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How Learners’ Affective Variables Impact Their Perception Of Recasts In The Acquisition Of Grammatical Gender In L2 French

Abstract

The goal of this study is to investigate whether motivation as an affective variable plays a role in how beginning language learners may perceive recasts (i.e., implicit negative feedback) when learning grammatical gender in French. In so doing, this study addresses two research questions: 1) Does implicit negative feedback (i.e. recasts) have an effect on the language learning of French beginning students? 2) Does motivation play a role in how recasts are perceived by beginning language learners? In other words, how does the degree of motivation of language learners impact their language learning? The participants were students enrolled in elementary French at a major North American University. Before testing began, students’ motivation to learn French was evaluated using a wellknown motivational instrument, the Gardner's socio-educational model (Gardner, 1982; 2001). They were then randomly assigned to one of two conditions: the experimental group (i.e. the written recast group) and the control group. Grammatical gender assignment to nouns (masculine or feminine) and noun/adjective agreement in French were selected for this study because previous research shows how difficult they are to acquire for language learners both in immersion and in instructed settings (Vuchic, 1993; Holmes & Dejean de la Bâtie, 1999; Guillelmon & Grosjean, 2001; Ayoun, 2007). The present study proposes to investigate the role of motivation because previous studies (Ayoun, 2007) suggested that more motivated learners may overcome the inherent difficulties in acquiring grammatical gender and improve their performance.    Accuracy in production of the target form was measured over the short-term by three elicitation tasks: a composition, a cloze test, and a grammaticality judgment correction task. Based on previous research, the following predictions were tested: 1) the recast group will outperform the control group which did not receive any feedback, suggesting that the use of recasts has a facilitative effect on language learning even at the beginning level; 2) There will be a positive correlation between learners’ motivation and their intake of recasts (i.e. the greater their motivation, the greater their likelihood to benefit from recasts). The implications of the results for future empirical research and pedagogical applications are discussed.

How to Cite

Dasse-Askildson V., (2008) “How Learners’ Affective Variables Impact Their Perception Of Recasts In The Acquisition Of Grammatical Gender In L2 French”, Journal of Second Language Acquisition and Teaching 15(0). p.1-36.

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Virginie Dasse-Askildson

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