Thursday “Brown Bag” Lecture Series

Location: St. John, Room 011 [unless otherwise noted]

Time: Noon–1:15 p.m.


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
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.
In our paper, we hone in on Aunty Māmā (AM), who pursued Hawaiian Studies after having been raised, in part, by her ʻŌH-speaking grandparents, and whose much-younger siblings followed her path, but learned most of their ʻŌH in school. In group interviews (Frey & Fontana, 1993), AM provides examples of what she considers “a loss of the spiritual side” of the Hawaiian ways in the newer generations of ʻŌH learners, by comparing the textbook learning she sees being implemented, and contrasting it with how she learned from her grandparents. To understand how she negotiates this ʻauthenticity’, we provide analyses of how she  discursively constructs culture. We use Gumperz’s (1982) contextualization cues to analyze prosody and Bilmes’s (2011) notions of co-categorization and contrast, generalizations and specifications, implicative scaling, and markedness to analyze how she distinguishes between ʻauthentic’ and ʻinauthentic’ culture.
This research adds to our understanding of some of the struggles that families face in the revitalization of indigenous languages from a discourse analytic perspective and also complements the growing literature on “new speakers” of heritage languages (NeSmith, 2005; O’Rourke, Pujolar, & Ramallo, 2015).


March 16
Practice Talks

Presenters: TBA


April 13
Practice Talks

Presenters: TBA


April 27
Patterns and Practices in Extensive Reading – Past, Present and Predictions

Presenter: Richard Day, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

Both the patterns and practices of extensive reading have developed, increased, and changed since Harold Palmer first applied the term extensive reading to foreign language pedagogy one hundred years ago. While Palmer is credited with introducing the term extensive, Michael West was the major figure in developing its methodology in the 1920s. I critically review the major pedadogic and research patterns and practices of extensive reading of the past in order to determine the nature of extensive reading in the present. The question I address in the review is, “What is extensive reading?” When teachers say they use extensive reading to teach a foreign language, what do they do? What do their students do? Based on the results of the review, I predict what the patterns and practices for both the teaching of and research into extensive reading will be in the next 10 to 15 years.
This is a dress rehearsal for a plenary address I will give at the Fourth World Congress on Extensive Reading in August. Comments and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.


The SLS Thursday “Brown Bag” is a lecture series organized by the Department of Second Language Studies for enhancing students’ academic experience and professional future. Archived presentation descriptions can be found here: Spring 2017Fall 2016Spring 2016Fall 2015; Spring 2015; Fall 2014.

To propose a presentation topic, please contact SLS Associate Professor Dr. Grüter (theres@hawaii.edu; CC emilylee@hawaii.edu).