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PhD Research School in Linguistics and Philology

Ingunn Hansejordet

Grammar competencies and grammar strategies in second language acquisition

The main purpose of this project is to explore the grammar strategies employed by learners of Spanish as a foreign language in Norwegian secondary schools.

Grammar strategies are language learner strategies related to the understanding, learning and use of grammar. While language learner strategies related to language skills like reading, writing and speaking have been thoroughly investigated since the mid 1970s, less work has been done on the ways learners handle grammar.

Research on grammar in second language acquisition (SLA) is to a great extent learner external or based on learner products, while strategy research aims at getting ”inside learners’ heads” in order to understand the intentional learning processes in a framework of cognitive psychology and cognitive linguistics. In this project, data is elicited through a set of language tasks which centre on the use of personal pronouns in Spanish: Writing, acceptability judgments and traditional replacement exercises. Learners work in pairs and their conversation is recorded, in a more natural variant of the widely used individual think aloud protocol.

Through a qualitative analysis of the conversations and the learner materials I expect to shed light on the ways learners confront different language tasks and the possible variation in outcome from one task type to the other, the knowledge they activate and the way they understand and employ it, and on their level of metalinguistic and metastrategic consciousness.

Hansejordet works at the Department of Foreign Languages.