Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 22

Second language acquisition Related Abstracts

22 Efficacy of Clickers in L2 Interaction

Authors: Ryoo Hye Jin Agnes

Abstract:

This study aims to investigate the efficacy of clickers in fostering L2 class interaction. In an L2 classroom, active learner-to-learner interactions and learner-to-teacher interactions play an important role in language acquisition. In light of this, introducing learning tools that promote such interactions would benefit L2 classroom by fostering interaction. This is because the anonymity of clickers allows learners to express their needs without the social risks associated with speaking up in the class. clickers therefore efficiently help learners express their level of understanding during the process of learning itself. This allows for an evaluative feedback loop where both learners and teachers understand the level of progress of the learners, better enabling classrooms to adapt to the learners’ needs. Eventually this tool promotes participation from learners. This, in turn, is believed to be effective in fostering classroom interaction, allowing learning to take place in a more comfortable yet vibrant way. This study is finalized by presenting the result of an experiment conducted to verify the effectiveness of this approach when teaching pragmatic aspect of Korean expressions with similar semantic functions. The learning achievement of learners in the experimental group was found higher than the learners’ in a control group. A survey was distributed to the learners, questioning them regarding the efficacy of clickers, and how it contributed to their learning in areas such as motivation, self-assessment, increasing participation, as well as giving feedback to teachers. Analyzing the data collected from the questionnaire given to the learners, the study presented data suggesting that this approach increased the scope of interactivity in the classroom, thus not only increasing participation but enhancing the type of classroom participation among learners. This participation in turn led to a marked improvement in their communicative abilities.

Keywords: Interaction, Second language acquisition, clickers, learner response system, output from learners, learner’s cognitive process

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21 Error Analysis of English Inflection among Thai University Students

Authors: Suwaree Yordchim, Toby J. Gibbs

Abstract:

The linguistic competence of Thai university students majoring in Business English was examined in the context of knowledge of English language inflection, and also various linguistic elements. Errors analysis was applied to the results of the testing. Levels of errors in inflection, tense and linguistic elements were shown to be significantly high for all noun, verb and adjective inflections. Findings suggest that students do not gain linguistic competence in their use of English language inflection, because of interlanguage interference. Implications for curriculum reform and treatment of errors in the classroom are discussed.

Keywords: Second language acquisition, Error Analysis, interlanguage, inflection, Thai students

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20 The Role of Extrovert and Introvert Personality in Second Language Acquisition

Authors: Fatma Hsain Ali Suliman

Abstract:

Personality plays an important role in acquiring a second language. For second language learners to make maximum progress with their own learning styles, their individual differences must be recognized and attended to. Personality is considered to be a pattern of unique characteristics that give a person’s behavior a kind of consistency and individuality. Therefore, the enclosed study, which is entitled “The Role of Personality in Second language Acquisition: Extroversion and Introversion”, tends to shed light on the relationship between learners’ personalities and second language acquisition process. In other words, it aims at drawing attention to how individual differences of students as being extroverts or introverts could affect the language acquisition process. As a literature review, this paper discusses the results of some studies concerning this issue as well as the point views of researchers and scholars who have focused on the effect of extrovert and introvert personality on acquiring a second language. To accomplish the goals of this study, which is divided into 5 chapters including introduction, review of related literature, research method and design, results and discussions and conclusions and recommendations, 20 students of English Department, Faculty of Arts, Misurata University, Libya were handed out a questionnaire to figure out the effect of their personalities on the learning process. Finally, to be more sure about the role of personality in a second language acquisition process, the same students who were given the questionnaire were observed in their ESL classes.

Keywords: Personality, Individual Differences, Second language acquisition, language learning strategy, extroversion, introversion, personality factors, psycho linguistics

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19 English Classroom for SLA of Students and SME Entrepreneurs in Thailand

Authors: G. Anugkakul, S. Yordchim, T. Gibbs

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The English competence of Thai people was examined in the context of knowledge of English in everyday life for SME entrepreneurs, and also integrated with SLA students’ classroom. Second language acquisition was applied to the results of the questionnaires and interview forms. Levels of the need on English used for SME entrepreneurs in Thailand, satisfaction on joining the street classroom project were shown to be significantly high for some certain language functions and satisfaction. Finding suggests that the language functions on etiquette for professional use is essential and useful because lesson learned can be used in the real situation for their career. Implications for the climate of the street classroom are discussed.

