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Languages, Volume 4, Issue 1 (March 2019)

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Open AccessArticle Expert–Novice Negotiation within Learning Opportunities in Online Intercultural Interactions
Received: 16 January 2019 / Revised: 14 February 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 21 February 2019
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Abstract
Computer-mediated communication (CMC) and e-communication tools have introduced new pedagogical tools and activities that contribute to the development of language learners’ academic, multilingual, and intercultural skills and competences. Moreover, CMC has reinforced communication and collaboration between individuals and educational institutions through projects of [...] Read more.
Computer-mediated communication (CMC) and e-communication tools have introduced new pedagogical tools and activities that contribute to the development of language learners’ academic, multilingual, and intercultural skills and competences. Moreover, CMC has reinforced communication and collaboration between individuals and educational institutions through projects of intercultural language exchanges (ILE). Most of these exchanges idealise ‘nativeness’, and assert the L1 speaker as an expert ‘by default’. These models of ILE believe that the incorporation of a L1S is key to the creation of learning opportunities. This paper contests this belief. The one-to-one online video conversations took place on Skype between language learners of English and/or French over a period of four months. The dyads comprise the following speakers’ constellations: a L1S of French with a L1S of English, and a L1S of English with an Algerian (L2/LF of French and English). To assure equity in the use of languages, I scheduled two sessions every week, one in English and the second in French. This paper investigates the expert/novice dichotomy and how it is negotiated in the learning opportunities they have created. It also casts light on the speakers’ communicative strategies and linguaculture(s) included in overcoming intercultural misunderstanding and miscommunication when using or not using their L1, French and/or English. These intercultural interactions have uncovered that the novice–expert roles alternate between the speakers despite the language of communication and their L1s. The interactants used several strategies and channels, namely pragmatic strategies such as repetition, nonverbal cues to ask for clarification and signal intercultural misunderstandings, translanguaging and their multilingual repertoires in order to construct meaning, achieve their communicative goals or in case of the lack of linguistic resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MOBILLE 2019)
Open AccessArticle Immersive Virtual Reality as an Effective Tool for Second Language Vocabulary Learning
Received: 23 July 2018 / Revised: 11 January 2019 / Accepted: 8 February 2019 / Published: 18 February 2019
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Abstract
Learning a second language (L2) presents a significant challenge to many people in adulthood. Platforms for effective L2 instruction have been developed in both academia and the industry. While real-life (RL) immersion is often lauded as a particularly effective L2 learning platform, little [...] Read more.
Learning a second language (L2) presents a significant challenge to many people in adulthood. Platforms for effective L2 instruction have been developed in both academia and the industry. While real-life (RL) immersion is often lauded as a particularly effective L2 learning platform, little is known about the features of immersive contexts that contribute to the L2 learning process. Immersive virtual reality (iVR) offers a flexible platform to simulate an RL immersive learning situation, while allowing the researcher to have tight experimental control for stimulus delivery and learner interaction with the environment. Using a mixed counterbalanced design, the current study examines individual differences in L2 performance during learning of 60 Mandarin Chinese words across two learning sessions, with each participant learning 30 words in iVR and 30 words via word–word (WW) paired association. Behavioral performance was collected immediately after L2 learning via an alternative forced-choice recognition task. Our results indicate a main effect of L2 learning context, such that accuracy on trials learned via iVR was significantly higher as compared to trials learned in the WW condition. These effects are reflected especially in the differential effects of learning contexts, in that less successful learners show a significant benefit of iVR instruction as compared to WW, whereas successful learners do not show a significant benefit of either learning condition. Our findings have broad implications for L2 education, particularly for those who struggle in learning an L2. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Role of Elision in Evolutionary Processes
Received: 21 December 2018 / Revised: 11 February 2019 / Accepted: 11 February 2019 / Published: 17 February 2019
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Abstract
Changes by elision—as well as those due to processes of adfunctionalization or refunctionalization—must be taken into account as explanatory mechanisms of linguistic change. In this paper, we study the role of elision in the theoretical overview of explanatory theories of language change by [...] Read more.
