14thAnnual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Lyon, France
August 25-29, 2013

L2 Syntax Acquisition: The Effect of Oral and Written Computer Assisted Practice

Polina Drozdova, Catia Cucchiarini, Helmer Strik

Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, The Netherlands

The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of modality-specific practice through a CALL system on the acquisition of an L2 syntactic phenomenon: subject-verb inversion. Two groups of learners of Dutch participated in the study: one group worked with a version of the CALL system that allows drag-anddrop exercises while another one practiced with a different version of the system that makes use of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) to provide practice and feedback on spoken utterances. Progress was measured by comparing the results of the groups on pre- and post-tests with discourse completion tasks in written and oral forms. The CALL system performed well, and statistical analyses revealed a significant difference between the results of all participants in pre- and post-tests, demonstrating the positive effect of practice with both versions of the program on the acquisition of the syntactic feature addressed in the training. Larger improvements were observed for oral training, but no significant effect of practice modality on the progress of the participants or their appreciation of the program was found. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Drozdova, Polina / Cucchiarini, Catia / Strik, Helmer (2013): "L2 syntax acquisition: the effect of oral and written computer assisted practice", In INTERSPEECH-2013, 982-986.