Keywords: Second language acquisition, SME entrepreneurs, Thai students, English classroom

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18 2L1, a Bridge between L1 and L2

Authors: Elena Ginghina

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There are two major categories of language acquisition: first and second language acquisition, which distinguish themselves in their learning process and in their ultimate attainment. However, in the case of a bilingual child, one of the languages he grows up with receives gradually the features of a second language. This phenomenon characterizes the successive first language acquisition, when the initial state of the child is already marked by another language. Nevertheless, the dominance of the languages can change throughout the life, if the exposure to language and the quality of the input are better in 2L1. Related to the exposure to language and the quality of the input, there are cases even at the simultaneous bilingualism, where the two languages although learned from birth one, differ from one another at some point. This paper aims to see, what makes a 2L1 to become a second language and under what circumstances can a L2 learner reach a native or a near native speaker level.

Keywords: bilingualism, Second language acquisition, First Language Acquisition, native speakers of German

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17 A Study of Transferable Strategies in Multilanguage Learning

Authors: Zixi You

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With the demand of multilingual speakers increasing in the job market, multi-language learning programs have become more and more popular among undergraduate students. A study on multi-language learning strategies is therefore highly demanded on both practical and theoretical levels. Based on previous classification of learning strategies in SLA, and an investigation of BA Modern Language program students (with post-A level L2 and ab initio L3 learning experience from year one), this study explores and compares different types of learning strategies used by multi-language speakers and learners, transferable learning strategies between L2 and L3, and factors affecting the transfer. The results indicate that all the 23 types of learning strategies of L2 are employed when learning L3 from ab initio level, yet with different tendencies. Learning strategy transfer from L2 to L3 (i.e., the learners attribute the applying of these L3 learning strategies to be a direct result of their L2 learning experience) are observed in all 23 types of learning strategies. Comparatively, six types of “cognitive strategies” have higher transfer tendency than others. With regard to the failure of the transfer of some particular L2 strategies and the development of independent L3 strategies of individual learners, factors such as language proficiency, language typology and learning environment have played important roles among others. The presentation of this study will provide audiences with detailed data, insightful analysis and discussion on both theoretical and practical aspects of multi-language learning that will benefit both students and educators.

Keywords: Second language acquisition, learning strategy, multi-language acquisition, strategy transfer

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16 L2 Acquisition of Tense and Aspect by Cantonese and Mandarin ESL Learners of Different Proficiency Levels

Authors: Mable Chan

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The present study about the acquisition of tense and aspect by Cantonese and Mandarin ESL learners aims to investigate the relationship between knowledge, the role that classroom input plays in the development of that knowledge, and learners' use of the L2 knowledge they acquire (i.e. their performance). Chinese has been argued as a tenseless language and Chinese ESL learners have to acquire the property from scratch. The study of acquisition of tense and aspect is a very fruitful research area in second language acquisition for a number of reasons. First, tense and aspect are notorious for being difficult for Chinese ESL learners. Second, to our knowledge, no studies have been done to compare Cantonese and Mandarin ESL learners and age effects in one single study. Data are now being collected and the findings from this comparison study of tense-aspect acquisition will shed light on both theoretical and pedagogical issues in second language acquisition, and contribute to a better understanding of both theoretical aspect concerning L2 acquisition of tense and aspect, and pedagogy of tense for L2 Chinese ESL learners.

Keywords: Second language acquisition, universal grammar, tense, aspect

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15 The Effect of Iconic and Beat Gestures on Memory Recall in Greek’s First and Second Language

