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Since its modern inception in the late nineteenth century, research on word associations has developed into a large and diverse area of study, including work with both applied linguistic and psycholinguistic orientations. However, despite significant recent interest in the use of word association to investigate second language (L2) vocabulary knowledge and testing, there has until now been no systematic attempt to review the wider word association research tradition for the benefit of L2-oriented researchers and practitioners. This paper seeks to address this, drawing together linguistic research from the past 150 years, with a focus on research published since 2000. We evaluate the current state of L2 word association research, before identifying methodological and theoretical themes from a broader range of disciplinary approaches. Emerging from this, new paradigms are identified which have potential to catalyse a new phase of work for second language word association scholars, and which indicate priority foci for future work.
Individual differences that have an impact on the processes and outcomes of second language (L2) learning have been thoroughly investigated; but, until recently, the study of language learners with additional needs was at the periphery of both second language acquisition (SLA) and language teaching pedagogy (e.g. Nijakowska, 2010; Kormos & Smith, 2012; Kormos, 2017). Specific learning difficulties (SLDs), which affect between 5 and 15% of the population (Drabble, 2013), often have an impact on how additional languages are acquired. Therefore, in order to create an inclusive language learning context and set up effective instructional programmes, it is essential to understand how children with SLDs develop their competence in additional languages.
In this review article on race and language teaching, we highlight an urgent need for the international educational community to continue to develop a complex understanding of how language teaching and learners’ lives are shaped by our global history of racist practices of colonial expansion, including settler colonialism and transatlantic slavery. We outline the genesis of research on race and language teaching and review literature that reflects a recent increase in scope and range of studies that problematize the workings of race and racism in language teaching and point to hopeful solutions for addressing effects of racial inequities. We conceptualize two key terms, ‘race’ and ‘language,’ then overview theories that appeared most significant in the research literature. We explore five interconnected themes that featured prominently throughout the existing literature on race and language teaching: standard language ideology and racial hegemony, the idealized and racialized native speaker, racial hierarchies of languages and language speakers, racialization and teacher identity, and race-centered approaches to pedagogies and educational practices. We offer a critical analysis of the current status of scholarship on race and language teaching, including gaps and necessary reframing, and conclude with implications for future directions and questions arising from the work.
This article presents selected research on applied linguistics published in New Zealand, following Language Teaching's commitment to showcase more broadly local research that would not otherwise be easily accessible to an international audience. It covers research conducted and published in New Zealand from 2013 to 2017, following on from Ker, Adams, and Skyrme (2013). It begins with an overview of the language situation in New Zealand, then summarises research into language learning, teaching and use which has appeared in the domestic applied linguistics literature in the period. The review indicates the continuing depth and breadth of research activity in New Zealand. Major themes include the maintenance of languages other than English, notably the official languages, te reo Māori (the Māori language) and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), and strategies to reverse dwindling enrolments in courses in additional languages against the background of growing linguistic diversity. There is interest in innovative methodology, and in processes of assessment and curriculum development to underpin teaching in formal educational settings. The prevalence of studies with a focus on small numbers of cases reflects the preponderance of practitioner-led research. There is, however, a parallel trend towards larger-scale studies indicating capacity to undertake larger, collaborative projects.
How to correct learner errors has long been of interest to both language teachers and second language acquisition (SLA) researchers. One way of doing so is through interactional feedback, which refers to feedback provided on learners' erroneous utterances during conversational interaction. Various theoretical claims have been made regarding the beneficial effects of interactional feedback, and over the years a considerable body of research has examined its effectiveness. In this context, a central and challenging question has always been how to determine whether such feedback is effective for language learning. Studies investigating the role of feedback have used various measures to assess its usefulness. In this paper, I will begin with a brief overview of the recent studies examining interactional feedback, with a focus on how its effectiveness has been assessed. I will then examine the various measures used in both descriptive and experimental research and discuss the issues associated with such measures. I will conclude with what continues to pose us a challenge in assessing the role of feedback and offer some recommendations to inform future research in this area.
