Attrition In Writing Ability Among Adult EFL Persian Learners * Dr. A. Asgari


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  • 20 April 2009
  • 20 April 2009
  • Attrition In Writing Ability Among Adult EFL Persian Learners * Dr. A. Asgari

    1. 2. Background of the Study The study of language attrition has recently emerged as a new field of study. The conception of loss in language skills occurred in a conference at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) in 1980. In literature, the term 'language loss' and 'language attrition' have been used interchangeably, where Language attrition is supposedly applicable to language loss. This is because language loss suggests that linguistic information is totally removed from the memory of an individual, whereas in language attrition, linguistic information becomes inaccessible to the individual. Inaccessibility is a matter of degree and the degree hinges on various reasons such as proficiency levels, social, effective and other personality factors. For language maintenance, forgetting or losing language skills is defined as a problem in recent decades.
    2. 3. Background of the Study <ul><li>This taxonomical framework is proposed by Van Els (1986) within which this language attrition research will be conducted. The study on language attrition has been classified into the following categories: </li></ul><ul><li>L1 loss in L1 environment: Dialect loss </li></ul><ul><li>L1 loss in L2 environment: Immigrant </li></ul><ul><li>L2 loss in L1 environment: Foreign language attrition </li></ul><ul><li>L2 loss in L2 environment: Language reversion in elderly people </li></ul><ul><li>Hansen (2001a) remarked that &quot;language attrition has been studied for two reasons; First of all, researchers have taken interest in knowing attrition processes and then, it has got considerable pedagogical implications&quot;. </li></ul><ul><li>As remarked by Schmid (2005), &quot;there are many forms of attrition, and one type takes place when foreign language learners are in contact with the language&quot;. Tomiyama pointed out that acquisition and attrition might occur at the same time. </li></ul>
    3. 4. Statement of the Problem <ul><li>A huge amount of budget is remarked annually for the development of English proficiency. </li></ul><ul><li>English language is a foreign language for Iranian people. </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers simply ignored students’ cultures. </li></ul><ul><li>The university syllabus for TEFL </li></ul><ul><li>The macro and micro skills of writing </li></ul><ul><li>Method of teaching language (i.e., the Grammar-Translation Method) </li></ul><ul><li>Environment </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of mastery of their grammatical competence </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
    4. 5. <ul><li>General Objective : </li></ul><ul><li>The purpose and general objective of this study is to provide baseline data for future research on Writing Ability Attrition among Adult EFL Persian Learners, in I.R.Iran. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Specific Objective: </li></ul><ul><li>To identify the differences between L2 attrition rate of grammatical morphemes on continuing and non-continuing students at the intermediate level. </li></ul><ul><li>To identify the differences between L2 attrition rate of grammatical morphemes on continuing and non-continuing students at the advanced level. </li></ul>Research Objectives
    5. 6. Research Hypothesis <ul><li>There are no differences between L2 attrition rate of grammatical morphemes s on continuing students at the intermediate level. </li></ul><ul><li>There are no differences between L2 attrition rate of grammatical morphemes on non-continuing students at the intermediate level. </li></ul><ul><li>There are no differences between L2 attrition rate of grammatical morphemes on continuing students at the advanced level. </li></ul><ul><li>There are no differences between L2 attrition rate of grammatical morphemes on non-continuing students at the advanced level. </li></ul>
    6. 7. Limitation of the Study <ul><li>The aspects of writing ability which be examined in this research is limited. </li></ul><ul><li>Learners had no choice and had to write on a pre-assigned topic; </li></ul><ul><li>The attrition of learning strategies and teaching methodology are not controlled. </li></ul><ul><li>The amount of out-of-class exposure to l2 in stage one and the age of initial exposure to l2, the degree of motivate, attitude and affective are not controlled in this study. </li></ul><ul><li>The number of respondents involved in this study is only four hundred students. </li></ul><ul><li>For non-continuing students, it was not possible to control for extraneous variables such as references to dictionaries or other forms of assistance. </li></ul><ul><li>In addition, this study investigates attrition in adult learners only. </li></ul><ul><li>The aspects of types and numbers of vocabulary which be examined in this research is limited. </li></ul>
    7. 8. Review of the Literature <ul><li>Stages in Language Attrition </li></ul><ul><li>Cognitive Processes and Cause of Attrition </li></ul><ul><li>Competing Hypothesis </li></ul><ul><li>Important Variables in Attrition Studies </li></ul><ul><li>Rate and Pattern of Attrition </li></ul><ul><li>Learning and Relearning Vocabulary </li></ul><ul><li>Attrition in Grammar </li></ul><ul><li>L1 Attrition vs. L2 Attrition </li></ul>
    8. 9. <ul><li>This research compares two groups of the subjects of study on the same variables that have been done in past researches. As there is no treatment in this study, the researcher determined the relationships between the various variables. Hence, the design selected for this study is the quantitative research (ex-post facto). </li></ul><ul><li>The designation of ex-post facto , from Latin for &quot;after the fact&quot;, is used to determine the natural course of events. Its purpose to investigate the cause-and-effect relationships between the IV and DV, where the researcher cannot randomly assign subjects to different conditions or manipulate the independent variable directly. </li></ul>Methodology
    9. 10. Location, Population & Sampling <ul><li>This study is conducted in the Islamic Republic of Iran . The research location is in the capital of Iran, Tehran at the KISH English Language Institute. </li></ul><ul><li>An accidental sampling of the main major of non-probability sampling employed in this research. The subjects in this study consist of two hundred male and female adult Iranian language learners who have registered in intermediate and advanced (IPL3 & APL) levels at the KISH Institute English Language in mixed classes during the spring and summer season in 2009. </li></ul>
