Effects of availability, contingency, and formulaicity on the accuracy of L2 English grammatical morphemes in writing

Akira Murakami, Nick Ellis

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Abstract

We investigate whether the accuracy of grammatical morphemes in second language (L2) learners’ writing is associated with usage-based distributional factors. Specifically, we examined whether the accuracy of L2 English inflectional morphemes is associated with the availability (i.e., token frequency) and contingency (i.e., token frequency relative to other forms with the same lemma) of the inflected word form, as well as the formulaicity of the context it occurs in (i.e., predictability of the form given the surrounding words). Data drawn from a large-scale learner corpus indicated that contingency is a robust predictor of morpheme accuracy, thereby supporting the usage-based view that language learners are sensitive to distributional properties in their input. Furthermore, its relationship with accuracy does not necessarily lessen when learners’ proficiency rises. Contrary to previous research investigating online processing, availability and formulaicity were not generally identified as predictors of accuracy of morpheme production in writing.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages42
JournalLanguage Learning
Early online date25 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Apr 2022

Keywords

  • usage-based theories
  • contingency
  • grammatical morphemes
  • learner corpus

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