Authors: Eleni Ioanna Levantinou

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Gestures play a major role in comprehension and memory recall due to the fact that aid the efficient channel of the meaning and support listeners’ comprehension and memory. In the present study, the assistance of two kinds of gestures (iconic and beat gestures) is tested in regards to memory and recall. The hypothesis investigated here is whether or not iconic and beat gestures provide assistance in memory and recall in Greek and in Greek speakers’ second language. Two groups of participants were formed, one comprising Greeks that reside in Athens and one with Greeks that reside in Copenhagen. Three kinds of stimuli were used: A video with words accompanied with iconic gestures, a video with words accompanied with beat gestures and a video with words alone. The languages used are Greek and English. The words in the English videos were spoken by a native English speaker and by a Greek speaker talking English. The reason for this is that when it comes to beat gestures that serve a meta-cognitive function and are generated according to the intonation of a language, prosody plays a major role. Thus, participants that have different influences in prosody may generate different results from rhythmic gestures. Memory recall was assessed by asking the participants to try to remember as many words as they could after viewing each video. Results show that iconic gestures provide significant assistance in memory and recall in Greek and in English whether they are produced by a native or a second language speaker. In the case of beat gestures though, the findings indicate that beat gestures may not play such a significant role in Greek language. As far as intonation is concerned, a significant difference was not found in the case of beat gestures produced by a native English speaker and by a Greek speaker talking English.

Keywords: Memory, Second language acquisition, gestures, first language

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14 Age and Second Language Acquisition: A Case Study from Maldives

Authors: Aaidha Hammad

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The age a child to be exposed to a second language is a controversial issue in communities such as the Maldives where English is taught as a second language. It has been observed that different stakeholders have different viewpoints towards the issue. Some believe that the earlier children are exposed to a second language, the better they learn, while others disagree with the notion. Hence, this case study investigates whether children learn a second language better when they are exposed at an earlier age or not. The spoken and written data collected confirm that earlier exposure helps in mastering the sound pattern and speaking fluency with more native-like accent, while a later age is better for learning more abstract and concrete aspects such as grammar and syntactic rules.

Keywords: Second language acquisition, age, fluency, development of language skills

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13 Reflections on the Role of Cultural Identity in a Bilingual Education Program

Authors: Lina Tenjo, Ilba Rodríguez

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The role of cultural identity in bilingual programs has been barely discussed in regards to SLA. This research focuses on providing relevant information that helps in having more knowledge about the experiences that an elementary student has during the second language learning process in a bilingual program within a multicultural context. This study explores the experience of 18 students in a dual language program, in a public elementary school in Northern Virginia, USA. It examines their dual language experience and the different ways this experience contributes to the formation of their cultural identity. The findings were studied with the purpose of determining the relationship between participants and certain aspects of cultural identity in a multicultural context. The reflections that originate from the voices of children are the key source that helps us to better understand the particular needs that young learners have during their participation in a DLP.

Keywords: Culture, Identity, Bilingual education, Second language acquisition, Acculturation, dual language program

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12 English Language Acquisition and Flipped Classroom

Authors: Yuqing Sun

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Nowadays, English has been taught in many countries as a second language. One of the major ways to learn this language is through the class teaching. As in the field of second language acquisition, there are many factors to affect its acquisition processes, such as the target language itself, a learner’s personality, cognitive factor, language transfer, and the outward factors (teaching method, classroom, environmental factor, teaching policy, social environment and so on). Flipped Classroom as a newly developed classroom model has been widely used in language teaching classroom, which was, to some extent, accepted by teachers and students for its effect. It distinguishes itself from the traditional classroom for its focus on the learner and its great importance attaching to the personal learning process and the application of technology. The class becomes discussion-targeted, and the class order is somewhat inverted since the teaching process is carried out outside the class, while the class is only for knowledge-internalization. This paper will concentrate on the influences of the flipped classroom, as a classroom affecting factor, on the the process of English acquisition by the way of case studies (English teaching class in China), and the analysis of the mechanism of the flipped classroom itself to propose some feasible advice of promoting the the effectiveness of English acquisition.

Keywords: English, Second language acquisition, Flipped Classroom, case

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11 Interaction Tasks of CUE Model in Virtual Language Learning in Travel English for Taiwanese College EFL Learners

Authors: Kuei-Hao Li, Eden Huang

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Motivation suggests the willingness one person has towards taking action. Learners’ motivation has frequently been regarded as the most crucial factor in successful language acquisition. Without sufficient motivation, learners cannot achieve long-term learning goals despite remarkable abilities. Therefore, the study aims to investigate motivation of interaction tasks designed by the researchers for college EFL learners in Travel English class in virtual reality environment, integrating CUE model, Cognition, Usage and Expansion in the course. Thirty college learners were asked to join the virtual language learning website designed by the researchers. Data was collected via feedback questionnaire, interview, and learner interactions. The findings indicated that the course in the CUE model in language learning website of virtual reality environment was effective at motivating EFL learners and improving their oral communication and social interactions in the learning process. Some pedagogical implications are also provided in helping both language instructors and EFL learners in virtual reality environment.

