Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching
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    Modeling the interaction between teacher credibility, teacher confirmation, and English major students’ academic engagement: A sequential mixed-methods approach

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    Adopting a sequential mixed-methods approach, the current inquiry examined English major students’ perceptions of the role of teacher confirmation and teacher credibility in enhancing their academic engagement in the Chinese context. In doing so, through WeChat messenger, three scales were provided to 1168 English major students chosen from different English as a foreign language (EFL) classes. For the sake of triangulation, 40 participants were invited to take part in interview sessions as well. The inspection of the correlations between the constructs indicated a strong association between student academic engagement and teacher confirmation as well as a close connection between student academic engagement and teacher credibility. This showed that the academic engagement of Chinese EFL students is tied to these teacher interpersonal behaviors. The contribution of teacher confirmation and credibility to Chinese EFL students’ academic engagement was also examined using path analysis, which demonstrated that Chinese EFL students’ academic engagement was predicted by teacher credibility and confirmation. Additionally, the interview outcomes proved the integral role of these two communication behaviors in increasing Chinese students’ engagement. Findings may have some noteworthy implications for teacher educators and language instructors

    The effectiveness of comprehension-based visual arts instruction and production-based flashcard instruction in young English language learners’ vocabulary acquisition and retention

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    Research on young English language learners has been gaining popularity in recent years, but to this day remains underdeveloped. The present study aimed to add to this body of research by exploring the effects of visual arts activities implemented via comprehension and compared to more commonly used flashcard activities implemented via comprehension-based instruction on young English language learners’ vocabulary acquisition and retention. The study specifically focused on very young learners who do not have access to the English language outside of the classroom. This study employed a within-subjects counterbalanced design with young English language learners (N = 47) with a mean age of three years and eight months. The results provided evidence that both instruction types are highly effective in the productive and receptive learning of vocabulary among young English language learners. Furthermore, the positive effects of visual arts activities implemented via comprehension-based instruction on vocabulary retention were found to be significantly higher than those of the production-based instruction

    Regulatory focus predicts individual differences in pragmatic versus grammatical awareness and sensitivity

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    The present study employs regulatory focus theory (Higgins, 1997) to investigate the effects of L2 speakers’ chronic regulatory focus on their L2 pragmatic versus grammatical awareness. It involved the participation of 121 Chinese students, who are English language learners, at a university in the United States. Haws et al.’s (2010) questionnaire was used to examine the participants’ regulatory dispositions, and a judgment task was adapted from Bardovi-Harlig and Dörnyei (1998) to assess participants’ awareness of grammatical and pragmatic errors, as well as the severity of each type of error. Multiple regression results largely confirmed the predictions. Prevention regulatory focus, concerned with obligations, responsibilities, and negative outcomes, predicted L2 speakers’ recognition of grammatical errors and their severity. Conversely, promotion focus, which emphasizes growth, accomplishments, and positive outcomes, positively predicted L2 speakers’ perceptions of pragmatic error severity. These findings contribute to the understanding of how differences in chronic motivational orientations can lead to different L2 use patterns and characteristics

    The learning potential of English as a lingua franca contexts in the eyes of study abroad students

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    This paper presents insights from two interview studies with the aim of shedding light on the learning potential of studying abroad in an area where English is used as a lingua franca. The majority of previous research on study abroad focuses on students’ experiences of studying abroad in target-language regions, for example learners of English studying abroad in English-speaking countries. To date, the learning potential of spending time in English as a lingua franca (ELF) contexts remains an under-researched area. The present paper draws on two separate interview studies that have been conducted with five Turkish and five Swiss study abroad students that stayed in different European ELF contexts as part of their studies at higher education institutions. The data suggests that even though the participants still partially adhere to native speaker norms, they also discuss a number of characteristics of English as a lingua franca study abroad (ELFSA) contexts that they deem conducive to learning English and enhancing their plurilingual competences

    How and why can explicit instruction about L1 reduce the negative effects of crosslinguistic influence? Evidence from accuracy and reaction time signatures in L1 comprehension

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    This study revisits and extends McManus and Marsden (2019a) to better understand how and why providing additional explicit information (EI) about learners’ first language (L1) alongside EI and comprehension practice in the second language (L2) improved the accuracy, speed, and stability of L2 comprehension of the French Imparfait, a functionally complex and late-acquired target feature. Building on previous L2 research that has provided instruction about L1 without analyzing L1 knowledge/use, the current study examines learners’ item-by-item comprehension of L1 sentences that was completed during the L2 instruction to better understand the learning mechanisms at play in McManus and Marsden’s (2019a) findings. Two groups of English-speaking learners (L2+L1, L2+L1prac; N = 36) received the same EI about aspect in French, followed by comprehension practice of French and English sentences. The L2+L1 group received additional EI about aspect in English. Results showed no impact of the instruction on L1 accuracy in either group, but the speed of L1 comprehension changed over time in the L2+L1 group. It is argued that the L2+L1 instruction directed attention to and clarified crosslinguistic differences in how L2 and L1 express the same meanings, which rendered the L2 practice more effective for noticing Imparfait and developing appropriate strategies for processing L2 forms. Implications for theory-building and instructional design are discussed

