway
et al., 2005). Turner and Engle (1989) hypothesized that the processing element of the span
task and WMC are independent. For instance, it is reasonable to use a WM span test, which
does not tap into sentence reading, for exploring reading ability. In the present study, WM was
assessed by an operation span task following Turner and Engle (1989). Each operation string
consisted of a simple arithmetic operation and its solution, with half of the answers correct and
half of them incorrect. The operations contained a simple division or multiplication problem
followed by a subtraction or addition of a number. Each operation was followed by a to-beremembered word. Before administration, the WM test was piloted and the transition time was
calculated at five seconds for each operation being presented on a PowerPoint slide.
The WM test was administered individually. The set size, or the number of operations,
increased from two to five, and there were three trials at each set size. L2 learners had to
read each operation and say aloud whether its answer was correct or incorrect. Then,
immediately, they were to go to the next operation. At the end of each set, they were
asked to repeat the words they had seen in front of the operations. If 85% of each individual’s answers to the operations were right, their scores on word recall were taken into
account. With regard to the scoring procedure, and considering the suggestion of Conway
et al. (2005), each correctly recalled word was awarded one point, and the sum of the
points for all the trials was an individual’s span score. Reliability, using Cronbach’s alpha
(n = 65), was α = .87 (M = 28.66, SD = 5.62).
d Receptive knowledge test. This test was created based on Webb, Newton, and Chang
(2013) for measuring receptive knowledge of form and meaning, but it was slightly different to favor our implicit treatments (Sonbul & Schmitt, 2013) by asking L2 learners to
engage in more contextualized L2 use. This test had 20 items and required L2 learners to
write the L1 meanings of the target collocations:
I had to rustle up some food. We were hungry.
Rustle up means———————————
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The items were scored dichotomously: the correct items were awarded one point
while the incorrect (e.g. L1 translations of ‘cook’, ‘make’, or ‘eat’ for the phrasal
verb ‘rustle up’) or unanswered ones were given zero point. Since reliability depends
on test length (Fulcher, 2010), reliability of the test, calculated on the sum of the
scores on the posttest and delayed posttest (see Erlam, 2005), was α = .71 (M =
32.09, SD = 4.58).
e Productive knowledge test. This test was administered before the receptive knowledge
test in order not to let L2 learners learn from the tests themselves. The test format was
based on Forsberg Lundell and Sandgren (2013) to measure productive knowledge of
form and meaning. The first letter of the dominant word of each collocation was granted
in order to avoid alternative answers, and participants had to fill in the blanks with the
collocations that fit the context:
The children and I were terribly hungry. We had to r _ _ _ _ _ _ _ some food.
The correct provision of the target collocations received a score of one; L2 learners had
to write the correct form of the verb and preposition of each collocation to achieve the
total score. The incorrect production of the target collocations received a score of zero.
For instance, a correct verb with an incorrect preposition (e.g. rustle on) or an incorrect
verb with a correct preposition (e.g. russle up) was not given credit. Using the aggregated test scores on the posttest and delayed posttest, reliability of the test was α = .74
(M = 8.66, SD = 5.06).
The treatment consisted of 100 English passages that contained 20 target grammatical
collocations. All genuine passages (estimated to be similar in terms of linguistic complexity) were selected from the fiction section of the COCA and were long enough
(around 60 words each) to be meaningful. The COCA presents collocations and their
frequency in spoken, fiction, magazine, newspaper, and academic sections. According to
Webb et al. (2013), five or more encounters in written context may be necessary to learn
L2 collocations incidentally. When L2 learners are exposed to abundant input, the meaningful context of input provision brings about an implicit condition of learning that may
help higher aptitude learners focus on form (Skehan, 2015). L2 learners encountered
each grammatical collocation five times in the five passages and five more times in the
statements following them.
Because genuine texts are produced by and for native speakers, they are complex and
may only fulfill advanced learners’ needs (Long, 2007). To improve their comprehensibility, but without simplifying them, they can be elaborated by adding redundancy and
clarification. In the elaborated version, the sentences can be both lexically and structurally elaborated. Lexical elaboration is achieved by providing paraphrases, restatements,
and synonyms of low-frequency lexical items. For provision of structural elaboration,
the logical thematic relations are actualized by such devices as intersentential linkers,
full noun-phrases, anaphoric references instead of cataphoric ones, and retrieving
Farshi and Tavakoli
omitted elements (Kim, 2006). Since elaborated texts can sometimes increase linguistic
complexity by extending text length, in the modified elaborated version, sentences of the
elaborated version are split, and the target items are typographically enhanced to foster
FonF (Long, 2015a). In the present study, genuine passages were used for the GI group,
and then they were lexically and structurally elaborated for the EI group. Because the
target collocations were unfamiliar to L2 learners, their meanings were directly provided
in the elaborated passages, or the sentences that contained them were elaborated in such
a way that they fully clarified the meaning of the collocations. Since typographical
enhancement of multi-word expressions such as collocations has shown to promote incidental collocation learning (e.g. Choi, 2017), in the modified elaborated passages, the
target collocations were bolded and underlined. Moreover, long sentences of the elaborated version were divided into shorter sentences (see Appendix 2).
The primary goal of this study was to examine to what extent IDs in language aptitude
modify the relationship between genuine, modified, and elaborated input and L2 learners’ acquisition of English grammatical collocations.
The aptitude scores of L2 learners involved in the treatments (n = 65) were first
subjected to correlation analyses to ascertain that they tested different skills or aptitude components. The results demonstrated that, although they were positive, there
were no significant correlations between these measures. The results are shown in
In order to verify that there were no significant differences between the groups with
regard to their performance on the aptitude tests, a one-way between-groups analysis of
variance (ANOVA) was conducted. The results showed that the scores were not significantly different: the WM test, F(2, 62) = .04, p = .96; the Language Analysis test, F(2,
62) = .86, p = .42; the Sound–Symbol Association test, F(2, 62) = 1.41, p = .25.
Descriptive statistics for the outcomes of the treatment and control groups on the measures of language aptitude and measures of receptive and productive knowledge are presented in Table 3 and Table 4, respectively.
Toward the major goal of the present study, a series of Pearson r correlation coefficients were computed between the students’ scores on the posttest-delayed posttest and
their scores on the measures of language aptitude. The results are displayed in Tables 5-7.
They show how aptitude scores as measured by the WM, Language Analysis, and
Table 2. Correlations between measures of language aptitude.
