Crossing the Frontier: An Investigation Into the Effects of Explicit Cross-Linguistic Awareness-Raising on the Subsequent L2 Written Performance of Japanese Learners

| January 29, 2012
Title
Crossing the Frontier: An Investigation Into the Effects of Explicit Cross-Linguistic Awareness-Raising on the Subsequent L2 Written Performance of Japanese Learners
Author
Matthew Wycliffe Lucas
Oxford Brookes Univeristy

Abstract
Several decades of research have indicated that the relationship between a learner‟s mother tongue (L1) and second language (L2) is a significant one. This study examined the effects of cross-linguistic comparisons and contrasts between learners‟ L1 (Japanese) and L2 (English) on subsequent L2 written performance. Two linguistic features thought to be problematic for Japanese learners were the focus of these comparisons and contrasts: articles and plural suffixes. To meet this end, the effects of such cross-linguistic awareness-raising on the subsequent noticing and frequency of associated errors was investigated. „Noticing‟ was defined as successful identification through sentence correction of erroneous use of articles and plural endings, while „frequency‟ was defined as how often these language items were successfully produced in written tasks. A mixed- methods quasi-experimental design of sixty-nine participants from two Japanese universities was implemented, in which an experimental group was exposed to a cross- linguistic awareness-raising treatment and compared with a counterpart control group. It was predicted that such treatment would have a positive effect on the subsequent noticing and frequency of errors, and thereby improve L2 written accuracy. The results indicated that, for the most part, this hypothesis was supported. Specifically, the quantitative data revealed a significant improvement in the identification of articles, as well as in both the identification and production of plurals, but not for the production of articles. This latter finding might be accounted for by the fact that articles appear to be a highly complex issue, in addition to certain aspects relating to the study‟s validity. The qualitative data generally suggested that the awareness-raising techniques employed were beneficial in helping to improve L2 written accuracy, particularly L1 translation exercises. The study is important in that it is able to offer concrete pedagogical applications for a wide variety of settings, as well as provide rich potential for further research.

Category: Thesis