Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 2739

Search results for: language proficiency

2739 Communication Competence or Language Proficiency for Employability: An Investigation on Malaysian Polytechnics ESL Engineering Students

Authors: Chong Ling Ling

Abstract:

In the Malaysian polytechnic, there are concerns about language proficiency, communicative competence, and employability among Malaysian polytechnic ESL engineering students. This study examined the relationships between communicative competence, language proficiency, and employability using descriptive analysis and inferential statistics. Next, Pearson’s Correlation determines the correlation between communication competence, language proficiency, and employability skills of Malaysian Polytechnic ESL engineering students. The total number of participants was 81 final-year engineering students. The findings revealed high positive correlations between the communicative competence -'I can talk with a friend in English.' and employability skill (r = 0.854, p = .031), also, language proficiency -'I can understand the English songs I listen to' and employability skill (r = 0.887, p = .038). The result is consistent with the theories. The result revealed that for the 81 students, communication competence and language proficiency, and employability skills are firmly and significantly correlated. Thus, it concluded that both communicative competence and language proficiency equally essential to ensure a higher employability rate among Malaysian polytechnic ESL engineering students.

Keywords: communicative competence, employability, language proficiency, Malaysian polytechnic

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2738 Relationships between Motivation Factors and English Language Proficiency of the Faculty of Management Sciences Students

Authors: Kawinphat Lertpongmanee

Abstract:

The purposes of this study were (1) investigate the English language learning motivation and the attainment of their English proficiency, (2) to find out how motivation and motivational variables of the high and low proficiency subjects are related to their English proficiency. The respondents were 80 fourth-year from Faculty of Management Sciences students in Rajabhat Suansunadha University. The instruments used for data collection were questionnaires. The statistically analyzed by using the SPSS program for frequency, percentage, arithmetic mean, standard deviation (SD), t-test, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), and Pearson correlation coefficient. The findings of this study are summarized as there was a significant difference in overall motivation between high and low proficiency groups of subjects at .05 (p < .05), but not in overall motivational variables. Additionally, the high proficiency group had a significantly higher level of intrinsic motivation than did the low proficiency group at .05 (p < .05).

Keywords: English language proficiency, faculty of management sciences, motivation factors, proficiency subjects

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2737 Communicative Competence versus Language Proficiency

Authors: Pouya Vakili

Abstract:

The aim of present paper is to have a rough comparison between language proficiency and communicative competence, moreover, how different scholars in the field of second language acquisition/assessment have defined competence in different paradigms. Researchers differ, however, in how they view 'competence'. Those who are dealing with generative tradition associated with Chomsky have defined it as linguistic competence (knowledge of the grammar of L2). Other researchers have adopted a broader perspective that is examining how learners acquire communicative competence (knowledge of both the L2 grammar and of how this system is put to use in actual communication).

Keywords: communicative competence, competence, language proficiency, linguistic competence

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2736 Canadian French as an Additional Language Teacher Candidates' Proficiency and Confidence Pre- and Post-Francophone Home-Stay: Practicum Experience as Revealed through Questionnaire and Interviews

Authors: Callie Mady

Abstract:

This study investigated the Canadian French as an additional language teacher candidates’ confidence and language maintenance strategies by means of questionnaires and interviews pre- and post- a Francophone home-stay practicum experience. Teacher French language proficiency is one of the components of teacher knowledge that can influence students’ French as an additional language acquisition. Although advantageous, seeking opportunities to use French in a French milieu comes with challenges. Teachers, for example, have been found to be hesitant to speak French with native speakers for fear of judgment. Another identified challenge to spending time in a French milieu is finances; while teachers have recognized the value of such an experience, cost is prohibitive. In recognition of the potential barriers and the need to maintain/improve the French proficiency of 'French as an additional language' teachers, this study provided a two-week home stay in a Francophone environment for teacher candidates of French as an additional language with financial subsidies for their participation. Through the post-experience interviews, the French as an additional language teacher candidates revealed an improvement in French proficiency. Similarly, the teacher candidates cited an increase in confidence in the interviews and through the questionnaire. They linked this increase in proficiency and confidence to their experiences with their host families and other Francophone members of the community. This study highlights the provision of immersion experiences as means to support teachers’ language confidence and proficiency.

Keywords: French as an additional language education, teacher language confidence, teacher language maintenance, teacher language proficiency

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2735 The Impact of Language Anxiety on EFL Learners' Proficiency: Case Study of University of Jeddah

Authors: Saleh Mohammad Alqahtani

Abstract:

Foreign language Anxiety has been found to be a key issue in learning English as foreign language in the classroom. This study investigated the impact of foreign language anxiety on Saudi EFL learners' proficiency in the classroom. A total of 197 respondents had participated in the study, comprising of 96 male and 101 female, who enrolled in preparatory year, first year, second year, and fourth year of English language department at the University of Jeddah. Two instruments were used to answer the study questions. The Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) was used to identify the levels of foreign language (FL) anxiety for Saudi learners. Moreover, an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test was used as an objective measure of the learners’ English language proficiency. The data were analyzed using descriptive analyses, t-test, one-way ANOVA, correlation, and regression analysis. The findings revealed that Saudi EFL learners' experience a level of anxiety in the classroom, and there is a significant differences between the course levels in their level of language anxiety. Moreover, it is also found that female students are less anxious in learning English as a foreign language than male students. The results show that foreign language anxiety and English proficiency are negatively related to each other. Furthermore, the study revealed that there were significant differences between Saudi learners in language use anxiety, while there were no significant differences in language class anxiety. The study suggested that teachers should employ a diversity of designed techniques to encourage the environment of the classroom in order to control learners’ FLA, which in turns will improve their EFL proficiency.

