Exploring the use of explicit grammatical rules with keystroke logging.

Abstract Book

Document identifier: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-76567
Keyword: Humanities and the Arts, Languages and Literature, General Language Studies and Linguistics, Humaniora och konst, Språk och litteratur, Jämförande språkvetenskap och allmän lingvistik, Keystroke logging, Sentence structures, L2 writing, Svenska med didaktisk inriktning, Swedish and Education
Publication year: 2019
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 4 Quality educationSDG 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructureSDG 3 Good health and wellbeing
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In this case study, we discuss the possibility of detecting the use of explicit grammatical rules in written L2 Swedish, L2 English and L2 Finnish with the help of keystroke logging data and retrospective interviews. The role of the explicit form-focused instruction (FFI) on formal second language learners’ explicit and implicit knowledge has been widely studied (e.g. Ellis, R. 2015, Ellis, R. & Shintani N. 2014) but the usefulness of explicit knowledge of the second language is a matter of controversy in the field. In our study, we focus on how accurate and, on the other hand, consistent the participants are in producing different sentence structures and whether they consider explicit grammar rules when writing in the target anguage.

In the present study, we used keystroke logging which is a method for recording keyboard activities during computer writing (Strömqvist & al. 2006). The writing can be replayed in real time, and pausing and revisions studied in detail. In this study, Scriptlog programme was used to record the data. Our hypothesis is that revisions and pauses (e.g. Chenoweth & Hayes 2001) can reveal when a learner stops to ponder on various linguistic aspects, for instance, explicit grammatical rules. The use of retrospective interviews gives additional information whether rules actually are considered by the learners and how they take advantage or decide to apply the rules.

The texts were written by twelve learners of Swedish, English, and Finnish in Finland. The preliminary results show that there are differences between learners and between languages in the use of explicit grammar rules. We discuss how these findings help us to better understand the role of explicit knowledge in writing and FFI and what kind of implications this might have on teaching.


Sinikka Lahtinen

University of Turku, Finland
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Outi Toropainen

Luleå tekniska universitet; Pedagogik, språk och Ämnesdidaktik
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Katja Mäntylä

University of Jyväskylä, Finland
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