    10. 11. <ul><li>Yukawa (2001) suggested that a number of field procedures are to be used to collect information for language learning researches, such as questionnaires, interviews, tests, observations and think-aloud. A composition test was employed in the present study for data elicitation. </li></ul><ul><li>ESL/EFL COMPOSITION PROFILE (Jacob, 1981) </li></ul>Research Instrument effective complex constructions ; few errors of agreement, tense, number, word order/function, articles ; few errors of pronouns, prepositions Grammatical Morpheme Criteria sophisticated range ; effective word/idiom choice & usage; word form mastery; appropriate register Lexical Density Criteria knowledgeable ; substantive; thorough development of thesis; relevant to assigned topic Syntactic Complexity Criteria demonstrates mastery of conventions; few errors of spelling; few errors of spelling punctuation; few errors of spelling capitalization and paragraphing Mechanics Criteria fluent expression ; ideas clearly stated/ supported; succinct ; well-organized; logical sequencing; cohesive Organization Criteria
    11. 12. Data Collection <ul><li>The data of this study were collected in two separate stages with an interval period of six months. The composition test was administrated during class time in one session. </li></ul><ul><li>In the first stage which was towards the end of the summer term (the end of September 2009), all of the participants sat for the test. </li></ul><ul><li>After the period of six months, which was the second stage, the continuing group (those who would be attending classes in the next term, the end of May 2010) took the same test in the class. </li></ul><ul><li>The researcher also sent an electronic version or hard copies of the test to the non-continuing students after making sure that these students had no contact with the English language during the period of interval. </li></ul>
    12. 13. <ul><li>Demographics Characteristics of the Respondents </li></ul><ul><li>In the present study, there are the Intermediate and Advanced levels with the same percentage from the total of population. All participated are Iranians people with Persian as their mother language. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>Findings
    13. 14. <ul><li>Attrition's Level of the Grammatical Morphemes </li></ul><ul><li>The results of the one-way ANOVA tables indicate that the continuing students do not undergo significant attrition of the using grammatical morpheme across different proficiency levels whereas for the non-continuing students, they have undergone a significant level with the grammatical morpheme at the intermediate and advanced proficiency levels in stages. </li></ul><ul><li>Thus, in this study, a trend of attrition in writing ability on non-continuing students with different proficiency levels at stages is observed. </li></ul>Findings
    14. 15. Conclusion <ul><li>The results of this research revealed that the continuing students do not experience attrition with the grammatical morpheme across different proficiency levels. In spite of the short period of non-use, non-continuing students have shown a trend of attrition across different proficiency levels. In contrast to previous studies, grammatical morphemes turned out to be more resistant to attrition. </li></ul><ul><li>Consequently, according to this result, the first and third null hypothesis is accepted for the continuing learners (sig-F>α, Accept Ho); while, the second and fourth ones were rejected for the non-continuing learners across different proficiency levels (sig-F<α, Reject Ho). </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
    15. 16. References <ul><li>Arent, R. (2003). Promoting revision and development in L2 writing through a combination-based curriculum. The Korea TESOL Journal, Vol.6, No.1, 1-26. </li></ul><ul><li>Bahrick, H. (1984). Fifty years of second language attrition: Implications for programmatic research. The Modern Language Journal, 68, 105- 118. </li></ul><ul><li>Brown, H. & Doughlas, S. (2000). Princples of languagage learning and teaching(4 th ed.). Son Francisco: Addison Wesley Longman Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>Cohen, A. (1989). Attrition in the productive lexicon of two Portuguese Third language speakers. SSLA, 11, 135-149. </li></ul><ul><li>de Bot, K.& Stoessel, S. (2000). In search of yesterday’s words: Reactivating a long forgotten language. Applied Linguistics, 21/3. 333-353. </li></ul><ul><li>de Groot, A. M. B. & Keijzer, R. (2000). What Is Hard To Learn Is Easy To Forget: The Roles of Word Concreteness, Cognate Status, and Word Frequency in Foreign Language Vocabulary Learning and Forgetting. Language Learning, 50, 1-56. </li></ul><ul><li>Ellis, N. C. & Beaton, A. (1993). Factors affecting the learning of foreign language vocabulary: Imagery keyword mediators and phonological short-term memory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 46 A, 533-558. </li></ul><ul><li>Gardner, R. C., Lalonde, R.N. & MacPherson, J. (1985). Social factors in second language attrition. Language Learning 35(4), 519-540. </li></ul><ul><li>Grendel, M. (1993). Verlies en Herstel van Lexicale Kennis. (Attrition an recovery of lexical knowledge). Ph.D. thesis, University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen. </li></ul><ul><li>Gurel, A. (2004). Selectivity in L2-induced L1 attrition: a psycholinguistic account. Journal of Neurolinguistics, Vol.17, 53-78. </li></ul><ul><li>  Hansen, L. (1999). Not a total loss: The attrition of Japanese negation over three decades. In L. Hansen, Second Language Attrition In Japanese Contexts (pp.142-153). New York: Oxford University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Hansen, L. (2001a). Language attrition: The fate of the start. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 21, pp. 60-73. </li></ul><ul><li>Isurin, L. (2000). Deserted islands or a child’s first language forgetting. Bilingualism:Language and Cognition, 3,151-166. </li></ul><ul><li>Jakobson, R. (1941). Kindersprache, Aphasie und allgemeine Lautgesetze (Child language aphasia and phonological universals. English Translation, 1972. The Hague: Mouton. </li></ul><ul><li>Jamshidiha, H. (2005). L1 Persian attrition: a study of adult bilinguals. Unpublished master thesis, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran. </li></ul>
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