Keywords: foreign language anxiety, FLA, language use anxiety, language class anxiety, gender, L2 proficiency

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2734 The Output Fallacy: An Investigation into Input, Noticing, and Learners’ Mechanisms

Authors: Samantha Rix

Abstract:

The purpose of this research paper is to investigate the cognitive processing of learners who receive input but produce very little or no output, and who, when they do produce output, exhibit a similar language proficiency as do those learners who produced output more regularly in the language classroom. Previous studies have investigated the benefits of output (with somewhat differing results); therefore, the presentation will begin with an investigation of what may underlie gains in proficiency without output. Consequently, a pilot study was designed and conducted to gain insight into the cognitive processing of low-output language learners looking, for example, at quantity and quality of noticing. This will be carried out within the paradigm of action classroom research, observing and interviewing low-output language learners in an intensive English program at a small Midwest university. The results of the pilot study indicated that autonomy in language learning, specifically utilizing strategies such self-monitoring, self-talk, and thinking 'out-loud', were crucial in the development of language proficiency for academic-level performance. The presentation concludes with an examination of pedagogical implication for classroom use in order to aide students in their language development.

Keywords: cognitive processing, language learners, language proficiency, learning strategies

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2733 Reliability of Self-Reported Language Proficiency Measures in l1 Attrition Research: A Closer Look at the Can-Do-Scales.

Authors: Anastasia Sorokina

Abstract:

Self-reported language proficiency measures have been widely used by researchers and have been proven to be an accurate tool to assess actual language proficiency. L1 attrition researchers also rely on self-reported measures. More specifically, can-do-scales has gained popularity in the discipline of L1 attrition research. The can-do-scales usually contain statements about language (e.g., “I can write e-mails”); participants are asked to rate each statement on a scale from 1 (I cannot do it at all) to 5 (I can do it without any difficulties). Despite its popularity, no studies have examined can-do-scales’ reliability at measuring the actual level of L1 attrition. Do can-do-scales positively correlate with lexical diversity, syntactic complexity, and fluency? The present study analyzed speech samples of 35 Russian-English attriters to examine whether their self-reported proficiency correlates with their actual L1 proficiency. The results of Pearson correlation demonstrated that can-do-scales correlated with lexical diversity, syntactic complexity, and fluency. These findings provide a valuable contribution to the L1 attrition research by demonstrating that can-do-scales can be used as a reliable tool to measure L1 attrition.

Keywords: L1 attrition, can-do-scales, lexical diversity, syntactic complexity

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2732 The Effect of Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety and Tolerance of Ambiguity on EFL Learners’ Listening Proficiency

Authors: Mohammad Hadi Mahmoodi, Azam Ghonchepoor, Sheilan Sohrabi

Abstract:

The present study was conducted to investigate the effect of foreign language classroom anxiety and ambiguity tolerance on EFL Learners’ listening proficiency. In so doing, 442 EFL learners were randomly selected form Azad University and some accredited language institutions in Hamaden, and were given the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) (1983), and Second Language Tolerance of Ambiguity Scale (SLTAS) (1995). Participants’ listening proficiency level was determined through listening scores gained in standardized exams given by university professors or institutes in which they studied English. The results of two-way ANOVA revealed that listening proficiency was significantly affected by the interaction of anxiety and AT level of the participants. Each of the two variables were categorized in three levels of High, Mid, and Low. The highest mean score of listening belonged to the group with low degree of anxiety and high degree of ambiguity tolerance, and the lowest listening mean score was gained by the group with high level of anxiety and low level of tolerance of ambiguity. Also, the findings of multiple regressions confirmed that anxiety was the stronger predictor of listening comprehension in contrast with tolerance of ambiguity. Furthermore, the result of Pearson correlation coefficient showed that there was a significant negative relationship between the participants’ foreign language classroom anxiety and their ambiguity tolerance level.

Keywords: Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety, Second language tolerance of ambiguity, Listening proficiency

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2731 Developing Second Language Learners’ Reading Comprehension through Content and Language Integrated Learning

Authors: Kaine Gulozer

Abstract:

A strong methodological conception in the practice of teaching, content, and language integrated learning (CLIL) is adapted to boost efficiency in the second language (L2) instruction with a range of proficiency levels. This study aims to investigate whether the incorporation of two different mediums of meaningful CLIL reading activities (in-school and out-of-school settings) influence L2 students’ development of comprehension skills differently. CLIL based instructional methodology was adopted and total of 50 preparatory year students (N=50, 25 students for each proficiency level) from two distinct language proficiency learners (elementary and intermediate) majoring in engineering faculties were recruited for the study. Both qualitative and quantitative methods through a post-test design were adopted. Data were collected through a questionnaire, a reading comprehension test and a semi-structured interview addressed to the two proficiency groups. The results show that both settings in relation to the development of reading comprehension are beneficial, whereas the impact of the reading activities conducted in school settings was higher at the elementary language level of students than that of the one conducted out-of-class settings based on the reported interview results. This study suggests that the incorporation of meaningful CLIL reading activities in both settings for both proficiency levels could create students’ self-awareness of their language learning process and the sense of ownership in successful improvements of field-specific reading comprehension. Further potential suggestions and implications of the study were discussed.

