Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics



First Advisor



The goal of this work is to discover information that will improve the selection and design of listening comprehension materials for adult second language learners. Chapter 1 treats adult versus child language learning and first versus second language learning, finding that: (1) due to the interdependence between neurological and linguistic development, adult language learning is inherently different from a child's acquisition of his primary language, nevertheless, (2) given fundamental properties common to all language use, processing strategies should be similar for first and second languages. Chapter 2 treats listening and reading as receptive (but not passive) skills. Here it is suggested that they share an underlying base for interpreting language, but that the different modalities of speech and writing result in profound differences in spoken and written language. These differences need to be addressed in the design and selection of listening materials. Chapter 3 discusses listening in relation to speaking, noting that, while they share a common knowledge base, they are not mirror-image processes. Listening, for example, involves different strategies, determined in part by the listener's motives, which enable him to select how much of the discourse he needs to process. This choice is not open to speakers. Chapter 3 further presents some situations in which speaking ability apparently exceeds listening ability in language learners, suggesting underlying causes for these common occurrences. In Chapter 4, the findings of the previous chapters are discussed in relation to second language learning for adults. The end concern, here, is on materials and activities for listening comprehension.


Education, Language, Literature and linguistics


Linguistics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Linguistics Commons