Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 16

Second Language Related Abstracts

16 Literacy in First and Second Language: Implication for Language Education

Authors: Inuwa Danladi Bawa


One of the challenges of African states in the development of education in the past and the present is the problem of literacy. Literacy in the first language is seen as a strong base for the development of second language; they are mostly the language of education. Language development is an offshoot of language planning; so the need to develop literacy in both first and second language affects language education and predicts the extent of achievement of the entire education sector. The need to balance literacy acquisition in first language for good conditioning the acquisition of second language is paramount. Likely constraints that includes; non-standardization, underdeveloped and undeveloped first languages are among many. Solutions to some of these include the development of materials and use of the stages and levels of literacy acquisition. This is with believed that a child writes well in second language if he has literacy in the first language.

Keywords: Linguistics, English Language, Literacy, Second Language, first language

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15 A Novel NRIS Index to Evaluate Brain Activity in Prefrontal Regions While Listening to First and Second Languages for Long Time Periods

Authors: Kensho Takahashi, Ko Watanabe, Takashi Kaburagi, Hiroshi Tanaka, Kajiro Watanabe, Yosuke Kurihara


Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) has been widely used as a non-invasive method to measure brain activity, but it is corrupted by baseline drift noise. Here we present a method to measure regional cerebral blood flow as a derivative of NIRS output. We investigate whether, when listening to languages, blood flow can reasonably localize and represent regional brain activity or not. The prefrontal blood flow distribution pattern when advanced second-language listeners listened to a second language (L2) was most similar to that when listening to their first language (L1) among the patterns of mean and standard deviation. In experiments with 25 healthy subjects, the maximum blood flow was localized to the left BA46 of advanced listeners. The blood flow presented is robust to baseline drift and stably localizes regional brain activity.

Keywords: Working memory, Second Language, first language, blood flow, NIRS, oxy-hemoglobin, baseline drift, BA46

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14 Exploring SL Writing and SL Sensitivity during Writing Tasks: Poor and Advanced Writing in a Context of Second Language other than English

Authors: Sandra Figueiredo, Margarida Alves Martins, Carlos Silva, Cristina Simões


This study integrates a larger research empirical project that examines second language (SL) learners’ profiles and valid procedures to perform complete and diagnostic assessment in schools. 102 learners of Portuguese as a SL aged 7 and 17 years speakers of distinct home languages were assessed in several linguistic tasks. In this article, we focused on writing performance in the specific task of narrative essay composition. The written outputs were measured using the score in six components adapted from an English SL assessment context (Alberta Education): linguistic vocabulary, grammar, syntax, strategy, socio-linguistic, and discourse. The writing processes and strategies in Portuguese language used by different immigrant students were analysed to determine features and diversity of deficits on authentic texts performed by SL writers. Differentiated performance was based on the diversity of the following variables: grades, previous schooling, home language, instruction in first language, and exposure to Portuguese as Second Language. Indo-Aryan languages speakers showed low writing scores compared to their peers and the type of language and respective cognitive mapping (such as Mandarin and Arabic) was the predictor, not linguistic distance. Home language instruction should also be prominently considered in further research to understand specificities of cognitive academic profile in a Romance languages learning context. Additionally, this study also examined the teachers representations that will be here addressed to understand educational implications of second language teaching in psychological distress of different minorities in schools of specific host countries.

Keywords: Second Language, immigrant students, writing assessment, home language, Portuguese language

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13 Grouping and the Use of Drums in the Teaching of Word Stress at the Middle Basic: A Pragmatic Approach

Authors: Onwumere O. J.


The teaching of stress at any level of education could be a daunting task for the second language teacher because most times, they are bereft of the right approach to use in teaching it even at the fact is that, teaching it. But the fact is that teaching stress even at the middle basic could be interesting if the right approach is employed. To this end, the researcher was of the view that grouping could be a very good strategy to employ in order to sustain the interest of the learner and that the use at drums would be a good way to concretise the teaching of stress at this level. He was able to do this by discussing stress, grouping as a good technique, and the use of drums in teaching stress. To establish the fact that the use of drums would be very effective, four research questions contained in a questionnaire were structured. Three hundred (300) teachers of English in four tertiary institutions, three secondary schools and three primary schools in Nigeria were used. Based on the data analysis and findings, suggestions were given on how teachers and learners could use drums to make the teaching and learning of stress enjoyable for both teachers and learners at the middle basic of education.