Changes by elision—as well as those due to processes of adfunctionalization or refunctionalization—must be taken into account as explanatory mechanisms of linguistic change. In this paper, we study the role of elision in the theoretical overview of explanatory theories of language change by focusing on the evolutionary process of the Spanish adverb aparte. We analyze the consequences of the elision of an initial construction for the development of new functions as an exceptive or additive adverb, and as an additive connector with a specific meaning, conditioned by the evolution of the entire construction. We find that, in this case, the ellipsis of a verbal element has led to important modifications of the preserved item (aparte), not only at the semantic-pragmatic and functional levels but also in its category membership. Full article
Open AccessArticle Competition Strategies during Writing in a Second Language: Age and Levels of Complexity
Received: 2 October 2018 / Revised: 4 February 2019 / Accepted: 11 February 2019 / Published: 15 February 2019
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Abstract
(1) Background: Research in second language (L2) writing in the European context is an emerging tendency in L2 studies. European countries have become new hosts to immigrants in very recent years and new applied research is needed to aid schools in their inclusion [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Research in second language (L2) writing in the European context is an emerging tendency in L2 studies. European countries have become new hosts to immigrants in very recent years and new applied research is needed to aid schools in their inclusion process. (2) Method: This study examined differences in writing performance by comparing 99 immigrant students in Portugal between 7 and 17 years of age. They were assessed in six distinct aspects by means of a written essay in order to perceive how maturity and language groups impact competencies such as lexicon, grammar, sociolinguistics and use of strategies. (3) Results: The results were examined according to the competition model of MacWhinney and Bates (1989; MacWhinney 2005) and concluded that older students wrote more proficient essays. First language (L1) and parallel instruction in L1 were examined as covariates against their effects. (4) Discussion: Students who received parallel instruction in their L1 had better results in L2 writing, but only age-produced significant differences will be discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Grammatical Words and Spreading of Contexts: Evidence from the Spanish Preposition a
Received: 2 January 2019 / Revised: 1 February 2019 / Accepted: 1 February 2019 / Published: 15 February 2019
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Abstract
The paper shows that when grammatical words are involved, context is then the unit of language change. Certain changes consist in an active spreading of a form to new contexts, without changing the category or grammatical status of the form; in these cases, [...] Read more.
The paper shows that when grammatical words are involved, context is then the unit of language change. Certain changes consist in an active spreading of a form to new contexts, without changing the category or grammatical status of the form; in these cases, context must be considered the unit of language change. The empirical evidence is the diachrony of the Spanish preposition a ‘to’. Throughout history, this preposition pervasively extended to new and different contexts, but the form a never changed, remaining a grammatical preposition with a basic meaning of ‘directive telicity towards a goal’ (goal maybe locative, temporal, transitivity, finality, discursive, etc.). The paper labels this kind of change as ‘context construction’, and considers it an analogical extension induced by context. Finally, to test whether the diachrony of a is grammaticalization or not, the paper reviews fourteen related theoretical concepts, checking them against the diachronic evidence of the preposition a. Full article
Open AccessArticle Adolescent ELLs Improve Their Academic English while Learning about the UN Online
Received: 16 December 2018 / Revised: 5 February 2019 / Accepted: 8 February 2019 / Published: 13 February 2019
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Abstract
This action research project aimed at evaluating and revising Actionthroughwords (ATW), an online course on language learning through content for high school English language learners. Our multifaceted purpose is to help English language learners in an English language arts class to enhance their [...] Read more.
This action research project aimed at evaluating and revising Actionthroughwords (ATW), an online course on language learning through content for high school English language learners. Our multifaceted purpose is to help English language learners in an English language arts class to enhance their academic English language and literacy, while learning online about the work of the UN for health and peace worldwide. A teacher and nineteen students in a public high school bilingual program acted as learner-consultants, with a shift of learners’ roles to one of authority and engagement. Using a mixed design, data came from questionnaires, classroom observation, and interviews with the teacher and eight of her students. All participants responded affirmatively to the ATW site and expressed appreciation not only for the content but also for focused activities to enhance vocabulary development and grammatical awareness. Results showed students’ view of the UN was somewhat positive to begin with and became more positive over time. Participants recommended revision of ATW to make content more accessible through scaffolding and first language support and to offer additional games and videos appropriate for teenagers’ interests and modes of learning. Differentiated instructional materials and strategies integrated with the school curriculum were also suggested for future implementation of the course. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MOBILLE 2019)
Open AccessArticle Slot-and-Frame Schemas in the Language of a Polish- and English-Speaking Child: The Impact of Usage Patterns on the Switch Placement
Received: 27 November 2018 / Revised: 2 January 2019 / Accepted: 27 January 2019 / Published: 1 February 2019
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Abstract
How does the bilingual child assemble her first multiword constructions? Can switch placement in bilingual combinations be explained by language usage? This study traces the emergence of frozen and semi-productive patterns throughout the diary collection period (0;10.10–2;2.00) to document the acquisition of constructions. [...] Read more.
