Thursday “Brown Bag” Lecture Series

We are now accepting proposals for presentations for the 2021–2022 academic year. Please contact Dr. Nicole Ziegler (nziegler@hawaii.edu), Associate Professor in SLS.

All Brown Bag talks for Spring 2022 will be held online over Zoom.


Tuesday, May 3

Presentation 1: Survey Research on EFL College Students’ Perceptions of English Writing Activities at High Schools and College

Presenter: Hikaru Ishiyama, Second Language Studies, UH Mānoa

Research on English for academic purposes (EAP) has helped language teachers understand difficulties that second language (L2) learners in college may face in developing their academic English writing skills (Ferris & Hedgcock, 2014). Most experimental and theoretical studies in this field, however, solely address college students and tend to disregard those in secondary school (Belcher, 2012), more significantly in English as a foreign language (EFL) contexts than in English as a second language (ESL) settings (Ruecker et al., 2014). This can be attributed to the secondary school emphasis on training for college entrance exams constructed predominantly with multiple-choice questions. Once students enter tertiary education, however, they are expected to write academic English. A discrepancy between the two levels in terms of writing tasks, instruction, and teachers’ expectations may bewilder students and discourage them from continuing to master academic writing skills. L2 writing scholars and instructors should acknowledge the gap between the two levels and how those differences are related to students’ motivation and anxiety regarding academic English writing.

The present survey research addresses the gaps between high school and college in terms of English writing education in Japan. A total of 101 students participated in this study. The questionnaire included items asking about their educational background as well as their previous and current writing experiences in high school and college. It also inquired about shifts in their motivation and anxieties toward English writing from high school to college. Any significant changes in motivation and anxiety for academic English writing identified in the third section were descriptively explained by the results from the second section. The study can inform EFL instructors of effective writing activities that help their students transition smoothly from typical high school writing to academic writing in college.

Presentation 2: The Effect of a Classroom Environment of Mutual Visibility, Transparency and Sharing on ESL Students’ Writing

Presenter: Cade Christensen, Second Language Studies, UH Mānoa

How does an “open” classroom environment – one in which students are given unrestricted access to look at and learn from the writing of their classmates – affect the writing development of ESL students?  That’s the question reported on in this presentation. Shared Google Docs were used in an ESL writing class as an accessible repository for all work done by students while writing five progressively more difficult academic essays.  Though instructed not to plagiarize content, students were explicitly encouraged to look at and learn from their classmates’ writing in shared Google Docs as needed.  Perceptions of how this practice impacted their writing were gathered from students via focus group interviews, questionnaires, and journal observations.  Despite acknowledging some perceived challenges, all students reported benefiting from our “open” class environment, all learned specific points that they could use in their own writing, and all acknowledged that being able to look at and learn from the writing of their peers helped them improve their writing more than they would have otherwise been able to do. Pedagogical suggestions and applications based on these findings will be discussed.   

April 28

Embodied Remembering in Coordinated Performances

Presenters: Ann Tai Choe and Junichi Yagi, Second Language Studies, UH Mānoa

From an ethnomethodological standpoint, cognition is a social phenomenon made “observable-and-reportable” (Garfinkel, 1967, p. 1) through participants’ interactional conduct. Studies adopting this perspective have investigated the public exhibition of mental activities, such as noticing (Kääntä, 2014; Kunitz, 2018), imagining (Nishizaka, 2003), and forgetting (Lynch & Bogen, 2005). Extending this line of research, our study draws on multimodal conversation analysis (Mondada, 2019; Streeck et al., 2011) to examine (a) the embodied nature of “remembering” in interaction (e.g., Bietti & Castello, 2013; Cienki et al., 2014; Daşkın & Hatipoğlu, 2019) and (b) how such embodied remembering is organized around various forms of epistemic asymmetry (Stivers et al., 2011).

Data come from three settings that involve participants jointly remembering something via coordinated performance. In a Korean TV show, a comedy duo re-enacts the performance of a famous hip-hop group in the presence of the original performer. The performer’s corrections and online prompting reveal an orientation to the “correct” choreographic ordering. In a taiko rehearsal, ensemble members correct each other’s choral chanting by co-producing two different versions (quasi-)simultaneously, a case of “competitive” remembering. Another competitive case comes from an ESL service-learning reflection activity, during which the students’ mocking re-enactments of a nursing-home exercise emerge co-operatively (Goodwin, 2018).

