Effect of Tracking Authentic Video Clips on the Enhancing of Comprehensibility and Intelligibility of L2 Speech: A Mixed-Methods-Approach
Presenter: Dianning Qu, Central South University, China
Though achieving successful communication and near nativelike standards tend to be the ideal goals of L2 language learners (van Maastricht et al., 2016), a foreign accent is such a common and normal phenomenon among learners of a foreign language (Munro, Derwing, & Morton, 2006) who are confronted with problems regarding comprehensibility and intelligibility to varying degrees. The past two decades have witnessed an ongoing interest regarding comprehensibility and intelligibility which have been investigated jointly or separately with accentedness. Related studies fall into several strands. A prominent one is characterized by the investigation into the factors contributing to comprehensibility and intelligibility in an bid to pin down possible areas to be dealt with if these important aspects regarding L2 speech were to enhanced. Such studies include those by O’Brien (2014), O’Neal (2015) and Saito, Trofimovich, & Isaacs (2016). Another strand of studies try to find out the relationship between accentedness and comprehensibility (Hendriks, van Meurs, & Hogervorst, 2016; Lima, 2016). Still another one line of research focuses on the influence of the linguistic background of raters on the rating scores of intelligibility and comprehensibility of L2 speech (Chen, 2015; Huang & Jun, 2015; Saito & Shintani, 2016). Enlightening as such research is regarding intelligibility and comprehensibility, studies which looked into the effect of actual pedagogical activities are few and sparse, not to mention the possibility and effect of enhancing such aspects through the aid of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) or Mobile Assisted Language Learning(MALL).
Using a mixed methods approach, the current study investigated the possible effect of promoting comprehensibility and intelligibility of Chinese adult learners of English through tracking short authentic video clips displayed on mobile phones through an app entitled Fun Dubbing. Each session was characterized by focusing on one particular aspect of supra-segmental features which have been documented to influence comprehensibility and intelligibility. Various kinds of data were collected from the 20 participants enrolled in a credit course that lasted for 5 3-hour sessions. Speech samples from all participants in the form of reading aloud before and after each imitation session were provided, in addition, free production using the phrases acquired in imitating the video clips was elicited from one third of the participants. Learners’ attitudes towards such a pedagogical attempt were investigated through the use of a questionnaire involving all participants and a structured interview with one third of the participants picked through random sampling. Preliminary results from analyses of the speech samples at different time points indicated that considerable improvement has been made regarding comprehensibility and intelligibility. Positive attitudes about the gains evolving from such a pedagogical activity are evidenced in the questionnaire and structured interview. The present study holds implications for a possible direction of introducing a new way of improving the ease of understanding and the amount of information intended by L2 speech though the use of mobile technology.
A Corpus-Based Study of Critical Discourse Analysis of News Reports on Climate Change in China
Presenter: Tingting Sun, China University of Geosciences
Concerned with ideology, relations of power and inequality in language, Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is employed as a multi-dimensional, multidisciplinary approach to discourse analysis. Recently, news discourse has become a focus in critical discourse analytical research.
The present study has adopted Fairclough’s three-dimensional model, building on Halliday’s systemic-functional grammar as the theoretical framework. Corpus Linguistics has provided another approach to the present discourse analysis. The two corpora are built with sampled news reports on climate change from China Daily and The New York Times. The present analysis is conducted in three stages: description, interpretation, and explanation.
The present study concludes that the Chinese and American news media have employed different discursive strategies to construct and interpret their respective stances and ideologies. 1) As for the choices of vocabulary, theme, and news source, the Chinese and American news media have different focus. The Chinese news media stress the unanimous voice and stance on the issue of climate change and the Sino-U.S. cooperation. However, the American news media have given much attention to opinions of political parties and interest groups on this issue. 2) In terms of the system of transitivity, the Chinese news media tend to utilize a higher percentage of verbal processes to make statements by quoting governmental officials while its American counterpart focuses more on material processes to construct and report series of events.
The research objectives and significance of the present study mainly reside in two aspects. First of all, news reports on climate change from different countries are analyzed via a corpus-based comparative CDA approach, which may enrich the research area of Critical Discourse Analysis. Moreover, the present study reveals the hidden relationship between linguistic strategies and ideologies in news discourse, which will hopefully help the audience critically, comprehend news reports and enhance readers’ sensitivity to the media.
Trajectories of professional communicative repertoires in global working life: A longitudinal study
Presenter: Tiina Räisänen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
The ongoing changes in society and various globalization processes shape individuals’ work practices. Global movements in working life generate a demand for particular kinds of identities, roles, career paths and mobile repertoires (Roberts 2010) across contexts and locations, places and spaces that are increasingly multilingual, heterogeneous and hybrid (e.g. Zhu Hua 2014). In particular, in the age of transnational and multinational business cooperation professionals increasingly need to use English as a business lingua franca (BELF, Louhiala-Salminen, Charles & Kankaanranta 2005) and navigate between discourses and ways of speaking in order to get their job done (e.g. Angouri & Miglbauer 2013; Räisänen 2013).