How does the bilingual child assemble her first multiword constructions? Can switch placement in bilingual combinations be explained by language usage? This study traces the emergence of frozen and semi-productive patterns throughout the diary collection period (0;10.10–2;2.00) to document the acquisition of constructions. Subsequently the focus falls on most frequently produced monolingual and bilingual combinations captured through 30 video recordings (1;10.16–2;5.11) which are linked to the diary data to confirm their productivity. First, we verify that like in monolingual development, frequency-based piecemeal acquisition of constructions can be reproduced in our bilingual diary data: in the child’s earliest combinations 87% are deemed as semi-productive slot-and-frame patterns. Second, video recordings show that productivity, understood as a function of type frequency, plays a role in determining the switch placement in early bilingual combinations only to some extent. A more accurate explanation for why frames from one language take slot fillers from another is their autonomous use and semantic independence. We also highlight limitations of input: while the child was raised with two languages separated in the input, she continued to switch languages which suggests that switching is developmental. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Field-Testing Code-Switching Constraints: A Report on a Strategic Languages Project
Received: 28 November 2017 / Revised: 16 January 2019 / Accepted: 28 January 2019 / Published: 1 February 2019
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Abstract
The present article provides an overview of ongoing field-based research that deploys a variety of interactive experimental procedures in three strategically chosen bilingual contact environments, whose language dyads facilitate a partial separation of morphosyntactic factors in order to test the extent to which [...] Read more.
The present article provides an overview of ongoing field-based research that deploys a variety of interactive experimental procedures in three strategically chosen bilingual contact environments, whose language dyads facilitate a partial separation of morphosyntactic factors in order to test the extent to which proposed grammatical constraints on intra-sentential code-switching are independent of language-specific factors. For purposes of illustration, the possibility of language switches between subject pronouns and verbs is compared for the three bilingual groups. The first scenario includes Ecuadoran Quichua and Media Lengua (entirely Quichua syntax and system morphology, all lexical roots replaced by Spanish items; both are null-subject languages). The second juxtaposes Spanish and the Afro-Colombian creole language Palenquero; the languages share highly cognate lexicons but differ substantially in grammatical structures (including null subjects in Spanish, only overt subjects in Palenquero). Spanish and Portuguese in north-eastern Argentina along the Brazilian border form the third focus: lexically and grammatically highly cognate languages that are nonetheless kept distinct by speakers (both null-subject languages, albeit with different usage patterns). Results from the three communities reveal a residual resistance against pronoun + verb switches irrespective of the subject-verb configuration, thereby motivating the application of similar techniques to other proposed grammatical constraints. Full article
Open AccessArticle Refunctionalization. First-Person Plural of the Verb Haber in the History of Spanish
Received: 10 October 2018 / Revised: 24 January 2019 / Accepted: 24 January 2019 / Published: 31 January 2019
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Abstract
In this paper, the first-person plural diachronic behaviour of the verb form habemos with an existential value is analysed to explore its recovery in current Spanish as a case of refunctionalization. The latter is understood as timely cooptation of a form, which begins [...] Read more.
In this paper, the first-person plural diachronic behaviour of the verb form habemos with an existential value is analysed to explore its recovery in current Spanish as a case of refunctionalization. The latter is understood as timely cooptation of a form, which begins with any of the form’s characteristics. It is known that the cooptation’s origin might be directly, indirectly or not at all related to the previous or original use of the form. Results shown here are based on the analysis of constructions in which the first-person plural verb form of haber is used with a possessive meaning, as an auxiliary, and as existential between the 13th and 21st century. While grammaticalization theory pays attention to processes that culminate with grammatical enrichment of words or constructions, the verb form habemos with an existential meaning does not show that behaviour. It is explained as a case of refunctionalization or, at least, specialization. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Developing Professional Communication: The Construction of a Multimodal Understanding of Job Interviews
Received: 7 December 2018 / Revised: 9 January 2019 / Accepted: 13 January 2019 / Published: 17 January 2019
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Abstract
This article explores how online videos with a pedagogical focus can possibly make an impact on our current language teaching and learning practices. The affordance of videos to create multimodal content that can be shared with the public allows content creators to use [...] Read more.
This article explores how online videos with a pedagogical focus can possibly make an impact on our current language teaching and learning practices. The affordance of videos to create multimodal content that can be shared with the public allows content creators to use a wide range of resources, such as spoken and written language, gestures, screen layout, etc., to create learning environments that can promote an awareness of a multimodal perspective to the understanding of a particular kind of professional communication context, such as job interviews, as illustrated in this article. By analyzing a series of videos on job interviews using multimodal semiotic analysis, I argue that these videos, which I call pedagogical vlogs, are helpful not only in terms of teaching the language skills required for job interviews, but also to help create a multimodal understanding of job interviews through the strategic orchestration of multiple semiotic modes. The popularity of pedagogical vlogs, as well as their affordance to provide lesson content created by the public, offer new possibilities for language teaching and learning, but it has yet only received scant attention from applied linguistics and language education researchers. This article aims to start a dialog on the pedagogical implications of this new form of learning so as to uncover the potentials offered by pedagogical vlogs in education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MOBILLE 2019)
Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Languages in 2018
Published: 11 January 2019
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Abstract
Rigorous peer-review is the corner-stone of high-quality academic publishing [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle Learning Labels for Objects: Does Degree of Sensorimotor Experience Matter?
