Describing proficiency in adult L2 Scottish Gaelic: current findings and future directions

Carty, N. (2014) Describing proficiency in adult L2 Scottish Gaelic: current findings and future directions. 2nd International Symposium On New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe: Opportunities and Challenges, Barcelona, Spain, 20-22 Nov 2014. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This presentation explores the measurement of adult second language (L2) oral proficiency in Scottish Gaelic (henceforth Gaelic). Scottish Gaelic (hereafter Gaelic) is a minority language in Scotland, and is currently the object of a major effort to reverse language shift. Adult L2 users of Gaelic have been identified as key agents in this effort, but some weaknesses in adult Gaelic language-in-education policy are making it difficult for adult L2 users to fulfil this role. One such weakness is the absence of an empirically-derived means of assessing proficiency in Gaelic. An analysis of data from two tasks — an interview and a narrative — performed by adult L2 users of Gaelic is presented from the perspective of the complexity, accuracy, and fluency framework, as the three main dimensions of proficiency. Data are also analysed for Communicative Adequacy, using raters’ judgements. Results show that individuals’ Gaelic language skills interact in complex and unpredictable ways, depending on the nature of the task being performed. There is some evidence that the interview task encourages complexity and fluency, while the narrative task encourages accuracy and the expense of complexity. Results also show that assessments of Communicative Adequacy are subjective, to a large extent. The results also suggest that the more proficient an L2 user, the more proceduralised their language processing: this conclusion is drawn from an examination of Skehan’s trade-off hypothesis, with the result that trade-offs The results confirm previous findings in second language acquisition research that complexity, accuracy, fluency, and Communicative Adequacy in an L2 interact in complex ways, and that these interactions can be mediated by different task conditions. Finally, the outcomes of this exploratory research serve as the basis for future, more large-scale research into the acquisition of Gaelic as a second language by adults.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Status:Unpublished
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Carty, Dr Nicola
Authors: Carty, N.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages > PB1501 Scottish Gaelic Language
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Celtic and Gaelic
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 The Author
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the author
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