Keywords: Second Language, concretise, grouping, right approach

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12 Oral Fluency: A Case Study of L2 Learners in Canada

Authors: Maaly Jarrah


Oral fluency in the target language is what many second language learners hope to achieve by living abroad. Research in the past has demonstrated the role informal environments play in improving L2 learners' oral fluency. However, living in the target country and being part of its community does not ensure the development of oral fluency skills. L2 learners' desire to communicate and access to speaking opportunities in the host community are key in achieving oral fluency in the target language. This study attempts to identify differences in oral fluency, specifically speech rate, between learners who communicate in the L2 outside the classroom and those who do not. In addition, as the desire to communicate is a crucial factor in developing oral fluency, this study investigates whether or not learners' desire to speak the L2 outside the classroom plays a role in their frequency of L2 use outside the classroom. Finally, given the importance of the availability of speaking opportunities for L2 learners in order to practice their speaking skills, this study reports on the participants' perceptions of the speaking opportunities accessible to them in the target community while probing whether or not their perceptions differed based on their oral fluency level and their desire to communicate. The results suggest that exposure to the target language and daily communication with the native speakers is strongly related to the development of learners' oral fluency. Moreover, the findings suggest that learners' desire to communicate affects their frequency of communication in their L2 outside the classroom. At the same time, all participants, regardless of their oral fluency level and their desire to communicate, asserted that speaking opportunities beyond the classroom are very limited. Finally, the study finds there are marked differences in the perceptions learners have regarding opportunities for learning offered by the same language program. After reporting these results, the study concludes with recommendations for ESL programs that serve international students.

Keywords: Second Language, oral fluency, ESL programs, L2 Learners

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11 Speech Perception by Monolingual and Bilingual Dravidian Speakers under Adverse Listening Conditions

Authors: S. B. Rathna Kumar, Sale Kranthi, Sandya K. Varudhini


The precise perception of spoken language is influenced by several variables, including the listeners’ native language, distance between speaker and listener, reverberation and background noise. When noise is present in an acoustic environment, it masks the speech signal resulting in reduction in the redundancy of the acoustic and linguistic cues of speech. There is strong evidence that bilinguals face difficulty in speech perception for their second language compared with monolingual speakers under adverse listening conditions such as presence of background noise. This difficulty persists even for speakers who are highly proficient in their second language and is greater in those who have learned the second language later in life. The present study aimed to assess the performance of monolingual (Telugu speaking) and bilingual (Tamil as first language and Telugu as second language) speakers on Telugu speech perception task under quiet and noisy environments. The results indicated that both the groups performed similar in both quiet and noisy environments. The findings of the present study are not in accordance with the findings of previous studies which strongly report poorer speech perception in adverse listening conditions such as noise with bilingual speakers for their second language compared with monolinguals.

Keywords: Noise, Bilingual, Second Language, Speech Perception, monolingual, quiet

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10 Basic Education Curriculum in South- South Nigeria: Challenges and Opportunities of Quality Contents in the Second Language Learning

Authors: Catherine Alex Agbor


The modern Nigerian society is dynamic, divided in zones based on economic, political and educational resources often shared across the zones. The Six Geopolitical Zones in Nigeria is a major division in modern Nigeria, created during the regime of president Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. They are North Central, North East, North West, South East, South South and South West. However, the zone used in this study is known as former South-Eastern State of Akwa-Ibom State and Cross-River State; former Rivers State of Bayelsa State and Rivers State; and former Mid-Western Region, Nigeria of Delta State and Edo State. Many reforms have taken place overtime, particularly in the education sector. Education is constantly presenting new ideas and innovative approaches which act to facilitate the rapid exchange of knowledge and provide quality basic education for learners. The Federal Government of Nigeria in accordance with its National Council on Education directed the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council to restructure its basic education curriculum with the hope to enable the nation meet national and global developmental goals. One of the goals of the 9-year Basic Education Programme is developing in the entire citizenry a strong consciousness for education and a strong commitment to its vigorous promotion. Another is ensuring the acquisition of appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, manipulative, communicative and life-skills as well as the ethical, moral and civic values for laying a solid foundation for lifelong learning. Therefore, this article at the introductory stage is aimed to describe some key issues in Nigeria’s experience in the basic education curriculum. In this study, particular attention is paid to this very recent educational policy of the Nigerian government known as Universal Basic Education, its challenges and what can be done to make the policy achieve its desired objectives. It progresses to analyze modern requirements for second language teaching; and presents the challenges of second language teaching in Nigeria. Finally, it reports a study which investigated special efforts for appropriate achievement of quality education in language classroom in the south-south zone of Nigeria. One fundamental research question was posed on what educational practices can contribute to current understanding of the structure of language curriculum. More explicitly, the study was designed to analyze the extent to which quality content contributes to current understanding of the structure of school curriculum in the zone. Otherwise stated, it investigated how student-centred educational practices impact on their learning of French language. One hundred and eighty (180) participants (teachers) were purposefully sampled for the study. Qualitative technique was used to elicit information from participants. The qualitative method used was Focus Group Discussion (FGD). Participants were divided into six groups comprising of 30 teachers from each zone. Group discussions were based mainly on curriculum contents and practices. Information from participants revealed that the curriculum content, among others is inadequate and should be re-examined. Recommendations were proffered as a panacea to concrete implementation of the basic education in Nigeria.

