ARCHIVE Spring 2019 Brown Bags

January 10

Research in Progress: Health communication in home care for elders in Hawai‘i

Presenter: Kendi Ho, PhD Student, Second Language Studies, UH-Mānoa

The silver tsunami is reaching Hawai‘i’s shores with the aged population in Hawai‘i expected to reach 28.5% by 2040 (Hawai‘i State Department of Business and Economic Development and Tourism, 2014). Within a growing trend towards aging in the home and patient-centered care (Sundler, Eide, Dulman & Holmström, 2016), this presentation will report the preliminary qualitative results of the first stage of this sequential exploratory Mixed Methods Research (MMR) that examines various stakeholder perceptions of successful or unsuccessful communication with adult immigrant home care workers, older adults, and family caregivers.

January 17

Promoting Comprehensibility in Second Language Speech: Bridging Monologic- and Interactive-based Scholarship

Presenter: Dr. Dustin Crowther, Assistant Professor, Oklahoma State University

Scholars representative of both second language acquisition (SLA) and World Englishes (WE) generally agree that speaking development should prioritize understandable over nativelike speech. In terms of pronunciation, one underlying construct of second language (L2) speaking, research targeting phonological correlates (e.g., segmentals, word stress) of L2 comprehensibility (i.e., perceived ease of understanding) draws primarily from listeners’ subjective scale-based perception of monologic speech, and has shown strong associations with both segmental and suprasegmental measures. However, interaction-based research, through researcher analyses of communicative breakdowns, has indicated segmental production as the primary phonological cause of loss of understanding. My presentation overviews an initial investigation into potential sources behind these differences in monologic and interactive findings by comparing L2 English learners’ performance across both monologic and interactive tasks. Discussion will include a) how findings expand our understanding of the comprehensibility construct, b) theoretical and pedagogical implications for both SLA and WE perspectives, and c) directions for future research, inclusive of social-, assessment-, and methodological-orientated considerations.

Wednesday, January 23

Special Brown Bag Presentation

English Language Use across South Korean Settings

Presenters: visiting English Education majors from Sookmyung Women’s University: Bookyung Baek, GaEun Her, EunJung Kim, Do Yun Kwon, Geunhui Mun, Yoonjin Na, Jiwon Sarah Park, SoHyun Park, Sojin Ryu, Yeeun Song

This presentation looks at how English is used across three larger settings in South Korea. It starts by looking at less direct types of use in the areas of media and the landscape. Attention then shifts to the specific domains of education and business. Finally, how English is used by South Koreans as a means of general communication amongst themselves is addressed. The presentation makes use of primary survey data recently obtained as as such sheds light on the rapidly changing situation of English use in what has generally been seen as a monolingual culture.

January 24

The Intersection of Speaker and Listener Variability in L2 English Speech

Presenter: Dr. Alyssa Kermad, Assistant Professor, Appalachian State University

Second language (L2) speech is known to vary greatly from one learner to another. Furthermore, the way in which listeners perceive L2 speech is also known to vary from one listener to another. Therefore, the success of the L2 speaker-listener interaction isimpacted by how speech is produced by the speaker and how speech is perceived by the listener. Focusing on this speaker-listener interaction, the current study accounts for speaker variability (through individual differences), listener variability (through a listener’s novice/trained status), and the intersection between speaker and listener variability. Data were collected from 20 L2 English speakers and included a speech sample; survey responses for motivation, anxiety, and language contact; and production tests of non-word repetition. Segmental and suprasegmental properties of the L2 speech were quantified. Sixty listeners were divided into two groups of 30—a novice group who rated the L2 speech impressionistically, and a trained group who underwent assessment-informed training. For speaker variability, hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed that individual differences predicted large portions of variance in speech performance. For listener variability, differences between novice and trained listeners were compared using multi-faceted Rasch measurement and regression analyses. Overall, novice listeners displayed fundamental deficiencies in their rating behavior compared to trained listeners. Considerations of the role of speaker and listener variability in L2 speech research and pedagogy are provided. L2 speakers’ individual differences can be addressed in the classroom and considered in methodological design. Listener training can be an effective, user-friendly solution for reducing trait-irrelevant variance in listener perception.

January 31

What can we expect from the automated writing evaluation feedback in writing instruction?