This talk presents my ongoing longitudinal, ethnographic study of Finnish professionals’ trajectories of socialization from educational contexts into global working life and the construction of their communicative repertoires during 2003-2016. The theoretical framework draws on sociolinguistic and discourse studies where diachronic studies on mobility and individual trajectories have been called for (e.g. Blommaert 2010; Heller 2011; Martin-Jones & Gardner 2012; Blackledge & Creese 2012).
The data for this project comprises interviews and audio- and video-recordings of authentic, face-to-face workplace interactions, fieldnotes, photos and computer-mediated communication collected at various sites by the researcher and the research participants. This talk first presents the background and main findings of an earlier study (Räisänen 2013) and then discusses ongoing work and future directions. This study shows how the participants’ repertoire construction changes over time and how their identities shift from language learners in educational contexts to competent language users in the workplace (e.g. Virkkula & Nikula 2010; Räisänen 2016).
February 16 – CANCELED DUE TO FAMILY EMERGENCY
More Than a Test: Self-Assessment for Life-Long Users of Multiple Languages
Presenter: Cindy Brantmeier, Washington University in St. Louis
The main goal for program assessments of second and foreign languages is to provide evidence that performance in a specific curriculum is changing and improving over time. The high stakes evaluation of learner abilities upon completion of each stage of acquisition often serves as a basis for substantiating whether or not learners are improving their skills as they advance to higher levels of language learning. Self-assessment (SA) instruments may provide rich evidence about individual and collective achievement as students evaluate their own learning and consolidate their language learning experiences. The present talk will review some prior SA research (Brantmeier, 2006; Brantmeier & Vanderplank, 2008; and Brantmeier, Vanderplank & Strube, 2012) and discuss current and ongoing investigations that offer evidence to validate the relationships between criterion-referenced SA instruments and language achievement. Findings (2012) revealed that learners at the advanced stages of acquisition make self-assessments that are significantly related to their language abilities, although the magnitude of the relations are not substantial suggesting there may be important moderators to be identified. Furthermore, SA test method effect may make the difference with advanced learners. A discussion about how SA can provide a valuable departure from traditional testing formats that helps the learner become aware of individual strengths and weaknesses will be offered.
Cindy Brantmeier (Ph.D. Indiana University) is Professor of Applied Linguistics and Education at Washington University of St. Louis. She serves as Director of Applied Linguistics, which includes the undergraduate major and PhD strand in Applied Linguistics in Education. She is Co-editor of Reading in a Foreign Language, a journal housed at the University of Hawaii, and was recently named Distinguished Visiting Professor at Northeast Normal University, China. Professor Brantmeier is principal investigator in the Language Research Laboratory, where her research team conducts experiments that examine variables involved in second language reading, language research methodology, and language testing and assessment. Professor Brantmeier has extensive experience teaching Spanish and ESL/EFL in the USA, Nicaragua, Mexico, Spain, and Costa Rica to students of all ages. She was the recipient of Washington University’s 2012 Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award.
Abstract linguistic knowledge in only-, first- and second-language processing
Presenter: Anne Cutler, Western Sydney University
The title subject will be illustrated by evidence from talker recognition and adaptation, phonetic-to-lexical mapping in L2, relearning of a lost language, and generalisation from speech perception to production.
Anne Cutler is a Professor and Research Chair at The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development at Western Sydney University, Australia. Starting out as a teacher of German as a foreign language, she has become one of the most renowned psycholinguists worldwide. She is the recipient of the Spinoza Prize of the Dutch Science Council (1999), and the author of Native listening: Language experience and the recognition of spoken words (2012).
March 2 Two Talks
A New Lens for an Old Debate: Applying the Douglas Fir Model of SLA to Grammar Instruction in EAP Writing [Practice Talk]
Presenter: Anna Mendoza, UH-Mānoa Department of Second Language Studies
Novice EAP teachers encounter much contradictory advice on how to address grammar issues in the classroom; often, the result in practice is a vacillation between assimilationist and critical approaches according to the shifting dictates of clients and institutions. This presentation proposes a better approach by suggesting that optimal grammar learning occurs when teachers put different methods of instruction in their proper places and create complementary relationships between them.