Keywords: content and language integrated learning, in-school setting, language proficiency, out-of-school setting, reading comprehension

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2730 Poor Proficiency of English Language among Tertiary Level Students in Bangladesh and Its Effect on Employability: An Investigation to Find Fact and Solution

Authors: Tanvir Ahmed, Nahian Fyrose Fahim, Subrata Majumder, Tek Winesberry

Abstract:

English is unanimously recognized as the standard second language in the world, and no one can deny this fact. Many people believe that possessing English proficiency skills is the key to communicating effectively globally, especially for developing countries, which can bring further success to itself on many fronts, as well as to other countries, by ensuring its people worldwide access to education, business, and technology. A notable number of students in Bangladesh are currently pursuing higher education, especially at the tertiary or collegiate level in more than 150 public and private universities. English is the dominant linguistic medium through which college instruction and lectures are given to students in Bangladesh. However, many of our students who had only completed their primary and secondary levels of education in the Bangla medium or language are generally in an awkward position to suddenly take and complete many unfamiliar requirements by the time they enter the university as freshmen. As students, they struggle to complete at least 18 courses to acquire proficiency in English. After obtaining a tertiary education certificate, the students could then have the opportunity to acquire a sustainable position in the job market industry; however, many of them do fail unfortunately, because of poor English proficiency skills. After statistical analysis, the study suggested certain remedial measures that could be taken in order to increase students’ proficiency in English as well as to ensure their employability potential.

Keywords: English language proficiency, tertiary education, unemployment problems, employability

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2729 The effect of Reflective Thinking on Iranian EFL Learners’ Language Learning Strategy Use, L2 Proficiency, and Beliefs about Second Language Learning and Teaching

Authors: Mohammad Hadi Mahmoodi, Mojtaba Farahani

Abstract:

The present study aimed at investigating whether reflective thinking differentiates Iranian EFL learners regarding language learning strategy use, beliefs about language learning and teaching, and L2 proficiency. To this end, the researcher adopted a mixed method approach. First, 94 EFL learners were asked to complete Reflective Thinking Questionnaire (Kember et al., 2000), Beliefs about Language Learning and Teaching Inventory (Horwitz, 1985), Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (Oxford, 1990), and Oxford Quick Placement Test. The results of three separate one-way ANOVAs indicated that reflective thinking significantly differentiates Iranian EFL learners concerning: (a)language learning strategy use, (b) beliefs about language learning and teaching, and (c) general language proficiency. Furthermore, to see where the differences lay, three separate post-hoc Tukey tests were run the results of which showed that learners with different levels of reflectivity (high, mid, and low) were significantly different from each other in all three dependent variables. Finally, to increase the validity of the findings thirty of the participants were interviewed and the results were analyzed through template organizing style method (Crabtree & Miller, 1999). The results of the interview analysis supported the results of quantitative data analysis.

Keywords: reflective thinking, language learning strategy use, beliefs toward language learning and teaching

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2728 Anxiety and Self-Perceived L2 Proficiency: A Comparison of Which Can Better Predict L2 Pronunciation Performance

Authors: Jiexuan Lin, Huiyi Chen

Abstract:

The development of L2 pronunciation competence remains understudied in the literature and it is not clear what may influence learners’ development of L2 pronunciation. The present study was an attempt to find out which of the two common factors in L2 acquisition, i.e., foreign language anxiety or self-perceived L2 proficiency, can better predict Chinese EFL learners’ pronunciation performance. 78 first-year English majors, who had received a three-month pronunciation training course, were asked to 1) fill out a questionnaire on foreign language classroom anxiety, 2) self-report their L2 proficiency in general, in speaking and in pronunciation, and 3) complete an oral and a written test on their L2 pronunciation (the score of the oral part indicates participants’ pronunciation proficiency in oral production, and the score of the written part indexes participants’ ability in applying pronunciation knowledge in comprehension.) Results showed that the pronunciation scores were negatively correlated with the anxiety scores, and were positively correlated with the self-perceived pronunciation proficiency. But only the written scores in the L2 pronunciation test, not the oral scores, were positively correlated with the L2 self-perceived general proficiency. Neither the oral nor the written scores in the L2 pronunciation test had a significant correlation with the self-perceived speaking proficiency. Given the fairly strong correlations, the anxiety scores and the self-perceived pronunciation proficiency were put in regression models to predict L2 pronunciation performance. The anxiety factor alone accounted for 13.9% of the variance and the self-perceived pronunciation proficiency alone explained 12.1% of the variance. But when both anxiety scores and self-perceived pronunciation proficiency were put in a stepwise regression model, only the anxiety scores had a significant and unique contribution to the L2 pronunciation performance (4.8%). Taken together, the results suggested that the learners’ anxiety level could better predict their L2 pronunciation performance, compared with the self-perceived proficiency levels. The obtained data have the following pedagogical implications. 1) Given the fairly strong correlation between anxiety and L2 pronunciation performance, the instructors who are interested in predicting learners’ L2 pronunciation proficiency may measure their anxiety level, instead of their proficiency, as the predicting variable. 2) The correlation of oral scores (in the pronunciation test) with pronunciation proficiency, rather than with speaking proficiency, indicates that a) learners after receiving some amounts of training are to some extent able to evaluate their own pronunciation ability, implying the feasibility of incorporating self-evaluation and peer comments in course instruction; b) the ‘proficiency’ measure used to predict pronunciation performance should be used with caution. The proficiency of specific skills seemingly highly related to pronunciation (i.e., speaking in this case) may not be taken for granted as an effective predictor for pronunciation performance. 3) The correlation between the written scores with general L2 proficiency is interesting.

