A comprehensive, current review of the research and approaches to advanced proficiency in second language acquisition The Handbook of Advanced Proficiency in Second Language Acquisition offers an overview of the most recent and scientific-based research concerning higher proficiency in second language acquisition (SLA). With contributions from an international team of experts in the field, the Handbook presents several theoretical approaches to SLA and offers an examination of advanced proficiency from the viewpoint of various contexts and dimensions of second language performance. The authors also review linguistic phenomena among advanced learners through the lens of phonology and grammar development. Comprehensive in scope, this book provides an overview of advanced proficiency grounded in socially-relevant domains of second language acquisition including discourse, reading, genre-based writing, and pragmatic competence. The authoritative volume brings together the theoretical accounts of advanced language use combined with solid empirical research. * Includes contributions from an international collection of noted scholars in the field of second language acquisition * Offers a variety of theoretical approaches to SLA * Contains information on the most recent empirical research that contributes to an understanding of SLA * Describes performance phenomena according to multiple approaches to SLA Written for scholars, students and linguists, The Handbook of Advanced Proficiency in Second Language Acquisition is a comprehensive text that offers the most recent developments in the study of advanced proficiency in the acquisition of a second language.
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Part I: Advanced L2 Capacity
2 Systemic Functional Linguistics and Advanced Second Language Proficiency
SFL‐based assumptions about language and language development: Implications for the construct of L2 advancedness
SFL‐based descriptions: Specifying L2 advancedness
SFL‐inspired curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment: Fostering advanced L2 proficiency
Outlook: An agenda for the SFL‐informed research on L2 advanced proficiency
3 Psycholinguistic Approaches and Advanced Proficiency
L2 parsing and advanced proficiency
Agreement processing and advanced proficiency
4 What Does Critical Period Research Reveal about Advanced L2 Proficiency?
The relationship between Critical Period research and advanced L2 proficiency
Morphology and syntax
Lexis and collocations
L2 learning at advanced proficiency levels: Summary of findings
Types of items resistant to learning even at advanced proficiency levels
Avenues for future research
5 Generative Approaches to Second Language (L2) Acquisition and Advanced L2 Proficiency
Main tenets of generative linguistic theory
Generative approaches to L2 ultimate attainment
6 Interaction‐Driven L2 Learning: Advanced Learners
The interaction approach
Interaction and advanced learners
Conclusions and future directions
7 Sociocultural Theory
Principles of Sociocultural Theory
L2 education to promote advanced proficiency
Part II: Advanced Proficiency and Performance
8 Advanced‐Level Grammatical Development in Instructed SLA
Problematizing the interrelationships among advanced abilities, grammar, and instructed learning
Advancedness, where art thou?
Understanding and addressing local‐level phenomena
Exploring the complex embeddedness of grammatical features
Observing advanced‐level grammatical abilities through the CAF lens
Understanding advancedness as a discourse phenomenon
Toward a functional understanding of grammar
Directions for future research
9 Individual Differences in Advanced Proficiency
Introduction and literature review
Use of authentic L2 resources outside of class
10 The Prior Language Experience of Heritage Bilinguals
Individual differences in prior language experience
Advanced proficient heritage speakers
HL speakers as additional language (Ln) learners
Conclusion and future research
11 Meeting the Demands of Globalization
Societal demands for advanced proficiency and academia’s response
ISLA in a foreign language curriculum: Goals for fostering change
One example of proficiency‐based curricular change: “The Carolina Project”
Conclusions and future research
12 Task Condition Effects on Advanced‐Level Foreign Language Performance
Pre‐task (strategic) planning with high‐proficiency learners
On‐line planning with advanced learners
Task repetition effects with advanced learners
Perspectives from native speaker performance
Suggestions for the future
Part III: Advanced Phonology
13 Advanced‐Level L2 Phonology
The locus of ‘advanced’ phonology
The locus of the difference
Factors influencing phonological outcomes
The encapsulation of phonology
Directions for future research
14 Markedness and Advanced Development
Markedness as an evaluative measure in L2 phonology
Markedness as an evaluative measure of advanced development
15 Advanced Second Language Segmental and Suprasegmental Acquisition
Process of advanced‐level L2 speech attainment
Product of advanced‐level L2 speech attainment
Individual differences in advanced‐level L2 speech attainment
Conclusion and future directions
16 Connected Speech in Advanced‐Level Phonology
Connected speech and the advanced L2 learner
Describing connected speech processes
Notions about the term
Training L2 learners to perceive and produce connected speech processes
Suggestions for future research
17 Voice Onset Time in Advanced SLA
Voice onset time
The target of acquisition
The how and when of VOT acquisition
What VOT research tells us about the advanced learner
Explaining the gap
Part IV: Advanced Grammar
18 Advanced‐Level Mood Distinction
Mood distinction in French and Spanish
Advanced‐level learners and mood distinction
Academic year abroad
Established proficiency metric
19 Advanced Conceptualizations of Tense and Aspect in L2 Acquisition
Aspect: From representation to acquisition
Instructional settings and pedagogical rules
Guided (enhanced) induction
20 Inflectional Morphology
The function of inflectional morphology and its place in the language faculty
Verbal inflectional morphology
Nominal inflectional morphology
Dissociations between representation and processing
Conclusions and directions for further research
21 Advanced Lexical Development
How might we define advanced lexical development?
