Chapter 10. English L2 learners’ lexico-grammatical and motivational development at home and abroad

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This chapter explores the effects of a three-month study abroad (SA) period on fifty-seven advanced learners of L3 English. More specifically, the study focuses on effects on the participants’ lexico-grammatical competence (measured through cloze and sentence rephrasing tests) and their interface with possible motivational changes. The analysis considers the preceding and subsequent formal instruction (FI) periods experienced in the at-home (AH) university. Thus, this chapter addresses the first two main objectives of the SALA Project, namely to compare the impact of two different learning contexts (SA and FI) (1) on the learner’s overall (in this case, lexico-grammatical) competence in English; and (2) on the learner’s affective variables (in this case, motivation – encompassing attitudes – and beliefs), also exploring the possible interaction between language achievement and motivational development. Results point to visible lexico-grammatical gains, with learners gradually approaching – although never quite reaching – native-speaker performance levels after both FI and SA, whilst evidence is also found for positive long-term effects of the latter. Lastly, integrative orientations towards the target-language community are seen to rise in both contexts.


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