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Research projects list


Project title

Funding body

  • MICINN, Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation

Research Period

  • 2009-12

Research team

  • Dr. Amaya Mendikoetxea, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (project leader)

  • Dr. Gema Chocano, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

  • Dr. Laura Domínguez, University of Southampton

  • Esther Ferrandis, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (research assistant)

  • Dr. Cristóbal Lozano, Universidad de Granada

  • Dr. Paul Rollinson, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

  • Iván Teomiro, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Project description

  • MAIN AIM: The main objective of this project is to study the factors causing optionality and pseudo-optionality in the non native grammars of L2 learners of English (L1 Spanish) and L2 learners of Spanish (L1 English) at different proficiency levels.

  • THEORETICAL ASSUMPTIONS: Our starting point is that optionality in non native grammars is a particular case of variation in developing grammars.

  • INITIAL HYPOTHESES:Within this context we will examine the validity of the following hypotheses:

    (1) Optionality is in part determined by competition between L1 and L2 forms (intermediate stages) and by competition between two L2 forms in apparently free variation in the input which yield different discursive interpretations (advanced and near native states);

    (2) At different proficiency levels variation is located in different areas of the grammar (the computational system or syntax at beginner and intermediate stages and the interfaces at advanced and near native stages)

    (3) Advanced learners exhibit residual optionality in the syntax-discourse interface, as argued by Sorace (2000, 2004, 2005), but this optionality is due to syntactic deficits, rather than pragmatic deficits, contrary to what is claimed by this linguist.

     

  • METHOD AND INSTRUMENTS: To verify these hypotheses we need to consult large datasets and to improve existing tools for analysis. In order to achieve that, we will establish a working definition of optionality, which will allow for quantitative and qualitative analyses of the phenomenon and we will develop information structure scales, as well as syntactic/phonological complexity scales (‘heaviness) of the constituents involved in optionality processes. Data will be extracted from L2 English and L2 Spanish corpora, as well as native corpora, and will be analysed along with data elicited through experimental techniques, such as magnitude estimation, which yields subtler judgements than classical acceptatibility tasks. The objective is to obtain converging evidence on which to base our results.


Project title

  • The lexicon-syntax and discourse-syntax interfaces: Syntactic and pragmatic factors in the acquisition of L2 English and L2 Spanish (HUM2005-01728/FILO)

Funding body

Research Period

  • 2006-2009

Members

  • Amaya Mendikoetxea [project director]

  • Gema Chocano

  • Rocío Jiménez

  • Cristóbal Lozano

  • Susana Murcia

  • Mick O'Donnel

  • Paul Rollinson

Project description

  • MAIN PURPOSE: The main purpose of this project is to determine the lexicon-syntax and syntax-discourse properties which constrain word order in the interlanguage of L2 learners of English (with L1 Spanish) and L2 learners of Spanish (with L1 English).

  • BASIC THEORETICAL BACKGROUND: In particular, we wish to examine the validity of the Unaccusative Hypothesis at the lexicon-syntax interface and the role of discourse functions such as topic and focus at the syntax-discourse interface in L2 Spanish and English.

  • HYPOTHESES: Our initial hypotheses are the following: (1) The Unaccusative Hypothesis plays a role in word order in L2 learners’ interlanguage; (2) Lexicon-syntax properties are acquired before syntax-discourse properties, i.e., properties at the lexicon-syntax interface are present in the initial stages of grammatical development, while properties at syntax-discourse interface are persistently difficult to acquire and generate deficits even at advanced levels of proficiency; (3) Interlanguages have structures that cannot be explained with reference to L1 or L2, but rather reflect universal properties of languages. To test these hypotheses, a corpus will be compiled and appropriate searching tools will be developed.

  • DATA ANALYSIS: The data obtained will be analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The interpretation of the data will be done within a comparative framework which will help determine the role of L1 in L2 acquisition in the grammar areas of the study.

  • METHOD: learner corpora. We are currently collecting data to create a L1 Spanish - L2 English corpus of written essays by university students. In the next few months we will start collecting a similar corpus in L1 English - L2 Spanish.