Keywords: Virtual Reality, Second language acquisition, Motivation, virtual language learning

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10 The Noun-Phrase Elements on the Usage of the Zero Article

Authors: Wen Zhen

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Compared to content words, function words have been relatively overlooked by English learners especially articles. The article system, to a certain extent, becomes a resistance to know English better, driven by different elements. Three principal factors can be summarized in term of the nature of the articles when referring to the difficulty of the English article system. However, making the article system more complex are difficulties in the second acquisition process, for [-ART] learners have to create another category, causing even most non-native speakers at proficiency level to make errors. According to the sequences of acquisition of the English article, it is showed that the zero article is first acquired and in high inaccuracy. The zero article is often overused in the early stages of L2 acquisition. Although learners at the intermediate level move to underuse the zero article for they realize that the zero article does not cover any case, overproduction of the zero article even occurs among advanced L2 learners. The aim of the study is to investigate noun-phrase factors which give rise to incorrect usage or overuse of the zero article, thus providing suggestions for L2 English acquisition. Moreover, it enables teachers to carry out effective instruction that activate conscious learning of students. The research question will be answered through a corpus-based, data- driven approach to analyze the noun-phrase elements from the semantic context and countability of noun-phrases. Based on the analysis of the International Thurber Thesis corpus, the results show that: (1) Although context of [-definite,-specific] favored the zero article, both[-definite,+specific] and [+definite,-specific] showed less influence. When we reflect on the frequency order of the zero article , prototypicality plays a vital role in it .(2)EFL learners in this study have trouble classifying abstract nouns as countable. We can find that it will bring about overuse of the zero article when learners can not make clear judgements on countability altered from (+definite ) to (-definite).Once a noun is perceived as uncountable by learners, the choice would fall back on the zero article. These findings suggest that learners should be engaged in recognition of the countability of new vocabulary by explaining nouns in lexical phrases and explore more complex aspects such as analysis dependent on discourse.

Keywords: Second language acquisition, corpus, noun phrase, zero article

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9 The Phonology and Phonetics of Second Language Intonation in Case of “Downstep”

Authors: Tayebeh Norouzi

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This study aims to investigate the acquisition process of intonation. It examines the intonation structure of Tokyo Japanese and its realization by Iranian learners of Japanese. Seven Iranian learners of Japanese, differing in fluency, and two Japanese speakers participated in the experiment. Two sentences were used to test the phonological and phonetic characteristics of lexical pitch-accent as well as the intonation patterns produced by the speakers. Both sentences consisted of similar words with the same number of syllables and lexical pitch-accents but different syntactic structure. Speakers were asked to read each sentence three times at normal speed, and the data were analyzed by Praat. The results show that lexical pitch-accent, Accentual Phrase (AP) and AP boundary tone realization vary depending on sentence type. For sentences of type XdeYwo, the lexical pitch-accent is realized properly. However, there is a rise in AP boundary tone regardless of speakers’ level of fluency. In contrast, in sentences of type XnoYwo, the lexical pitch-accent and AP boundary tone vary depending on the speakers’ fluency level. Advanced speakers are better at grouping words into phrases and produce more native-like intonation patterns, though they are not able to realize downstep properly. The non-native speakers tried to realize proper intonation patterns by making changes in lexical accent and boundary tone.

Keywords: Second language acquisition, Intonation, Iranian learners, Japanese prosody, lexical accent

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8 The Positive Effects of Processing Instruction on the Acquisition of French as a Second Language: An Eye-Tracking Study