All of these cases show how “remembering” is co-operatively achieved (Goodwin, 2018) within a temporal organization with activity-specific rhythmic constraints (Sunakawa, 2018). Conversely, these temporal constraints that organize participants’ performance afford mnemonic resources for collective embodied remembering. In cueing, correcting, and orchestrating these performances, participants’ epistemic stances are delicately managed within temporally-rich activities.

April 21

Presentation 1: To PASS or not to PASS? Investigating International ESL Students’ Use of Private Academic Support Services

Presenter: Joel Heng Hartse, Senior Lecturer, Simon Fraser University

This talk will introduce my current research project funded by the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada, which looks at the increasingly prominent role of private, for­-profit companies offering what I refer to as “private academic support services” (PASS), which can include paid academic tutoring, exam preparation, proofreading, and even unethical practices like completing academic work for students. The growing prominence of PASS marketing in Canada and worldwide, ­­especially to international students for whom English is an additional language (EAL),­­ has occurred in tandem with the rise of the recognition of what has been called “contract cheating,” or the phenomenon of university students “outsourcing” writing and other academic work to third parties. As a result, students’ use of these services seems to exist in an ethical grey area that is little understood by university administrators, instructors, and the general public; some consider their practices as clear violations of academic integrity, while the organizations themselves are presented as legitimate tutoring agencies that can help students achieve academic success. This talk will introduce the PASS phenomenon, attempt to theorize PASS as an academic literacy practice rather than a simple case of “cheating,” and lay out the next steps of the project, for which data collection will commence in a few weeks.

Presentation 2: ‘Heritage’ in the Japanese Language School in Hawai’i

Presenter: Naoe Kawakami, Associate Professor at Kobe University and UH Mānoa Second Language Studies visiting colleague

Japanese language learning in the Japanese language school (JLS) in Hawai’i could be seen as a heritage language learning. Not only language learning, but transmission of cultures to next generations is also a role of the JLS. In this presentation, I will first consider the idea of ‘heritage’ from the two viewpoints language and cultures. Based on this consideration, I will explore what is the Japanese language and cultures pass on to the next generation in the school, how they are taught, and how multilayered ‘heritage’ Japanese language and cultures are received, contested, and negotiated among multiple participants in the school such as school (board members), teachers, parents, and students.

April 14

What gets transferred in L3 Mandarin?

Presenter: Crystal Jing Zhong, Second Language Studies, UH Mānoa

This talk will focus on my dissertation project that investigates the role previous linguistic knowledge plays in the course of third language (L3) development. It is well known that the first language (L1) has extensive influence on learning a second language (L2), but it remains unclear which of the previously learned languages transfer(s) in learning an L3. I will present one of the experiments in my dissertation that tests two competing models of L3 transfer: (i) the L1 Status Factor (L1SF; e.g., Hermas, 2010; Leung, 2002), which proposes that the L1 is the source of transfer; (ii) the L2 Status Factor (L2SF; Bardel & Falk, 2007), which argues that the L2-Interlanguage supersedes the L1 as the source of transfer. Thirty-four L1Cantonese–L2English–L3Mandarin learners completed acceptability judgment tasks (AJTs) in which five linguistic phenomena were tested in both L2‑English and L3‑Mandarin. We found evidence of L1 transfer in the AJT results, which is compatible with the L1SF, but we did not find unambiguous evidence of L2 transfer. The implications and limitations of this study will be discussed.

April 7

Engaging with Public Scholarship: Idea Sharing for Knowledge Mobilization

Sponsored by Multiʻōlelo

Presenter: Dr. Ryuko Kubota, Professor, University of British Columbia

Research for promoting social justice and transformative practices has attracted many students and scholars. While it is important to share new insights and empirical knowledge through scholarly discussions in the forms of academic publications and presentations, research evidence and ideas should be made widely accessible to non-academic audiences, including teachers, parents, administrators, policy makers, journalists, and more. Knowledge mobilization in the public domain is important because critical insights cannot become truly transformative unless they penetrate into people’s consciousness and institutional structures. In this interactive session, I will briefly present some examples based on my own experience and invite the audience to explore and share ideas of how we can engage with public scholarship through multimodal means.

