Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2405-5522
  • E-ISSN: 2405-5530
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This study investigates lexical and morpho-syntactic development in comprehension and production among university-level students who participated in a second language (L2) study abroad program. Prior to and at the conclusion of the short-term study abroad experience, English language learners of Spanish participated in a verbal fluency measure along with comprehension and production tasks. The verbal fluency measure revealed rapid lexical gains. However, the comprehension and production tasks showed that the comprehension of grammatical gender agreement was excellent, while the accuracy in the production of morpho-syntactic agreement decreased over the limited time spent abroad. We analyze this counterintuitive trend as a shift in learning strategy: from grammatical accuracy to communicative ease, in line with a theory of U-shaped development in second language learners (e.g., Sharwood Smith & Kellerman, 1989) and previous observations about the study abroad environment (Isabelli-García, 2010). Other analyses of morpho-syntactic accuracy in our production data provide additional support for this argument.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): L2 development; learning strategies; study abroad
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