Presenter: YoungJu Lee, Assistant Professor, Hanbat National University, South Korea

The main use of automated writing evaluation (AWE) was initially the grading of standardized tests like the GRE or the TOEFL, replacing one of the two original human raters; however, AWE has recently been used as a classroom instructional tool as well (Warschauer & Grimes, 2008). The various AWE programs available include Criterionfrom ETS, My Accessfrom Vantage Learning, Summary Streetfrom Pearson Knowledge Analysis Technologies, and Writing Roadmapfrom McGraw-Hill. In this study, a popular online writing evaluation service, Criterion, was integrated into writing instruction in an EFL university classroom. This study examined the pedagogical effectiveness of Criterion feedback in a Korean university context. Specifically, this study investigated the extent to which students’ writing error rate decreased over the course of two papers, as well as the students’ perceptions of the benefits of the feedback. Furthermore, the way individual students dealt with incorrect feedback (i.e., Criterion-induced errors) in revising essays was examined. The results showed that normalized error frequency decreased from paper 1 to paper 2, indicating short-term writing development. Although beginner-level students had difficulties identifying errors and correcting them, intermediate- and advanced-level students understood and benefited from the feedback. It seems that intermediate or higher English proficiency level (i.e., a Criterion score of 4 or above) is the prerequisite for benefiting from Criterion feedback. As students’ Criterion scores increased, their ability to identify and make successful changes in response to incorrect feedback improved. The results of this study showed pedagogical effectiveness for the use of AWE in the EFL context to enhance writing proficiency as well as self-motivated learning.

February 7

The repertory grid interview: A tool for teacher education research and promoting reflection

Presenter: Jay Tanaka, PhD Student, Second Language Studies, UH-Mānoa

This presentation will go over data from my dissertation research to illustrate how the repertory grid interview can be used. The repertory grid interview is a research approach based on Kelly’s (1955) concept of personal construct psychology. It is often used in clinical psychology (Fransella, Bell, & Bannister, 2004), but has also been used in teacher cognition research (Borg, 2015). In the context of language teacher education, the purpose of the interview is to have a teacher learner (TL) fill out a grid with numbers. For the current study, the X-axis of the grid featured the names of teachers from the TL’s past and the name of the TL. The Y-axis featured various constructs related to teaching that were personally relevant for the TL. Seventeen TLs participated in this study and filled out the grid, giving scores for each construct for each teacher from their past, as well as for themselves. The grid allows for a quantitative comparison between a TL’s perceived self and their perception of other teachers that is based on personally relevant constructs. In addition, qualitative analysis of each list of personal constructs provides insight into the types of topics and issues that are salient to TLs.

February 14

Complexity in L2 writing development: A complex dynamic systems theory perspective

Presenter: Ann T. Choe, PhD Student, Second Language Studies, UH-Mānoa

Despite a recent interest in adopting finer-grained metrics to investigate complexity in L2 writing (e.g., Kalantari & Gholami, 2017; Vyatkina, Hirschmann, & Golcher; 2015; Zheng, 2016), studies that have examined the evolving interactions between syntactic complexity and lexical complexity through both global and local measures remain scarce (for exceptions, see Caspi [2010] and Spoelman & Verspoor [2010]). To address this gap, the current study adopts a complex dynamic systems theory (CDST) perspective to trace the dynamics between syntactic complexity and lexical complexity in L2 writing development by employing both large-grained and fine-grained measures.

Data consist of 54 writing samples produced by nine preadolescent Dutch learners of English who were neither proficient nor novice L2 writers. Using lexical and syntactic indices from a number of computational tools, participants’ lexical development was examined at a group level, followed by an in-depth analysis that focused on the interactions between a participant’s lexical and syntactic subsystems. The group-level analysis showed that while participants’ lexical density and sophistication had generally improved over time, results from the large-grained and fine-grained lexical diversity indices were mixed. Findings from the individual analysis demonstrated a supportive relationship between lexical diversity and phrasal complexity at a global but not local level. Moreover, a trade-off relationship was found between syntactic sophistication (specifically, VAC-constructions) and lexical diversity, suggesting that the participant had placed more emphasis on syntactic complexity than lexical complexity.

The findings support the CDST view on language development by showing that L2 learners’ syntactic complexity and lexical complexity evolve in a nonlinear pattern. The study has important implications for future CDST-informed studies by identifying the potential drawbacks of relying on large-grained indices when investigating the development of L2 complexity. Pedagogically, the study has shed new insights to some unique developmental features among learners who were neither proficient nor novice L2 writers.

February 21

Multimodal MCA of BoSS RuN DeM

Presenter: Robin Caselli, MA Student, Second Language Studies, UH-Mānoa

Rap music developed as a platform for disadvantaged groups to raise their voices and reclaim power, yet sociolinguistic and ethnographic rap studies tend to focus exclusively on the work of (rarely disadvantaged) male artists (Alim et al., 2018; Cutler, 2007; Cutler, 2014; Manabe, 2006; Pennycook, 2007; Williams & Stroud, 2014). Okinawan rapper Awich’s verse in the 2017 Jamaican-influenced Japanese music video BoSS RuN DeM is a prime example of the novel and complex resource deployment possible when a female rap artist establishes dominance in defiance of all artistic, gender, and cultural norms. This paper expands the Membership Categorization Analysis (MCA) framework (Sacks 1992, Stokoe, 2012; Fitzgerald & Housley 2015) into the multimodalities of kinesics and aesthetics (Baldry & Thibault, 2010; Mondada, 2014; Goodwin, 2018) in order to examine how Awich’s use of resources contextualizes her lyrical meaning-making. Through the expert copatterning and lamination of resources such as gaze, gesture, camera movement, costume design, and vocal stylization, Awich provides a fully-realized foundation of credibility for each of her lyrical claims to dominance. This analysis shows both the ease of a multimodal expansion to the MCA framework and its value in providing new insights into the critical issues of power dynamics inherent in the work of disadvantaged artists. At the same time, this paper highlights a facet of Japanese culture—non-mainstream rap by female artists—which is operating on an international field in terms of art, language, and gender politics.