March 31

The Belonging, Identity, Language and Diversity (BILD) group: Critical sociolinguists reach out from Montreal to a wider world

Sponsored by Multiʻōlelo

Presenter: Dr. Mela Sarkar, Associate Professor, McGill University

Founded in 2013 at McGill’s Faculty of Education, the BILD (Belonging, Identity, Language and Diversity) group started with about a dozen members, including both faculty and graduate students, at McGill University in Montreal. The founding BILD members shared an interest in researching language issues from a critical sociolinguistics perspective, eschewing both an exclusive focus on teaching/learning English as a second language, and older, more quantitative approaches to researching second language acquisition.

We have since expanded to include over 30 members; some “active” and some “affiliate.” Affiliate members are generally people who have graduated and moved away from Montreal. With the move to more online activity in the last two years, however, our meetings are now mostly virtual and we are able to include active members outside Montreal. Our active membership now includes people from Quebec’s other English-medium universities (Concordia and Bishop’s).

BILD members have independent research projects, for example, on the ways Quebec residents of all ages interact with the teaching, learning, and use of French, English, and other local languages. Yet we see scholarship as a profoundly social activity. In this talk we will share how we have learned to work in a non-hierarchical and collaborative research community. Collective projects involving BILD members currently include: our blog, ongoing since 2014 at http://bild-lida.ca/blog/ ; our open-access online scholarly journal, J-BILD, launched in 2017 at https://bild-lida.ca/journal/ ; and now also support for the Multidisciplinary Approaches in Language Policy and Planning conference, which BILD members took charge of organizing in 2021 and 2022: https://lpp2022.weebly.com.

In our blog we strive to make critical sociolinguistics and applied linguistics research accessible and relevant to a lay audience; we have welcomed many guest bloggers over the years, and would encourage the audience for this talk to consider guest blogging for us.

March 24

SLS Faculty Fall 2022 Course Preview

This brown bag will provide graduate students with more information on upcoming courses for Summer 2022 and Fall 2022. Faculty members will discuss their course offerings and will answer questions from the audience, providing attendees with important information for making decisions regarding course selection. Please join us to see what we have in store for you this summer and fall!

March 17

Spring Break

March 10

AAAL Practice talks

Talk #1: Development of Syntactic Complexity in early learners of Mandarin: From prototypes to analyzed constructions

Presenter: Susanne DeVore, Second Language Studies, UH Mānoa

Usage-based theories of language development posit that learners acquire strongly associated form-meaning pairs as prototypes first and expand from prototype to analyzed constructions (Ellis, 2008, 2011; Langacker, 1999). In second language acquisition (SLA), empirical studies generally support the first part of that theory, with some mitigating factors (Ellis & Ferreira-Junior, 2009b, 2009a; Kyle & Crossley, 2017; Römer et al., 2014). Most research in SLA has focused on the relationships between verbs and arguments (i.e. clausal structure; Ellis & Ferreira-Junior, 2009b, 2009a; Kyle & Crossley, 2017; Römer et al., 2014), and the relationship between words in a phrase (Paquot, 2019).

Four things complicate this analysis: First, there are constructions besides clausal and phrasal constructions, such as morphological, lexical, and pragmatic; Second, these constructions are embedded within each other. Third, there is overlap between them: A noun (student, for example) may appear in either a noun phrase (the tall student went to the store) or a prepositional phrase (The teacher talked to the student). Fourth, other research (Eskildsen, 2015; Lesonen et al., 2020) found that the same student might follow the prototype-analyzed construction progression for some, but not all, constructions.

Therefore, in this study, I explore network science as a tool to analyze language development from a complex dynamic systems perspective. This research identifies a new index of linguistic complexity, and also explores the structures that emerge using community structure.