1. Working memory
2. Language analysis
3. S ound–symbol association
Note. p < .01, two-tailed. 2 3 .11 .20 .16 .16 12 Language Teaching Research 00(0) Table 3. Descriptive statistics for aptitude scores. Aptitude WM LAA PCA GIa EIb MEIc M SD M SD M SD 28.27 12.36 18.45 5.37 1.94 3 .09 28.59 12.00 18.50 4.71 2.02 2.68 28.14 11.52 17.23 6.35 2.33 2.50 Note. GI = genuine input; EI = elaborated input; MEI = modified elaborated input; WM = working memory; LAA = language analytic ability; PCA = phonetic coding ability. a n = 22. b n = 22. c n = 21. Table 4. Descriptive statistics for tests of outcome. Test GI Productive knowledge: Pretest Posttest Delayed posttest Receptive knowledge: Pretest Posttest Delayed posttest EI MEI Control M SD M SD M SD M SD .00 4.50 3.45 .00 2.34 2.80 .00 4.45 3.90 .00 2.32 2.04 .00 5.85 5.19 .00 2.28 2.52 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00 14.36 12.36 .00 2.19 1.36 .00 16.27 16.86 .00 1.51 1.42 .00 17.52 18.57 .00 1.16 1.07 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00 Note. GI = genuine input; EI = elaborated input; MEI = modified elaborated input. Table 5. Correlations between aptitude scores and gain scores for the genuine input (GI) group. Aptitude WM LAA PCA Productive knowledge Receptive knowledge Posttest Delayed posttest Posttest Delayed posttest .54** .62** .50** .24 .10 .10 .01 .04 .14 .25 .03 .15 Note. WM = working memory; LAA = language analytic ability; PCA = phonetic coding ability. **p < .01, two-tailed. Sound–Symbol Association tests are related to L2 learners’ performance on the posttest and delayed posttest of productive knowledge and receptive knowledge. In the GI group, there was a significant correlation between WM and the posttest and delayed posttest of productive knowledge. In addition, the scores on the WM test correlated significantly with the posttest scores of receptive knowledge. In this group, the LAA and PCA measures were not strongly related to the learning achievements. In the EI group, significant correlations were obtained between similar variables, with high levels 13 Farshi and Tavakoli Table 6. Correlations between aptitude scores and gain scores for the elaborated input (EI) group. Aptitude WM LAA PCA Productive knowledge Receptive knowledge Posttest Delayed posttest Posttest Delayed posttest .58** .30 .36 .65** .36 .26 .47** .34 .42 .19 .01 .09 Note. WM = working memory; LAA = language analytic ability; PCA = phonetic coding ability. **p < .01, two-tailed. Table 7. Correlations between aptitude scores and gain scores for the modified elaborated input (MEI) group. Aptitude WM LA PCA Productive knowledge Receptive knowledge Posttest Delayed posttest Posttest Delayed posttest .50** .17 .09 .58** .18 .01 .11 .11 .21 .12 .05 .24 Note. WM = working memory; LAA = language analytic ability; PCA = phonetic coding ability. **p < .01, two-tailed. of WM associated with high gain scores on the posttest and delayed posttest of productive knowledge and the posttest of receptive knowledge. Results for the MEI group, using Pearson’s product moment correlations, revealed that WM correlated significantly with L2 learners’ performance on the posttest and delayed posttest of productive knowledge. There were no significant correlations between the measures of language aptitude and short- and long-term gains in receptive knowledge. In order to explore the interrelationship between the significantly correlated variables, that is, to investigate how well WM could account for the variance in gain scores, simple linear regression analyses were performed. Before regression analyses, preliminary analyses were conducted to ensure there were no violations of the assumptions of normality, linearity, and homoscedasticity. The results of the linear regressions are presented in Table 8. Considering the correlations between WM and productive knowledge in the treatment groups, regression analyses indicated that about 26% of the variance in the posttest of productive knowledge and 33% of the variance in the delayed posttest of productive knowledge (dependent variables) could be explained by WM (independent variable). In the GI and EI groups, WM correlated significantly with the posttest of receptive knowledge. Taking the scores of these groups, a simple linear regression was carried out. The results revealed that the WM scores significantly predicted the posttest scores. Indeed, WM explained 21% of the variance in the posttest scores. The B weights indicated that WMC made a greater contribution to productive knowledge (B = .22 and B = .27) than to receptive knowledge (B = .19). 14 Language Teaching Research 00(0) Table 8. Results from simple linear regression analyses. Productive knowledge Posttest Predictor WM B .22 Receptive knowledge Delayed posttest β .51 R2 .26* B .27 β .57 Posttest R2 .33* B .19 β .45 R2 .21* Note. WM = working memory. *p < .05. Although the focus of the current article, as part of a larger project, is not on the relative effectiveness of the different types of input, we will briefly present the differences among the outcomes of the treatment conditions. Analysis of the pretest showed zero variance, indicating that L2 learners were not familiar with the target collocations before the treatment. An ANOVA was conducted to investigate the relative effectiveness of genuine input, elaborated input, and modified elaborated input on L2 learners’ performance on the tests. Receptive and productive test scores were normally distributed in all three treatment groups, and no outliers were detected in the data. The alpha level of .05 was set for making decisions. The results revealed that there was no significant difference between the groups with regard to their posttest and delayed posttest of productive knowledge. As for the receptive knowledge scores, the three groups were significantly different from one another on the posttest and delayed posttest. Using the Tukey HSD test, post-hoc comparisons for the posttest of receptive knowledge indicated that the EI group performed significantly better than the GI group. In addition, the MEI group achieved significantly higher learning gains than both the GI and EI groups. Post-hoc comparisons for the delayed posttest of receptive knowledge revealed that both the EI and MEI groups outperformed the GI group significantly. Moreover, The MEI group recalled significantly more receptive collocation knowledge than the EI group. VII Discussion The present study was designed to investigate the contribution of language aptitude components to the learning of grammatical collocations under three input conditions: genuine input, elaborated input, and modified elaborated input. It was initially assumed that there might be positive correlations between the main aptitude components in Skehan’s (2002, 2012) Processing Stage model and L2 learners’ achievements. Indeed, LAA and PCA correlated with learning gains in all the treatment groups, but not significantly. The only significant correlations were observed for WM. This suggests that Robinson (2012) may have rightly stated that combinations of cognitive abilities are differentially connected with processing under different pedagogical conditions of receiving L2 input. Among the four communicative-FonF conditions that Robinson specified, it was acquisition from an implicit condition (via written input) that is associated with WMC. Concerning our first research question, in the GI group, WM correlated significantly with productive knowledge scores on the posttest and delayed posttest, and with receptive knowledge scores on the posttest. The input that L2 learners received was beneficial to those who had higher WMC; they comprehended, and produced the target items better than Farshi and Tavakoli 15 the other L2 learners in this group, probably because their WM resources helped to direct their attention to relevant linguistic features in input, retaining linguistic units in memory for additional processing, and removing unnecessary information (Kormos, 2013). The results are in