February 28

Exploring Minimum Text Lengths for Lexical Diversity Indices

Authors: Fred Zenker, PhD Student, & Kristopher Kyle, Assistant Professor, Second Language Studies, UH-Mānoa

Presenter: Fred Zenker, PhD Student, Second Language Studies, UH-Mānoa

Lexical diversity (LD) indices are commonly used in L2 vocabulary research. A well‑known issue with many LD indices is that they tend to be strongly related to text length. Accordingly, there has been considerable effort in recent years to develop indices that are less dependent on text length. McCarthy and Jarvis (2007, 2010) found that some of these newer indices are stable across different text lengths. However, their corpus consisted of relatively long L1 texts. There remains a pressing need for studies investigating the minimum text lengths needed to produce stable LD values, particularly in L2 research, where it is often necessary to analyze short texts. We could only find two studies testing the stability of LD indices with short L2 texts (Koizumi, 2012; Koizumi & In’nami, 2012), both of which used small sample sizes, and none investigating text length effects in L2 argumentative writing.

The present study aims to address this research gap by assessing the stability of nine LD indices with texts of different lengths. Written L2 English essays (n=4,542) from the ICNALE (Ishikawa, 2013) were subdivided into texts of 50–200 tokens via parallel sampling (Hess, Sefton, & Landry, 1986). LD values were then calculated for each text and values for equal‑length texts were averaged. Finally, Pearson correlations were calculated on the LD values and binned text lengths to determine the stabilization point.

Results indicated that commonly used indices such as TTR, Root TTR, and Log TTR were not stable for any text length investigated. Others, such as HD‑D, became fairly stable with texts as short as 100 tokens. The most stable indices were found to be MATTR and two versions of MTLD. MATTR performed particularly well, maintaining a high degree of stability across all text lengths. Comparisons by proficiency level and essay prompt will be discussed.

March 7 – Two Talks

A methodological review of L2 online, hybrid, and blended learning: Challenges and recommendations

Presenters: Hoa Le & Carrie Bach, PhD Students, Second Language Studies, UH-Mānoa

During the last decade, research syntheses and meta analyses have continued to grow as an important research method strand in second language acquisition (SLA), with studies utilizing these methodologies have becoming more common in Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL). Responding to calls by scholars to improve the theoretical grounding and methodological quality of CALL research (e.g., Chapelle, 2001), a growing body of research has sought to examine both methodological and substantive issues regarding the use of technology for SLA (e.g., Sauro, 2011; Grgurović, Chapelle, & Shelley, 2013; Burston, 2015; O’Dowd, 2016; Çİftçİ & Savas, 2017). Despite this growing interest in methodological and substantive research syntheses in CALL (see Plonsky & Ziegler, 2016) no studies to date have systematically synthesized the methodological rigor, validity, and reliability of primary research conducted in online learning environments. This presentation will provide an in-depth discussion of the process of conducting and the results of a comprehensive methodological review and synthesis of online, hybrid, and blended learning second language (L2) research. Empirical studies published between 2008 and 2018 were retrieved from nine prominent journals and selected based on inclusion and exclusion criteria, which were formed through an iterative process. Included studies were then coded according to their theoretical foundations, methodological practices, and issues concerning internal and external validity. Results of the methodological review reveal wide variability overall as well as in various practices associated with rigor and transparency. Empirically identified recommendations for future primary research in online environments will be discussed. In addition, this paper will address the steps involved in identifying an exhaustive list of retrieved studies, operationalizing independent variables, and evaluating items for coding, thereby providing important information for researchers interested in conducting similar synthetic research.

The Relationship between L2 Vocabulary Knowledge and Listening comprehension: A Meta-analysis

Presenter: George Smith, PhD Student, Second Language Studies, UH-Mānoa

The current study used the technique of meta-analysis to consolidate our knowledge on the relationship between L2 vocabulary knowledge and listening comprehension. Twenty-five primary correlational studies were identified using systematic literature search procedures and analyzed for (a) aggregated effect size; and (b) effects of theoretically relevant moderator variables (vocabulary dimension [size vs. depth]; oral vs. written test modality; L1-L2 distance). Results revealed an aggregated correlation of r = 0.611, 95% CI [.563, .656]. Moderator analysis revealed that only the vocabulary dimension had a significant moderating effect on the vocabulary-listening relationship, with depth having a greater effect. Findings are discussed in terms of directions for future research in the areas of listening and vocabulary learning.