Keywords: anxiety, Chinese EFL learners, L2 pronunciation, self-perceived L2 proficiency

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2727 English Learning Strategy and Proficiency Level of the First Year Students, International College, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University

Authors: Kanokrat Kunasaraphan

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The purpose of the study was to identify whether English language learning strategies commonly used by the first year students at International College, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University include six direct and indirect strategies. The study served to explore whether there was a difference in these students’ use of six direct and indirect English learning strategies between the different levels of their English proficiency. The questionnaire used as a research instrument was comprised of two parts: General information of participants and the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL). The researcher employed descriptive statistics and one-way ANOVA (F-test) to analyze the data. The results of the analysis revealed that English learning strategies commonly used by the first year students include six direct and indirect strategies, including differences in strategy use of the students with different levels of English proficiency. Recommendations for future research include the study of language learning strategy use with other research methods focusing on other languages, specific language skills, and/or the relationship of language learning strategy use and other factors in other programs and/or institutions.

Keywords: English learning strategies, direct strategies, indirect strategies, proficiency level

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2726 An Event-Related Potentials Study on the Processing of English Subjunctive Mood by Chinese ESL Learners

Authors: Yan Huang

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Event-related potentials (ERPs) technique helps researchers to make continuous measures on the whole process of language comprehension, with an excellent temporal resolution at the level of milliseconds. The research on sentence processing has developed from the behavioral level to the neuropsychological level, which brings about a variety of sentence processing theories and models. However, the applicability of these models to L2 learners is still under debate. Therefore, the present study aims to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying English subjunctive mood processing by Chinese ESL learners. To this end, English subject clauses with subjunctive moods are used as the stimuli, all of which follow the same syntactic structure, “It is + adjective + that … + (should) do + …” Besides, in order to examine the role that language proficiency plays on L2 processing, this research deals with two groups of Chinese ESL learners (18 males and 22 females, mean age=21.68), namely, high proficiency group (Group H) and low proficiency group (Group L). Finally, the behavioral and neurophysiological data analysis reveals the following findings: 1) Syntax and semantics interact with each other on the SECOND phase (300-500ms) of sentence processing, which is partially in line with the Three-phase Sentence Model; 2) Language proficiency does affect L2 processing. Specifically, for Group H, it is the syntactic processing that plays the dominant role in sentence processing while for Group L, semantic processing also affects the syntactic parsing during the THIRD phase of sentence processing (500-700ms). Besides, Group H, compared to Group L, demonstrates a richer native-like ERPs pattern, which further demonstrates the role of language proficiency in L2 processing. Based on the research findings, this paper also provides some enlightenment for the L2 pedagogy as well as the L2 proficiency assessment.

Keywords: Chinese ESL learners, English subjunctive mood, ERPs, L2 processing

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2725 Translation Skills and Language Acquisition

Authors: Frieda Amitai

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The field of Translation Studies includes both descriptive and applied aspects, one of which is developing curricula. Within this topic there are theories dealing with curricula aimed at translator training, and theories meant to explore teaching translation as means through which awareness to language is developed in order to enhance language knowledge. An example of the latter is a unique study program in Israeli high schools – Teaching Translation Skills Program (TTSP). This study program has been taught in Israel for more than two decades and is aimed at raising students' meta-linguistic awareness as well as their language proficiency in both source language and target language in order to enable them become better language learners. The objective of the current research was to examine whether the goals of this program are achieved – increase in students' metalinguistic awareness and language proficiency. A follow-up case study was aimed at examining the level of proficiency which would develop most by this way of teaching English. The study was conducted in two stages – before and after participating in the program. 400 subjects took part in the first stage, and 100 took part in the second. In both parts of the study, participants were given the same five tasks in both Hebrew and English in addition to a questionnaire, in which they were asked about their own knowledge of Hebrew and in comparison to that of their peers. Their teachers were asked about the success of the program and about the methodology they use in class. Findings show significant change in the level of meta-linguistic awareness of the students as well as their language proficiency. A comparison between their answers before and after the program shows that their meta-linguistic awareness increased, as did their ability to recognize linguistic mistakes. These findings serve as strong evidence for the positive effect such study program has on the development of meta-linguistic awareness and linguistic knowledge. The follow-up case study tests the change among weaker language learners.

Keywords: comparison, metalinguistic awareness, language learning, translation skills

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2724 Task Validity in Neuroimaging Studies: Perspectives from Applied Linguistics

Authors: L. Freeborn

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Recent years have seen an increasing number of neuroimaging studies related to language learning as imaging techniques such as fMRI and EEG have become more widely accessible to researchers. By using a variety of structural and functional neuroimaging techniques, these studies have already made considerable progress in terms of our understanding of neural networks and processing related to first and second language acquisition. However, the methodological designs employed in neuroimaging studies to test language learning have been questioned by applied linguists working within the field of second language acquisition (SLA). One of the major criticisms is that tasks designed to measure language learning gains rarely have a communicative function, and seldom assess learners’ ability to use the language in authentic situations. This brings the validity of many neuroimaging tasks into question. The fundamental reason why people learn a language is to communicate, and it is well-known that both first and second language proficiency are developed through meaningful social interaction. With this in mind, the SLA field is in agreement that second language acquisition and proficiency should be measured through learners’ ability to communicate in authentic real-life situations. Whilst authenticity is not always possible to achieve in a classroom environment, the importance of task authenticity should be reflected in the design of language assessments, teaching materials, and curricula. Tasks that bear little relation to how language is used in real-life situations can be considered to lack construct validity. This paper first describes the typical tasks used in neuroimaging studies to measure language gains and proficiency, then analyses to what extent these tasks can validly assess these constructs.