accordance with N. Ellis’s (1996) statement that WM influences collocation learning in implicit conditions, within various input modalities, including written input. In terms of receptive knowledge, no significant correlations were observed between WM and the scores on the delayed posttest. According to DeKeyser and Koeth (2011), high WM learners may be able to glean more information to process than low WM learners. The larger amount of data may entail processing and consolidating during a longer period of time. This is a possible reason that WMC became predictive of the delayed gains in some studies (e.g. Erlam, 2005; Li, 2013). On the contrary, in the present study, genuine input, which provided repeated exposure to the target collocations, helped both high and low WM learners to pick up and hold data to process over time, as evidenced by a lack of relationship between WM and long-term receptive knowledge of collocations. The second research question involved exploration of the relationship between language aptitude and learning grammatical collocations in the EI group. Comparable to the GI group, LAA and PCA did not correlate significantly with any learning scores, but WM correlated significantly with the posttest and delayed posttest of productive knowledge and the posttest of receptive knowledge. That is, L2 learners with higher WMC were probably better able to direct their attention to the target items (Kane et al., 2001) and achieve better results. The EI group’s performance on the posttest and delayed posttest of receptive knowledge was significantly superior to that in the GI group. This indicates that Long and Ross (2009) rightly expressed that elaborated input, despite its potential side effects such as longer and more linguistically complex texts than the original, yields better comprehension than genuine input. With regard to the IDs, similar to the genuine input condition, the significant relationship between WM and the receptive knowledge posttest suggested that WM was a predictor of success under the elaborated input condition, given that L2 learners with higher WMC were better able to gain the knowledge of collocational forms and meanings. A standard multiple regression (for the GI and the EI groups) confirmed that WM accounted for 20% of the variance in the receptive knowledge posttest scores. The findings lend support to Masson and Miller’s (1983) perception of WM because they reveal that WM is important for attending to the meaning of unknown words implicitly stated in a passage. Concerning the delayed posttest, Pearson correlation revealed that the delayed posttest scores were not significantly related to the WM scores. The results suggest that the elaborated input condition eased both high and low WM students’ consumption of their WM resources for holding information and processing it over time. The productive knowledge posttest and delayed posttest results were nearly the same in the EI group and GI group. Moreover, the correlation found between WM and productive knowledge in the EI group was significant and closely approximated the correlation between the same variables in the GI group. Despite the fact that elaborated input improves comprehensibility, it can make texts longer and more complex than genuine texts. It has been suggested that L2 learners’ attentional resources are not boundless, and they may give priority to meaning rather than form within time limits (Skehan, 2009). The complex elaborated texts probably made the EI group focus more on meaning rather than form under time 16 Language Teaching Research 00(0) pressure (it has already been mentioned that the time was the same for all the groups), therefore, this group was not able to produce the target collocations better than the GI group. In terms of the association between language aptitude and modified elaborated input condition, as investigated in the third research question, the results indicated that neither the posttest nor the delayed posttest of receptive knowledge correlated significantly with the measures of language aptitude. Furthermore, the receptive knowledge scores obtained by those L2 learners who received modified elaborated input became significantly better than the scores of the GI and EI groups. Enhanced target collocations in modified elaborated input provided L2 learners with the opportunity to engage in FonF, and shorter sentences in this type of input made it less complex compared to elaborated input. This can have directed L2 learners’ attention to both meaning and form, compatible with Doughty’s (2001) affirmation that selective attention to features of learning items promote processing for meaning (as the L2 learners’ default mode) and encoding the forms. Indeed, focusing on form while L2 learners are mainly focused on meaning assists form-function mapping. Although, concerning the results of the GI and EI groups, it was likely that WM scores would correlate with the scores on the receptive knowledge posttest, easier processing might have increased the amount of information reserved and processed in WM (Swanson & Berninger, 1996). In this way, both high and low WM learners benefited to similar degrees from modified elaborated input. The findings provide evidence for the value of modified elaborated input, which promotes attention to form and meaning (Long, 2015a), and reduces demands on WM by alleviating identification, selection, and association of critical features in input (Martin & N. Ellis, 2012). The scores on the posttest and delayed posttest of productive knowledge improved in comparison with the other groups, although the differences were not significant. This improvement can pertain to the notable features of modified elaborated input such as less complexity and more FonF. However, similar to the GI and EI groups, the correlation between WM and the posttest and delayed posttest of productive knowledge was significant in the MEI group. Although, under modified elaborated input condition, L2 learners received less complex texts with enhanced collocations, processing the collocational forms within their contexts demanded high WM resources. These findings suggest that WMC is an ability relevant to explain productive knowledge of grammatical collocations, and consistent with previous research (e.g. Swanson & Berninger, 1996), the cognitively demanding processes in language production are closely associated with WMC. Furthermore, according to the transfer-appropriate processing framework, the nature of a learning task will determine the nature of the resulting knowledge (e.g. Barcroft, 2004). Given that reading tasks as such do not involve language production, it is to be expected that they foster receptive knowledge more than productive knowledge. Modified elaborated input may have eased WM processes more for gaining receptive knowledge than productive knowledge. The results contrast with those of Indrarathne and Kormos (2017) who found that WM had a stronger link to receptive knowledge than to productive knowledge in implicit contexts of receiving written input. This contrast may be due to the different conditions of taking the productive knowledge test by L2 learners since in Indrarathne and Kormos’s study, productive knowledge was not tested under time pressure. Considering WM and the productive knowledge scores of all the groups, WM was observed to be a significant predictor of productive knowledge in the posttest (R2 = 26%) and delayed posttest (R2 = 33%) when entered into the standard multiple regression Farshi and Tavakoli 17 analysis. That is to say, L2 learners with high WMC produced L2 collocations better than individuals with limited WMC. VIII Conclusions This study explored the role of language aptitude in acquiring English grammatical collocations embedded within genuine input, elaborated input, and modified elaborated input. Four major findings emerged: first, WM seems to play a greater role than PCA and LAA for implicit learning of grammatical collocations through written input that provides