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Vocabulary Attrition among Adult EFL Persian Learners
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  • 20 April 2009

Vocabulary Attrition among Adult EFL Persian Learners Vocabulary Attrition among Adult EFL Persian Learners Presentation Transcript

  • 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.
  • Background of the Study
    • 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:
    • L1 loss in L1 environment: Dialect loss
    • L1 loss in L2 environment: Immigrant
    • L2 loss in L1 environment: Foreign language attrition
    • L2 loss in L2 environment: Language reversion in elderly people
    • Hansen (2001a) remarked that "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".
  • Statement of the Problem
    • Designate huge amount of budget for the Iranian students to improve their English proficiency.
    • Lexical items used during lessons are difficult to comprehend. McCarthy (1998) asserted that one crucial factor is the amount of vocabulary one possesses as vocabulary forms the biggest part of meanings in any languages.
    • Iran is a big monolingual country with various tribes.
    • Learning a new language requires practice , high thinking order and environment.
    • Teachers should adapt to the students’ immediate needs, such as to use translation or other methods for students who could understand English.
    • General Objective :
    • The purpose and general objective of this study is to provide baseline data for future research on Vocabulary Attrition among Adult EFL Persian Learners, in Islamic Republic of Iran.
    • Specific Objective:
    • To identify the differences between L2 attrition rate of concrete and abstract nouns on continuing and non-continuing students at the intermediate level.
    • To identify the differences between L2 attrition rate of concrete and abstract nouns on continuing and non-continuing students at the advanced level.
    Research Objectives
  • Research Hypothesis
    • There are no differences between L2 attrition rate of concrete and abstract nouns on continuing students at the intermediate level.
    • There are no differences between L2 attrition rate of concrete and abstract nouns on non-continuing students at the intermediate level.
    • There are no differences between L2 attrition rate of concrete and abstract nouns on continuing students at the advanced level.
    • There are no differences between L2 attrition rate of concrete and abstract nouns on non-continuing students at the advanced level.
  • Limitation of the Study
    • The types and numbers of vocabulary which be examined in this research is limited.
    • The attrition of learning strategies and teaching methodology are not controlled.
    • The degree of motivation, attitude, affective and other individual factors are not controlled, which also include the amount of out-of-class exposure of L2 in stage one and the age of initial exposure of L2.
    • The number of subjects involved in this study is only 200.
    • This study investigated attrition in adult learners only.
    • This project seeks to provide further findings on the lacking data as well as to show that the present study’s data can produce robust findings which will eventually generate a definite hypothesis about L2 attrition among adult Persian learners.
    • 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).
    • The designation of ex-post facto , from Latin for "after the fact", 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.
  • L2 Attrition Variables Independent Variables Dependent Variables Between Group Within Group Proficiency Level Status Comparison (rate attrition) IV & DV Framework Stages Mode Score's on abstract & concrete nouns
  • Location of the Study
    • 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. KISH is a very big and well known English language institute which has a lot of language learners from variety of ages and proficiency levels of knowledge of the English language. This institute has a lot of branches in Tehran and other cities, but the present research carried out in the central branch which be in the city center of Tehran and near to the University of Tehran.
    • 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 2008.
    For both levels, the summer term has thirty sessions during the period of three months. The respondents attend English classes thrice a week. Each class session for the intermediate level lasted for one hour and thirty minutes while for the advanced level, it takes up to an hour and forty five minutes. Population & Sample
    • 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 vocabulary test employed in the present study for data elicitation which is very much similar to related textbooks.
    The 40 – items vocabulary test, which included four types of items that learners are required to answer within 60 minutes in one session, is carried out to acknowledge which and how many lexical items have significant effects of attrition on the students (intermediate & advanced levels). Research Instrument
  • Data Collection
    • The data of this study were collected in two separate stages with an interval period of three months. The vocabulary test was administrated during class time in one session.
    • In the first stage which was towards the end of the spring term (the end of June 2008), all of the participants sat for the vocabulary test.
    • After the period of three months, which was the second stage, the continuing group (those who would be attending classes in the next term, the end of September 2008) took the same vocabulary tests in the class.
    The researcher also sent an electronic version or hard copies of the vocabulary tests to the non-continuing students after making sure that these students had no contact with the English language during the period of interval.
    • The data collected were coded and entered into the Statistical Package for the Social Science [SPSS version 16 for Windows Vista], a statistics computer program which was used to process and analyze the data.
    • In the current study, both types of statistics, the descriptive and inferential, were conducted through organizing, summarizing and interpreting them.
    For this study, a five percent (0.05) level is determined as the accepted level of significance for statistical analysis. Data Analysis
    • Demographics Characteristics of the Respondents
    • 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.
    • Attrition's Level of the Abstract & Concrete Nouns
    • The results of the one-way ANOVA tables indicate that the continuing students do not undergo significant attrition of the abstract and concrete nouns whereas for the non-continuing students, they have undergone a significant level with the concrete nouns at the levels in stages.
    • In this current study, a trend of attrition of abstract nouns on non-continuing students with different proficiency levels at stages is observed.
    • In Sum, Attrition Took Place In The Following Areas:
    • A trend of attrition of the Abstract nouns in Non-Continuing students at the intermediate level.
    • A trend of attrition of the Concrete nouns in Non-Continuing students at the advanced level.
  • Conclusion
    • 1. The results of this research indicate that the continuing students do not experience attrition with the abstract and concrete nouns across different proficiency levels. In spite of the short period of non-use, non-continuing students have shown a trend of attrition of the abstract and concrete nouns across different proficiency levels. In contrast to previous studies, abstract nouns turned out to be more resistant to attrition.
    • Consequently, according to this result, the first and second null hypothesis is accepted for the continuing learners (sig-F>α, Accept Ho); while, the third and fourth null hypothesis is rejected for the non-continuing learners across different proficiency levels (sig-F<α, Reject Ho).
    • 2. The results of Oxford's study (1982) indicated that there is a high correlation between attitude, motivation and language maintenance. Therefore, the long-term effect of teaching methodology, which could be one of the effects of attrition as in the present study.
    • 3.Tomiyama (1999) asserted that the first and second language attrition set in within six months of disuse. In this research, the 3 months interval of nouns of the language could lead to attrition also.
    • 4. According to Cohen (1986), vocabulary which is added most recently is found to be the most vulnerable reason which leads to attrition. This study also supported the types of vocabulary which lead to attrition across different proficiency levels on the continuing and non-continuing groups.
  • References
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    • Cohen, A. (1989). Attrition in the productive lexicon of two Portuguese Third language speakers. SSLA, 11, 135-149.
    • de Bot, K.& Stoessel, S. (2000). In search of yesterday’s words: Reactivating a long forgotten language. Applied Linguistics, 21/3. 333-353.
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