Keywords: neuroimaging studies, research design, second language acquisition, task validity

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2723 English Language Proficiency and Use as Determinants of Transactional Success in Gbagi Market, Ibadan, Nigeria

Authors: A. Robbin

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Language selection can be an efficient negotiation strategy employed by both service or product providers and their customers to achieve transactional success. The transactional scenario in Gbagi Market, Ibadan, Nigeria provides an appropriate setting for the exploration of the Nigerian multilingual situation with its own interesting linguistic peculiarities which questions the functionality of the ‘Lingua Franca’ in trade situations. This study examined English Language proficiency among Yoruba Traders in Gbagi Market, Ibadan and its use as determinants of transactional success during service encounters. Randomly selected Yoruba-English bilingual traders and customers were administered questionnaires and the data subjected to statistical and descriptive analysis using Giles Communication Accommodation Theory. Findings reveal that only fifty percent of the traders used for the study were proficient in speaking English language. Traders with minimal proficiency in Standard English, however, resulted in the use of the Nigerian Pidgin English. Both traders and customers select the Mother Tongue, which is the Yoruba Language during service encounters but are quick to converge to the other’s preferred language as the transactional exchange demands. The English language selection is not so much for the prestige or lingua franca status of the language as it is for its functions, which include ease of communication, negotiation, and increased sales. The use of English during service encounters is mostly determined by customer’s linguistic preference which the trader accommodates to for better negotiation and never as a first choice. This convergence is found to be beneficial as it ensures sales and return patronage. Although the English language is not a preferred code choice in Gbagi Market, it serves a functional trade strategy for transactional success during service encounters in the market.

Keywords: communication accommodation theory, language selection, proficiency, service encounter, transaction

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2722 Teaching Method for a Classroom of Students at Different Language Proficiency Levels: Content and Language Integrated Learning in a Japanese Culture Classroom

Authors: Yukiko Fujiwara

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As a language learning methodology, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) has become increasingly prevalent in Japan. Most CLIL classroom practice and its research are conducted in EFL fields. However, much less research has been done in the Japanese language learning setting. Therefore, there are still many issues to work out using CLIL in the Japanese language teaching (JLT) setting. it is expected that more research will be conducted on both authentically and academically. Under such circumstances, this is one of the few classroom-based CLIL researches experiments in JLT and aims to find an effective course design for a class with students at different proficiency levels. The class was called ‘Japanese culture A’. This class was offered as one of the elective classes for International exchange students at a Japanese university. The Japanese proficiency level of the class was above the Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level N3. Since the CLIL approach places importance on ‘authenticity’, the class was designed with materials and activities; such as books, magazines, a film and TV show and a field trip to Kyoto. On the field trip, students experienced making traditional Japanese desserts, by receiving guidance directly from a Japanese artisan. Through the course, designated task sheets were used so the teacher could get feedback from each student to grasp what the class proficiency gap was. After reading an article on Japanese culture, students were asked to write down the words they did not understand and what they thought they needed to learn. It helped both students and teachers to set learning goals and work together for it. Using questionnaires and interviews with students, this research examined whether the attempt was effective or not. Essays they wrote in class were also analyzed. The results from the students were positive. They were motivated by learning authentic, natural Japanese, and they thrived setting their own personal goals. Some students were motivated to learn Japanese by studying the language and others were motivated by studying the cultural context. Most of them said they learned better this way; by setting their own Japanese language and culture goals. These results will provide teachers with new insight towards designing class materials and activities that support students in a multilevel CLIL class.

Keywords: authenticity, CLIL, Japanese language and culture, multilevel class

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2721 Negotiation of Meaning among Iranian EFL Learners and the Relationship between the Proficiency Levels and the Transfer of Knowledge

Authors: Z. Komeili, Sh. Abadikhah, H. Talebi

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Interaction and negotiation of meaning in the foreign language (FL) contexts are crucial to L2 development. Although research studies on children in EFL contexts have increased in recent years, the study of Iranian children negotiating meaning during their communicative task performance still needs further study. The purpose of this study was to investigate young EFL learners' interaction and negotiation of meaning (NoM) during task completion and examine the difference in meaning negotiation between the different proficiency levels and the association between the learners’ proficiency levels and their transfer of knowledge. The participants were twenty-eight young Iranian EFL learners forming 14 proficiency-matched dyads and were assigned into two different groups according to their proficiency levels. The dyads were asked to complete the collaborative task; their interaction was transcribed and analyzed in terms of their NoM. To test the transfer of knowledge to the subsequent performance, tailor-made tests were designed based on the NoM of each individual dyad. The results indicated a significant positive relationship between the learners’ level of proficiency and their transfer of knowledge to the subsequent performance. Our findings suggest that the elementary group had engaged in more negotiation of meaning compared to the intermediate group, and the higher the proficiency level, the better they performed in the post-test and benefited from the NoM. The study has some implications for researchers, teachers, and young learners.