FonF. Second, if L2 learners are presented with modified elaborated input, WM will no longer be a strong predictor of success in a receptive knowledge test. This type of input that provides more opportunities for FonF may make L2 input remain active in WM and ‘levels the playing field’ (Vatz et al., 2013, p. 289) for both low and high WM students to increase their receptive knowledge of new grammatical collocations. Third, long-term receptive knowledge of L2 grammatical collocations can be fostered by repeated exposure in genuine, elaborated, and modified elaborated input. This flooding component allows for noticing collocations and their formal and morphological features in L2 input and may help L2 learners pick up and keep more data in their WM for gradual, incremental learning. Fourth, WM is heavily involved in gaining productive knowledge of grammatical collocations from the kinds of reading input used in this study. Limitations of the present study as well as suggestions for further research need to be underscored. To begin with, one of the limitations of this study pertains to its generalizability. Participants were intermediate-proficiency students and participated in a program for learning L2 grammatical collocations. Future research is needed to uncover the role of language aptitude in L2 learners with different levels of proficiency in being able to learn different types of L2 collocations under input elaboration conditions. Furthermore, future studies can be carried out to investigate the role of deep semantic processing, as the other hypothesized cognitive factor involved in implicit-FonF condition of presenting written input (Robinson, 2012), in learning L2 collocations. Another limitation of the present study is that only the written mode was used at both the input and test stages. Listening input and oral test measures could help to further examine the link between various components of aptitude and the acquisition of L2 collocations. As another limitation, it is possible that the lack of a significant relationship between LAA and L2 learners’ receptive and productive knowledge was a side effect of the low reliability of the measure of LAA (α = 0.53). Replication studies might report higher reliability of a measure of LAA and contradict or confirm the findings of the present research. Finally, none of the treatments were more favorable in terms of productive knowledge, and only high WM learners in the treatment groups were successful in producing the collocations. In future research, it will be important to provide L2 learners with more collocation instances to see which type of input may better reveal the impact of frequency of exposure on productive knowledge and may neutralize the effects of WM. According to Vatz et al. (2013), the practical implications of the results in ATI studies depend on identifying the interaction between language aptitude and treatments as well as the relative effects of the treatments. The current study expands our understanding of the contribution of cognitive differences to intermediate adult L2 learners’ collocational knowledge under implicit-FonF conditions of presenting written input and has important 18 Language Teaching Research 00(0) pedagogical implications for L2 teaching. To begin with, the investigation of the significant group effects and the finding that WM component of language aptitude and learning collocations under elaborated input condition are closely intertwined suggest that for a given individual with a high score on a WM measure, a flood of grammatical collocations embedded in elaborated input emerges as a fruitful approach to generate immediate and long-term gains in receptive collocation knowledge. Second, in order to optimize learning for a group of learners that is (almost inevitably) heterogeneous in terms of WMC, teachers can adopt the use of modified elaborated input to neutralize the withingroup differences in WMC, and thus to help more L2 learners increase immediate and long-term receptive knowledge of grammatical collocations. Acknowledgements We would like to thank Professor Frank Boers, the co-editor of Language Teaching Research at the time of reviewing this manuscript, anonymous reviewers, and Dr. Mohammad Javad Ahmadian for their insightful suggestions and comments. We would also like to thank the students who kindly helped us with data collection with their cooperation, punctuality and commitment. Conflict of Interest This study is part of a larger study concerned with both the interaction of language aptitude with different input learning conditions and the relative effects of these input conditions without considering the effect of language aptitude. 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The 20 grammatical collocations that were the target items to learn. Collocation Meaning Example 1. blaze away 2. bolt down To fire bullets rapidly and continuously To eat very quickly 3. brim over To be full of something 4. chuck out To throw something away 5. fork out 6. gasp out 7. grope about 8. jabber away 9. limber up 10. loll around To spend a lot of money on something To say something while you are breathing with difficulty To search for something by feeling with your hands To talk rapidly and unintelligibly To do gentle exercises; to warm up To sit or lie in a relaxed way They blazed away at a beautiful herd of elk. She bolted down her lunch in five minutes. She was brimming over with happiness. Just go ahead and chuck out the batteries. They had to fork out for a new car. She gasped out a few words haltingly. He groped about for his glasses. 11. muck up To spoil something 12. palm off 13. pelt down To trick someone to buy or take something To rain heavily 14. rap out 15. rustle up 16. salt away To say something loudly and quickly To make something quickly, especially a meal To put aside; save The friend jabbered away for hours. The athletes are limbering up. The tired travelers lolled around all over the hotel lobby. The bad weather mucked up our picnic plans. They tried to palm off their old sofa on us. We can’t go out because it’s pelting down. The major rapped out his orders. He rustled up breakfast. She salted away some money for her education. (Continued) 22 Language Teaching Research 00(0) Appendix 1. (Continued) Collocation Meaning Example 17. smarten up 18. tone up 19. trail away They decided to smarten up the house. Aerobics tones up your muscles. His voice trailed away. 20. trifle with To make something look better To improve the strength of your body To become quieter or weaker To treat someone or something without respect Don’t trifle with me. Appendix 2. A grammatical collocation within genuine, elaborated, and modified elaborated input Genuine version 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Mama rustled up some dinner and brought it to my bedroom, since Dad refused to look at me while he was eating. Sitting beside me on the child’s cot that had always been my bed, she pressed into my hand a small roll of bills saved from her housekeeping allowance. Both of us were weeping. It was almost eight and Susan realized she was starving. There was still no sign of Oliver and she hated to be alone on Saturday nights. ‘I’m sure I can rustle up something in the kitchen’, Vivienne said. In the end, she settled for duck pate and French bread. It was like a picnic. Susan was feeling very comfortable. Besides, she had nowhere else to go. There were huge sofas and chairs upholstered in white canvas, bright cushions and rugs. At one end of the room, a fireplace contained the ashes of some bygone fire; at the other end stood a long scrubbed-pine table, surrounded by simple wooden rush-seated chairs. Julie said, ‘Now … would you like something to eat? I can rustle up some food if you’re hungry.’ Papa had to hire a maid to clean and rustle up meals, but Mama ate little of what Louise provided, and her skin began to hang loosely on her bones. She developed a hump like an old woman, sometimes failed to bathe and smelled bad. Her red hair displayed its gray roots, and she never washed it. This lasted all winter and into the spring. His stomach growled a little louder, and he wondered what he could rustle up for dinner. He could scramble an egg and fry a potato. Normally, he’d have Sunday dinner with his parents, but they were visiting his aunt, who had lost her son and his cousin Haroldin in the Korean War two years ago. In the meantime, he could fend for himself. Elaborated version 1. Mama rustled up, or prepared quickly, some dinner, and brought it to my bedroom, since Dad refused to look at me while he was eating. When Mama was Farshi and Tavakoli 2. 3. 4. 5. 23 sitting beside me on the child’s cot that had always been my bed, she pressed into my hand a small roll of bills, or paper money. She had saved this money from her housekeeping allowance, or the money she had for cooking and buying food. Both of us were weeping, or crying a lot. It was almost eight o’clock and Susan realized she was starving because she was very hungry. Oliver was not home, and there was still no sign of him. Susan hated to be alone on Saturday nights without Oliver. Vivienne said, ‘I’m sure I can rustle up something, or prepare something quickly.’ In the end, Vivienne settled for some food such as duck pate and French bread in the kitchen. The food was not the best, but it was like a picnic. Susan was feeling very comfortable. Besides, she had nowhere else to go. There were huge sofas and chairs covered up with, or upholstered in, white canvas, bright cushions, and rugs. At one end of the room, a fireplace contained and showed the ashes of some bygone, or finished, fire. At the other end of the room stood, or there was, a long scrubbed-pine table, surrounded, or encircled, by simple wooden rush-seated chairs. Julie said, ‘Now … would you like something to eat? I can hurry and rustle up some food if you’re hungry.’ Papa had to hire a maid, or servant. The maid was paid money to clean the house and rustle up meals, or make meals rapidly. However, Mama ate little of what Louise, our maid, provided. Therefore, Mama became thin and her skin began to hang loosely on her bones. Mama developed a hump, or a large round part, on her back and became like an old woman. She sometimes failed to bathe, or wash herself, and as a result, she smelled bad. Her red hair displayed, or showed, its gray roots, and she never washed it. This problem lasted all winter and into the spring, about 4 months. His stomach growled, or made a sound, a little louder. So he wondered, or thought about, what he could rustle up, or make quickly, for dinner. He could scramble an egg, or cook an egg by mixing its white and yellow parts, and fry a potato. Normally, he’d have Sunday dinner with his parents, but his parents were not at home. They were visiting his aunt, who had lost her son and his cousin Haroldin in the Korean War two years ago. In the meantime, until his parents came back, he could fend for, or take care of, himself. Modified elaborated version 1. 2. Mama rustled up, or prepared quickly, some dinner. She brought my dinner to my bedroom, since Dad refused to look at me while he was eating. When Mama was sitting beside me on the child’s cot that had always been my bed, she pressed into my hand a small roll of bills, or paper money. She had saved this money from her housekeeping allowance. It was the money she had for cooking and buying food. Both of us were weeping, or crying a lot. It was almost eight o’clock. Susan realized she was starving because she was very hungry. Oliver was not home, and there was still no sign of him. Susan hated to be alone on Saturday nights without Oliver. Vivienne said, ‘I’m sure I can rustle up something, or prepare something quickly.’ In the end, Vivienne settled 24 Language Teaching Research 00(0) 3. 4. 5. for some food such as duck pate and French bread in the kitchen. The food was not the best, but it was like a picnic. Susan was feeling very comfortable. Besides, she had nowhere else to go. There were huge sofas and chairs covered up with, or upholstered in, white canvas, bright cushions, and rugs. At one end of the room, a fireplace contained and showed the ashes of some fire. The fire was bygone, or finished. At the other end of the room stood, or there was, a long scrubbed-pine table. The table was surrounded, or encircled, by simple wooden rush-seated chairs. Julie said, ‘Now … would you like something to eat? I can hurry and rustle up some food if you’re hungry.’ Papa had to hire a maid, or servant. The maid was paid money to clean the house and rustle up meals, or make meals rapidly. However, Mama ate little of what Louise, our maid, provided. Therefore, Mama became thin and her skin began to hang loosely on her bones. She developed a hump, or a large round part, on her back. Mama became like an old woman. She sometimes failed to bathe, or wash herself. As a result, she smelled bad. Her red hair displayed, or showed, its gray roots. She never washed her hair. This problem lasted all winter and into the spring, about 4 months. His stomach growled, or made a sound, a little louder. So he wondered, or thought about, what he could rustle up. He wanted to make something for dinner quickly. He could scramble an egg, or cook an egg by mixing its white and yellow parts. Also, he could fry a potato. Normally, he’d have Sunday dinner with his parents, but his parents were not at home. They were visiting his aunt who had lost her son and his cousin Haroldin in the Korean War two years ago. In the meantime, until his parents came back, he could fend for, or take care of, himself. Comprehension statements 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Mama rustled up a meal and came to my bedroom to give me some money. True False Susan did not like the food that Vivienne rustled up. True False Julie wanted to rustle up some food on the room fireplace. True False Mama was very sick, but she cleaned and rustled up by herself. True False He had to rustle up and eat alone because his parents did not like eggs. True False Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 2-Part A) 2 Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 2-Part A) 3 Source of Knowledge As Authority As Belief e.g., religion Doughty and Pica (1986) said that according to Long (1981), claims that such activities promote optimal conditions for students to adjust their input to each other’s level of comprehension … and thereby facilitate their L2 acquisitions. Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 2-Part A) A priori Empirical Doughty and Pica (1986) said that in keeping with SLA theory, such modified interaction is claimed to make input comprehensible to learners and to lead ultimately to successful classroom acquisition. According to McDonald (1987), for all constructions tested, it was found that with increasing exposure, cue usage in L2 gradually shifted from that appropriate to the L1 to that appropriate to the L2. 