Keywords: Basic Education, Second Language, quality contents, south-south states

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9 Study on Effective Continuous Assessments Methods to Improve Undergraduates English Language Skills

Authors: K. M. R. Siriwardhana


Sri Lanka is a developing country in South Asia which uses English as its second language. Today, most of the university students in Sri Lanka are eagerly exploring knowledge giving special consideration to English as their 2nd Language with the understanding that to climb up the career ladder, English is inevitable both in local and international contexts. However, still a considerable failing rate in English can also be seen among the Sri Lankan undergraduates Further, most of the Sri Lankan universities now practice English as their medium of instructions making English a credited Subject to brighten the future of the Sri Lankan students. Accordingly, in many universities an array of assessments are employed to evaluate undergraduates’ competence in English language. The main objective of this study was to ascertain the effective assessment methods to improve the 2nd language skills of the Sri Lankan university students which also create a more interest in them to learn English. Accordingly, hundred (100) undergraduates were selected as the research sample and the primary data was collected employing a semi structured questionnaire along with class room observations and semi structured interviews. Data was mainly analyzed descriptively employing graphical illustrations. According to the research findings, it was revealed that practical assessments such as oral tests, competitive drama and presentations are more effective in improving their language skills and preferred by the majority of students than written assignments and papers. Further, most of the students have scored better in practical assignments than in the written assignments. Hence, the study concludes that best and the benefited way of improving English language skills of Sri Lankan undergraduates is practical assessments as it gives them the opportunity to apply the language with much confidence and competence in actual situations. Further, the study recommends the language teachers to improve their own skills and creativity in practicing and employing such assessments as it will develop both second language teaching and learning skills. Ultimately, the university graduates will be able to secure their positions internationally as they are well capable in English, the lingua franca of the world.

Keywords: Second Language, Sri Lanka, assessments, undergraduates

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8 Target Training on Chinese as a Tonal Language for Better Communication

Authors: Qi Wang


Accurate pronunciation is the first condition of communication. Compared with the alphabetic languages, Chinese is more difficult for the foreigners to study as a second language, due to the tonal language with the meaningful characters as the written system, especially speaking. This research first presents the statistics of the typical errors of the pronunciations, based on the data of our two- year program of graduate students, which shown 90% of their speaking with strong foreign accents and no obvious change of the pitches, even if they could speak Chinese fluently. Second part, analyzed the caused reasons in the learning and teaching processes. Third part, this result of this research, based the theory of Chinese prosodic words, shown that the earlier the students get trained on prosodics at the beginning and suprasegmentals at intermediate and advanced levels, the better effects for them to communicate in Chinese as a second language.

Keywords: Second Language, Foot, suprasegmental, prosodic word

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7 Learning to Learn: A Course on Language Learning Strategies

Authors: Hélène Knoerr


In an increasingly global world, more and more international students attend academic courses and programs in a second or foreign language, and local students register in language learning classes in order to improve their employability. These students need to quickly become proficient in the new language. How can we, as administrators, curriculum developers and teachers, make sure that they have the tools they need in order to develop their language skills in an academic context? This paper will describe the development and implementation of a new course, Learning to learn, as part of the Major in French/English as a Second Language at the University of Ottawa. This academic program was recently completely overhauled in order to reflect the current approaches in language learning (more specifically, the action-oriented approach as embodied in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, and the concept of life-long autonomous learning). The course itself is based on research on language learning strategies, with a particular focus on the characteristics of the “good language learner”. We will present the methodological and pedagogical foundations, describe the course objectives and learning outcomes, the language learning strategies, and the classroom activities. The paper will conclude with students’ feedback and suggest avenues for further exploration.

