20.05.2010

Subprojects

This is a list of some of the topics under investigation in Cefling subprojects. Below are brief descriptions of some of these projects and contact details of the main researchers involved.

By topic

Grammar

  • sentence types [1] [11]
  • relative clauses [2] [11]
  • question formation [3]
  • negation [4]
  • passives [5]
  • generics [5]
  • infinitives [6]
  • number marking on N [7]
  • 3rd person singular -s [8]
  • verb TO BE [9]
  • local cases [10] [11]

Vocabulary

  • formulaic sequences [12]
  • word formation (derivation) [13] [14]

Discourse

  • text types [15]

Language Testing

  • validation study [16]

Materials design

  • textbook writing tasks [17]
Research methodology
  • accuracy scores [18]

  By language

  • L2 English [3] [7] [8] [13] [14] [15] [18]
  • L2 Finnish [1] [2] [5] [6] [9] [10] [11]
  • Comparison of L2 English and L2 Finnish [4] [12] [16]
  • Comparison of L2 English and L2 Swedish [17]

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[1] A study of sentence types in L2 Finnish

Main person involved: Nina Reiman nina.reiman(at)jyu.fi
This study is investigating Finnish sentence types as patterns which combine form, meaning and function. The main focus of the study will be to investigate how L2 Finnish learners' use of transitive patterns develops both syntactically and semantically.

Dissemination of this subproject:

Reiman, Nina. 2008. Lausetyyppi suomi toisena kielenä -oppijoiden lauserakenteen tarkastelussa. Paper to be presented at XXXV Kielitieteen Päivät, 23-24 May 2008 Vaasa, Finland. [abstract]

[2] A study of relatives in L2 Finnish

Main person involved: Maisa Martin maisa.martin(at)jyu.fi
This study investigated the following questions in a subcorpus of the YKI tests of L2 Finnish: How frequent are relative clauses in the writing performance of L2 Finnish learners at the different CEFR levels? And how accurate are they at each level? Findings suggest that relative clauses are found at all proficiency levels, including the lowest one, and that certain types of relatives are particularly common at particular levels.

Dissemination of this subproject:

Martin, Maisa. 2007. Emergence, mastery and distribution. Can acquisition criteria be combined? Paper presented at EUROSLA 17 Conference, 11-14 September 2007, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.

 

[3] A study of questions in L2 English

Main person involved: Minna Roiha miaianro(at)cc.jyu.fi
This study investigated written English questions produced by Finnish learners in lower secondary education. It aimed to find out what developmental stages the questions represented, what kind of errors the learners made and whether the results of 7th and 9th graders differed from each other. Six developmental stages were identified in the data, though the majority of the questions produced by these learners represented stages 3 and 4. In addition, 27% of the produced 935 questions were erroneous. No major differences were found between the questions produced by 7th and 9th graders.

Dissemination of this subproject:

Roiha, Minna. 2008. 'Shiner the sun?' Question development in the writing of Finnish learners of English, Department of Languages/English, University of Jyväskylä: Pro-gradu thesis. Available online at: http://thesis.jyu.fi/08/URN_NBN_fi_jyu-200805051423.pdf

 

[4] A comparison of the development of negation in L2 English and L2 Finnish

Main people involved: Florencia Franceschina florencia.franceschina@campus.jyu.fi, Maisa Martin maisa.martin(at)jyu.fi
This subproject addresses the question of which linguistic features characterise learners’ performance at the different proficiency levels defined in the CEFR by looking at the development of L2 English and L2 Finnish negation in written production at levels A1 to C2. We aim to uncover any systematicy that may exist in the development of negation and thus reveal any non-trivial differences between the two typologically different L2s investigated. We will document emergence and mastery of morphosyntactic negative devices and examine their frequency, accuracy and distribution in the written production of learners at each CEFR level, in order to test the DEMfad model (Franceschina 2006) as a tool for tracking diagnostically meaningful changes across communicatively defined proficiency levels. The data come from the CEFLING project and it includes writing samples from adults and young writers elicited using a range of tasks.