Project title

  • The acquisition of word order in English and Spanish as second languages (L2): syntactic and pragmatic factors.

Funding body

Research Period

  • 2006-07

Members

  • Amaya Mendikoetxea [project director]

  • Gema Chocano

  • Rocío Jiménez

  • Paul Rollinson

  • Cristóbal Lozano

  • Susana Murcia

Project description

  • MAIN PURPOSE: The main purpose of this project is to specify the lexicon-syntax and syntax-discourse properties which determine word order in the interlanguage of L2 learners of English (with L1 Spanish) and L2 learners of Spanish (with L1 English).

  • BASIC THEORETICAL BACKGROUND: In particular, we wish to examine the validity of the Unaccusative Hypothesis at the lexicon-syntax interface and the role of discourse functions such as topic and focus at the syntax-discourse interface in L2 Spanish and English.

  • HYPOTHESES: Our initial hypotheses are the following: (1) The Unaccusative Hypothesis plays a role in word order in L2 learners’ interlanguage; (2) Lexicon-syntax properties are acquired before syntax-discourse properties, i.e., properties at the lexicon-syntax interface are present in the initial stages of grammatical development, while properties at syntax-discourse interface are persistently difficult to acquire and generate deficits even at advanced levels of proficiency; (3) Interlanguages have structures that cannot be explained with reference to L1 or L2, but rather reflect universal properties of languages. To test these hypotheses, a corpus will be compiled and appropriate searching tools will be developed.

  • DATA ANALYSIS: The data obtained will be analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The interpretation of the data will be done within a comparative framework which will help determine the role of L1 in L2 acquisition in the grammar areas of the study.

  • METHOD: learner corpora. We are currently collecting data to create a L1 Spanish - L2 English corpus of written essays by university students. In the next few months we will start collecting a similar corpus in L1 English - L2 Spanish.


Project title

  • Bases para la creación de un subcorpus anotado de aprendices de inglés como lengua extranjera: UAM-ICLE

Funding body

Research Period

  • 2003-2005

Members

  • Amaya Mendikoetxea [project director]

  • Leticia Herrero

  • Cristóbal Lozano

  • Susana Murcia

  • Paul Rollinson

Project description

  • Creation of a computerised sub-curpus of written academic essays by university students of English (3rd and 4th year: advanced).

  • Error Analysis to determine advanced learners' interlanguage (Grammar and Lexicon-Grammar interface).

  • Contrastive analysis with several subcorpora of the ICLE (International Corpus of Learner English).


Project title

  • Xarxa Temàtica en Gramàtica Teórica (Ref: 2002XT 00036)

Funding body

  • DGR (Generalitat de Catalunya)

Research Period

  • 2002-2004

Members

  • Maria Teresa Cabré [Main researcher]

Project description

  • The Xarxa Temàtica en Gramática Teòrica is funded by the Catalan Regional Government (2002XT 00036).  Its goal is to promote and maintain contact among the most prominent research groups in grammatical theory.  It consists of 7 groups of researchers.  It is coordinated by the Grup de Gramàtica Teòrica of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

  • See website: http://seneca.uab.es/filologiacatalana/investigacio/xarxes/gramatica-teorica.htm


Project title

  • INTELeNG (Innovación Tecnológica para la Enseñanza/Aprendizaje de la Lengua Inglesa)

Funding body

  • Universidad Atónoma de Madrid

Research Period

  • 2001

Members

  • Paul Rollinson [Main researcher]

  • Amaya Mendikoetxea

  • Susana Murcia

  • Rocío Jiménez

Project description

  • The goal of this project is to develop pedagogical materials for the course English Language I in English Philology at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in order to improve their grammatical competence of students whose mother tongue is Spanish and who must use English both as an ‘instrument’ for their studies as well as their ‘object’ of their studies.

  • To achieve this goal we will: (a) create a database of errors made by students in the essays they produce for the Academic Writing Component of English Language I, II and III; (b) elaborate pedagogical materials on the web on the basis of the errors collected, as part of the Grammar Component of English Language I and also as a complement to the other components.  Exercises and tasks may count as practical credits.

 

 

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Last updated 17/11/2009

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