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Languages, Volume 2, Issue 3 (September 2017)

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Research

Open AccessArticle I Text English to Everyone: Links between Second-Language Texting and Academic Proficiency
Languages 2017, 2(3), 7; doi:10.3390/languages2030007
Received: 21 February 2017 / Revised: 15 June 2017 / Accepted: 21 June 2017 / Published: 27 June 2017
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Abstract
This article reports on research investigating the relationship between text messaging and academic literacy among Spanish-dominant emergent bilingual young adults in New York City (acquiring English). Through assessments of academic language and analysis of a corpus of 44,597 text messages, this study found
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This article reports on research investigating the relationship between text messaging and academic literacy among Spanish-dominant emergent bilingual young adults in New York City (acquiring English). Through assessments of academic language and analysis of a corpus of 44,597 text messages, this study found that emergent bilinguals who send more messages in English and choose English for the settings on their mobile phones tend to have higher academic English skills. This study also found that the English messages they send are lexically less dense than the Spanish messages, illustrating that students use a narrower vocabulary when texting in their second language. This finding is explored in light of previous research that has found that using social media in the target language can help students develop fluency and intercultural competence skills, but not always vocabulary. The results are discussed in terms of the tendency for texters to text monolingually and other affordances and constraints of smart phone use in digitally supporting second language acquisition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MOBILizing Language Learning in the 21st Century)
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Open AccessArticle I Can’t Program! Customizable Mobile Language-Learning Resources for Researchers and Practitioners
Languages 2017, 2(3), 8; doi:10.3390/languages2030008
Received: 7 March 2017 / Revised: 2 July 2017 / Accepted: 5 July 2017 / Published: 8 July 2017
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Abstract
Combining insights from Activity Theory (Engeström, 2014), mobile-assisted language-learning (MALL) (Stockwell and Hubbard, 2013), and computer-assisted language learning (CALL) research (Chapelle, 2001), this paper proposes three levels of teacher involvement in the adaptation and/or creation of MALL resources to enhance learner interaction with
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Combining insights from Activity Theory (Engeström, 2014), mobile-assisted language-learning (MALL) (Stockwell and Hubbard, 2013), and computer-assisted language learning (CALL) research (Chapelle, 2001), this paper proposes three levels of teacher involvement in the adaptation and/or creation of MALL resources to enhance learner interaction with the target language and potentially contribute to the field of learner-computer interactions. Specifically, this paper (1) proposes three levels of teacher involvement in MALL material creation, moving from easily adaptable pre-made materials (e.g., Duolingo) to customizable materials (e.g., Quizlet) and finally to teacher-created materials (e.g., Moodle); (2) demonstrates how these levels of design can be implemented in a MALL context to increase target language interaction according to Activity Theory (e.g., how teachers can incorporate gaming features into their online courses); and (3) concludes with recommendations as to how MALL “engineers” can work together to enhance the overall L2 learning experience and potentially collaborate in research and in the design of pedagogical materials. From a pedagogical standpoint, through these three levels of teacher involvement in material creation, teachers can extend the reach of their classrooms by mobilizing the target L2 environments, depending on their MALL/CALL proficiency and/or interests. This approach also invites second language acquisition scholars from a wide range of technological abilities to contribute to CALL research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MOBILizing Language Learning in the 21st Century)
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Open AccessArticle Code-Switching by Phase
Languages 2017, 2(3), 9; doi:10.3390/languages2030009
Received: 24 January 2017 / Revised: 9 June 2017 / Accepted: 19 June 2017 / Published: 12 July 2017
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Abstract
We show that the theoretical construct “phase” underlies a number of restrictions on code-switching, in particular those formalized under the Principle of Functional Restriction (González-Vilbazo 2005) and the Phonetic Form Interface Condition (MacSwan and Colina 2014). The fundamental hypothesis that code-switching should be
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We show that the theoretical construct “phase” underlies a number of restrictions on code-switching, in particular those formalized under the Principle of Functional Restriction (González-Vilbazo 2005) and the Phonetic Form Interface Condition (MacSwan and Colina 2014). The fundamental hypothesis that code-switching should be studied using the same tools that we use for monolingual phenomena is reinforced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clausal and Nominal Complements in Monolingual and Bilingual Grammars)
Open AccessArticle The Role of Functional Heads in Code-Switching Evidence from Swiss Text Messages (sms4science.ch)
Languages 2017, 2(3), 10; doi:10.3390/languages2030010
Received: 28 November 2016 / Revised: 7 June 2017 / Accepted: 5 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
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Abstract
This study aims to test two principles of code-switching (CS) formulated by González Vilbazo (2005): The Principle of the Functional Restriction (PFR) and the Principle of Agreement (PA). The first states that a code-switch between the morphological exponents of functional heads belonging to
