Chapter published in:Widening Contexts for Processability Theory: Theories and issues
Edited by Anke Lenzing, Howard Nicholas and Jana Roos
[Processability Approaches to Language Acquisition Research & Teaching 7] 2019
► pp. 301–326
Teaching the German case system
A comparison of two approaches to the study of learner readiness
This chapter compares two different approaches to the construct ‘readiness’: namely, processing constraints as defined by Processability Theory and the Teachability Hypothesis (Pienemann, 1998) and partial mastery as defined in the research on Focus on Form (Williams & Evans, 1998). The former operationalises readiness through the emergence criterion, the latter employs an accuracy criterion. The chapter applies both definitions and operationalisations in the context of a study investigating the effectiveness of instruction on the acquisition of the German case system by Dutch-speaking foreign language learners. The study included 18 freshman university students of German and adopted a quasi-experimental pretest/posttest design. The instructional treatment involved a meaning-focussed activity which eventually led to explicit rule presentation. Oral language production data was collected by means of a picture description task and an elicited imitation task. The results show that the (non-)emergence of the developmental stages of the German case marking system stayed within the predictive boundaries of the Teachability Hypothesis, whereas the development of the accuracy scores did not reveal any observable sequence. However, the results reveal that the two (emergence and accuracy) are related to the extent that increases in accuracy scores are only possible if a stage is reached or reachable. The findings suggest that the systematic, implicational emergence of stages and the subsequent, variable increases in accuracy scores represent two different, but complementing, aspects of L2 development.
Published online: 28 November 2019
Artoni, D., & Magnani, M.
Baten, K., & Lochtman, K.
De Graaff, R., & Housen, A.
Di Biase, B., Bettoni, C., & Medojevic, L.
Doughty, C., & Williams, J.
Eisenbeiß, S., Bartke, S., & Clahsen, H.
Lantolf, J., & Zhang, X.
Mackey, A., & Philp, J.
McDonough, K., & Trofimovich, P.
Motsch, H.-J., & Riehemann, S.
Nassaji, H., & Fotos, S.
Pienemann, M. & Keßler, J.-U.
Spada, N., & Lightbown, P.
Spada, N., & Tomita, Y.
VanPatten, B., & Williams, J.
Williams, J., & Evans J.
Zhang, X., & Lantolf, J.
Cited by 1 other publications
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