Immersion Study Abroad in Mexico: Using Repair Behaviors to Assess Proficiency Changes


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    Jerry T. Smartt (PhD, Wichita State University) is Professor of Spanish and Director of Foreign Languages at Friends University, Wichita, Kansas. Friends University

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    Rosalind R. Scudder (PhD, Wichita State University) is Professor and Graduate Coordinator of the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences, Wichita State University.


Abstract: Repair behavior in university-level students was investigated to determine if students who study abroad use repair behavior differently from students who do not. The Mexico group (N = 24) studied Conversational Spanish at La Salle University, Cancun. The U.S. group (N = 9) completed the same course at Friends University, Wichita, Kansas. Pretest and posttest interviews were transcribed and analyzed for the following self-repairs: language switch, appeal for assistance, word form search, circumlocution, utterance expansion, and global revision. Results indicated that language switch, the most commonly used repair in both groups, decreased as L2 proficiency increased. The Mexico group used word form search more frequently, suggesting increased determination, competency, and self-confidence. This study affects L2 teachers who can encourage students to speak more spontaneously by allowing them time to self-repair without interruption.