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This study aims to test two principles of code-switching (CS) formulated by González Vilbazo (2005): The Principle of the Functional Restriction (PFR) and the Principle of Agreement (PA). The first states that a code-switch between the morphological exponents of functional heads belonging to the same extended projection of a lexical category (N° or V°) is not possible. The second claims that inside a phrase, agreement requirements have to be satisfied, regardless of the language providing the lexical material. The corpus on which we tested these hypotheses consists of 25,947 authentic text messages collected in Switzerland in 2009 and 2010. In our corpus, the PA is maintained. The PFR also seems to hold, even if data is limited. Interestingly, contradicting examples can be explained by phonological principles or the sociolinguistic background of the authors, who are not native speakers. Overall, the evidence found in spontaneously written non-standard data like text messages seems to confirm the validity of the two principles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clausal and Nominal Complements in Monolingual and Bilingual Grammars)
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Open AccessArticle Mobilizing Instruction in a Second-Language Context: Learners’ Perceptions of Two Speech Technologies
Languages 2017, 2(3), 11; doi:10.3390/languages2030011
Received: 8 March 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 10 July 2017 / Published: 17 July 2017
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Abstract
We report the results of two empirical studies that investigated the use of mobile text-to-speech synthesizers (TTS) and automatic speech recognition (ASR) as tools to promote the development of pronunciation skills in L2 French. Specifically, the study examined learners’ perceptions of the pedagogical
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We report the results of two empirical studies that investigated the use of mobile text-to-speech synthesizers (TTS) and automatic speech recognition (ASR) as tools to promote the development of pronunciation skills in L2 French. Specifically, the study examined learners’ perceptions of the pedagogical use of these tools in learning a French segment (the vowel /y/, as in tu ‘you’) and a suprasegmental feature (across-word resyllabification/liaison, observed in petit enfant ‘small child’), in a mobile-assisted context. Our results indicate that, when used in a “learn anytime anywhere” mobile setting, the participants believe that they have: (1) increased and enhanced access to input; and (2) multiple opportunities for speech output and (3) for the development of prediction skills. Interestingly, these findings meet the requirements for successful L2 learning, one that recommends the inclusion of pedagogical activities that promote exposure to input (Nation & Newton 2009), multiple opportunities for output (Swain 1995), and the development of prediction skills (Dickerson 2015) to foster learner autonomy and, consequently, to maximize classroom time by extending the reach of the classroom. Our findings also indicate that participants recognize the pedagogical importance of TTS and ASR, and enjoy the mobile-enhanced learning environment afforded by these two technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MOBILizing Language Learning in the 21st Century)
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Open AccessArticle Visually-Impaired Brazilian Students Learning English with Smartphones: Overcoming Limitations
Languages 2017, 2(3), 12; doi:10.3390/languages2030012
Received: 7 February 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 12 July 2017 / Published: 31 July 2017
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Abstract
The aim of this research was to investigate the role of smartphones in teaching the English language to a population of fifteen, visually-impaired Brazilian students. Classroom ethnography was chosen as the methodological design and data generated from classroom observations, didactic materials that were
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The aim of this research was to investigate the role of smartphones in teaching the English language to a population of fifteen, visually-impaired Brazilian students. Classroom ethnography was chosen as the methodological design and data generated from classroom observations, didactic materials that were made and posted on apps, and two questionnaires were used. We resorted to descriptive and interpretive analyses as we intended to find linguistic and behavioral patterns regarding the use of information and communications technology (ICT), focusing on smartphones, for communication and learning English. Results show that, at the beginning of the course, students had little to no ability to use smartphones, including apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook mobile. After two years of formal language and smartphone instruction, all students learned how to use their mobile phones, and were able to post and listen to podcasts and written texts on WhatsApp and Facebook mobile in both their native language and in English. The students also engaged in real-life communication events with peers in Brazil and other parts of the world. Mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) helped these students enhance their social and cultural capital. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MOBILizing Language Learning in the 21st Century)
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Open AccessArticle Rapid Automatic Naming Performance of Young Spanish–English Speaking Children
Languages 2017, 2(3), 13; doi:10.3390/languages2030013
Received: 20 May 2017 / Revised: 8 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 2 August 2017
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Abstract
The aim of this preliminary study was to examine the feasibility of a rapid automatic naming (RAN) task for young Spanish–English speaking dual language learners (DLLs) and to examine the relationship between children’s performance on RAN and other standardized language and literacy assessments.
