StatLearn

 

Unraveling the Role of Statistical Learning in Second Language Learning and Processing

  StatLearn Copyright: Elma Kerz

funded by DFG - German Research Foundation

Project start: 01. April 2017

Project code: 315280731

 

Project Description

A growing body of evidence has demonstrated that key aspects of language learning and processing are mediated largely by statistical learning (SL), succinctly defined as the discovery of structure by way of detecting and keeping track of statistical regularities inherent in the input. SL has been shown to guide a wide variety of tasks, ranging from word segmentation from a continuous stream of speech, to learning the graphotactic and morphological regularities of written words, to forming syntactic and semantic categories and structures. Importantly, studies have revealed that SL does not end at some discrete point of time in ontogenetic development, but is operative across the lifespan. More recently, there is accumulating evidence that SL is an ability with noticeable individual differences. While this body of research has been expanding rapidly in the last few years, there is virtually no research investigating the role of SL in second language (L2) learning and processing (L2LP).

The present project is geared towards understanding the link between SL and L2LP in advanced stages, which involve adaptation processes, i.e. changes in language representations in response to the input statistics of novel linguistic environments. The goal is to investigate whether and to what extent advanced L2 learners of English can incidentally, i.e. in the absence of instructions or feedback, acquire L2 knowledge through the computation of statistical contingencies across multiple levels of linguistic organization. The project employs computational and statistical analyses of corpus data, which seek to determine to what extent L2 learners have or have not become attuned to various types of statistical contingencies, and behavioral experiments using a within-subject design embedded in an individual-difference framework, which aims to reveal the extent to which L2LP abilities are co-determined by SL abilities. The project takes a step towards synthesizing insights from research strands that have up until now proceeded largely in parallel: constraint-based models of language processing, learner corpus research and implicit learning. The findings obtained in this project will make an important contribution to research on individual differences in L2LP, which is of primary theoretical and methodological interest to any theory of L2 acquisition and have immediate implications for L2 instruction.

Team
Project Principal Investigator: PD Dr. phil. Elma Kerz

Student Assistants:
Sven Hintzen, M.A. (Englisch Lehramt)
Lennard Johnen, B.A. (Englisch Lehramt)
Yu Qiao, M.A. (Informatik)

UROP Students:
Fabio Pruneri (Harvard University)
Emma Tseng (University of Illinois)
Joo Lee (Cornell University)
Logan Tidstrom (University of Michigan)
Alexander Diraviam (University of Florida)

Research

Publications

  1. Kerz, Elma & Wiechmann, Daniel (2020) The Role of Verbal Working Memory in L2 Sentence Comprehension: Evidence from Advanced German Learners of English. Journal of Second Language Studies 3(1): pp. 1-30. [link]
  2. Ströbel, Marcus, Kerz, Elma & Wiechmann, Daniel (2020) The Relationship Between First and Second Language Writing: Investigating the Effects of First Language Complexity on Second Language Complexity in Advanced Stages of Learning. [link]
  3. Kerz, Elma & Wiechmann, Daniel (2020). Individual Differences. In Nicole Tracy-Ventura & Magali Paquot (Hrsg.) Handbook of Second Language Acquisition and Corpora. Routledge.
  4. Kerz, Elma, Andreas Burgdorf, Daniel Wiechmann, Stefan Meeger, Yu Qiao, Christian Kohlschein & Tobias Meisen (2019) Understanding Vocabulary Growth Through An Adaptive Language Learning System. Proceedings of the 8th Workshop for Natural Language Processing (NLP) for Computer-Assisted Language Learning (NLP4CALL2019) (pp. 65-78). LiU Electronic Press. [link]
  5. Kerz, Elma, Wiechmann, Daniel, & Christiansen, Morten, H. (2019) Tuning to Multiple Statistics: Second Language Processing of Multiword Sequences across Registers. In A. Goel, C. Seifert & C. Freksa (Eds.), Proceedings of the 41st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 546-552). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. [link]
  6. Kerz, Elma & Wiechmann, Daniel (2019). Effects of Statistical Learning Ability on the Second Language Processing of Multiword Sequences. Computational and Corpus-Based Phraseology. Springer LNCS Volume: Lecture Notes in Computer Science. (pp. 200-214). [link]
  7. Kerz, Elma, Heilmann, Arndt, & Neumann, Stella (2019). L2 Processing Advantages of Multiword Sequences: Evidence from Eye-Tracking. Proceedings of the Joint Workshop on Multiword Expressions and WordNet (MWE-WN 2019) co-located with the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association of Computational Linguistics (ACL2019). August 2, 2019. Florence, Italy. (pp. 60-69) [link]
  8. Kerz, Elma, Heilmann, Arndt, & Neumann, Stella (2019). L2 Processing Advantages of Multiword Sequences: Evidence from Eye-Tracking. Proceedings of the Joint Workshop on Multiword Expressions and WordNet (MWE-WN 2019) co-located with the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association of Computational Linguistics (ACL2019). August 2, 2019. Florence, Italy.
  9. Ströbel, Marcus, Kerz, Elma, Wiechmann, Daniel, & Qiao, Yu (2018). Text Genre Classification Based on Linguistic Complexity Contours Using A Recurrent Neural Network. Proceedings of the Tenth International Workshop Modelling and Reasoning in Context. co-located with the 27th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2018) and the 23rd European Conference on Artificial Intelligence (ECAI 2018). July 13, 2018. Stockholm, Schweden. 56-63.
  10. Kerz, Elma & Wiechmann, Daniel (2017). Individual Differences in L2 Processing of Multi-Word Phrases: Effects of Working Memory and Personality. Computational and Corpus-Based Phraseology: Recent Advances and Interdisciplinary Approaches. Springer LNCS Volume: Lecture Notes in Computer Science. 306-324.
  11. Kerz, Elma, Wiechmann, Daniel & Riedel, Florian (2017). Implicit Learning in the Crowd: Investigating the Role of Awareness in the Acquisition of L2 Knowledge. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 39(4): 711-734. [link]

