Degree Date



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The present study investigates the emergence and operationalization of control of parts of speech in the interlanguage development of American non-heritage adult learners of Russian. The data was collected from 47 recorded Oral Proficiency Interviews (OPIs) at the Intermediate Mid, Intermediate High, Advanced Low, Advanced Mid, Advanced High, and Superior levels of speaking proficiency, administered by ACTFL certified testers in the context of the American Councils of Teachers of Russian (ACTR)pre-/post-study abroad assessment battery. The purpose of the present study is to identify and map salient features in the interlanguage development of American learners of Russian across these levels. The study focuses on (1) the extent to which the adult non-heritage American leaners of Russian have access to Russian parts of speech as their proficiency increases; (2) the extent to which learners exhibit native-like control over parts of speech; and, also, (3) the richness of learners’ vocabulary at various levels of speaking proficiency. Contrastive interlanguage analysis and computer-aided quantitative analysis were used to address these issues.

The results of the study indicate that (1) the actual breakdown of oral production by part of speech remains approximately the same as learners’ speaking proficiency increases; (2) learners acquire different parts of speech at a different pace, with nouns and personal pronouns being internalized in the Intermediate range of speaking proficiency, while the operationalization of verbs, adjectives, adverbs, relative pronouns kotoryi, and conjunctions is more strongly in evidence at the Advanced range of speaking proficiency; and (3) learners exhibit differences in the richness of their vocabulary as measured by lexical diversity and lexical sophistication at each level of speaking proficiency.


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