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The aim of this preliminary study was to examine the feasibility of a rapid automatic naming (RAN) task for young Spanish–English speaking dual language learners (DLLs) and to examine the relationship between children’s performance on RAN and other standardized language and literacy assessments. A total of 275 Spanish–English speaking children in kindergarten and first grade attempted a RAN task and completed assessments of language and early literacy. Correlational analyses and quantile regression was conducted to examine relationships. Overall the RAN task was feasible for 74% (n = 203) of the DLLs; however, 42% of participants in kindergarten were unable to complete the task. There was a moderate positive correlation between RAN performance and standard scores in receptive vocabulary and letter identification, a small positive correlation with non-verbal intelligence, and no significant relationship with phonological awareness. There was a differential relation between RAN and English sentence imitation. The results support further consideration of RAN as a feasible and useful measure for young Spanish–English speaking DLLs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bilingualism in the Hispanic and Lusophone World)
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Open AccessArticle Cross-Linguistic Transfer of Object Clitic Structure: A Case of L3 Brazilian Portuguese
Languages 2017, 2(3), 14; doi:10.3390/languages2030014
Received: 22 June 2017 / Revised: 3 August 2017 / Accepted: 7 August 2017 / Published: 14 August 2017
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Abstract
This study examines the role of previously known language in L3 Brazilian Portuguese (BP) object expression acquisition. It investigates the claims of the main models of L3 transfer, the cumulative enhancement model (CEM) (Flynn et al. 2004), the L2 status factor (Bardel and
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This study examines the role of previously known language in L3 Brazilian Portuguese (BP) object expression acquisition. It investigates the claims of the main models of L3 transfer, the cumulative enhancement model (CEM) (Flynn et al. 2004), the L2 status factor (Bardel and Falk 2007) and the typological proximity model (TPM) (Rothman 2011) in both comprehension and production tasks. It also aims at measuring the extent of transfer effects in comprehension and production. Participants (N = 33) were divided into three groups, a mirror image group of L3 BP learners who already knew English and Spanish, and a native control group. They performed a self-paced reading task and a story telling task, which focused on object clitics in BP. Results indicate early convergence to the BP grammar by the L3 learners in what refers to object expression. They also suggest that, although no major effects of transfer were obtained, clitic placement errors in the production task and preference for inanimate and non-specific contexts for null objects can be traced to Spanish, independent of order of acquisition, providing evidence in favor of the TPM. Finally, comprehension seems to override the effects of language transfer earlier than production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bilingualism in the Hispanic and Lusophone World)
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Open AccessArticle “Language Is the Place from Where the World Is Seen”—On the Gender of Trees, Fruit Trees and Edible Fruits in Portuguese and in Other Latin-Derived Languages
Languages 2017, 2(3), 15; doi:10.3390/languages2030015
Received: 9 January 2017 / Revised: 26 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 25 August 2017
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Abstract
Trees have always been important as natural entities carrying a strong symbolic and metaphorical weight, not to mention their practical uses. Therefore, words and their gender, used to name natural entities as important as trees and particularly fruit-trees and their fruits, are also
