Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Applied Linguistics

Committee Chair

Emily Thrush

Committee Member

Teresa Dalle

Committee Member

Angela Bosche Thevenot

Committee Member

Christopher Mattingly


Second language learners acquire the target language at different rates and with varying degrees of success. These differences in acquisition and success rates can be attributed, at least partially, to individual differences. This study used a mixed methods approach to test the hypothesis "Students who engage in face-to-face autonomous out-of-class language learning are more likely to succeed than language learners who do not engage in face-to-face autonomous out-of-class language learning." En route to testing the hypothesis and answering the main research question "Are students who engage in face-to-face autonomous out-of-class language learning more likely to succeed as language learners?" the following sub-questions were answered.What constiutes face-to-face autonomous out-of-class language learning?Which face-to-face autonomous language learning practices do studnets engage in outside of class?Do successful L2 language learners engage in similar face-to-face autonomous out-of-class language larning practices?How do the practices of the most successful students differ from those of less successful students?The context for the study was a small, liberal arts college in middle Tennessee. The 11 participants (7 males and 4 females) in the study were either enrolled in or had recently completed study in the college's ESL program. They ranged in age from 18 to 23, came from a variety of L1 backgrounds, and were all (save one) student athletes. The study's data came from surveys, interviews, and test scores and was collected and analyzed quantitatively by means of a multiple regression analysis and qualitatively by case and theme.Because the analysis found no statistical significance for the data, and the qualitative data laregely supported the quantitative findings, there wa not enough evidence to either support or reject the hypothesis. The findings of the study suggest that there may be a flaw in the common belief that productive language skills - especially face-to-face interactions - correlate to greater language learning success.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.