Applying pause analysis to explore cognitive processes in the copying of sentences by second language users

Zulkifli, Putri Afzan Maria Binti (2013) Applying pause analysis to explore cognitive processes in the copying of sentences by second language users. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Pause analysis is a method that investigates processes of writing by measuring the amount of time between pen strokes. It provides the field of second language studies with a means to explore the cognitive processes underpinning the nature of writing. This study examined the potential of using free handwritten copying of sentences as a means of investigating components of the cognitive processes of adults who have English as their Second Language (ESL).

A series of one pilot and three experiments investigated possible measures of language skill and the factors that influence the quality of the measures. The pilot study, with five participants of varying English competence, identified copying without pre-reading to be an effective task and ‘median’ at the beginning of words to be an effective measure. Experiment 1 (n=20 Malaysian speakers) found jumbled sentences at the letter and word levels to effectively differentiate test-taker competence in relation to grammatical knowledge. Experiment 2 (n=20 Spanish speakers) investigated the jumbling effects further, but found that participants varied their strategy depending on the order of the sentence types. As a result, Experiment 3 (n= 24 Malaysian speakers) used specific task instructions to control participant strategy use, so that they either attended to the meaning of the sentences, or merely copied as quickly as possible. Overall, these experiments show that it is feasible to apply pause analysis to cognitively investigate both grammar and vocabulary components of language processing.

Further, a theoretical information processing model of copying (MoC) was developed. The model assists in the analysis and description of (1) the flow of copying processes; (2) the factors that might affect longer or shorter pauses amongst participants of varying competence level; and (3) sentence stimuli design.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0311 Consciousness. Cognition
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P0101 Language. Linguistic theory. Comparative grammar
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2013 14:11
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2015 14:44

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