Authors: Cecile Laval, Harriet Lowe

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Processing Instruction is a psycholinguistic pedagogical approach drawing insights from the Input Processing Model which establishes the initial innate strategies used by second language learners to connect form and meaning of linguistic features. With the ever-growing use of technology in Second Language Acquisition research, the present study uses eye-tracking to measure the effectiveness of Processing Instruction in the acquisition of French and its effects on learner’s cognitive strategies. The experiment was designed using a TOBII Pro-TX300 eye-tracker to measure participants’ default strategies when processing French linguistic input and any cognitive changes after receiving Processing Instruction treatment. Participants were drawn from lower intermediate adult learners of French at the University of Greenwich and randomly assigned to two groups. The study used a pre-test/post-test methodology. The pre-tests (one per linguistic item) were administered via the eye-tracker to both groups one week prior to instructional treatment. One group received full Processing Instruction treatment (explicit information on the grammatical item and on the processing strategies, and structured input activities) on the primary target linguistic feature (French past tense imperfective aspect). The second group received Processing Instruction treatment except the explicit information on the processing strategies. Three immediate post-tests on the three grammatical structures under investigation (French past tense imperfective aspect, French Subjunctive used for the expression of doubt, and the French causative construction with Faire) were administered with the eye-tracker. The eye-tracking data showed the positive change in learners’ processing of the French target features after instruction with improvement in the interpretation of the three linguistic features under investigation. 100% of participants in both groups made a statistically significant improvement (p=0.001) in the interpretation of the primary target feature (French past tense imperfective aspect) after treatment. 62.5% of participants made an improvement in the secondary target item (French Subjunctive used for the expression of doubt) and 37.5% of participants made an improvement in the cumulative target feature (French causative construction with Faire). Statistically there was no significant difference between the pre-test and post-test scores in the cumulative target feature; however, the variance approximately tripled between the pre-test and the post-test (3.9 pre-test and 9.6 post-test). This suggests that the treatment does not affect participants homogenously and implies a role for individual differences in the transfer-of-training effect of Processing Instruction. The use of eye-tracking provides an opportunity for the study of unconscious processing decisions made during moment-by-moment comprehension. The visual data from the eye-tracking demonstrates changes in participants’ processing strategies. Gaze plots from pre- and post-tests display participants fixation points changing from focusing on content words to focusing on the verb ending. This change in processing strategies can be clearly seen in the interpretation of sentences in both primary and secondary target features. This paper will present the research methodology, design and results of the experimental study using eye-tracking to investigate the primary effects and transfer-of-training effects of Processing Instruction. It will then provide evidence of the cognitive benefits of Processing Instruction in Second Language Acquisition and offer suggestion in second language teaching of grammar.

Keywords: Language Teaching, Second language acquisition, eye-tracking, processing instruction

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7 Adult Language Learning in the Institute of Technology Sector in the Republic of Ireland

Authors: Una Carthy

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A recent study of third level institutions in Ireland reveals that both age and aptitude can be overcome by teaching methodologies to motivate second language learners. This PhD investigation gathered quantitative and qualitative data from 14 Institutes of Technology over a three years period from 2011 to 2014. The fundamental research question was to establish the impact of institutional language policy on attitudes towards language learning. However, other related issues around second language acquisition arose in the course of the investigation. Data were collected from both lectures and students, allowing interesting points of comparison to emerge from both datasets. Negative perceptions among lecturers regarding language provision were often associated with the view that language learning belongs to primary and secondary level and has no place in third level education. This perception was offset by substantial data showing positive attitudes towards adult language learning. Lenneberg’s Critical Age Theory postulated that the optimum age for learning a second language is before puberty. More recently, scholars have challenged this theory in their studies, revealing that mature learners can and do succeed at learning languages. With regard to aptitude, a preoccupation among lecturers regarding poor literacy skills among students emerged and was often associated with resistance to second language acquisition. This was offset by a preponderance of qualitative data from students highlighting the crucial role which teaching approaches play in the learning process. Interestingly, the data collected regarding learning disabilities reveals that, given the appropriate learning environments, individuals can be motivated to acquire second languages, and indeed succeed at learning them. These findings are in keeping with other recent studies regarding attitudes towards second language learning among students with learning disabilities. Both sets of findings reinforce the case for language policies in the Institute of Technology (IoTs). Supportive and positive learning environments can be created in third level institutions to motivate adult learners, thereby overcoming perceived obstacles relating to age and aptitude.

