John Schweiter

Professor Schwieter and alumna Gabrielle Klassen publish international peer-reviewed article on language acquisition and study abroad

Professor John W. Schwieter and alumna Gabrielle Klassen (BA '11) have co-authored the article, “Linguistic advances and learning strategies in a short-term study abroad experience.” The study will appear in “Study Abroad Research in Second Language Acquisition and International Education.” This international peer-reviewed journal is published by the prestigious John Benjamins Publishing. Schwieter and Klassen recently presented the paper together at The 36th Annual Conference of the American Association for Applied Linguistics in Portland, Oregon.

The study reports on the development of second language comprehension and production skills during a short-term study abroad experience. Focusing on lexical and morpho-syntactic development, statistical analyses from the experimental tasks showed evidence for a U-shaped developmental trend in which certain linguistic areas (e.g., gender agreement between articles and nouns) worsened while abroad before sharply getting better. The results suggested that second language learners demonstrate a shift of learning strategies from grammatical to communicative accuracy while abroad.

Klassen graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Languages from Laurier (2011) and a Master of Arts (MA) in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Toronto (2012). She is now finishing her doctoral dissertation in the PhD in Hispanic Linguistics program at the University of Toronto.

During her undergraduate studies at Laurier, Klassen studied in four courses with Schwieter, including LL223: Theoretical Linguistics; LL323: Applied Linguistics; SP200: Study Abroad in Mexico (2008); and SP201: Intermediate Spanish I. She was also an instructional assistant for LL223 tutorials and a study abroad assistant for SP200 in Costa Rica/Panama (2012).