The spoken English of advanced foreign language learners with L1 Basque/Spanish
Principal Investigator   Regina Weinert
Investigators   María Basterrechea Lozano, Maria Pilar Garcia Mayo
Date   2009 - 2010
Grant Number  
Awarded by   Ikerbasque
Summary   Aims: The project examines non-native spoken English in relation to typical native speaker usage. The main areas under investigation are clause complexes, subordinate/dependent clauses and focusing constructions. Related issues are the use of pronouns, deictics and discourse markers. The work involves collecting a corpus of non-native language, the IkerSPEAK Corpus (Research into the SPoken English of Advanced learners with Knowledge of L1 Basque/Spanish). The data includes conversation, description and goal-oriented talk. The research has implications for the study of non-native syntax and its development as well as having pedagogical applications. It also contributes to our general understanding of spoken language - native and non-native and across languages. Background: Informal, spontaneous spoken language and even relatively formal, public language use have been shown to have their own grammatical structures as well as interactional features. Correspondingly, they require to be analysed in relation to the conditions of spoken language production, not in terms of written language grammar. The typical features found in spoken language are therefore not considered deviations from “the norm”, due to performance limitations. While spoken language is primary in unimpaired human beings and while native spoken language has now been investigated for a few decades, with a surge in recent years, it is still far from occupying a central place in publications on linguistics. Non-native spoken language has tended to be examined from different perspectives such as accuracy and complexity. Learner language is only just beginning to be examined explicitly in the light of research on native spoken language, with work on syntax being especially needed. The theoretical approach is usage-based. Analysis involves a close examination of form-function relations in their discourse-pragmatic context.
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