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Overcoming barriers to reaching nativelikeness in adult second language acquisition

Su, Yanling 2008. Overcoming barriers to reaching nativelikeness in adult second language acquisition. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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This thesis examines the complex questions of what the obstacles are to becoming nativelike and how they can be overcome. Questions for framing the literature review are developed by means of a down-to-earth preliminary case study of a nativelike French learner of English. The subsequent literature review focuses on key issues such as the supply of input, attention to input, output practise opportunities, attention to output, identity, and learning motivation. An 'ideal' model for reaching nativelikeness is established for further investigation. More specifically, five conditions for overcoming barriers to reaching nativelikeness are hypothesised. In order to test these five conditions, an investigation is reported into the learning of Mandarin by a cohort of undergraduate students of Mandarin at a British university. Using carefully constructed interview questions and questionnaires, details were gathered of their knowledge, approach and attitude to learning, and how they lived during their year abroad in China. Their nativelikeness was judged by independent monolingual Chinese listeners. The main findings are that there are different learning obstacles in the process of L2 learning for different learners, due to both their different language learning experiences and their particular stances relative to the target language. The key conclusion of the study is that nativelikeness is most likely to be achieved when learners have a persistent motivation to speak in a nativelike manner, develop an open/adaptive sense of identification with the L2 native group, have a guaranteed supply of on-going 'ideal' input, and achieve a 'balanced' attention to both input and output.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
ISBN: 9781303184963
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:33

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