What are the keys to helping learners reach a level of advanced lexical development?
Where should the focus of learning be for those who have already achieved an advanced level of lexical development?
Directions for further research
22 Word Order and Information Structure in Advanced SLA
Introduction: Information structure (IS) at the syntax–discourse interface
The syntax–discourse interface and the Interface Hypothesis in advanced SLA
Functional approaches to word order and IS in advanced SLA
Combining experimental and corpus evidence: The way forward
23 Advanced‐Level Semantics
Semantics of the nominal domain at advanced proficiency: Semantics vs. morphology
Scope interpretation at advanced proficiency: Overcoming PoS
Interface with discourse at advanced proficiency
Part V: Advanced‐Level Pragmatics, Discourse, and Sociocultural Literacy
24 Advanced‐Level Pragmatics in Instructed SLA
Pragmatic competence and instructed second language acquisition
Results and discussion
Conclusion and future directions
25 Advanced Reading Proficiency in Collegiate Foreign Language Learners
Language proficiency and reading ability
Contributions of linguistic knowledge to reading
Contributions of linguistic knowledge to reading operations
Advanced L2 reading proficiency in practice
Summary and conclusions
26 Advanced Second Language Pragmatic Competence
Comprehension of indirect meaning
Production of speech acts
Conclusion and future directions
27 Advanced Rhetoric and Socially Situated Writing
Complexity, accuracy, and fluency constructs
A rhetorically based framework
Progressively scaffolded models of rhetorical knowledge
28 Variable Structures and Sociolinguistic Variation
What abilities must a sociolinguistically competent speaker possess?
What are advanced learners able to do?
What additional factors play a role in the acquisition of sociolinguistic competence?
Future directions for research on advanced proficiency and sociolinguistic competence
End User License Agreement
Table 4.1 NSs = AO 3–6 > AO 16 + .
Table 4.2 NSs > AO 3–6 > AO 16 + .
Table 4.3 NSs > AO 3–6 = AO 16 + .
Table 4.4 NSs = AO 3–6 > AO 7–15 > AO 16 + .
Table 4.5 NSs = AO 3–6 = AO 7–15 > AO 16 + .
Table 4.6 NSs > AO 3–6 = AO 7–15 = AO 16 + .
Table 4.7 NSs = AO 3–6 = AO 7–15 = AO 16 + .
Table 4.8 NSs = AO 3–6 > AO 7–15 = AO 16 + .
Table 4.9 Lexis and collocations (Granena & Long, 2013).
Table 9.1 Variables of interest selected for this study.
Table 9.2 Final set of individual difference variables.
Table 9.3 Frequency distributions for seven skill profiles.
Table 9.4 Frequency distributions of the categorical variables.
Table 9.5 Descriptive statistics for the continuous variables by skill profile.
Table 9.6 Summary statistics for cluster analysis.
Table 10.1 Previous research examining linguistic structure among advanced‐level heritage learners.
Table 13.1 Minimal Sonority Distance (MSD) and English consonant clusters.
Table 13.2 Deletion versus epenthesis repair strategies.
Table 13.3 L2 stress errors.
Table 13.4 Lexical/phonological interaction for English and Dutch.
Table 14.1 Categorization of language types regarding the distribution of a voice contrast.
Table 14.2 Categorization of language types for number marking.
Table 15.1 Summary of L2 speech learning (early phase → later phase).
Table 15.2 Summary of the ultimate attainment and near‐native‐likeness of experienced L2 learners’ segmental and suprasegmental performance.
Table 17.1 VOT values in milliseconds.
Table 21.1 Defining lexical development by vocabulary size.
Table 21.2 Characteristics of advanced lexical development
Table 22.1 SV/VS word order preferences in Spanish.
