The Linguistic Development of Second-Year Students of Russian: A Quantitative Analysis

Meghan Murphy-Lee, University of Kansas

This paper will present the results of a yearlong study involving 24 second-year students of Russian at a state university. During the course of an academic year the students regularly corresponded with their instructors in Russian via email. The students' messages were then quantitatively analyzed using an original tagging system to facilitate an examination of the students' growing accuracy in marking case and verbal morphology. The messages were also analyzed for their length, lexical inventory and clausal complexity. Though data are still being analyzed for statistical significance, preliminary findings indicate that students improved in almost all categories analyzed.

Although similar studies (Gonzalez-Bueno 1998 and Gonzalez-Bueno and Perez 2000) have been conducted in Spanish, this study is the first of its kind to study Russian linguistic accuracy in this way. The results of the study will shed light on developing language proficiency of second-year Russian students at the university level. In this presentation I will discuss not only the results of this study but also the instructional and curricular implications of these findings. This study, therefore, can be of use to instructors interested in a deeper understanding the language produced by second year students and in new avenues of approach in teaching them.

Works Cited

Gonzalez-Bueno, Manuela (1998) "The Effect of Electronic Mail on Spanish L2 Discourse." Language Learning and Technology 1,2:55–70.

Gonzalez-Bueno, Manuela, & Perez, Luisa C. (2000) "Electronic Mail in Foreign Language Writing: A Study of Grammatical and Lexical Accuracy." Foreign Language Annals 33,2:189–98.