Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

The Effect of Chinese Learners' Modality Converting Competence on Their EFL Output System

Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

The Effect of Chinese Learners' Modality Converting Competence on Their EFL Output System

Article excerpt

Abstract

This research introduces modality converting competence into foreign language aptitude composition and makes a diachronic study on the relationship between the internal variables for Chinese learners' EFL written output system and their modality converting competence. Through multiple correlation analysis and multiple regression modeling, it could be concluded that compared with the variables of the same modal, the variables of modality converting competence were more correlated to the variables of EFL written system and the latter could respectively account for 72.2%, 57.8%, 65.9% and 67.0% of the variation of the written system variables W/T, DC/ T. S/T and LC/T. As the advantage of aptitude, modal converting competence might produce influence upon learners' syntactic and lexical system complexity in their written output via information processing process. The significance of this research lies in that it might provide more practical approaches for the realization of aptitude treatment interaction (ATI).

Key words: Modality converting competence; Output system; Foreign language aptitude

INTRODUCTION

Foreign language aptitude is defined as a comparatively stable specific ability tendency when learning a foreign language (Carroll, 1981) and one of the core issues in the cognitive field of L2 acquisition. The earliest research on aptitude is mainly consisted of four factors: phonetic coding ability, grammatical sensitivity, linguistic inductive ability and memorizing ability. And the research process focused on the interpretation of the predictive ability of aptitude factors via correlation analysis while there was a lack of clear and decisive explanation for the effect of other potential abilities and also the relationship between various factors. It was due to such unicity and limitations in application that little progress used to be made of the researches on aptitude (Grigerenko et al, 2000).

It is not until the recent 20 years that aptitude has begun to attract great attention from scholars of cognitive psychology and L2 acquisition and the focus has been shifted to the extension of aptitude composition and the relationships between aptitude and L2 proficiency and acquisition process. A breakthrough has been made in terms of both width and depth. The early researches represented by Carroll (1981) used to believe that aptitude was innate and seldom changed while the recent researches pointed out that foreign language aptitude could be changed through training (McLaughlin, 1995), and that the composition of aptitude was associated with the previous foreign language learning experience (Grigerenko et al, 2000). Foreign language aptitude was not only the traditional four or five cognitive abilities, but also the complicated concept composed of various elements and proved to be dynamic and developmental (Skehan, 2002; Robinson, 2005).

Based on the above researches, some scholars gradually added the elements which were included in the traditional aptitude model to their researches. For example, Sparks' (1995) L1 ability, Robinson's (1997) attention ability and the creative and cognitive ability in foreign language acquisition proposed by Grigorenko et al. (2000), which all touched upon the topic. In addition, they combined aptitude elements with L2 acquisition proficiency and learners' internal acquisition process (Dekeyser, 2000), divided L2 acquisition into different information processing procedures from the perspectives of information processing theory, studied the role of aptitude elements in the corresponding information processing stages (Domyei & Skehan, 2003) and specified the aptitude research as the effect of aptitude in the specific linguistic stmcture acquisition (Chan et ah, 2011). Relevant researches within China started comparatively late and there have been few ones with regard to the above issues.

The previous scholars' researches were conducted under the traditional teaching environments or simply in the labs. …

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