The discussion begins with a model of language acquisition (Douglas Fir Group, 2015) that shows how the cognitive processes of language learning are influenced by micro-level social interactions, which are influenced by meso-level discourse communities and macro-level language ideologies. At the micro level, empirical research is presented to suggest that linguistic interactions for teaching grammar-meaning connections and those for teaching the grammar rules themselves differ significantly, leading to two vital types of learning activities: collaborative textual analysis using principles of Systemic Functional Linguistics to understand how content is structured through grammar, and one-on-one, form-focused tutorials. At the meso level, students should be engaged in task-based learning, which gives them opportunities to practice manipulating the target language for the purposes of identity construction in third spaces where the grammar forms and conventions are dynamic. At the macro level, students should be shown how to apply ethnographic inquiry to see the extent to which prescriptive grammar rules are used in actual oral and written communication. In short, only a holistic, integrated approach to grammar teaching can sufficiently develop students’ knowledge and meta-knowledge of grammar.
Identity (re)formulation [Practice Talk]
Presenter: Guðrún Theodórsdóttir, Associate Professor, University of Iceland
This talk builds on the notion that L2 learning is a social activity, displayed in interaction and that can be traced through the analysis of interactions over time (Markee, 2008). In a language-learning classroom, L2 users have the primary identity of and may be labeled “learner”, whereas outside the classroom ( in the wild, to borrow a term from Hutchins (1995)) the L2 ‘learner’ is occupied with many other possible identities and the interactional work associated with those identities (building friendships,performing service encounters, etc). They do, however, also do want to take advantage of the L2 environment to learn the language.
Research has shown that for L2 users to become L2 learners in the wild specific interactional work has to be done: word searches, orientation to linguistics features of the new language, making language contracts etc. (Theodórsdóttir, 2011, Theodórsdóttir and Eskildsen, 2015,). The frequency of use as well as potential development of these activities over time is the focus of this study. This investigation draws on a dataset of audio-recorded service encounters and conversations that a L2 learner of Icelandic made in her in her daily life over the period of three years, approximately 56 hours total. The investigation of the learner’s first year will show that in her first months of learning the new language she makes extensive use of language learning activities, adopting the identity of a L2 learner, whereas later in the year she gradually makes less use of them. This implies an identity reformulation to L2 speaker and not L2 learner. The results of this study are a contribution to a growing body of research of L2 learning using CA as its primary research framework.
Guðrún Theodórsdóttir is Associate Professor in Second Language Studies in the Faculty of Icelandic and Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Iceland. Dr. Theodórsdóttir completed her PhD studies at the University of Southern Denmark in 2010, and her research interests are L2 learning in the Wild and L2 interaction. Her research framework is CA-SLA and MCA.Theodórsdóttir is a Visiting Colleague in the UH-Mānoa Department of Second Language Studies for spring 2017.
March 9 Two Talks
Telling Story, Teaching Grammar in a Persian Language Classroom [Practice Talk]
Presenter: Elham Monfaredi, UH-Mānoa Department of Second Language Studies
Storytelling as a social practice has been explored in a variety of interactional contexts, including workplaces (e.g. Hanlon, Nguyen, & Terazawa, 2014; Holmes & Marra, 2011), qualitative research interviews (Hansen et al., 2010; Kasper & Prior, 2015), immigration contexts (De Fina, 2003; Lee, 2015), families (Mandelbaum, 2010), and educational settings (Juzwik, 2004; Richard, 1999; Watson, 2007). However, the way stories may become interconnected topics for talk and occasions for L2 learning and teaching has largely remained underexamined in the education field. This paper offers a sample analysis of a story spontaneously produced by a teacher in a Persian language classroom.
The data comes from videotaped interaction in an upper intermediate-level Persian class with four students and the teacher, an L1 speaker of Persian, at a North American university. By combining multimodal conversation analysis and narrative analysis, the study aims to examine the interactional practices through which the storyteller and story recipient launch, produce, and end the telling of a story that fulfills the institutional goals of the language classroom. In this paper I consider stories not only as interactional achievements (De Fina & Georgakapoulou, 2015) but also as interactional vehicle through which grammatical structures can be taught. The analysis reveals how storytelling becomes relevant topical talk for teaching grammar and how the participants co-construct the telling from moment to moment through their interactional work. By giving focus to the practices through which the story telling contingently emerges for the purpose of clarifying a grammatical structure, this study breaks new ground in extending narrative analysis to natural classroom interaction.
Contrasting Categories of Culture in the Revitalization of ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi: A Discourse Analysis [Practice Talk]
Presenters: Mónica Vidal, Kendi Ho, & Machiko Hasegawa, UH-Mānoa Department of Second Language Studies
This paper examines the case of Hawaiian culture and language transmission, which provides an understanding of some of the challenges and paradoxes that exist in revitalizing a language that was banned for nearly a century and whose revitalization efforts have been in effect for over 40 years. One of the many far-reaching effects of this ban is that the majority of ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi [(ʻŌH) Hawaiian Language] teachers are now second language (L2) learners of ʻŌH (NeSmith, 2009), and from this arises the question of “authenticity”, manifested in a conflict between western epistemologies and Hawaiian ways of knowing, teaching, and learning.