Article published in:Study Abroad Research in Second Language Acquisition and International Education
Vol. 6:1 (2021) ► pp. 163–188
The impact of a short-term stay abroad on L2 Spanish syntactic complexity development in narratives
Given the notable increase in participation in short-term (e.g., eight weeks or less) study abroad, especially in the US, recent empirical work on the role of context in second language (L2) learning has sought to investigate the impact of a short-term stay abroad on language development. The present study examined English-speaking learners’ syntactic complexity development in oral narratives after a four-week stay abroad. With regard to three measures of syntactic complexity (length of analysis of speech [AS]-units, number of clauses per AS-unit, length of clause), findings revealed that the study abroad group demonstrated no statistically significant change over the study period. However, individual-level analyses revealed that over half of the study abroad learners increased complexity in narratives in terms of clause length. Further, half of the study abroad learners exhibited increases in syntactic complexity on at least two of the three syntactic complexity measures examined.
Keywords: short-term study abroad, syntactic complexity, Spanish, oral narratives
Published online: 12 March 2021
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