Keywords: collaborative tasks, negotiation of meaning, proficiency levels, sociocultural theory, tailor-made test

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2720 The Effect of Cross-Curriculum of L1 and L2 on Elementary School Students’ Linguistic Proficiency: To Sympathize with Others

Authors: Reiko Yamamoto

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This paper reports on a project to integrate Japanese (as a first language) and English (as a second language) education. This study focuses on the mutual effects of the two languages on the linguistic proficiency of elementary school students. The research team consisted of elementary school teachers and researchers at a university. The participants of the experiment were students between 3rd and 6th grades at an elementary school. The research process consisted of seven steps: 1) specifying linguistic proficiency; 2) developing the cross-curriculum of L1 and L2; 3) forming can-do statements; 4) creating a self-evaluation questionnaire; 5) executing the self-evaluation questionnaire at the beginning of the school year; 6) instructing L1 and L2 based on the curriculum; and 7) executing the self-evaluation questionnaire at the beginning of the next school year. In Step 1, the members of the research team brainstormed ways to specify elementary school students’ linguistic proficiency that can be observed in various scenes. It was revealed that the teachers evaluate their students’ linguistic proficiency on the basis of the students’ utterances, but also informed by their non-verbal communication abilities. This led to the idea that competency for understanding others’ minds through the use of physical movement or bodily senses in communication in L1 – to sympathize with others – can be transferred to that same competency in communication in L2. Based on the specification of linguistic proficiency that L1 and L2 have in common, a cross-curriculum of L1 and L2 was developed in Step 2. In Step 3, can-do statements based on the curriculum were also formed, building off of the action-oriented approach from the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) used in Europe. A self-evaluation questionnaire consisting of the main can-do statements was given to the students between 3rd grade and 6th grade at the beginning of the school year (Step 4 and Step 5), and all teachers gave L1 and L2 instruction based on the curriculum to the students for one year (Step 6). The same questionnaire was given to the students at the beginning of the next school year (Step 7). The results of statistical analysis proved the enhancement of the students’ linguistic proficiency. This verified the validity of developing the cross-curriculum of L1 and L2 and adapting it in elementary school. It was concluded that elementary school students do not distinguish between L1 and L2, and that they just try to understand others’ minds through physical movement or senses in any language.

Keywords: cross curriculum of L1 and L2, elementary school education, language proficiency, sympathy with others

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2719 Investigating Classroom Teachers' Perceptions of Assessing U.S. College Students' L2 Chinese Oral Performance

Authors: Guangyan Chen

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This study examined Chinese teachers’ perceptions of assessing U.S. college students’ L2 (second language) Chinese oral performances at different levels. Ten oral performances were videotaped from which three were chosen as samples to represent three different proficiency levels based on professionals’ judgments according to the ACTFL proficiency guidelines. The three samples were shown to L2 Chinese teachers who completed questionnaires about their assessments for each speech sample. In total, 104 L2 Chinese teachers responded to each of the three samples. The Exploratory Factor Analyses (EFA) of the teachers’ responses revealed three similar rating criteria patterns for assessing the three levels of oral performances. The teachers’ responses to Samples 2 and 3 revealed five rating criteria: Global proficiency, Chinese conceptual framework, content richness, communication appropriateness, and communication clarity. The teachers’ responses to Sample 1 revealed four rating criteria: global proficiency, Chinese conceptual framework, communication appropriateness/content richness, and communication clarity. However, the analyses of variance (ANOVAs) revealed that the proficiency levels of the three oral performances differed significantly across all rating criteria. Therefore, the data suggests that L2 classroom teachers could use the similar rating criteria pattern to assess college-level L2 Chinese students’ oral performances at different proficiency levels.

Keywords: language assessment, L2 Chinese, oral performance, rating criteria

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2718 The Arabic Literary Text, between Proficiency and Pedagogy

Authors: Abdul Rahman M. Chamseddine, Mahmoud El-ashiri

Abstract:

In the field of language teaching, communication skills are essential for the learner to achieve, however, these skills, in general, might not support the comprehension of some texts of literary or artistic nature like poetry. Understanding sentences and expressions is not enough to understand a poem; other skills are needed in order to understand the special structure of a text which literary meaning is inapprehensible even when the lingual meaning is well comprehended. And then there is the need for many other components that surpass one text to other similar texts that can be understood through solid traditions, which do not form an obstacle in the face of change and progress. This is not exclusive to texts that are classified as a literary but it is also the same with some daily short phrases and indicatively charged expressions that can be classified as literary or bear a taste of literary nature.. it can be found in Newpapers’ titles, TV news reports, and maybe football commentaries… the need to understand this special lingual use – described as literary – is highly important to understand this discourse that can be generally classified as very far from literature. This work will try to explore the role of the literary text in the language class and the way it is being covered or dealt with throughout all levels of acquiring proficiency. It will also attempt to survery the position of the literary text in some of the most important books for teaching Arabic around the world. The same way grammar is needed to understand the language, another (literary) grammar is also needed for understanding literature.