    Interaction in written texts: A bibliometric study of published research

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    While writing involves interactions between writers and readers as each considers the other in creating and interpreting texts, research interest in written interaction is a fairly recent development. This paper uses a bibliometric analysis to trace the growing interest in written interaction over the past 30 years from its origins in philosophy, conversation analysis and sociocultural language pedagogy. To do so, we analyzed all 918 articles mentioning writing and interaction in the social science citation index since 1990, dividing the corpus into two periods following the massive increase in interest after 2005. We identify which topics have been most prevalent and which authors, publications, journals and countries most influential over time. The results indicate the growing importance of identity, genre, discipline, metadiscourse and stance, particularly drawing on corpus methods. We also note the participation of authors from more countries in publishing interaction research with the growth of authors from China becoming particularly visible. These findings may interest those working in written discourse analysis and scholarly publishing

    “A smooth transition or a giant leap?” The challenges posed by the transition from secondary education to higher education in relation to EMI in Sri Lanka

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    Although bilingual education has been offered in some schools of Sri Lanka since 2001, primary and secondary school education has been conducted mainly in the first language (L1), that is, Sinhala/Tamil. As a result, most students sit for the General Certificate of Education – Advanced Level (GCE (A/L) examination, which determines university entry, in their L1. Thus, the majority of students entering state universities do so after receiving their entire education in their L1. At the tertiary level, where many (if not most) degree programs are conducted in the English medium, students struggle to make the transition from Sinhala/Tamil medium instruction to English medium instruction (EMI). This study examines the challenges faced by students and lecturers in three selected state universities due to this language transition. It employs a qualitative research design. Data were collected through official documents and semi-structured interviews with forty academics. Three focus group interviews were conducted with thirty undergraduates. In addition, eighteen non-participant lectures were observed in mainstream classrooms. The findings indicate several structural, institutional, and linguistic challenges on the way to a successful implementation of EMI in state universities and demonstrate that the transition from GCE (A/L) to EMI in universities is a challenging experience for both students and lecturers. We propose that the concept of academic literacies be used as a productive means of supporting undergraduates through their transition to EMI


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    As a researcher in multilingualism and multilinguality, I always await any new publications by Larissa Aronin. They not only add to our understanding and knowledge of this fascinating field, but also inspire us to look into the various dimensions not yet explored by other researchers. A truly imaginative and inspiring mind, hers has been a significant contribution to models of multiple language acquisition, the theory of affordances (Singleton & Aronin, 2007), and the material culture of multilingualism, not to forget – what I consider to be her biggest and most fascinating area of research – dominant language constellations (Aronin & Vetter, 2021; Lo Bianco & Aronin, 2020,) and also, fairly recently and still at the developmental stage, the philosophy of multilingualism (Aronin & Politis, 2015)

    Introduction to the special issue on Introducing bibliometrics in applied linguistics

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    It is healthy and normal for an academic discipline to reflect on its publication conventions and practices, its incentive structures, and so forth. As social scientists, it is also natural for us to want to do so in a manner that is systematic and that employs well-established empirical methods, that is, by engaging in bibliometrics (see brief history of bibliometrics in Lei et al., this issue)

    When time matters: Mechanisms of change in a mediational model of foreign language playfulness and L2 learners’ emotions using latent change score mediation model

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    In a dynamic system, time-dependent links between affective factors can provide more information than the level of response within a single isolated system. In the present study, influenced by the positive psychology movement and the complex dynamic systems theory in the domain of second language acquisition, first, we dealt with change in terms of short-term dynamics and long-term trajectories of foreign language enjoyment (FLE), foreign language boredom (FLB), and foreign language playfulness (FLP) in a sample of 636 learners of English as a foreign language (EFL) using univariant latent change score (LCS) models. Then, we explored the developmental processes involved in how changes in FLE and FLP were associated with changes in FLB. In particular, we tested mediation models to see whether the growth of FLP acts as a mediator between FLE and FLB changes in a multivariant LCS mediation (LCSM) model. The findings showed that (a) in a multivariant LCS model, FLE and FLP increases independently predicted decreases in FLB over time and (b) the growth of FLP acted as a mediator between variation in FLE and FLB. Participants showed interindividual and intraindividual divergences in their L2 emotions, not just on the first time of measurement, but also in short-term dynamics and long-term trajectories. The findings facilitate understanding of the complicated mechanism of variation in L2 emotions, thus potentially contributing to enhancement of pedagogical practices and learning outcomes


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    Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching
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