Conferences

  1. Kerz, Elma (RWTH Aachen University), Ströbel, Marcus (RWTH Aachen University), Wiechmann, Daniel (University of Amsterdam), and Intemann, Frauke (RWTH Aachen University). 2020. Using Information-Theoretic Measures and Complexity Contours to Understand Second Language Writing Development. Symposium S016: Challenging the state of the art in L2 complexity research. AILA. 2020. Groningen, Netherlands.
  2. Lee, Joo Hyun (Cornell University), Kerz, Elma (RWTH Aachen University), Wiechmann, Daniel (University of Amsterdam) and Christiansen, Morten H. (Cornell University). 2020. Chunking in Second Language Production: Insights from Keystroke Logging. Symposium S018: Chunks and chunking - offline and online perspectives. AILA. 2020. Groningen, Netherlands, Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics; Cognitive Science; Neurolinguistics; Psycholinguistics; Typology.
  3. Kerz, Elma (RWTH Aachen University), Wiechmann, Daniel (University of Amsterdam), and Neumann, Stella (RWTH Aachen University). Effects of Word Predictability are Mediated by Language Register and Inter-Individual Variation in Working Memory Capacity. AG16: Diversity and prediction in language processing: Influences of speaker, register and experimental method”. DGfS Annual Meeting 2020. Hamburg, Germany.
  4. Kerz, Elma (2019). Understanding Vocabulary Growth Through An Adaptive Language Learning System. Proceedings of the 8th workshop for Natural Language Processing (NLP) for Computer-Assisted Language Learning (NLP4CALL2019). Turku, Finland, September 30, 2019.
  5. Kerz, Elma & Wiechmann, Daniel (2019). Effects of Statistical Learning Ability on the Second Language Processing of Multiword Sequences. Computational and Corpus-Based Phraseology, Malaga, Spain, September 25-27, 2019.
  6. Kerz, Elma & Wiechmann, Daniel & Ströbel, Marcus (2019). Applying the right statistics: Can advanced L2 learners acquire register-specic distributional statistics?. 5th Learner Corpus Research Conference. Warsaw, Poland, September 12-14, 2019.
  7. Kerz, Elma, Heilmann, Arndt, & Neumann, Stella (2019). L2 Processing Advantages of Multiword Sequences: Evidence from Eye-Tracking. Joint Workshop on Multiword Expressions and WordNet (MWE-WN 2019) co-located with the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association of Computational Linguistics (ACL2019). Florence, Italy, August 2, 2019.
  8. Kerz, Elma, Wiechmann, Daniel, & Christiansen, Morten, H. (2019) Tuning to Multiple Statistics: Second Language Processing of Multiword Sequences across Registers. 41st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Montreal, Canada, July 24-27, 2019.
  9. Kerz, Elma, Wiechmann, Daniel, & Christiansen, Morten, H. (2019) Statistical Learning in the Wild: What Natural Language Data Tell us about Distributional Learning in a Second Language. International Conference on Interdisciplinary Advances in Statistical Learning, San Sebastian, Spain, June 27-29, 2019.
  10. Kerz, Elma, Wiechmann, Daniel, & Christiansen, Morten, H. (2019) Tuning to Multiple Statistics: Second Language Processing of Multiword Sequences across Registers. International Conference on Interdisciplinary Advances in Statistical Learning, San Sebastian, Spain, June 27-29, 2019.
  11. Kerz, Elma, Wiechmann, Daniel, & Stroebel, Marcus. (2019) Applying the Right Statistics: Linking Distributional Learning to Language Production of Relative Clauses. International Conference on Interdisciplinary Advances in Statistical Learning, San Sebastian, Spain, June 27-29, 2019.
  12. Kerz, Elma, Wiechmann, Daniel, & Silkens, Tandis. (2019) Personality Traits Mediate the Relationship between Statistical Learning Ability and L2 Sentence Comprehension. International Conference on Interdisciplinary Advances in Statistical Learning, San Sebastian, Spain June 27-29, 2019.
