Instructed second language acquisition & cross-linguistic influenceword order in nominal structures

Dirigida por:
  1. Raquel Fernández Fuertes Directora

Universidad de defensa: Universidad de Valladolid

Fecha de defensa: 20 de julio de 2023

  1. Elena Nicoladis Presidente/a
  2. Esther Álvarez de la Fuente Secretaria
  3. Elisa Rosado Villegas Vocal

Tipo: Tesis


This dissertation analyzes the impact of two issues related to the field of Instructed Second Language Acquisition: length of exposure and explicit instruction. These issues are explored in the specific domain of noun modification in English by considering two structures: adjective-noun strings (ANs) and noun-noun compounds (NNs). To do so, the L2 English data of 96 L1 Spanish children are analyzed along three years as elicited via two written tasks: an acceptability judgment and a production task. Additional cross-sectional oral data are obtained in the last year by means of a director-matcher task. All the participants receive explicit instruction for ANs, as customary in the Spanish school context. A specific pedagogical program including explicit instruction on NNs is used with half of the participants, thus establishing two groups: the instruction group and the non-instruction group. Both groups include two age groups each, depending on the age at which participants were first tested (6 and 8-year-olds). This participants taxonomy allows to measure the role of length of exposure to the L2 and to test the effectiveness of explicit instruction. The results show that length of exposure plays a role in the learning of ANs and NNs given the improvement of the participants L2 knowledge for both structures along the three years. Furthermore, participants in the instruction group perform better than their non-instruction cohorts, and not only in the structures targeted in the explicit intervention, NNs, but also in ANs. In the convergence of the two main variables of explicit instruction and length of exposure, the results obtained in both the longitudinal written data and the cross-sectional oral data point to explicit instruction being more determinant than length of exposure. This study sheds further light into factors that are relevant to the L2 learning process in a school context, while it also contributes to the scarce existing literature on the acquisition of structures including noun modification in the form of ANs and NNs by L1 Spanish-L2 English children.