‘Working out’ the relationship between informal language contact and phrasal verb development of international students in the UK.

7th June 2022 : 13:00 - 14:00

Category: Seminar

Research Group: Applied Linguistics

Speaker: Siyang Zhou (University of Oxford)

Location: Online only (Teams)

Convener: Faidra Faitaki

Audience: Public

Join the event on the day, via Teams link

Foundation programs are typically a one-year preparation course to meet the language requirement or academic requirement for bachelor or master studies in British universities. This population is a relatively under-researched learner cohort in the study-abroad literature. Phrasal verbs are “two-part verbs consisting of a lexical verb followed by a contiguous (adjacent) or non-contiguous adverbial particle” (Gardner & Davies, 2007, p. 341). Phrasal verbs are omnipresent in daily natural discourse, while they pose extraordinary difficulty for L2 learners (Gardner & Davies, 2007). This longitudinal mixed-methods study collected data from over 200 international foundation year students in the UK for one academic year, to shed light on the relationship between phrasal verb development and informal language contact. Data collection took place once per term and three times in total. Phrasal verb data were collected through standardized tests and speech samples, while L2 contact was measured via language contact questionnaire, social network surveys, and semi-structured interviews. Other confounders such as initial vocabulary knowledge and personal backgrounds were also considered. Mixed-effects modelling results showed that the overall English proficiency, the corpus frequency of phrasal verbs, and the language contact of the participants were significant predictors of their phrasal verb knowledge. This study revealed the lack of interactive L2 contact and limited phrasal verb knowledge of the Chinese foundation students in the UK and proposed some implications.

About the Speaker

Siyang Zhou is a PhD candidate at the Department of Education. Siyang has a passion for languages and is interested in how study abroad benefits the vocabulary gains of international students in the UK. She obtained a BA from Sun Yat-sen University in China and masters from the University of Sydney and the University of Cambridge, specializing in language education. She has taught English in a higher vocational college for a few years in China and has accumulated rich work experiences in the education sector. She has presented her research in a few international conferences such as BAAL, AAAL, and AILA. She was awarded the Richard Pemberton Prize in the annual conference of BAAL 2019 and she is working on publications based on her PhD thesis.