4 Identifying the problem Reviewing relevant information Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 2-Part A) Collecting data Analyzing data Drawing conclusions 5 Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 2-Part A) 6 Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 2-Part A) 7 Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 2-Part A) 8 Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 2-Part A) 9 Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 2-Part A) 10 Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 2-Part A) 11 Empirical Research Basic/Theoretical e.g., universals of relative clauses Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 2-Part A) Applied Practical e.g., order of acquisition of relative clauses in typologically similar and dissimilar languages from English e.g., evaluation of relative clause teaching materials 12 AL Research Types Secondary Library Research Primary/Empirical Lit. Review Qualitative Ethnography Identifying problems and reviewing information Discourse Analysis All Qualitative Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 2-Part A) Survey Interviews Questionnaires Qualitative or Quantitative Mixed Methods Statistical Descriptive Exploratory Quasiexperimental experimental All Quantitative 13 Qualitative Quantitative Concerned with understanding human behavior from the actor's own frame of reference Seeks facts or causes/effects/relationships of social/psychological phenomena without regard to the subjective states of the individuals Observer-participant Interaction Detached role of researcher Subjective Objective Grounded, discovery-oriented, exploratory, descriptive. Ungrounded, verification- oriented, confirmatory, reductionist, inferential, and Hypothetical- deductive Naturalistic and uncontrolled observation Obtrusive and controlled measurement Holistic Inquiry Focused on individual variables Context-specific Context- free Inductive Hypothetical-deductive 'real', 'rich', and 'deep' data; ungeneralizable 'hard' and replicable data ; generalizable Narrative description Statistical analysis Process- oriented Outcome- oriented Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 2-Part A) 14 AL Research Type Data Collection Method Type of Collected Data Type of Data Analysis Experimentally vs. Nonexperimentally Qualitative vs. Quantitative Statistical vs. Interpretative Paradigm 1: exploratory-interpretative Paradigm 3: experimentalqualitative-interpretative Paradigm 5: exploratory qualitative-statistical Paradigm 7: exploratoryquantitative-interpretive Non-experimental design Experimental design Non-experimental design Non-experimental design Qualitative data Qualitative data Qualitative data Quantitative data Interpretative analysis Interpretative analysis Statistical analysis Interpretative analysis Paradigm 2: analytical-nomological Paradigm 4: experimentalqualitative-statistical Paradigm 6: exploratoryquantitative-statistical Paradigm 8: experimentalquantitative-interpretive Experimental design Experimental design Non-experimental design Experimental design Quantitative data Qualitative data Quantitative data Quantitative data Statistical analysis Statistical analysis Statistical analysis Interpretative analysis Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 2-Part A) 15 Session 3: Quantitative Research in AL Research Literacy (A&HL 5575) Quantitative Research in AL AL Research Types Secondary Qualitative e.g., Ethnography Primary/Empirical Quantitative e.g., Critical Discourse Analysis Correlational/ associational (Quasi) experimental Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 3) 2 Brief Historical Overview ! Quantitative social research was inspired by the progress of natural sciences in the 19th century. ! Social research started adopting the “scientific method”. ! Scientific method postulates three key stages in research: 1) observing a phenomenon or identifying a problem; 2) generating an initial hypothesis; 3) testing the hypothesis by using empirical data. ! The scientific method is closely associated with numerical values, and statistics became a subdiscipline of math by the end of the 19th century. ! Major developments both in scientific method (e.g., the works of Karl Popper) and statistics (e.g., Spearman and Pearson) in the first half of the 20th century. Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 3) 3 Brief Historical Overview ! Thanks to the progress in psychometrics, quantitative methodology became the dominant research methods in social sciences in the middle of 20th century. ! The hegemony started to change in the 1970s by the challenges posed by qualitative research. ! Currently, in many areas of social sciences, the two methods of have peaceful coexistence. ! In Applied Linguistics, there was a significant increase in the number of quantitative research between 1970 to 1985. ! Quantitative methods still maintain the dominance although qualitative research method is gaining a fast momentum. ! Out of 524 empirical studies published between 1991 to 2001, 86% were quantitative, 13% were qualitative, and 1% was mixed method. Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 3) 4 Main Characteristics of Quantitative Research ! Using numbers ! A priori categorization ! Variables rather than cases ! Statistics and the language of statistics ! Standardized procedures to assess objective reality ! Quest for generalizability and universal laws Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 3) 5 Strengths of Quantitative Research ! Systematic ! Focused ! Tightly controlled ! Precise measurement with reliable and replicable data ! Generalizable to other contexts ! The statistical analytical apparatus can be evaluated easily ! Relatively quick and less costly 6 Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 3) Weaknesses of Quantitative Research ! Impossible to do justice to the subjective variety of individuals ! Not always sensitive to the underlying processes ! Can be overly simplistic, decontextualized and reductionist Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 3) 7 Research Design and Variance ! Research design is a plan for answering research questions by telling us how to explain variance in the outcome variables of interest. ! In other words, the research design helps us to identify the sources that contribute to the variance in the outcome variables of interest. ! Or, the research design helps us to identify the main independent variables that contribute to the variance in the depended variable(s). ! Research design also helps us to identify other sources that contribute to the variance in the depended variable(s). ! In our research design we can control for the effect of these variables. Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 3) 8 Research Design and Variance ! To have valid conclusions, research designs include more control variables. ! In other words, the researcher should think about both the main independent variables and intervening and/or moderating variables. The effect of intervening and/or moderating variables should be controlled; otherwise, they will act as confounding variables. ! However, no matter how many independent variables are included in a research design, still there will be some confounding variables. ! The researcher should be aware of as many confounding variables as possible and acknowledges the limitations of her/his findings. Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 3) 9 Research Design Types ! Correlational (Associational) Research " The goal of associational research is to determine whether a relationship exists between variables and, if so, the strength of that relationship. " This is often tested statistically through correlations, which allow a researcher to determine how closely two variables (e.g., motivation and language ability) are related in a given population. " Associational research is not concerned with causation, only with co- occurrence. Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 3) 10 Research Design Types ! Correlational (Associational) Research " Correlation can be used in different ways: for example, to test a relationship between or among variables, and to make predictions. " Predictions are dependent on the outcome of a strong relationship between or among variables. That is, if variables are strongly related, we can often predict the likelihood of the presence of one from the presence of the other(s). Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 3) 11 Research Design Types ! Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Research " In experimental studies, researchers deliberately manipulate one or more variables (independent variables) to determine the effect on another variable (dependent variable). " This manipulation is usually described as a treatment and the researcher's goal is to determine whether there is a causal relationship. " Many types of experimental research involve a comparison of pretreatment and posttreatment performance. " Randomization is usually viewed as one of the hallmarks of experimental research. " Design types can range from truly experimental (with random assignment) to what is known as quasi-experimental (without random assignment). Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 3) 12 Research Design Types ! Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Research " A typical experimental study usually uses comparison or control groups to investigate research questions. " Many second language research studies involve a comparison between two or more groups. " This is known as a between-groups design. " This comparison can be made in one of two ways: two or more groups with different treatments; or two or more groups, one of which, the control group, receives no treatment. Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 3) 13 Session 4: Experimental Research Design_Part 1 Research Literacy (A&HL 5575) Experimental Research ! Experimental research is the way of determining the effect of something on something else. ! In experimental research, we manipulate at least one variable, while controlling for the effect of other variables, to determine the effect of manipulation on the outcome variable. ! Example: Whether focusing a learner's attention on some aspect of language increases that individual’s uptake of that aspect of language. ! Experimental research is based on the Rationalist worldview. " Rationalist approach is a theory-then-research or deductive approach. ! Research questions must be stated explicitly and must have some basis on previous literature. ! Example: Does focused attention on noun-adjective agreement in Italian promote learning to a greater extend than focused attention on wh-movement in Italian for beginning learners of Italian? ! There are always hypotheses about the results of experiments. ! Example: Focused attention on noun-adjective agreement in Italian will promote learning to a greater extend than focused attention on wh-movement in Italian for beginning learners of Italian. Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 4) 2 Explaining and Controlling Variance ! Experimental research is conducted for the purpose of explaining or controlling variance. Independent Variable Dependent Variable Group 1 Method 1 Group 1 T-Scores 1 Group 2 Method 2 Group 2 T-Scores 2 Group 3 Method 3 Group 3 T-Scores 3 Variance in scores Controlling variance allows us to minimize the effects of extraneous variance. As a result, the dependent variable can be interpreted without bias. ! Construct-relevant variance (Good variability or systematic variance). ! ! Variance related to the construct being investigated (e.g., variance in scores related to the effect of method). ! Construct-irrelevant variance (Bad variability or error/unsystematic or unwanted variance). ! Variance unrelated to the construct being investigated coming from factors other than the effect of instruction (e.g., pre-existing difference in ability level) Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 4) 3 Five Ways of Controlling the Unwanted Variance 1. Randomization 2. Holding conditions or factors constant (e.g., controlling for proficiency, only one teacher) 3. Statistical adjustments (adjusting pretest-posttest differences in gain scores--ANCOVA) 4. Building conditions or factors into the research design as independent variables (e.g., incorporating proficiency level the design—advanced/intermediate/beginners) into 5. The combination of all four methods Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 4) 4 1. Randomization Unsystematic variance Systematic variance Random, error, unsystematic variance due to other factors (ability level, motivation, anxiety, etc.) Variance due to methods Total variance Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 4) 5 1. Randomization Independent Variable Dependent Variable G1: 20 SS Method 1 Group 1 T-Scores 1 G2: 20 SS Method 2 Group 2 T-Scores 2 G3: 20 SS Method 3 Group 3 T-Scores 3 Variance in scores 60 SS randomly assigned to each of the 3 groups ! It equalizes the groups with respects to variables other than the main independent variable. ! It aims at reducing the effect of “random”, “inherent” or “ within groups” variance. Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 4) 6 2. Holding Factors Constant Independent Variable Same Teacher Dependent Variable G1: 20 SS Method 1 Group 1 T-Scores 1 G2: 20 SS Method 2 Group 2 T-Scores 2 G3: 20 SS Method 3 Group 3 T-Scores 3 Variance in scores 60 SS randomly assigned to each of the 3 groups ! Disadvantage: ! Reduces external validity Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 4) 7 3. Statistical Control ! The effect of pre-existing variables is removed statistically. Independent Variable Same Teacher G1: 20 SS Method 1 Group 1 T-Scores 1 G2: 20 SS Method 2 Group 2 T-Scores 2 G3: 20 SS Method 3 Group 3 T-Scores 3 60 SS randomly assigned to each of the 3 groups Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 4) Dependent Variable Variance in scores Proficiency scores from all 60 SS Transformed test scores or dependent variable Variance in scores 8 4. Building Factors into the Research Design Independent Variable Same Teacher Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 4) Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5 Group 6 10 SS- Low 10 SS- High 10 SS- Low 10 SS- High 10 SS- Low 10 SS- High Method 1 Method 2 Method 3 60 SS randomly assigned to each of the 6 groups Dependent Variable Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5 Group 6 T-scores 1 T-scores 2 T-scores 3 T-scores 4 T-scores 5 T-scores 6 Variance in scores 9 4. Building Factors into the Research Design Unsystematic variance Variance due to ability level Systematic variance Variance due to methods Variance due to other factors (motivation, anxiety, etc.) Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 4) Total variance 10 5. Using Four Ways in Combination Independent Variable Dependent Variable 20 SS- Low 20 SS- High 20 SS- Low 20 SS- High 20 SS- Low 20 SS- High 20 SS- Low 20 SS- High 20 SS- Low 20 SS- High 20 SS- Low 20 SS- High T-scores T-scores T-scores T-scores T-scores T-scores T-scores T-scores T-scores T-scores T-scores T-scores Teacher 1 Teacher 2 Same School Teacher 1 Teacher 2 Teacher 1 Teacher 2 Method 1 Method 1 Method 2 Method 2 Method 3 Method 3 WM scores for all 120 SS Transformed test scores or dependent variable 120 SS randomly assigned to each of the 6 groups Variance in scores Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 4) 11 Working Example ! Which kind of corrective feedback is more effective? Explicit or implicit? " " ! Which of the two corrective feedback types of metalinguistic explanation and recast is more beneficial? " ! What morphosyntactic target structures? ➔ easy or difficult Who are the learners? Children, young adults or adults Which of the two corrective feedback types of metalinguistic explanation and recast is more beneficial for learning the English article system and the past perfect tense among adult learners? " ! morphosyntax, pronunciation, collocation Which of the two corrective feedback types of metalinguistic explanation and recast is more beneficial for learning the English article system and the past perfect tense? " ! Learning what? ➔ Which of the two corrective feedback types of metalinguistic explanation and recast is more beneficial for learning morphosyntax? " ! Explicit like metalinguistic explanation Implicit like recast What is the setting? Classroom learning or naturalistic learning? Which of the two corrective feedback types of metalinguistic explanation and recast is more beneficial for learning the English article system and the past perfect tense among adult learners who learn English in the formal classroom learning setting? Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 4) 12 What are the Variables in the Working Example? X Variables Constants Main Independent Intervening Manipulated or predictor How and why Metalinguistic explanation and recast Dependent/predicted Posttest on knowledge of articles and tense Underlying mechanism Moderating Age and motivation Noticing the feedback, so individual differences in WM capacity and L2 aptitude Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 4) 13 Working Example X Variables Constants Main Independent Intervening Dependent/predicted How and why Manipulated or predictor Posttest on knowledge of articles and tense Control Binary/classifying Moderating Underlying mechanism Metalinguistic explanation and recast Learning setting, age and motivation Continuous Noticing the feedback, so individual differences in WM capacity No Control Adults Classroom Setting Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 4) Measures of WM and Motivation Statistically (Co-variate) Extraneous or Confounding 14 Amount of exposure outside the experimental setting, stress level, how the feedback is delivered, length of experiment, proficiency level, first language, previous knowledge Working Example ! Controlling for individual differences in WM and motivation, which of the two corrective feedback types of metalinguistic explanation and recast is more beneficial for learning the English article system and the past perfect tense among adult EFL learners at the intermediate level? Independent Variable Group 1 Article Past Tense Same Teacher Group 2 Dependent Variable Recast Group 1 Article Past Tense Article Test PP Test Article Test Meta_ L_ E Group 2 Select 100 adult EFL learners from the intermediate level and assign them randomly to the two groups Motivation and WM scores PP Test Variance in scores Transformed test scores or dependent variable Variance in scores Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 4) 15 Working Example ! Controlling for individual differences in WM and motivation, which of the two corrective feedback types of metalinguistic explanation and recast is more beneficial for learning the English article system and the past perfect tense among adult learners who learn English in the formal classroom learning setting? Amount of exposure outside the experimental setting, stress level, how the feedback is delivered, length of experiment, proficiency level, first language, previous knowledge Extraneous or Confounding Let’s control them Amount of exposure and practice outside the experimental setting Constant: Run a single-session experiment Statistical: Include a questionnaire Stress level Statistical: Include a questionnaire How the feedback is delivered Constant: use the same materials and experimenter Length of experiment proficiency level Constant and statistical: make the experiment long and include several posttests (posttests and delayed posttests) Constant: just the intermediate Statistical: Include a test First Language Constant: just one first language Statistical: Include a questionnaire Previous knowledge Constant: pretest and screen 16 Statistical: pretest and a covariate What about little differences in previous knowledge or all the other variables we are aware of? Randomization Working Example ! What kind of corrective feedback is more useful? ! Controlling for individual differences in WM and motivation, which of the two corrective feedback types of metalinguistic explanation and recast is more beneficial for learning the English article system and the past perfect tense among adult learners who learn English in the formal classroom learning setting? ! In a true (vs. quasi) experiment with a pretest, immediate posttest and delayed posttest design, the effectiveness of metalinguistic explanation versus recast for correcting errors related to the use of English articles and past perfect tense was studied. This study was carried out among Persian learners of English who were all above 18 years old. These participants are learning English in an EFL context and rarely have exposure to English out of the classroom setting. Also, during the length of experiment which lasted for ten one-hour sessions, and by the time they took the delayed posttest, which was one month after the last session of the experiment, these participants had no practice of English outside of the experimental setting. After each of the experimental sessions, the leaners took a posttest, so ten posttests were included in the study. In this study, to control for the effect of motivation and stress on learning, questionnaires for both of these psychological variables were included and their results were used as covariates in the statistical analyses. Also, the effect of individual differences in WM on the learning outcomes were accounted for statistically. Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 4) 17 Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 5) 2 Experimental Variables & Levels An experimental variable usually has from 2 to 5 different levels or experimental treatments. Experimental Variable Types of Corrective Feedback Levels or Experimental Treatments • Explicit with metalinguistic explanation • Explicit without metalinguistic explanation • Recast Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 5) 3 Independent Experimental Design Types of Feedback Randomly Assigned Dependent Variable Explicit + Explanation N = 40 ESL learners Explicit – Explanation N = 40 ESL learners # of correct answers on a test Recast N = 40 ESL learners Experimental procedure R R R G1 G2 G3 Xexp+ex Xexp-ex Xrecast N = number of participants R = randomization X = experimental variable (manipulated) I= Independent variable G = group O = Observation (assessment) O1 O2 O3 20.03 23.20 29.90 Compare the mean scores of the groups. ◦ We use a t-test to compare the differences in the mean scores of 2 groups. ◦ We use ANOVA (analysis of variance) to compare the means of 3 or more groups). Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 5) 4 Posttest-Only Control-Group Design R G1 R G2(c) X1 - O1 O2 ◦ Used when a pretest is not available, not used, too costly or interacts with treatment. ◦ Randomization causes no need for pre-test especially with large samples. Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 5) 5 Pretest-Posttest Control Group Design R G1 R G2(c) O1 O3 X1 - O2 O4 ◦ It is a little tricky because pretests and posttests should be equal forms or identical. ◦ In a randomized experiment, pretests are not used to create equal groups. ◦ However, the pretests can reveal improbable results. ◦ Also, pretest results can be used for statistical control. ANCOVA is used for data analysis for this purpose. ◦ The scores from pretests to posttests can be used to compute “gain” scores. 6 Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 5) Randomized Solomon Four-Group Design R R R R G1E O1 G2C O3 G3E G4C - X X - O2 O4 O5 O6 ◦ This design can show if pretests had an interaction with the treatment or influenced the posttest’s scores. Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 5) 7 Factorial Design In the previous designs, we examined the effect of an independent variable on a dependent variable. For example, we looked at the effectiveness of three different types of corrective feedback. ● But the effectiveness of three different types of corrective feedback might be mediated or moderated by other variables such as the students’proficiency level. ● ● ● There might be an interaction between the different types of corrective feedback and the different ability groups. To examine the effectiveness of three different types of corrective feedback accounting for variations in the students’ proficiency level, we can design a study using ONLY the intermediate level students. And then, we design a similar study for ONLY the advanced level students. ● But it is more efficient if we designed ONE study that accounts for different types of corrective feedback in relation to different proficiency levels of the learners. ● When there is more than one independent variable in the deign of a study, the design is called the factorial design. Vafaee, A&HL5575 (Class 5) 8 Factorial Design • A “complete” factorial design involves 2 or more independent variables (factors) i...
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