  13. Kerz, Elma, Wiechmann, Daniel & Ströbel, Marcus. 2018. “Investigating the Development of L2 Writing: A Growth Curve Modeling Approach". EUROSLA 2018. September 5-8, 2018. Universität Münster, Deutschland.
  14. Hintzen, Sven, Kerz, Elma, & Wiechmann, Daniel. 2018. “Individual Differenes in L2 Sentence Processing: Effects of Working Memory, Language Experience, and Inhibitory Control". EUROSLA 2018. September 5-8, 2018. Universität Münster, Deutschland.
  15. Kerz, Elma, Heilmann, Arndt, & Neumann, Stella. 2018. "L2 Processing Advantages of Multiword Sequences: Evidence from Eye-Tracking". EUROSLA 2018. September 5-8, 2018. Universität Münster, Deutschland. 13 Kerz, Elma, Heilmann, Arndt, & Neumann, Stella. 2018. "L2 Processing Advantages of Multiword Sequences: Evidence from Eye-Tracking". EUROSLA 2018. September 5-8, 2018. Universität Münster, Deutschland.
  16. Hintzen, Sven, Kerz, Elma, & Wiechmann, Daniel. 2018. “Individual Differenes in L2 Sentence Processing: Effects of Working Memory, Language Experience, and Inhibitory Control". Architectures and Mechanisms of Language Processing (AMLaP) 2018. September 6-8, 2018. Humboldt Universität Berlin, Deutschland.
  17. Ströbel, Marcus, Kerz, Elma, Wiechmann, Daniel, & Qiao, Yu . 2018. "Text Genre Classification Based on Linguistic Complexity Contours Using A Recurrent Neural Network". MRC 2018 Modelling and Reasoning in Context. July 13, 2018. Stockholm, Schweden.
  18. Neumann, Stella, Kerz, Elma, & Heilmann, Arndt. 2018. "Translationese or Transfer: Comparing Interference Effects in Translation and Second Language Learning". The 20th International Congress of Linguists. July 2–6, 2018. Kapstadt, Südafrika.
  19. Kerz, Elma. 2018. "Recent Developments in the Language Sciences and Their Implications for Individualized Second-Language Learning". Eingeladener Vortrag auf dem 6. Treffen des INDUS Netzwerks (Individualisiertes Sprachlernen: Sprachtechnologische Ansätze und ihre Schnittstellen) ’At the Interface of Second Language Acquisition and Computational Linguistics’, Tübingen, 28.2.–1.3.2018
  20. Kerz, Elma & Wiechmann, Daniel. 2017. “Individual Differences in L2 Processing of Multi-Word Phrases: Effects of Working Memory and Personality". EUROPHRAS 2017. Computational and Corpus-based Phraseology Recent advances and interdisciplinary approaches. London, UK, 13–14 November 2017.
  21. Marcus Ströbel, Kerz, Elma & Wiechmann, Daniel. 2017. "First Language Proficiency Predicts Second Language Proficiency". 4th Learner Corpus Research (LCR) Conference. Bozen, IT, 5–7 Oktober 2017.
  22. Kerz, Elma & Ströbel, Marcus. 2017. “Aachen Corpus of Academic Writing (ACAW): A Multilingual Corpus of First and Second LanguageWriting". 4th Learner Corpus Research (LCR) Conference. Bozen, IT, 5–7 Oktober 2017.
  23. Kerz, Elma & Wiechmann, Daniel. 2017. "Working memory, language experience and L2 comprehension ability". 23rd AMLaP conference, Architectures and Mechanisms of Language Processing, Lancaster, UK, 7–9 September, 2017.
  24. Kerz, Elma & Wiechmann, Daniel. 2017. “Individual Differences in L2 Processing of Multi-Word Units: Effects of Working Memory and Personality". International Conference on Interdisciplinary Advances in Statistical Learning. Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language. Bilbao, ES, 28–30 Juni 2017.
  25. Wiechmann, Daniel, Kerz, Elma Kerz & Terhorst, Dennis. 2017. “Effects of Individual Differences in Attentional Control on Implicit Language Learning". International Conference on Interdisciplinary Advances in Statistical Learning. Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language. Bilbao. ES. 28–30 Juni 2017.

Contact

Name

Elma Kerz

Phone

work
+49 241 80 95431

Email

E-Mail