Ph.D. Student Wins Richard Pemberton Prize for Best Research Paper

Ayşen Tuzcu, a Ph.D. student in MSU’s Second Language Studies program, has won the Richard Pemberton Prize awarded by the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL), which recognizes the best research paper presented by a postgraduate student at the annual BAAL Conference. 

“I feel honored to have been the recipient of this award, which is aimed to recognize and promote high-quality contributions to applied linguistics research,” Tuzcu said.

Smiling young woman with dark hair and glasses stands amongst lush greenery outdoors.
Ayşen Tuzcu

Tuzcu’s paper, Effects of Modality on the Learning of L2 Collocations, explores the effects of aural, written, and bimodal input modality on the learning of explicit and implicit knowledge of second language (L2) collocations in English. In the study of linguistics, collocations are defined as paired words that create a commonly used phrase.

For the study, participants encountered nine texts and recordings containing a total of 15 L2 medical collocations. The test employed three different learning conditions including reading, listening, and reading while listening from which they had to recognize the word pairings.

Participants then completed a form recall, form recognition, and meaning recall post-test as well as a collocational priming task that measured their explicit and implicit knowledge of the target collocations.

The results showed the development of explicit knowledge of the collocations in all three conditions. However, participants recalled the form and meaning of the collocations more when they read or read and listened to the texts rather than only listening to the recordings.

“I feel honored to have been the recipient of this award, which is aimed to recognize and promote high-quality contributions to applied linguistics research.”

Ayşen Tuzcu

Despite that all participants received similar scores in all three conditions in recognizing the form of the target collocations, they did not acquire implicit knowledge of the collocations during any of the conditions.

Tuzcu hopes that her results will highlight the importance of written input in the learning of L2 collocations.

The Richard Pemberton Prize honors the life and work of Richard Pemberton who served as an Associate Professor for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) in the School of Education at the University of Nottingham.

The 2021 BAAL Conference was hosted by English Language and Linguistics in the Department of Humanities of Northumbria University. The theme of this year’s conference was “Challenges and Opportunities in Applied Linguistics,” which aimed to provide a space to discuss the field of linguistics and its contribution to the world around it.

In light of the uncertainties regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was hosted online and included a lineup of both plenary and invited speakers, in addition to student presentations of their research papers and projects.