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Trees have always been important as natural entities carrying a strong symbolic and metaphorical weight, not to mention their practical uses. Therefore, words and their gender, used to name natural entities as important as trees and particularly fruit-trees and their fruits, are also important. Starting from the finding that Portuguese and Mirandese, the second official spoken language of Portugal, are Latin-derived languages in which ‘tree’ has feminine gender like it had in Latin, we investigated (1) the gender of ‘tree’ in Portuguese from the 10th to the 17th centuries sampling legal, literary, historical, scholar (mostly grammars and dictionaries), and religious manuscripts or printed sources; (2) the presumed variation in the gender of ‘tree’ during a short period in the 16th and 17th century; (3) the likely causes for that variation, which we found to be mostly due to typographic constraints and to compositors’ errors; (4) the gender distribution of fruit trees and fruits produced by fruit trees in Latin and in twelve Latin-derived languages. Portuguese, together with the intimately related Mirandese and Barranquenho, forms a cluster distinct from all other Latin-derived languages in its use of the feminine in the names of fruit trees and fruits, and in the gender agreement between them. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Achieving Independent Language Learning through the Mobilization of Ubiquitous Instructional Technology Resources
Languages 2017, 2(3), 16; doi:10.3390/languages2030016
Received: 1 March 2017 / Revised: 4 August 2017 / Accepted: 7 August 2017 / Published: 28 August 2017
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Abstract
In programs meant for foreign language majors, there is typically a broad range of linguistic competence in advanced-level Languages for Specific Purposes (LSP) courses. Troublesome in any course, this is especially so when instruction directly relates to professional training, where students need to
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In programs meant for foreign language majors, there is typically a broad range of linguistic competence in advanced-level Languages for Specific Purposes (LSP) courses. Troublesome in any course, this is especially so when instruction directly relates to professional training, where students need to attain a level of competence that will allow them to subsequently function as fully independent language learners. Considering the normal constraints on in-class instruction, the mobilization of ubiquitous instructional technology resources, coupled with sound curriculum design and metacognitive awareness raising, is critical to providing the amount of time on task required to attain this objective. The case of the English for Specific Academic Purposes course that is the subject of this study provides an example of how the challenge of bringing students up to the level of independent language learners has been approached. It is hoped this may serve as a pedagogical model that can be applied to advanced-level LSP courses in general. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MOBILizing Language Learning in the 21st Century)
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Open AccessArticle A New Outlook of Complementizers
Languages 2017, 2(3), 17; doi:10.3390/languages2030017
Received: 28 February 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 16 August 2017 / Published: 4 September 2017
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Abstract
This paper investigates clausal complements of factive and non-factive predicates in English, with particular focus on the distribution of overt and null that complementizers. Most studies on this topic assume that both overt and null that clauses have the same underlying structure and
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This paper investigates clausal complements of factive and non-factive predicates in English, with particular focus on the distribution of overt and null that complementizers. Most studies on this topic assume that both overt and null that clauses have the same underlying structure and predict that these clauses show (nearly) the same syntactic distribution, contrary to fact: while the complementizer that is freely dropped in non-factive clausal complements, it is required in factive clausal complements by many native speakers of English. To account for several differences between factive and non-factive clausal complements, including the distribution of the overt and null complementizers, we propose that overt that clauses and null that clauses have different underlying structures responsible for their different syntactic behavior. Adopting Rizzi’s (1997) split CP (Complementizer Phrase) structure with two C heads, Force and Finiteness, we suggest that null that clauses are FinPs (Finiteness Phrases) under both factive and non-factive predicates, whereas overt that clauses have an extra functional layer above FinP, lexicalizing either the head Force under non-factive predicates or the light demonstrative head d under factive predicates. These three different underlying structures successfully account for different syntactic patterns found between overt and null that clauses in various contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clausal and Nominal Complements in Monolingual and Bilingual Grammars)
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