Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.A. in Modern Languages

Department

Modern Languages

First Advisor

Felice Coles

Second Advisor

Heather Allen

Third Advisor

Stephen Fafulas

Relational Format

dissertation/thesis

Abstract

Study abroad is often idealized as a panacea for language learning. The growth in the popularity of studying abroad has led to the proliferation of programs of various lengths, among which is the short-term study abroad program, typically lasting around one month. Much needed investigation remains regarding the effectiveness of short-term study abroad programs, and this study aims to understand the level of effectiveness through the lens of dialect feature acquisition. Specifically, in southwestern Andalucía, there exists a phenomenon in which local speakers of Spanish mix the pronoun ustedes with the verbal conjugation of the second person plural pronoun, vosotros. The study seeks to answer two key questions. First, do residents of Cádiz demonstrate acceptance of this linguistic phenomenon in their speech, and second, is a month-long program sufficient for study abroad L2 learners of Spanish to acquire this local variation in the Spanish language? I predict that residents of Cádiz will employ the vosotros form with ustedes, at a sufficient level to demonstrate acceptance of the form. I also predict that advanced learners will see greater levels of acquisition in comparison with intermediate learners, which was not the case. After establishing this linguistic phenomenon by giving a forced choice task (FCT) test to residents of Cádiz, Spain, the study investigates the degree to which this phenomenon is acquired by a group of seventeen U.S.-based university students completing a month-long study abroad program in Cádiz, Spain. The same FCT is given pre- and post-study abroad to the students and is coupled with a pre-questionnaire and post-questionnaire. The study will demonstrate that the phenomenon is present in Cádiz through the results of the Cádiz residents’ FCTs, while also being influenced by whether the sentence is an interrogative or declarative. The study will also demonstrate that the student participant group does not acquire the verbal mixing phenomenon, but highly motivated learners utilize verbal mixing more often, though they do not near the level of use of the native speaker participant group. I conclude that a short-term study abroad program does not provide sufficient time for the acquisition of a nuanced dialect feature.

Concentration/Emphasis

Emphasis: Languages, Specialization: Spanish

Included in

Linguistics Commons

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