Since Brumfit's landmark definition of applied linguistics as the theoretical and empirical study of real world problems in which language plays a central role (Brumfit, 2000), there have been periodic calls for applied linguistics to engage with problems experienced by people in real world contexts (such as teaching, health, business, law, social services, business or family), rather than problems of research methodology originating in the research community, and to work to address them, both in policy and practice (Bygate, 2004; Tarone, 2013, 2015; Shuy, 2015; Widdowson, 2017). This principle may well apply to all areas of applied linguistics, but in this piece I would like to explore it in relation to task-based language teaching (TBLT). This is because while TBLT is characteristically defined in terms of the needs and interests of language teachers and learners, it is also informed by research, which is heavily shaped by the priorities of the academy, an influence which can lead it away from some of its real world objectives. Yet if proponents fail to adequately address the priorities and needs of classroom stakeholders, proposals will be doomed to failure, a point acknowledged by many (see inter alia Gatbonton and Segalowitz (1988, 2005), Edwards and Willis (2005), Thornbury and Slade (2006), van den Branden (2006), Eckerth (2008), Andon and Eckerth (2009), Ellis (2009), Gatbonton (2015), Long (2015) and Samuda, Bygate, and van den Branden (2018)). That is, research needs to engage not just with models of second language acquisition (SLA), but with the practices, demands, pressures, and perspectives of stakeholders in real world language classrooms.
One of the challenges facing second and foreign language (L2) teachers and learners in primary and secondary school settings is the limited amount of time available. There is disagreement about how to meet this challenge. In this paper we argue against two ‘common sense’ recommendations for increasing instructional time – start as early as possible and use only the L2 (avoiding the use of the first language (L1)) in the classroom. We propose two better ways to increase the instructional time: provide periods of intensive instruction later in the curriculum and integrate the teaching of language and content. Studies in schools settings around the world have failed to find long-term advantages for an early start or exclusive use of the L2 in the classroom. Nevertheless, many language educators and policy makers continue to adopt these practices, basing their choice on their own intuitions and public opinion rather than on evidence from research.
Discussions of optimal types of spoken and written input for language learning have traditionally focused on the relative merits of authentic and linguistically simplified spoken and written texts. I will argue that elaborated input and, in particular, modified elaborated input, constitute better options, with tasks, not just texts, functioning as important input sources. Modified elaborated input, potentially coupled with bimodal presentation, has many positive features, especially, but not only, for programs seeking to increase students' opportunities for enhanced incidental learning.
The study of planning in second language (L2) writing research is heavily influenced by two research domains: (a) early research on cognition in first language (L1) composing processes and (b) second language acquisition (SLA) research. The first research domain has been instrumental in determining the specific systems and processes involved in composing and has led to widely accepted models of L1 writing (Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1987*; Flower & Hayes, 1980*; Hayes, 1996, 2012) as well as a widely accepted model of the interaction between working memory and L1 writing systems (Kellogg, 1996*; Kellogg, Whiteford, Turner, Cahill, & Mertens, 2013). The influence of these early studies is still felt in process approaches to composition instruction commonly implemented in L1 and L2 writing classes. The second research domain—SLA and more specifically task-based language teaching/learning—has come to view planning as a feature of task complexity that can be manipulated to facilitate the production of language that is complex (syntactically and/or lexically), accurate, and/or fluent (Robinson, 2011*; Skehan, 1998*; Skehan & Foster, 2001). This research timeline traces the study of planning in L2 writing in each of these domains by reviewing key L1 and L2 writing research over the last 30-plus years and by highlighting each study's findings. Prior to presenting the timeline, the following sections provide backgrounds in each of the domains noted above and situate planning within those domains.