Table 22.2 Sequence of production (corpus) and acceptability (experiment) of the preverbal field.
Table 22.3 Summary of native‐like attainment at the syntax–discourse interface.
Table 24.1 Proficiency levels and their indicators of the included studies (
Table 24.2 Pragmatic Targets and Measures of Included Studies (
Table 24.3 Effectiveness of explicit and implicit instruction (
Table 25.1 Summary of performance descriptors of three foreign language proficiency guideline/frameworks.
Table 25.2 A summary of the analysis of three advanced CFL textbooks.
Figure 2.1 Complementarity of context and text in the SFL model of language, based on Halliday & Matthiessen (2004).
Figure 9.1 Bar graph for cluster predictor importance.
Figure 9.2 Skill profiles by cluster. The cluster pie‐slice labels start with “Speaking only” at 12 O’Clock and circle clockwise.
Figure 9.3 Cluster weights within different skill profiles. The cluster pie‐slice labels start with “1” at 9 O’Clock and circle clockwise. The labels are: 1, Heritage learners; 2, With abroad experience but no study‐abroad experience; 3, Study‐abroad experience with homestay; 4, Non‐heritage, no abroad experience.
Figure 22.1 The language faculty and its interfaces
Figure 22.2 Summary of SV/VS alternation results.
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Paul A. Malovrh andAlessandro G. Benati
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In loving memory ofAndrew Francis Malovrh(1946–2018)
John Archibald (PhD, Toronto, Canada) has been Professor of Linguistics at the University of Victoria (Canada) since 2010, following 19 years at the University of Calgary (Canada). He specializes in second language phonology, and is author or editor of seven books and approximately 30 journal articles and book chapters.
Fatih Bayram is a researcher at the University of Portsmouth, UK. His research primarily focuses on heritage language bilinguals. Bayram investigates the acquisition process of home and societal language in childhood in immigrant contexts, outcomes of language development in (young) adulthood, and on‐line processing of the grammatical system during language production and comprehension.
Alessandro G. Benati is Head of School of Languages and Area Studies and Professor of Second Language Acquisition at the University of Portsmouth (UK). He is internationally known for his research in second language learning and teaching, with special emphases on processing instruction. He has a strong publications record with over 15 established monographs and articles in international journals. He has coordinated national and international research projects and he is honorary visiting Professor at York St. John University (UK).
Lara Bryfonski is a PhD candidate in applied linguistics at Georgetown University. Her doctoral research focuses primarily on interaction and corrective feedback in second language acquisition as well as task‐based language teaching and learning. Lara is also a licensed English as a second language (ESL) teacher and has taught ESL in a variety of contexts in the United States and abroad.
Gavin Bui is Associate Professor at the English Department of Hang Seng Management College in Hong Kong. His research interests lie in task‐based language teaching, development of second language (L2) fluency and lexis, and L2 motivation. His recent publications appeared in Language Teaching Research (Sage, 2016) and TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching (Wiley, 2017).
Heidi Byrnes is George M. Roth Distinguished Professor of German Emerita at Georgetown University. Her research focuses on adult second language literacy acquisition, particularly at the advanced level, with articles, edited and co‐edited books, and special journal issues addressing the development of advanced literacy, particularly in writing. She is a past president of the American Association for Applied Linguistics and is the recipient of numerous professional association awards. She currently serves as editor‐in‐chief of the Modern Language Journal.
Marcus Callies received a PhD in English linguistics from the University of Marburg (Germany). Since 2014 he has been Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Bremen (Germany). His main research interests are learner corpus research with a focus on lexicogrammatical variation, discourse‐functional and pragmatic aspects of advanced learner varieties, and English for academic purposes. He is serving as editor of the International Journal of Learner Corpus Research and vice‐president of the Learner Corpus Association.
Fred R. Eckman holds the rank of University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin‐Milwaukee. Eckman’s major research interest is in second language (L2) acquisition, and has centered mainly on L2 phonology, with a secondary focus on L2 syntax, and L2 acquisition theory. His writings have appeared in a number of anthologies and professional handbooks, as well in several journals, including Applied Linguistics, Language Learning, Second Language Research, and Studies in Second Language Acquisition.
Gregg Fields is a doctoral student in Writing, Rhetorics, and Literacies at Arizona State University‐Tempe. His research interests include second language writing, language identity, metacognition, writing pedagogies, and writing program administration.