Talk #2: Toward a Hawaiian Place of Learning: International Students’ Perspective

Presenters: Ha Nguyen and Dr. Christina Higgins, Second Language Studies, UH Mānoa

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s (UHM) most recent strategic plan highlights the university’s mission to be a Hawaiian Place of Learning (HPoL) while sustaining a commitment to global competitiveness. International students therefore encounter a discursive crossroads at UHM, as they have been admitted to a flagship, public university in the United States, which carries with it a significant degree of cultural capital due to the hegemony of north-south relations that privilege northern knowledge (Luke, 2001). At the same time, multiple stakeholders at UHM have continued to push for greater recognition and engagement with the university as an institution that celebrates Hawaiian ways of knowing, particularly in regard to Hawaiian history, language, and culture. It is therefore important to research how international students experience higher education in such contexts, where they may encounter both globalist approaches to US-based higher education alongside Hawaiian epistemologies. Drawing on narrative analysis (De Fina & Georgakopoulou, 2013) and engaged linguistic landscape frameworks (Malinowski, Maxim & Dubreil, 2020), this paper examines how international students make sense of higher education at UHM with regard to their situated location. Specifically, we investigate international students’ construction of the university’s identity and the reasons they do or do not take part in learning about the Hawaiian history, language, culture, when they are offered the opportunity. This presentation focuses on five international students, drawing on interviews, video recordings of students’ participation in campus tours that focused on Hawaiian language, culture, history, and geography, and post-tour interviews. We use positioning levels in narrative analysis (Bamberg, 1997; Miller, 2013) to show how these students position themselves vis-à-vis discourses related to place, and particularly discourses linked to neoliberalism, internationalization and/or knowledge about Hawaiʻi.

Note: Talk #2 will be open only to students, faculty, visiting colleagues, and staff in the Department of SLS.

March 3 – SLS Department only

AAAL Practice talks

Talk #1: University stakeholders’ perceptions of comprehensibility and academic acceptability: Extrapolation and underlying considerations

Presenters: Dr. Dan Isbell, Dr. Dustin Crowther, and Hitoshi Nishizawa, Second Language Studies, UH Mānoa

Test scores are frequently used to make decisions about test-takers’ potential performance within a target language use (TLU) domain (Bachman & Palmer, 2010). However, little attention has been placed on how the perceptions of linguistic laypersons, or those most likely to engage with test-takers in the TLU domain, align with test performance (e.g., Schmidgall & Powers, 2020). Our study considers the TLU domain of English-medium university study. The speech of 100 L2 English learners, elicited through a high-stakes speaking assessment, was rated for comprehensibility and acceptability by 205 university stakeholders (faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students). Where comprehensibility ratings emphasized listeners’ perceived effort in understanding each speaker, acceptability ratings targeted speakers’ acceptability for undergraduate and graduate study, effectiveness during class group work, and suitability for university teaching. Each speech file was additionally coded for phonological and temporal measures. Our talk will cover the following research questions:
• are listeners’ judgments of comprehensibility and academic acceptability related?
• does the threshold for acceptable speech change as a function of academic task?
• do different groups of university stakeholders differ in their perceptions of comprehensibility and academic acceptability?
• which linguistic/temporal measures of speech do listeners attend to while rating comprehensibility and academic acceptability?
• to what extent might linguistic laypersons judgments of test taker speech provide evidence for the extrapolation of speaking assessment scores to spoken English in university settings?

Talk #2: The factor structure of an English listening test featuring non-standard accents

Presenter: Hitoshi Nishizawa, Second Language Studies, UH Mānoa

Scholars have been advocating the inclusion of a variety of accents which fit the target language use (TLU) domain in listening input (Harding, 2012; Shin et al., 2021). This might include non-standard regional accents and even foreign accents. Previous studies exclusively investigated the fairness issue in relation to this matter such as shared-L1. However, there is a lack of research on construct validity of such listening tests. Investigating latent constructs is as important as fairness in suggesting the use of non-standard accents. Thus, this study utilizes confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to examine the construct of an academic English listening test which employs non-standard accents (NSA).