The past decades have seen dramatic improvements to dictionary content and format. Yet dictionaries – both paper-based and digital – remain disappointingly underused. As a result, it is widely acknowledged that more needs to be done to train people in dictionary-consultation skills. Another solution would be to build lexicographic resources that require little or no instruction. In this paper, I present the ColloCaid project, whose aim is to develop a lexicographic tool that combines user needs, lexicographic data and digital writing environments to bring dictionaries to writers instead of waiting for them to get the information they need from dictionaries. Our focus is on helping writers produce more idiomatic texts by integrating lexicographic data on collocations into text editors in a way that does not distract them from their writing. A distinguishing characteristic of ColloCaid is that it is not limited to providing feedback on miscollocations. It also aims to ‘feed forward’, raising awareness of collocations writers may not remember or know how to look up. While our initial prototype is being developed specifically for academic English, the implications of our research can be broadened to other languages and usages beyond academic.
With much empirical evidence of a beneficial role of interaction in second language (L2) development, researchers have become interested in investigating specific aspects of interaction (e.g., negotiation for meaning, corrective feedback (CF), modified output, noticing, etc.) that likely influence the extent to which interaction benefits L2 learning (Mackey, 2012; Mackey, Abbuhl, & Gass, 2012; Mackey & Goo, 2013; Gass & Mackey, 2015; Loewen & Sato, 2018). Among varied features of interaction, CF has been found to be quite effective at drawing learners' attention to L2 linguistic features during interaction, and has engendered much scholarly discussion of pivotal importance and numerous empirical studies on its potential for L2 development (see Russell & Spada, 2006; Mackey & Goo, 2007; S. Li, 2010*; Lyster & Saito, 2010*; Lyster, Saito, & Sato, 2013*; Brown, 2016*; Nassaji, 2016* for reviews and meta-analyses). Recasts, inter alia, have been at the center of most CF research and greatly explored with a view to understanding the nature of recasts, their characteristics (in various L2 learning contexts), their relative efficacy over other CF moves, and moderator variables that may mediate the effectiveness of recasts.
This article reviews a selected sample of 70 empirical studies in journal articles and doctoral dissertations on language assessment in China between 2011 and 2018. Following a brief introduction to the history and current state of language assessment in China, the article presents a critical review of language assessment research on six themes that have aroused the greatest interest from researchers in the country, including (1) test reliability and validity; (2) factors affecting test performance; (3) rating and rating scales; (4) technology and language testing; (5) test washback; and (6) classroom-based assessment. In addition to situating the commentary on the studies within the social, cultural and historical contexts of China, this article outlines the scholarly contributions of these studies to the wider international field of language learning, teaching and assessment. It concludes with recommendations on areas in need of further development over the coming decades.
This paper is a revised version of a plenary prompted by the upsurge of interest in the role of pragmatics in teaching, learning, and assessment, and has as its purpose to take a fresh look at recent developments in the assessment of target-language (TL) pragmatics in spoken language. The first issue considered is the question of whether to attempt to assess pragmatics as it unfolds naturally in interactions, and if so, how to do it. Next, micro-level and macro-level factors in the assessment of TL pragmatics are considered. Third, a close look is given to the specific elements of TL pragmatics to assess. Fourth, there is attention to the matter of which instruments are most appropriate for collecting the desired data in the given context. Fifth, issues relating to data analysis are discussed. Finally, matters pertaining to the assessment of classroom instruction are looked at. Recommendations are given as to potentially viable directions for dealing with these issues both in terms of research studies and for assessment of classroom instruction.
This review involved 60 articles chosen from 336 empirical studies identified in five leading journals on the learning and teaching of Chinese as a second or foreign language in mainland China during the period 2014–2018. The selected studies document Chinese researchers' efforts to improve the teaching and learning of the Chinese language in terms of language pedagogy, language learning and teacher development. We contend that these studies on the teaching and learning of Chinese as a second or foreign language (CSL/CFL) can contribute to the advancement of second/foreign language education theories even though they were largely conducted to address local needs and interests in the Chinese context. Unfortunately, the impact of these studies on international language education research and pedagogical development remains limited and peripheral. For this reason, this review concludes with recommendations for Chinese researchers and journal editors in the field of Chinese language teaching and learning research on how to promote quality empirical research and enhance their contributions to second/foreign language education research.