Keywords: Language Learning, learning strategies, Curriculum Development, Second Language

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6 Learning Spanish as a Second Language: Using Infinitives as Verbal Complements

Authors: Jiyoung Yoon


This study examines Spanish textbook explanations of infinitival complements and how they can affect a learner’s second-language acquisition process. Verbs taking infinitival complements are commonly found in the mandate, volition, and emotion verbs, both for Spanish and English. However, while some English verbs take gerunds (María avoids eating/*to eat meat), in Spanish a gerund never functions as the complement of a verb (María evita comer/*comiendo carne). Because of these differences, English learners of Spanish often have difficulty acquiring infinitival complement constructions in Spanish. Specifically, they may employ English-like complement structures, producing such ungrammatical utterances as *Odio comiendo tacos ‘I hate eating tacos.' A compounding factor is that many Spanish textbooks do not emphasize the usages of infinitival complements and, when explanations are provided, they are often vague and insufficient. This study examines Spanish textbook explanations of infinitival complements (intermediate and advanced college-level Spanish textbooks and grammar reference books published in the United States) to determine areas that are problematic and insufficient and how they can affect learners’ second-language acquisition process. In this study, alternative principle-driven explanations are proposed as a replacement.

Keywords: Teaching, Spanish, Second Language, textbook, infinitival complement

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5 Like Making an Ancient Urn: Metaphor Conceptualization of L2 Writing

Authors: Muhalim Muhalim


Drawing on Lakoff’s theory of metaphor conceptualization, this article explores the conceptualization of language two writing (L2W) of ten students-teachers in Indonesia via metaphors. The ten postgraduate English language teaching students and at the same time (former) English teachers received seven days of intervention in teaching and learning L2. Using introspective log and focus group discussion, the results illuminate us that all participants are unanimous on perceiving L2W as process-oriented rather than product-oriented activity. Specifically, the metaphor conceptualizations exhibit three categories of process-oriented L2W: deliberate process, learning process, and problem-solving process. However, it has to be clarified from the outset that this categorization is not rigid because some of the properties of metaphors might belong to other categories. Results of the study and implications for English language teaching will be further discussed.

Keywords: Second Language, metaphor conceptualisation, learning writing, teaching writing

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4 Affective Attributes and Second Language Performance of Third Year Maritime Students: A Teacher's Compass

Authors: Sonia Pajaron, Flaviano Sentina, Ranulfo Etulle


Learning a second language calls for a total commitment from the learner whose response is necessary to successfully send and receive linguistic messages. It is relevant to virtually every aspect of human behaviour which is even more challenging when the components on -affective domains- are involved in second language learning. This study investigated the association between the identified affective attributes and second language performance of the one hundred seventeen (117) randomly selected third year maritime students. A descriptive-correlational method was utilized to generate data on their affective attributes while composition writing (2 series) and IELTS-based interview was done for speaking test. Additionally, to establish the respondents’ English language profile, data on their high school grades (GPA), entrance exam results in English subject (written) as well as in the interview was extracted as baseline information. Data were subjected to various statistical treatment (average means, percentages and pearson-r moment coefficient correlation) and found out that, Nautical Science and Marine Engineering students were found to have average high school grade, entrance test results, both written and in the interview turned out to be very satisfactory at 50% passing percentage. Varied results were manifested in their affective attributes towards learning the second language. On attitude, nautical science students had true positive attitude while marine engineering had only a moderate positive one. Secondly, the former were positively motivated to learn English while the latter were just moderately motivated. As regards anxiety, both groups embodied a moderate level of anxiety in the English language. Finally, data showed that nautical science students exuded real confidence while the marine engineering group had only moderate confidence with the second language. Respondents’ English academic achievement (GWA) was significantly correlated with confidence and speaking with anxiety towards the second language among the students from the nautical science group with moderate positive and low negative degree of correlation, respectively. On the other hand, the marine engineering students’ speaking test result was significantly correlated with anxiety and self-confidence with a moderate negative and low positive degree of correlation, respectively while writing was significantly correlated with motivation bearing a low positive degree of correlation.