Received: 9 July 2018 / Revised: 27 December 2018 / Accepted: 8 January 2019 / Published: 11 January 2019
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Abstract
Theories of embodied cognition propose that sensorimotor experience is essential to learning, representing, and accessing conceptual information. Embodied effects have been observed in early child development and adult cognitive processing, but there has been less research examining the role of embodiment in later [...] Read more.
Theories of embodied cognition propose that sensorimotor experience is essential to learning, representing, and accessing conceptual information. Embodied effects have been observed in early child development and adult cognitive processing, but there has been less research examining the role of embodiment in later childhood. We conducted two experiments to test whether degree of sensorimotor experience modulates children’s word learning. In Experiment 1, 5-year-old children learned labels for 10 unfamiliar objects in one of six learning conditions, which varied in how much sensorimotor experience and information about the objects children received. Children’s word learning was assessed with a recognition test. Results indicated that there was no effect of learning condition on recognition accuracy, as children performed equally well in all conditions. In Experiment 2, we modified the stimuli to emphasize the sensory features of the objects; 5-year-old children learned labels for these objects in one of two learning conditions. Once again, there was no effect of learning condition on children’s recognition accuracy performance. Overall, children’s word learning was not modulated by the extent to which they had sensorimotor experience with the labelled objects. As such, the results place some limits on the role of embodiment in language learning. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Scaffolding Embodied Access for Categorization in Interactions between a Blind Child and Her Mother
Received: 14 August 2018 / Revised: 4 December 2018 / Accepted: 21 December 2018 / Published: 2 January 2019
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Abstract
During language acquisition, sighted children have immediate and temporally stable access to the ‘gestalt’ of an object, including particular features that suggest its categorization as part of a class of objects. Blind children, however, must effectively and productively constitute the whole object from [...] Read more.
During language acquisition, sighted children have immediate and temporally stable access to the ‘gestalt’ of an object, including particular features that suggest its categorization as part of a class of objects. Blind children, however, must effectively and productively constitute the whole object from its constitutive parts in order to categorize them. While prior studies have suggested that varied experience and appropriate sensory access can contribute to this process, little attention has been given to how this is accomplished. The present study aims to address this issue by using conversation analysis to explore embodied understanding and categorization work between a 26-month-old congenitally blind child and her sighted mother as they play with various animal toys. Here we provide an analysis of a segment involving a particular toy (a cow plush), and ask two questions: (1) During play, how does Mother scaffold embodied routines for the identification of criterial information about a category, and (2) How is knowledge of varied exemplars, not directly accessible within the current activity, then made available to the child? Detailed examination of the linguistic and embodied practices employed by this mother–child dyad provides a concrete example of how non-visual modalities help scaffold the learning of categorization techniques, as well as illustrates the import that the examination of naturally occurring social interaction can have for theories of language and embodied cognition. Full article
Open AccessArticle L1 Transfer in L2 Acquisition of English Verbal Morphology by Japanese Young Instructed Learners
Received: 16 August 2018 / Revised: 3 December 2018 / Accepted: 13 December 2018 / Published: 20 December 2018
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Abstract
Inflectional morphology has been considered as a particularly difficult area in second language (L2) acquisition (Lardiere 2008; Slabakova 2008). This paper reports on an empirical study investigating the L2 acquisition of English verbal morphology by Japanese young instructed learners. The aim of this [...] Read more.
Inflectional morphology has been considered as a particularly difficult area in second language (L2) acquisition (Lardiere 2008; Slabakova 2008). This paper reports on an empirical study investigating the L2 acquisition of English verbal morphology by Japanese young instructed learners. The aim of this study is to explore how the first language (L1) plays a role in the L2 acquisition of inflectional morphology, by applying the Feature Reassembly Hypothesis (FRH, Lardiere 2008, 2009) to a Japanese−English pairing. An elicited production task was administered to Japanese junior high school aged 12–15 (n = 102) and university students aged 19–20 (n = 30). The results show a difference with respect to accuracy rates and error types from previous L2 English studies, in terms of tense−aspect morphology. The findings provide evidence for the FRH’s prediction that attributes morphological variability to L1−L2 contrasts in reassembly of feature matrices for morpholexical items. Full article
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