Keywords: Second language acquisition, age, teaching methodologies, aptitude

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6 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: Second language acquisition, Research Design, neuroimaging studies, task validity

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5 Integrating Flipped Instruction to Enhance Second Language Acquisition

Authors: Borja Ruiz de Arbulo Alonso

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This paper analyzes the impact of flipped instruction in adult learners of Spanish as a second language in a face-to-face course at Boston University. Given the limited amount of contact hours devoted to studying world languages in the American higher education system, implementing strategies to free up classroom time for communicative language practice is key to ensure student success in their learning process. In an effort to improve the way adult learners acquire a second language, this paper examines the role that regular pre-class and web-based exposure to Spanish grammar plays in student performance at the end of the academic term. It outlines different types of web-based pre-class activities and compares this approach to more traditional classroom practice. To do so, this study works for three months with two similar groups of adult learners in an intermediate-level Spanish class. Both groups use the same course program and have the same previous language experience, but one receives an additional set of instructor-made online materials containing a variety of grammar explanations and online activities that need to be reviewed before attending class. Since the online activities cover material and concepts that have not yet been studied in class, students' oral and written production in both groups is measured by means of a writing activity and an audio recording at the end of the three-month period. These assessments will ascertain the effects of exposing the control group to the grammar of the target language prior to each lecture throughout and demonstrate where flipped instruction helps adult learners of Spanish achieve higher performance, but also identify potential problems.

Keywords: Educational Technology, Student success, Second language acquisition, Flipped Classroom

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4 Dual Language Immersion Models in Theory and Practice

Authors: S. Gordon

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Dual language immersion is growing fast in language teaching today. This study provides an overview and evaluation of the different models of Dual language immersion programs in US K-12 schools. First, the paper provides a brief current literature review on the theory of Dual Language Immersion (DLI) in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) studies. Second, examples of several types of DLI language teaching models in US K-12 public schools are presented (including 50/50 models, 90/10 models, etc.). Third, we focus on the unique example of DLI education in the state of Utah, a successful, growing program in K-12 schools that includes: French, Chinese, Spanish, and Portuguese. The project investigates the theory and practice particularly of the case of public elementary and secondary school children that study half their school day in the L1 and the other half in the chosen L2, from kindergarten (age 5-6) through high school (age 17-18). Finally, the project takes the observations of Utah French DLI elementary through secondary programs as a case study. To conclude, we look at the principal challenges, pedagogical objectives and outcomes, and important implications for other US states and other countries (such as France currently) that are in the process of developing similar language learning programs.

Keywords: Teaching, Language Teaching, pedagogy, French, Second language acquisition, dual language immersion

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3 Learner's Difficulties Acquiring English: The Case of Native Speakers of Rio de La Plata Spanish Towards Justifying the Need for Corpora

Authors: Maria Zinnia Bardas Hoffmann

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Contrastive Analysis (CA) is the systematic comparison between two languages. It stems from the notion that errors are caused by interference of the L1 system in the acquisition process of an L2. CA represents a useful tool to understand the nature of learning and acquisition. Also, this particular method promises a path to un-derstand the nature of underlying cognitive processes, even when other factors such as intrinsic motivation and teaching strategies were found to best explain student’s problems in acquisition. CA study is justified not only from the need to get a deeper understanding of the nature of SLA, but as an invaluable source to provide clues, at a cognitive level, for those general processes involved in rule formation and abstract thought. It is relevant for cross disciplinary studies and the fields of Computational Thought, Natural Language processing, Applied Linguistics, Cognitive Linguistics and Math Theory. That being said, this paper intends to address here as well its own set of constraints and limitations. Finally, this paper: (a) aims at identifying some of the difficulties students may find in their learning process due to the nature of their specific variety of L1, Rio de la Plata Spanish (RPS), (b) represents an attempt to discuss the necessity for specific models to approach CA.

Keywords: Applied Linguistics, natural language processing, Second language acquisition, Contrastive Analysis, applied contrastive analysis English language department, meta-linguistic rules, cross-linguistics studies, computational thought

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2 Teaching English for Children in Public Schools Can Work in Egypt