Keywords: Anxiety, Second Language, attitude, affective attributes, second language performance, self-confidence and motivation

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3 Explaining Listening Comprehension among L2 Learners of English: The Contribution of Vocabulary Knowledge and Working Memory Capacity

Authors: Ahmed Masrai


Listening comprehension constitutes a considerable challenge for the second language (L2) learners, but a little is known about the explanatory power of different variables in explaining variance in listening comprehension. Since research in this area, to the researcher's knowledge, is relatively small in comparison to that focusing on the relationship between reading comprehension and factors such as vocabulary and working memory, there is a need for studies that are seeking to fill the gap in our knowledge about the specific contribution of working memory capacity (WMC), aural vocabulary knowledge and written vocabulary knowledge to explaining listening comprehension. Among 130 English as foreign language learners, the present study examines what proportion of the variance in listening comprehension is explained by aural vocabulary knowledge, written vocabulary knowledge, and WMC. Four measures were used to collect the required data for the study: (1) A-Lex, a measure of aural vocabulary knowledge; (2) XK-Lex, a measure of written vocabulary knowledge; (3) Listening Span Task, a measure of WMC and; (4) IELTS Listening Test, a measure of listening comprehension. The results show that aural vocabulary knowledge is the strongest predictor of listening comprehension, followed by WMC, while written vocabulary knowledge is the weakest predictor. The study discusses implications for the explanatory power of aural vocabulary knowledge and WMC to listening comprehension and pedagogical practice in L2 classrooms.

Keywords: Working memory, Second Language, listening Comprehension, vocabulary knowledge

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2 Constructions of Teaching English as a Second Language Teacher Trainees’ Professional Identities

Authors: K. S. Kan


The main purpose of this paper is to deepen the current understanding of how a Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) teacher trainee self is constructed. The present aim of Malaysian TESL teacher education is to train teacher trainees with established English Language Teaching methodologies of the four main language skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking) apart from building them up holistically. Therefore, it is crucial to learn more of the ways on how these teacher trainees construct their professional selves during their undergraduate years. The participants come from a class of 17 Semester 6 TESL students who had undergone a 3-month’s practicum practice during their fifth semester and going for their final 3 month’s practicum period from July 2018 onwards. Findings from a survey, interviews with the participants and lecturers, documentations such as the participants’ practicum record-books would be consolidated with the supervisory notes and comments. The findings suggest that these teacher trainees negotiate their identities and emotions that react with the socio-cultural factors. Periodical reflections on the teacher trainees’ practicum practices influence transformation.The findings will be further aligned to the courses that these teacher trainees have to take in order to equip them as future second language practitioners. It is hoped that the findings will be able to fill the gap from the teacher trainees’ perspectives on identity construction dealing. This study is much more significant now, in view of the new English Language Curriculum for Primary School (widely known as KSSR, its Malay acronym) which had been introduced and implemented in Malaysian primary schools recently. This research will benefit second language practitioners who is in the language education field, as well as, TESL undergraduates, on the knowledge of how teacher trainees respond to and negotiate their professional teaching identities as future second language educators.

Keywords: Second Language, professional identities, construction of selves, TEST teacher trainees

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1 Task-Based Teaching for Developing Communication Skills in Second Language Learners

Authors: Geeta Goyal


Teaching-learning of English as a second language is a challenge for the learner as well as the teacher. Whereas a student may find it hard and get demotivated while communicating in a language other than mother tongue, a teacher, too, finds it difficult to integrate necessary teaching material in lesson plans to maximize the outcome. Studies reveal that task-based teaching can be useful in diverse contexts in a second language classroom as it helps in creating opportunities for language exposure as per learners' interest and capability levels, which boosts their confidence and learning efficiency. The present study has analysed the impact of various activities carried out in a heterogenous group of second language learners at tertiary level in a semi-urban area in Haryana state of India. Language tasks were specifically planned with a focus on engaging groups of twenty-five students for a period of three weeks. These included language games such as spell-well, cross-naught besides other communicative and interactive tasks like mock-interviews, role plays, sharing experiences, storytelling, simulations, scene-enact, video-clipping, etc. Tools in form of handouts and cue cards were also used as per requirement. This experiment was conducted for ten groups of students taking bachelor’s courses in different streams of humanities, commerce, and sciences. Participants were continuously supervised, monitored, and guided by the respective teacher. Feedback was collected from the students through classroom observations, interviews, and questionnaires. Students' responses revealed that they felt comfortable and got plenty of opportunities to communicate freely without being afraid of making mistakes. It was observed that even slow/timid/shy learners got involved by getting an experience of English language usage in friendly environment. Moreover, it helped the teacher in establishing a trusting relationship with students and encouraged them to do the same with their classmates. The analysis of the data revealed that majority of students demonstrated improvement in their interest and enthusiasm in the class. The study revealed that task-based teaching was an effective method to improve the teaching-learning process under the given conditions.

Keywords: English, Second Language, Communication Skills, task-based teaching

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