Recent Generative SLA (GenSLA) research has tried to account for the assembly of syntactic and semantic features of L2-English articles (Cho & Slabakova, 2014) and nouns (Choi, Ionin, & Zhu, 2018), but has done little to turn these results into practical teaching pedagogy (Whong, Gil, & Marsden, 2013a). This study seeks to fill this gap by creating a new instructional context informed by the findings and theories within GenSLA, termed linguistically-informed instruction, where teaching of L2-English articles and nouns is done through semantic universals: [±definite] for articles and [±atomic] and [±count] for nouns. To evaluate the effect of instruction, participants were tested pre- (T0) and post-intervention (T1, T2) using an elicited-sentence imitation task. A linear mixed effects regression model was run investigating the interaction of type of instruction and time on the accurate correction of ungrammatical stimuli with regard to L2-English articles and noun types. The model found the LING group made significant improvement from T0 to T1 but not T2. When compared to other instructional contexts, its gains were significantly greater from T0 to T1 and T2 (p < 0.001 for all comparisons). The significance of these results suggests that if linguistically-informed instruction were implemented in a systematic way throughout a course, it may lead to greater gains when teaching complex linguistic concepts.

References:

Cho, J., & Slabakova, R. (2014). Interpreting definiteness in a second language without articles: The case of L2 russian. Second Language Research, 30(2), 159-190.

Choi, S. H., Ionin, T., & Zhu, Y. (2018). L1 Korean and L1 Mandarin L2 English learners’ acquisition of the count/mass distinction in English. Second Language Research, 34(2), 147-177.

Whong, M., Gil, K.-H., & Marsden, H. (2013a). Introduction: Generative second language acquisition and language pedagogy. In M. Whong, K.-H. Gil, & H. Marsden (Eds.), Universal Grammar and the second language classroom (pp. 1-13). Amsterdam: Springer Netherlands.