Data were taken from an operational English language test administered at a university in the US. The listening section of the test has five academic lecture passages which include two NSAs: a regional accent and a Filipino accent. Data from 539 test-takers were used, however, due to small sample size for item-level CFA, the passage-based subscores were used. CFA tested two hypothesized models: a one-factor model and a correlated two-factor model. The correlated two factor model had two factors: academic listening ability for NSA and General American (GA).

Results suggest one factor model as the best solution for the data. While both models indicated adequate model fit, the correlated two-factor model had a correlation between the latent factors exceeding 1.0 (r = 1.10), indicating model misspecification. This suggests that the two factors are statistically inseparable, meaning that academic listening abilities for NSA and GA are attributable to one latent construct. The implication is that the inclusion of NSA might not change the construct of interest. This supports the use of multiple accents to better assess test-takers’ listening ability in each TLU domain.

February 24

Defining EFL for non-English majors in higher education: Taking an assessment in a Freshman English writing course in a Japanese university as an example

Presenter: Dr. Tomoko Wada-Kowata, Associate Professor at Kogakuin University and UH Mānoa Second Language Studies visiting colleague

In the field of SLA/TEFL, whether in research, materials and curriculum development, or proficiency assessment, it is crucial that the objective and aim, or why and to what extent a learner needs to acquire the language, are clearly defined with regard to the context. In the situation where English (as a foreign language) is taught as a compulsory part of general education (Freshman and Sophomore years) at an engineering university (in Japan), this is a challenge. In this presentation, the presenter will first propose a model of what it is that we are trying to teach through teaching EFL at the level of higher education and continue on to talk about a project she has been working on (in collaboration with Dr. Gilliland) to operationalize “sophistication” that is assessed in academic reflective writing in a Freshman English writing course. The presentation will also touch on the topics of the perceived gap in evaluation results between holistic and analytic scales and the use of machine translation in a classroom.

February 17

No talk scheduled.

February 10

Transitioning from a career in teaching to working at Amazon

Presenter: Ms. Min Namkoong, Second Language Studies alumna 2016, UH Mānoa

If you’re in SLS, you’re probably into languages and many of you dream of being a teacher/professor. I loved teaching, and I still do. However, teaching at a public school is not for everyone. Also, securing a language professor position at a university seems almost impossible. Trust me. I have been there. I struggled with getting my first job. I struggled with the kids at the school. I struggled making the career transition. But, I am happy to say now I’m satisfied with where I am and with what I do. This was not an easy journey for me. I didn’t know where it would take me. I didn’t know anyone who took a similar journey that I did, from a public school to Amazon. I wish I knew someone who could guide me throughout the process. I felt alone and lost.

Finding a career and getting a job can be scary. If you haven’t secured a job yet, you might be worried, doubting yourself, or have many unanswered questions. I don’t claim that I have all the answers for you nor what I did is the only answer. However, I would like to share my journey after graduation as a fellow SLS alum hoping that it will help you and guide your own journey ahead of you. Hoping that you don’t feel alone. Hoping that you will be hopeful about your future.

Please share your questions with Min ahead of her talk via Google Form: http://go.hawaii.edu/VuL.

To view her previous job descriptions, visit https://www.hawaii.edu/sls/wp-content/uploads/Previous-and-current-job-descriptions.pdf.

February 3

No talk scheduled.

January 27

Foreign Language Learning in a Specialized Institution

Presenters: Dr. Zachary F. Miller, US Military Academy at West Point & Dr. Dustin Crowther, Second Language Studies, UH Mānoa

Specialized learning institutions (SLIs), or learning centers with a focus on domain-specific development for post-educational purposes, feature organizational cultures, learning environments, and post-graduation expectations that typically differ from traditional four-year universities. For students pursuing foreign language (FL) study within an SLI, FL coursework is frequently accompanied by a range of non-academic tasks that are required for graduation. The presented study focuses on one such SLI, a United States military academy. We provide a thematic analysis of four FL majors’ (i.e., cadets’) seven interviews, completed over their four years of FL study. Through this analysis we highlight both both the opportunities for and challenges to FL study in such an institution. From our findings, we discuss how FL instructors, especially those that teach at SLIs or SLI-like organizations, may adapt their pedagogical decisions to both facilitate FL learning and help maintain FL motivation.