Editorial (pp. 121–122)
This study examines the management behaviour of Japanese-background students undertaking Japanese language as an academic subject at one Australian university in classes with non-Japanese students. To date, there seems to be no common understanding of the nature of these learners’ behaviour in the given context or any legitimate grounds for this. The study attempts to seek a meaningful connection between the students’ desire to engage in Japanese maintenance and the norms they possess to evaluate their interaction competence in the language. Drawing upon the notion of “language management in discourse” (Jernudd & Neustupný, 1987), this study has aimed to identify the type of norms which these students applied to note their norm deviations and the possible grounds for this. The findings suggest two types of norms which operated upon their noting behaviours. These are the “imagined norm” of the imagined Japanese community and the “peer-pressure norm” imposed by non-Japanese peers in the Japanese classroom. It is argued that these norms seemed to have provided the Japanese-background students with the incentives to reflect upon their own learning behaviours in actual situations. By doing so, they could adjust their learning goals for the target language and further advance their language expertise. The language management process observed in this study justifies their presence in the post-secondary Japanese language classroom.
In Asian language courses, ‘Asian’ students predominate. Many educators dichotomise students into Asian and non-Asian, and perceive Asian students in Asian language classes as problematic and a threat to non-Asian students. Such stereotypical belief about ‘Asian students’ may adversely affect non-Asian students and those with little trace of Asianness, impacting their motivations and perceptions regarding Asian language learning. This article reports on a study examining students enrolled in a Chinese or a Japanese language course, and analyses their motivations for learning the language, and their perceptions about their respective courses. The results of the study indicate that a Chinese or a Japanese language course consists of students with varied degrees of Asianness (from non-Asian students to native speakers of an Asian language), and reveal different motivational and perceptional profiles according to students’ degrees of Asianness. Based on the findings, the article suggests ways of turning the classroom into an environment more conducive to cross-cultural learning, beneficial to all students.
This study employs longitudinal data collected from multiple sources to investigate the acquisition of Korean case particles by 6 learners, 3 with an L1 that has case particles (Japanese) and 3 with an L1 without such a system (English), focusing both on group and individual factors. The findings show that L1-L2 proximity was only an advantage for the Japanese learners in some areas of particle acquisition, namely the use of delimiters (particles marking nominative, accusative, genitive, topic). In the use of postpositions (particles marking dative, locative, comitative, instrumental), the English learners were just as accurate. Also, the Japanese learners produced errors that appeared to result from L1 influence. Notably, they were less consistent than the L1 English learners in supplying particles in obligatory contexts. By interviewing the participants, we found that individual perceptions of proximity (on grammatical, phonological and lexical levels) and associated language use strategies were crucial in explaining the use of Korean particles by these learners. These results draw attention to the importance of individual learner perceptions and strategies in cross-linguistic influence.
This study investigates the use of language learning strategies among EFL university freshmen and its relation with English learning motivation. The findings indicate that participants with high English proficiency level displayed a significantly higher level of strategy use than their counterparts at lower and intermediate levels. Compensation strategies were used most often by students of lower English proficiency levels, while metacognitive strategies were used most by students of higher-proficiency abilities. Among the six categories of strategies, metacognitive and cognitive strategies were found to have higher correlations with motivation, while compensation strategies had lower correlations. The frequency of strategy use had a highly significant and positive correlation with motivation. Strategies involving audio and visual elements were found to be favored by the research participants. Pedagogical implications and suggestions drawn from the current study were presented to enhance the sustainability of English language learning and the effectiveness of English language teaching.
The paper reports a small-scale exploratory research on the effectiveness of blended learning on EFL learners’ mastery of vocabulary. It aims (1) to determine the effectiveness of blended learning in vocabulary lessons, and (2) to identify the respondents’ opinions about the blended learning experience. An intact class of 21 students was taught vocabulary lessons, which amounted to 100 minutes of class time every week. The lesson focused primarily on intentional learning, with receptive recall of words as the main objective. In addition to this regular intentional learning, they were instructed to read authentic materials and utilize a vocabulary profiler to obtain a vocabulary profile of the materials. They were taught how to interpret the results of the profiling. Next, they were asked to show their texts on a blog so as to allow their classmates to learn new words from the texts. Questionnaires were used to elicit their opinions on this teaching technique. At the end of the 16-week semester a post-test was administered to determine the gains in their vocabulary mastery. While there was an apparent gain in their command of 5000-level English words, they did not make a similarly encouraging achievement in the new words from the texts. An explanation that accounts for the finding was offered. Meanwhile, the answers from the questionnaires seemed to reflect their positive attitude toward the use of authentic materials in this fashion.
The problem of second language acquisition and its true nature is a controversial issue in second language teaching. Different camps propose different methods to approach the very nature of second language acquisition. Among these, Stephen Krashen and his advocates raised the issue of implicit second language teaching and the prominence of input that are expounded in the present article. In so doing, some criticisms put forth by proponents of explicit second language teaching will be presented and answered briefly by Krashen in an interview.
Contributors to this Issue (pp. 243–245)
Centre For Language Studies,
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences,
National University of Singapore,
9 Arts Link, AS4/02-05 Singapore 117570
Copyright © 2004–2014 by the Centre for Language Studies
Date of Publication: 17 December 2013
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