Authors: Shereen Kamel

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This study explores the recent application of bilingual education in Egyptian public schools. It aims to provide an overall picture of bilingual education programs globally and examine its adequacy to the Egyptian social and cultural context. The study also assesses the current application process of teaching English as a Second Language in public schools from the early childhood education stage and onwards, instead of starting it from middle school; as a strategy that promotes English language proficiency and equity among students. The theoretical framework is based on Jim Cummins’ bilingual education theories and on recent trends adopting different developmental theories and perspectives, like Stephen Crashen’s theory of Second Language Acquisition that calls for communicative and meaningful interaction rather than memorization of grammatical rules. The question posed here is whether bilingual education, with its peculiar nature, could be a good chance to reach out to all Egyptian students and prepare them to become global citizens. In addition to this, a more specific question is related to the extent to which social and cultural variables can affect the young learners’ second language acquisition. This exploratory analytical study uses mixed-methods research design to examine the application of bilingual education in Egyptian public schools. The study uses a cluster sample of schools in Egypt from different social and cultural backgrounds to assess the determining variables. The qualitative emphasis is on interviewing teachers and reviewing students’ achievement documents. The quantitative aspect is based on observations of in-class activities through tally sheets and checklists. Having access to schools and documents is authorized by governmental and institutional research bodies. Data sources will comprise achievement records, students’ portfolios, parents’ feedback and teachers’ viewpoints. Triangulation and SPSS will be used for analysis. Based on the gathered data, new curricula have been assigned for elementary grades and teachers have been required to teach the newly developed materials all of a sudden without any prior training. Due to shortage in the teaching force, many assigned teachers have not been proficient in the English language. Hence, teachers’ incompetency and unpreparedness to teach this grade specific curriculum constitute a great challenge in the implementation phase. Nevertheless, the young learners themselves as well as their parents seem to be enthusiastic about the idea itself. According to the findings of this research study, teaching English as a Second Language to children in public schools can be applicable and is culturally relevant to the Egyptian context. However, there might be some social and cultural differences and constraints when it comes to application in addition to various aspects regarding teacher preparation. Therefore, a new mechanism should be incorporated to overcome these challenges for better results. Moreover, a new paradigm shift in these teacher development programs is direly needed. Furthermore, ongoing support and follow up are crucial to help both teachers and students realize the desired outcomes.

Keywords: Early Childhood Education, Language and Culture, Bilingual education, Second language acquisition, Communicative Approach

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1 Sensitivity to Misusing Verb Inflections in Both Finite and Non-Finite Clauses in Native and Non-Native Russian: A Self-Paced Reading Investigation

Authors: Yang Cao

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Analyzing the oral production of Chinese-speaking learners of English as a second language (L2), we can find a large variety of verb inflections – Why does it seem so hard for them to use consistent correct past morphologies in obligatory past contexts? Failed Functional Features Hypothesis (FFFH) attributes the rather non-target-like performance to the absence of [±past] feature in their L1 Chinese, arguing that for post puberty learners, new features in L2 are no more accessible. By contrast, Missing Surface Inflection Hypothesis (MSIH) tends to believe that all features are actually acquirable for late L2 learners, while due to the mapping difficulties from features to forms, it is hard for them to realize the consistent past morphologies on the surface. However, most of the studies are limited to the verb morphologies in finite clauses and few studies have ever attempted to figure out these learners’ performance in non-finite clauses. Additionally, it has been discussed that Chinese learners may be able to tell the finite/infinite distinction (i.e. the [±finite] feature might be selected in Chinese, even though the existence of [±past] is denied). Therefore, adopting a self-paced reading task (SPR), the current study aims to analyze the processing patterns of Chinese-speaking learners of L2 Russian, in order to find out if they are sensitive to misuse of tense morphologies in both finite and non-finite clauses and whether they are sensitive to the finite/infinite distinction presented in Russian. The study targets L2 Russian due to its systematic morphologies in both present and past tenses. A native Russian group, as well as a group of English-speaking learners of Russian, whose L1 has definitely selected both [±finite] and [±past] features, will also be involved. By comparing and contrasting performance of the three language groups, the study is going to further examine and discuss the two theories, FFFH and MSIH. Preliminary hypotheses are: a) Russian native speakers are expected to spend longer time reading the verb forms which violate the grammar; b) it is expected that Chinese participants are, at least, sensitive to the misuse of inflected verbs in non-finite clauses, although no sensitivity to the misuse of infinitives in finite clauses might be found. Therefore, an interaction of finite and grammaticality is expected to be found, which indicate that these learners are able to tell the finite/infinite distinction; and c) having selected [±finite] and [±past], English-speaking learners of Russian are expected to behave target-likely, supporting L1 transfer.

Keywords: Second language acquisition, features, morphosyntax, finite clauses, non-finite clauses, past morphologies, present morphologies, self-paced reading task, verb inflections

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