Keywords: language teaching, Arabic, literature, pedagogy, language proficiency

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2717 The Effect of Realizing Emotional Synchrony with Teachers or Peers on Children’s Linguistic Proficiency: The Case Study of Uji Elementary School

Authors: Reiko Yamamoto

Abstract:

This paper reports on a joint research project in which a researcher in applied linguistics and elementary school teachers in Japan explored new ways to realize emotional synchrony in a classroom in childhood education. The primary purpose of this project was to develop a cross-curriculum of the first language (L1) and second language (L2) based on the concept of plurilingualism. This concept is common in Europe, and can-do statements are used in forming the standard of linguistic proficiency in any language; these are attributed to the action-oriented approach in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). CEFR has a basic tenet of language education: improving communicative competence. Can-do statements are classified into five categories based on the tenet: reading, writing, listening, speaking/ interaction, and speaking/ speech. The first approach of this research was to specify the linguistic proficiency of the children, who are still developing their L1. Elementary school teachers brainstormed and specified the linguistic proficiency of the children as the competency needed to synchronize with others – teachers or peers – physically and mentally. The teachers formed original can-do statements in language proficiency on the basis of the idea that emotional synchrony leads to understanding others in communication. The research objectives are to determine the effect of language education based on the newly developed curriculum and can-do statements. The participants of the experiment were 72 third-graders in Uji Elementary School, Japan. For the experiment, 17 items were developed from the can-do statements formed by the teachers and divided into the same five categories as those of CEFR. A can-do checklist consisting of the items was created. The experiment consisted of three steps: first, the students evaluated themselves using the can-do checklist at the beginning of the school year. Second, one year of instruction was given to the students in Japanese and English classes (six periods a week). Third, the students evaluated themselves using the same can-do checklist at the end of the school year. The results of statistical analysis showed an enhancement of linguistic proficiency of the students. The average results of the post-check exceeded that of the pre-check in 12 out of the 17 items. Moreover, significant differences were shown in four items, three of which belonged to the same category: speaking/ interaction. It is concluded that children can get to understand others’ minds through physical and emotional synchrony. In particular, emotional synchrony is what teachers should aim at in childhood education.

Keywords: elementary school education, emotional synchrony, language proficiency, sympathy with others

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2716 Number Sense Proficiency and Problem Solving Performance of Grade Seven Students

Authors: Laissa Mae Francisco, John Rolex Ingreso, Anna Krizel Menguito, Criselda Robrigado, Rej Maegan Tuazon

Abstract:

This study aims to determine and describe the existing relationship between number sense proficiency and problem-solving performance of grade seven students from Victorino Mapa High School, Manila. A paper pencil exam containing of 50-item number sense test and 5-item problem-solving test which measures their number sense proficiency and problem-solving performance adapted from McIntosh, Reys, and Bana were used as the research instruments. The data obtained from this study were interpreted and analyzed using the Pearson – Product Moment Coefficient of Correlation to determine the relationship between the two variables. It was found out that students who were low in number sense proficiency tend to be the students with poor problem-solving performance and students with medium number sense proficiency are most likely to have an average problem-solving performance. Likewise, students with high number sense proficiency are those who do excellently in problem-solving performance.

Keywords: number sense, performance, problem solving, proficiency

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2715 On Developing a Core Guideline for English Language Training Programs in Business Settings

Authors: T. Ito, K. Kawaguchi, R. Ohta

Abstract:

The purpose of this study is to provide a guideline to assist globally-minded companies in developing task-based English-language programs for their employees. After conducting an online self-assessment questionnaire comprised of 45 job-related tasks, we analyzed responses received from 3,000 Japanese company employees and developed a checklist that considered three areas: (i) the percentage of those who need to accomplish English-language tasks in their workplace (need for English), (ii) a five-point self-assessment score (task performance level), and (iii) the impact of previous task experience on perceived performance (experience factor). The 45 tasks were graded according to five proficiency levels. Our results helped us to create a core guideline that may assist companies in two ways: first, in helping determine which tasks employees with a certain English proficiency should be able to satisfactorily carry out, and secondly, to quickly prioritize which business-related English skills they would need in future English language programs.

Keywords: business settings, can-do statements, English language training programs, self-assessment, task experience

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2714 A Study of Language Choice and Use among Young Thai in Malaysia

Authors: Din Eak Arathai

Abstract:

The purpose of this research report is to investigate the language choice and use among the young generation of Malaysian Thais community. Besides that, it aims to investigate if there is a difference in language choice across the different domains. It will also examine if there has been a language shift from Thai to other languages by the young generation of Thai community in Malaysia. First the study focuses on the proficiency of Thai and other languages used by hundred (100) respondents belonging to young generation of Malaysian Thais aged range from 18-35. Next, language use and choice will be presented with a focus on the domains of family, friendship, entertainment and social. Finally, based on the findings and data collected, we will be able to see if language shift from Thai to other languages has occurred among the young Thai generation in Malaysia. The instrument used in this study was a 30-item questionnaire and the findings of the data analysis were presented in the form of frequency counts and percentages. The findings found that Thai language remains the most preferred language of choice among young Malaysian Thais but usage of other languages, such as Malay, English and Mandarin has increased and begun to influence the language choice of young Malaysian Thais and their proficiency of their mother tongue.In all the domains studied, Thai is almost exclusively the preferred language used when communicating with family. Malay is the most preferred language in communicating with friends while English is the most preferred language when communicating with colleagues. With regards to social and entertainment activities, young Malaysian Thais show great affinity for entertainment in the Thai language. In conclusion, the result of the study showed the beginning of young Malaysian Thais shifting to other languages, especially English and Malay through their daily choices when communicating with friends and family and especially through their language preferences in entertainment.

