Investigating focus constructions in an EFL context:a usage-based approach

Aleraini, Nadiah (2018) Investigating focus constructions in an EFL context:a usage-based approach. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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By adopting a Construction Grammar framework and following a usage-based approach to SLA, the present study investigated Saudi advanced L2 users’ knowledge of focus constructions in English (namely it-cleft, wh-cleft, reverse wh-cleft and preposing). Little is known about the acquisition of these constructions in an EFL contexts, as these focus constructions are not very much used in oral and written forms in English (Biber, 1999). One of the objectives of this study was to find out whether Saudi L2 users are aware of the appropriate contextual use of English focus constructions related to object focus in English. Another objective of this study, was to explore the extent to which L2 users of English with L1 Arabic are similar in their knowledge and on-line processing of English focus constructions to native speakers. Further, the study aimed to find some evidence as to when learners, over the course of their interlanguage development, come closer to native-like knowledge of English focus constructions and diverge from L1 norms. Therefore, the study included three proficiency levels (native English speakers, advanced and intermediate L2 users of English with Arabic as their L1). The present study was conducted in Saudi Arabia with 99 participants. The study utilised an off-line task (which measured knowledge in terms of acceptability ratings) and an online experiment (which measured processing costs in terms of reaction times) to collect data. All in all, the results obtained in this study supported the general predictions of usagebased approaches to SLA and shed light on the role of cognitive processes in the acquisition of the target constructions. The data gathered also provide interesting findings on how both learners and native speakers process focus constructions at the syntax-discourse level.

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Thesis (PhD)
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20 Aug 2018 14:16
Last Modified:
18 Sep 2023 02:19