This study investigates lexical and morpho-syntactic development in comprehension and production among university-level students who participated in a second language (L2) study abroad program. Prior to and at the conclusion of the short-term study abroad experience, English language learners of Spanish participated in a verbal fluency measure along with comprehension and production tasks. The verbal fluency measure revealed rapid lexical gains. However, the comprehension and production tasks showed that the comprehension of grammatical gender agreement was excellent, while the accuracy in the production of morpho-syntactic agreement decreased over the limited time spent abroad. We analyze this counterintuitive trend as a shift in learning strategy: from grammatical accuracy to communicative ease, in line with a theory of U-shaped development in second language learners (e.g., Sharwood Smith & Kellerman, 1989) and previous observations about the study abroad environment (Isabelli-García, 2010). Other analyses of morpho-syntactic accuracy in our production data provide additional support for this argument.
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Cited by 5 other publications
Borràs, Judith & Àngels Llanes
2021. Re-examining the impact of study abroad on L2 development: a critical overview. The Language Learning Journal 49:5 ► pp. 527 ff.
Klassen, Gabrielle, Aline Ferreira & John W. Schwieter
2023. The role of immersion learning in the acquisition and processing of L2 gender agreement. Applied Linguistics Review 14:2 ► pp. 391 ff.
2023. A narrative of sexuality: reflections of a gay Latino man on his intercultural journey of study abroad. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 36:4 ► pp. 534 ff.
2021. Second Language Acquisition. In Introducing Linguistics, ► pp. 460 ff.
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