Dissemination of this subproject:

Poster to be presented at the Language Learning Round Table, EUROSLA Conference, Aix-en-Provence, France, 10 September 2008

 

[5] A study of passives and generics in L2 Finnish

Main people involved: Marja Seilonen marja.seilonen(at)jyu.fi
This study looked at how L2 Finnish learners form and use passives and generics and what different types of passives and generics are used by learners at different proficiency levels.

Dissemination of this subproject:

Seilonen, Marja. 2007. Passiivi ja nollapersoona suomenoppijoiden kirjoitelmissa. Paper presented at AFinLA Conference, Kuovola, Finland, 9-10 November 2007. [abstract]

 

[6] A study of infinitives in L2 Finnish

Main person involved: Vilja Paavola vimapaav@cc.jyu.fi
 

[7] A study of number marking on nominals in L2 English

Main person involved: Florencia Franceschina florencia.franceschina@campus.jyu.fi
This study looked at the changes in singular/plural marking on head nouns in a subcorpus of the YKI tests of L2 English (ca. 12,000 words from L1 Finnish-speaking adults) that make part of the CEFLING corpus. The data were written performances classified into six global proficiency levels using the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) scales. The study traced the emergence and mastery of number marking and it documented the relative accuracy and frequency of singular/plural marking across the six levels. On the whole the findings were compatible with what had been reported in the SLA literature about the development of number marking in L2 English. Number marking is clearly productive even as early as A1 level, and a gradual pattern of increased plural marking and increased accuracy is observed as proficiency level increases. Even at C2 level we find some number marking errors, suggesting that L2 performance reaches asymptote at C2 level in this area.

Dissemination of this subproject:

Franceschina, Florencia. 2007. Aspects of the development of number marking in L2 English. Paper presented at AFinLA Conference, Kuovola, Finland, 9-10 November 2007.  [abstract] [slides]

 

[8] A study of 3rd person singular -s in L2 English

Main person involved: Nina Pajunen nijopaju@cc.jyu.fi
This study aims to find out why it is so difficult for L2 English learners to fully acquire the 3rd person singular –s and what specific difficulties learners at different proficiency levels may have. The study will also look at whether the accuracy with which the morpheme –s is used varies according to the different functions of this morpheme.

 

[9] A study of the verb TO BE in L2 Finnish

Main person involved: Taru Kynsijärvi takynsij@cc.jyu.fi
This project looked at the contexts in which the OLLA verb is used in the writing of L2 Finnish learners at different proficiency levels (YKI subcorpus). The study revealed that the most typical way to use OLLA at A level was a single verb rather than as part of a more complex VP. At later stages other forms were typical.

Dissemination of this subproject:

Kynsijärvi, Taru. 2007. Se johtuu siitä minulla oli muistinmenetys. 'Olla'-verbirakenteiden kehkeytyminen oppijankielessä, Department of Languages/Finnish, University of Jyväskylä: Pro-gradu thesis.  Available online at http://thesis.jyu.fi/07/URN_NBN_fi_jyu-2007619.pdf

[10] A study of local cases in L2 Finnish

Main person involved: Sanna Mustonen sanna.s.mustonen(at)jyu.fi
 

[11] A study of local cases, sentence types and relative clauses in L2 Finnish

Main people involved: Maisa Martin maisa.martin(at)jyu.fi, Sanna Mustonen sanna.s.mustonen(at)campus.jyu.fi , Nina Reiman nina.reiman(at)jyu.fi
This project will investigate whether the above types of features develop in a similar way and what the interplay of the morphological and syntactic components may be.

Dissemination of this subproject:

Paper to be presented at the AILA International Conference, Essen, Germany, August 2008

 

[12] A study of the use of formulaic sequences in L2 English and L2 Finnish

Main people involved: Katja Mäntylä katja.mantyla(at)jyu.fi, Mirja Tarnanen mirja.tarnanen(at)jyu.fi
This study aims to document the types of formulaic sequences that are used by L1 Finnish school children (7th graders) writing in L2 English. Initial analyses suggest that these learners do not use many formulaic sentences. Future analyses will compare the data from children to equivalent data from adults (from the YKI corpus), look at potential L1 effects, and look at the development of formulaic sequences across the CEFR levels.

