Linguistic Development in L2 Spanish: Creation and Analysis of a Learner Corpus

From April 2006 to March 2008
Project Leader(s): Professor Florence Myles
Staff: Rosamond Mitchell (University of Southampton) and Emma Marsden (University of York)
Contact: Florence Myles
Sponsors: ESRC

ESRC reference number: RES-00023-1609.  Awarded: £154,588 

This project has two aims: to establish a small scale, high quality database of spoken learner Spanish, and to undertake a short programme of substantive research into L2 (second language) Spanish. The data will be collected from classroom learners of Spanish (with English as their first language), from beginners to advanced level, using specially designed elicitation tasks. For comparison purposes, native speakers will also be recorded undertaking the same tasks. The resulting database will contain digital soundfiles of learner speech, accompanied by transcripts in CHILDES (Child Language Data Exchange System) format which are tagged for parts of speech. The material will be made freely available for use among the Spanish second language acquisition research community, through a specially created website. The substantive research programme will investigate the acquisition of central morphosyntactic properties of Spanish, such as word order, clitic pronouns, verbal morphology and wh-questions, providing a description and analysis of developmental sequences of L2 Spanish from an interface perspective. Phenomena such as the role of rote-learned formulas in instructed L2 Spanish will also be studied. Research such as this enables us to better understand the processes involved in learning a second language in a classroom setting, and thus supports curriculum design for instructed L2 programmes.