Keywords: language choice, language use, language shift, language maintenance, young Malaysian Thais, code switching, code mixing

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2713 Evaluating Textbooks for Brazilian Air Traffic Controllers’ English Language Training: A Checklist Proposal

Authors: Elida M. R. Bonifacio

Abstract:

English language proficiency has become an essential issue in aviation communication after aviation incidents, and accidents happened. Lack of proficiency or inappropriate use of the English language has been found as one of the factors that cause most of those incidents or accidents. Therefore, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) established the requirements for minimum English language proficiency of aviation personnel, especially pilots and air traffic controllers in the 192 member states. In Brazil, the discussions about this topic became patent after an accident that occurred in 2006, which was a mid-air collision and costed the life of 154 passengers and crew members. Thus, the number of schools and private practitioners willing to teach English for aviation purposes started to increase. Although the number of teaching materials internationally used for general purposes is relatively large, it would be inappropriate to adopt the same materials in classes that focus on communication in aviation contexts. On the contrary, the options of aviation English materials are scarce; moreover, they are internationally used and may not fulfill the linguistic needs of all their users around the world. In order to diminish the problems that Brazilian practitioners may encounter in the adoption of materials that demand a great level of adaptation to meet their students’ needs, a checklist was thought to evaluate textbooks. The aim of this paper is to propose a checklist that evaluates textbooks used in English language training of Brazilian air traffic controllers. The criteria used to compound the checklist are based on materials development literature, as well as on linguistic requirements established by ICAO on its publications, on English for Specific Purposes (ESP) principles, and on Brazilian aviation English language proficiency test format. The checklist has as main indicators the language learning tenets under which the book was written, graphical features, lexical, grammatical and functional competencies required for minimum proficiency, similarities to official testing format, and support materials, totaling 117 items marked as YES, NO or PARTIALLY. In order to verify if the use of the checklist is effective, an aviation English textbook was evaluated. From this evaluation, it is possible to measure quantitatively how much the material meets the students’ needs and to offer a tool to help professionals engaged in aviation English teaching around the world to choose the most appropriate textbook according to their audience. From the results, practitioners are able to verify which items the material does not fulfill and to make proper adaptations since the perfect material will be difficult to find.

Keywords: aviation English, ICAO, materials development, English language proficiency

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2712 Investigating Self-Confidence Influence on English as a Foreign Language Student English Language Proficiency Level

Authors: Ali A. Alshahrani

Abstract:

This study aims to identify Saudi English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students' perspectives towards using the English language in their studies. The study explores students' self-confident and its association with students' actual performance in English courses in their different academic programs. A multimodal methodology was used to fulfill the research purpose and answer the research questions. A 25-item survey questionnaire and final examination grades were used to collect data. Two hundred forty-one students agreed to participate in the study. They completed the questionnaire and agreed to release their final grades to be a part of the collected data. The data were coded and analyzed by SPSS software. The findings indicated a significant difference in students' performance in English courses between participants' academic programs on the one hand. Students' self-confidence in their English language skills, on the other hand, was not significantly different between participants' academic programs. Data analysis also revealed no correlational relationship between students' self-confidence level and their language skills and their performance. The study raises more questions about other vital factors such as course instructors' views of the materials, faculty members of the target department, family belief in the usefulness of the program, potential employers. These views and beliefs shape the student's preparation process and, therefore, should be explored further.

Keywords: English language intensive program, language proficiency, performance, self-confidence

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2711 Lexical-Semantic Processing by Chinese as a Second Language Learners

Authors: Yi-Hsiu Lai

Abstract:

The present study aimed to elucidate the lexical-semantic processing for Chinese as second language (CSL) learners. Twenty L1 speakers of Chinese and twenty CSL learners in Taiwan participated in a picture naming task and a category fluency task. Based on their Chinese proficiency levels, these CSL learners were further divided into two sub-groups: ten CSL learners of elementary Chinese proficiency level and ten CSL learners of intermediate Chinese proficiency level. Instruments for the naming task were sixty black-and-white pictures: thirty-five object pictures and twenty-five action pictures. Object pictures were divided into two categories: living objects and non-living objects. Action pictures were composed of two categories: action verbs and process verbs. As in the naming task, the category fluency task consisted of two semantic categories – objects (i.e., living and non-living objects) and actions (i.e., action and process verbs). Participants were asked to report as many items within a category as possible in one minute. Oral productions were tape-recorded and transcribed for further analysis. Both error types and error frequency were calculated. Statistical analysis was further conducted to examine these error types and frequency made by CSL learners. Additionally, category effects, pictorial effects and L2 proficiency were discussed. Findings in the present study helped characterize the lexical-semantic process of Chinese naming in CSL learners of different Chinese proficiency levels and made contributions to Chinese vocabulary teaching and learning in the future.

Keywords: lexical-semantic processing, Mandarin Chinese, naming, category effects

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2710 Levels of Reflection in Engineers EFL Learners: The Path to Content and Language Integrated Learning Implementation in Chilean Higher Education

Authors: Sebastián Olivares Lizana, Marianna Oyanedel González

Abstract:

This study takes part of a major project based on implementing a CLIL program (Content and Language Integrated Learning) at Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, a leading Chilean tertiary Institution. It aims at examining the relationship between the development of Reflective Processes (RP) and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) in weekly learning logs written by faculty members, participants of an initial professional development online course on English for Academic Purposes (EAP). Such course was designed with a genre-based approach, and consists of multiple tasks directed to academic writing proficiency. The results of this analysis will be described and classified in a scale of key indicators that represent both the Reflective Processes and the advances in CALP, and that also consider linguistic proficiency and task progression. Such indicators will evidence affordances and constrains of using a genre-based approach in an EFL Engineering CLIL program implementation at tertiary level in Chile, and will serve as the starting point to the design of a professional development course directed to teaching methodologies in a CLIL EFL environment in Engineering education at Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María.

Keywords: EFL, EAL, genre, CLIL, engineering

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