Dissemination of this subproject:

Mäntylä, Katja. 2007. No se nyt on vaan fraasi. Paper presented at AFinLA Conference, Kuovola, Finland, 9-10 November 2007. [abstract]

 

[13] A study of word formation (derivation) in L2 English (I)

Main people involved: Ari Huhta ari.huhta(at)jyu.fi , Katja Mäntylä katja.mantyla(at)jyu.fi

 

[14] A study of word formation (derivation) in L2 English (II)

Main person involved: Leena Nyyssönen
This study is investigating L2 English word formation by Finnish 6th graders. Data have been collected using a modified version of the word formation task devised by Ari Huhta and Katja Mäntylä, as well as think-alouds.

 

[15] A study of text type in L2 English

Main person involved: Henna Tossavainen henna.tossavainen(at)jyu.fi
An analysis of discourse-level features of the writing of adult L2 English learners. Initial findings suggest that there is considerable variation in text types that learners used for particular tasks.

 

[16] Validation of the performance ratings in CEFLING

Main people involved: Ari Huhta ari.huhta(at)jyu.fi, Mirja Tarnanen mirja.tarnanen(at)jyu.fi
The study investigates the quality of the language proficiency ratings done in the project and the quality of the rating scales used. It firstly aims at ensuring that the written performances of Finnish and English can be related to the CEFR levels reliably enough. It also looks at how well the two rating scales used in the project (the CEFR-based scale and the Finnish National Curriculum scale) work. The CEFR-based scale focuses on communication and leaves out any direct reference to linguistic features or problems in performance. The Curriculum scale is a more conventional scale as it covers both the strengths and weaknesses in performance; it also divides the CEFR levels into 2-3 sublevels. Although the CEFR scales have been used for various purposes, including rating, the particular combination of writing scales used in CEFLING is not to our knowledge been used for rating performances. As to the new Curriculum scale, there is no published research yet on how it functions as a rating scale. The study is based on the rating data from 3-4 raters per performance, written comments from a total of 9 Finnish and 8 English raters, and interviews of 3 Finnish and 3 English raters.

 

[17] A Comparative Study of Writing Tasks in English and Swedish Learning Materials for Grades 7 to 9

Main person involved: Sarianna Kivilahti sakakivi@cc.jyu.fi
This is a comparative study of L2 English and L2 Swedish textbooks focusing on how writing is dealt with in the two sets of materials. More specifically, the study is looking at how the writing tasks in these materials related to the CEFR and Finnish National Core Curriculum guidelines. The study is also trying to uncover the approaches to second/foreign language underpinning the writing that the tasks in the two sets of materials. Finally, the project is also investigating whether there are systematic differences in the materials’ design according to target language (L2 English and L2 Swedish) and target proficiency group (7th and 9th grade).

 

[18] A study of the development of accuracy on various syntactic features in L2 English

Main person involved: Florencia Franceschina florencia.franceschina@campus.jyu.fi
This study will investigate how grammatical accuracy correlates with increases in overall L2 proficiency. We will look at accuracy (TLU) scores for use of copula, plural, 3PS ‘s’ and passives. We will discuss a range of methodological issues that can affect our interpretations of accuracy increases along the L2 proficiency spectrum. The following are among the issues that we will discuss in some detail: effects of the learner’s L1, semantic default use of verbs, distinguishing lexical from grammatical errors, identifying formulaic vs. productive use of language, determining obligatory contexts at the lower end of the proficiency spectrum, inflation of accuracy scores by repetition strategies, and how to interpret increases in L2 learners’ grammatical accuracy at different levels of the global L2 proficiency spectrum.

Dissemination of this subproject:

Paper to be presented at the AILA International Conference, Essen, Germany, August 2008