This paper reviews how the construct of oral fluency in a second language (L2) has been defined and researched over the last twenty-five years. The emerging picture is somewhat kaleidoscopic, as domains of cognitive, social, individual and linguistic influences on L2 speech have been opened up for study. L2 fluency research presents a wealth of directions for future exploration, five of which have been laid out here as an achievable, though not comprehensive, agenda for the coming decade. Four of these studies focus on the relationship between variables such as perceived fluency, utterance fluency, idiomaticity, task familiarity, vocabulary size and learner self-reflection, while the fifth focusses on supporting fluency development in the L2 classroom. As an aid to prospective researchers, the five studies are laid out in practical detail, together with suggestions on how these might need to be altered to fit the local context in which the research is undertaken.
This article reviews a purposive sample of 16 doctoral dissertations in second language (L2) education, completed between 2014 and 2018 and published in German, in Germany. Among the 103 relevant dissertations found from this period, a total of 12 thematic strands were identified, of which five were chosen as being particularly common and thus warranting a more in-depth review: (1) learning and teaching about culture in the language classroom, (2) literary texts in L2 education, (3) bilingual models of learning and teaching, (4) plurilingual teaching and learning, and (5) language teacher education and teacher training. We identify relevant topics and relate these to trends in research methodology (qualitative/quantitative/mixed-methods). We also discuss the depth and breadth of these dissertations and situate their scholarly contributions within German and international research on language education.
English as a lingua franca (ELF) refers to ‘any use of English among speakers of different first languages for whom English is the communicative medium of choice, and often the only option’ (Seidlhofer, 2011, p. 7*). ELF research started relatively recently. It was only discussed occasionally in the last century. Landmark changes were the publications of Jenkins (2000*) and Seidlhofer (2001*). These works inspired more research into ELF, as witnessed by a dramatically increased interest in ELF since then, resulting in a large number of journal articles, monographs, edited books (e.g. Mauranen & Ranta, 2009*) and large corpora (e.g. the Vienna-Oxford International Corpus of English, the Corpus of English as a Lingua Franca in Academic Settings, and the Asian Corpus of English). In addition, ELF researchers have launched the annual conference series (International Conference of English as a Lingua Franca), the Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, and the De Gruyter book series Developments in English as a Lingua Franca. These publications move from an initial understanding of ELF as a ‘variety’ or ‘varieties’ to a later conceptualisation of ELF as a dynamic, fluid and variable phenomenon. ELF has become a major focus of discussions and activities among both applied linguists and English language teaching professionals (Jenkins, Cogo, & Dewey, 2011).
In this paper I review three models of language that have dominated language learning and teaching in the last 40 years: the textual model, the information exchange model, and the multilingual model. I analyze each one and consider how it stacks up to instances of language use in a globalized world. I then propose moving beyond the metaphors of citizens and consumers, and consider language teaching as educating denizens of a global ecology that requires sensitivity to context, political awareness, ethical answerability and a good dose of situational cunning.
Business English and academic English may perhaps be thought of as areas of language use requiring precision of expression and a quest for specific and unambiguous meaning. However, corpus evidence shows that both types of language, in their spoken contexts, exhibit noticeable use of the kinds of vague expressions found in everyday conversation. In this lecture, I focus on one type of vagueness: vague category marking (VGM). This feature involves mention of an example or examples of something followed by reference to a broad, ad hoc category of which the chosen examples are seen as typical. References to categories commonly involve expressions such as or whatever, and so on, or something (like that). In both business and academic English, vague category marking is an important projection of shared knowledge and shared identities. In business, vagueness is also a useful tool in delicate negotiations. In academic English, vague categories refer to bodies of assumed shared knowledge and are crucial in the pedagogic process of grafting new knowledge onto old. Subtle differences are drawn out by different types of vague category markers. I conclude with some implications for teaching in these specialised areas.