AuthorLubera, Amber L.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation presents four iterative experiments which explore the quantitative benefits of introducing linguistics to language learners. Previous work has connected exploration of linguistic with improved morale and engagement in language classrooms, as well as reduced language discrimination and validation of students’ languages and experiences(Ginsberg et al., 2011; Stewart Jr. & Cardenez, 2010;Honda et al., 2010). Using an artificial language experiment, these experiments indicate that learning to analyze language data also results in quantitative differences in language learning outcomes. Each experiment evaluates the efficacy of a different type of linguistic training (university level linguistics classes, miniature linguistics lessons, self-guided puzzling with language data). Chapter 3 provides evidence that participants who have taken several classes in linguistics at the university level are more successful when learning an artificial language compared to those who have taken one class or no classes. This led to the development of further experiments to determine whether this effect could be achieved with more practical (and less lengthy) linguistic training via miniaturelessons on linguistics. Chapter 4 introduced short introductory linguistics lessons via video. Groups with linguistic interventions were compared to groups who received non-language puzzles or no intervention. Results indicate that solving general puzzles resulted in higher accuracy at test, but short linguistics lessons were relatively ineffective, which led to the development of self-guided, short language puzzles to encourage hands-on data analysis. The experiment in Chapter 5 presented participants with short, varied language puzzles. Compared to groups in the previous experiment, results suggest that self-guided puzzles effectively improve learning performance. Additionally, self-guided practice with puzzles helped learners take a more active, hypothesizing role in the language learning activity. In Chapter 6, a two-day experiment investigated if performance linearly increases when exposed to successful interventions. This experiment revealed that aptitudeor engagement with puzzles was key to success in the language learning activity. This body of work suggests that boosts in language leaning performance can be achieved by encouraging learners to treat language as a puzzle. Directing learners to identifying regularities in language data can result in deeper understanding of language structure and higher attendance to form-meaning relationships, which improve their learning experience and outcomes. Additionally, the most useful puzzles were self-guided. Therefore, implementation does not require educators to be experts in linguistics, but rather requires linguists to develop widely accessible and engaging language data puzzles that can be easily incorporated into language classrooms or app-based learning.
Degree ProgramGraduate College