Volume 13 Number 2
June 2009 Click here for the pdf.

ABSTRACTS

ACQUISITION OF L2 JAPANESE GEMINATES:
TRAINING WITH WAVEFORM DISPLAYS

Miki Motohashi-Saigo, Kansai Gaidai University
Debra M. Hardison, Michigan State University


The value of waveform displays as visual feedback was explored in a training study involving perception and production of L2 Japanese by beginning-level L1 English learners. A pretest-posttest design compared auditory-visual (AV) and auditory-only (A-only) Web-based training. Stimuli were singleton and geminate /t,k,s/ followed by /a,u/ in two conditions (isolated words, carrier sentences). Fillers with long vowels were included. Participants completed a forced-choice identification task involving minimal triplets: singletons, geminates, long vowels (e.g., sasu, sassu, saasu). Results revealed a) significant improvement in geminate identification following training, especially for AV; b) significant effect of geminate (lowest scores for /s/); c) no significant effect of condition; and d) no significant improvement for the control group. Most errors were misperceptions of geminates as long vowels. Test of generalization revealed 5% decline in accuracy for AV and 14% for A-only. Geminate production improved significantly (especially for AV) based on rater judgments; improvement was greatest for /k/ and smallest for /s/. Most production errors involved substitution of a singleton for a geminate. Post-study interviews produced positive comments on Web-based training. Waveforms increased awareness of durational differences. Results support the effectiveness of auditory-visual input in L2 perception training with transfer to novel stimuli and improved production.
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MULTIMEDIA GLOSSES AND THEIR EFFECT ON L2 TEXT COMPREHENSION AND VOCABULARY LEARNING

Iñigo Yanguas
San Diego State University


The present study investigates the effects that different types of multimedia glosses, namely textual, pictorial, and textual + pictorial, have on text comprehension and vocabulary learning when the goal is exclusively comprehension of a computerized text. This study is based on the theoretical framework of attention, which maintains that attention is critical in the acquisition process of an L2 (Robinson, 1995; Schmidt, 1995, 2001; Tomlin and Villa, 1994). Ninety-four participants read a text under one of four gloss conditions while asked to think aloud. This study investigated whether any of the conditions promoted noticing and whether this noticing led to better comprehension of the text and learning of the target vocabulary words. Reading comprehension, recognition, and production measures were utilized in a pre-post test design. Results of quantitative and qualitative analyses of the data gathered showed first that all multimedia gloss groups noticed and recognized significantly more of the target words than the control group. Second, no significant differences were found among any of the groups in production of the target vocabulary items. Finally, regarding comprehension, results showed that the combination gloss group significantly outperformed all other groups. These results confirm that the multimedia glosses under investigation have a different effect on comprehension and vocabulary learning respectively.
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LEARNER USE OF HOLISTIC LANGUAGE UNITS IN MULTIMODAL, TASK-BASED SYNCHRONOUS COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION

Dr. Karina Collentine
Northern Arizona University


Second language acquisition (SLA) researchers strive to understand the language and exchanges that learners generate in synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC). Doughty and Long (2003) advocate replacing open-ended SCMC with task-based language teaching (TBLT) design principles. Since most task-based SCMC (TB-SCMC) research addresses an interactionist view (e.g., whether uptake occurs), we know little about holistic language units generated by learners even though research suggests that task demands make TB-SCMC communication notably different from general SCMC communication. This study documents and accounts for discourse-pragmatic and sociocultural behaviors learners exhibit in TB-SCMC. To capture a variety of such behaviors, it documents holistic language units produced by intermediate and advanced learners of Spanish during two multimodal, TB-SCMC activities. The study found that simple assertions were most prevalent (a) with dyads at the lower level of instruction and (b) when dyads had a relatively short amount of time to chat. Additionally, interpersonal, sociocultural behaviors (e.g., joking, off-task discussions) were more likely to occur (a) amongst dyads at the advanced level and (b) when they had relatively more time to chat. Implications explain how tasks might mitigate the potential processing overload that multimodal materials could incur.
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VOICE BLOG: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY
OF LANGUAGE LEARNING


Yu-Chih Sun
National Chiao Tung University

This study uses voice blogs as a platform for an extensive study of language learners’ speaking skills. To triangulate the findings, the study collected data by surveying the learners’ blogging processes, investigating learning strategies, and conducting retrospective interviews. The results revealed that students (a) developed a series of blogging stages, including conceptualizing, brainstorming, articulation, monitoring, and evaluating, and used a wide variety of strategies to cope with blogging-related difficulties, and (b) perceived blogging as a means of learning, self-presentation, information exchange, and social networking. Findings suggest that blogs can constitute a dynamic forum that fosters extensive practice, learning motivation, authorship, and development of learning strategies.
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