International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Volume 8 Issue 1 (June 1998), Pages 3-159

Logit analysis in L2 research: measuring L1 and L2/Ln effects (pages 81-110)

In quantitatively oriented L2 studies, we normally contrast two phenomena at a time, both at the group and individual level. However, it is generally acknowledged that what a learner produces is determined by a multitude of factors influencing the interlanguage (IL) simultaneously. When dealing with discrete, nominal categories, the numerical and causal relations between the variables involved cannot be adequately captured in an analysis where the phenomenon to be studied and the explanatory factors are subjected to a series of pairwise statistical tests. Instead of the two‐variable approach, multivariate techniques should be applied, since they allow for the examination of the effects of more than one explanatory variable in one and the same test. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the use of a multivariate technique known as logit analysis. Given that the IL units can be categorized in terms of L1 and L2/Ln, logit analysis makes it possible to find out whether or not L1 and L2/Ln affect IL at a statistically significant level. A further advantage is that in some circumstances the strengths of the influences can be precisely measured. The data used to demonstrate this modelling technique are taken from a study of Finnish learners' use of Swedish prepositions.

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