Susan M. Gass is University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University. She has published more than 30 books and more than 150 articles in the field of second language acquisition, with works translated into Russian, Korean, and Chinese. She is the co‐author (with Alison Mackey) of Second Language Acquisition: An Introductory Course of Second Language Research: Methodology and Design. She is the winner of local, national, and international awards. She has served as the president of the American Association for Applied Linguistics and the Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée and is currently co‐editor of Studies in Second Language Acquisition.
Kimberly L. Geeslin is Professor at Indiana University in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Her research focuses on second language Spanish and the intersection of second language acquisition and sociolinguistics. She is co‐author (with Avizia Lim Yong) of Sociolinguistics and Second Language Acquisition (Routledge, 2014) and the editor of The Handbook of Spanish Second Language Acquisition (Wiley‐Blackwell, 2013). She has published research articles in Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Language Learning, Hispania, Spanish in Context, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Linguistics, and Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics.
Burcu Gokgoz‐Kurt (PhD, University of South Carolina, 2016) is currently a faculty member at Dumlupınar University (Turkey). Her research focuses on the acquisition of second language (L2) phonology, pronunciation instruction, L2 speech perception, and cognitive aspects of L2 processing. Her doctoral work investigated the effects of training in learning word‐boundary palatalization as a connected speech phenomenon in L2 English in relation to attention control. She has extensive experience teaching English as a foreign language and English as a second language in the United States and Turkey.
Gisela Granena is an Assistant Professor in the School of Languages of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain). She has published research on the role of cognitive aptitudes in both instructed and naturalistic contexts; aptitude‐treatment interactions; task‐based language teaching; measures of implicit and explicit language knowledge; and the effects of early and late bilingualism on long‐term second language achievement. Recent publications include Sensitive Periods, Language Aptitude, and Ultimate L2 Attainment (John Benjamins, 2013) and Cognitive Individual Differences in Second Language Processing and Acquisition (John Benjamins, 2016).
Aarnes Gudmestad is Associate Professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Her research focuses on the intersection between second language acquisition and sociolinguistics. Current projects address issues pertaining to morphosyntactic structures in native and second language Spanish and French. She has published articles in journals such as Language Learning, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, and Canadian Journal of Linguistics.
D. Eric Holt (PhD, Georgetown University, 1997) is Associate Professor of Spanish and Linguistics at the University of South Carolina. Scholarly work treats phonological theory, language variation and change, Hispanic sociolinguistics, and language acquisition, particularly of connected speech phenomena in Spanish by English‐speaking learners.
Tania Ionin is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign. Her main areas of research are second language acquisition of semantics, with a focus on the nominal domain (definiteness, specificity, genericity, and the mass/count distinction), and experimental semantic investigations of quantifier scope and the interpretation of indefinites in Russian and English.
Sihui Echo Ke is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky. Her recent research has focused on the contributions of morphological awareness to adult and child second language reading.
Keiko Koda is a Professor in the Department of Modern Languages at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research interests include second language reading, biliteracy development, and foreign language instruction and assessment.
Tanja Kupisch is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Konstanz and Professor II in the Language Acquisition, Variation and Attrition (LAVA) research group at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Her research focuses on first, second, and third language acquisition, early bilingualism, and bilectal language acquisition. She has worked on various aspects of DP syntax, such as article omission, genericity, nominal gender, and adjective placement, as well as on pronunciation.
Terje Lohndal is Professor of English Linguistics at NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and Adjunct Professor at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. He also co‐directs the AcqVA research group, which focuses on language acquisition, variation, and attrition. Lohndal attempts to identify the basic building blocks of language based on evidence from acquisition, linguistic variation, and attrition, focusing in particular on syntax and its interfaces with morphology and semantics.
Michael H. Long is Professor of Second Language Acquisition at the University of Maryland. The author of over 100 journal articles and book chapters, recent publications include The Handbook of Second Language Acquisition (Blackwell, 2003), Second Language Needs Analysis (CUP, 2005), Problems in SLA (Erlbaum, 2007), The Handbook of Language Teaching (Wiley‐Blackwell, 2009), Sensitive Periods, Language Aptitude, and Ultimate L2 Attainment (John Benjamins, 2013), and Second Language Acquisition and Task‐Based Language Teaching (Wiley‐Blackwell, 2015).
Cristóbal Lozano (PhD, Essex University, UK) has worked on second language acquisition as a teaching fellow (Essex University), a postdoctoral researcher (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain), and a Fulbright visiting researcher (Pennsylvania State University). He has been Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at the Universidad de Granada (Spain) since 2010. His research focuses on the second language Spanish and English acquisition of phenomena at the syntax–discourse interface by combining corpus and experimental methods. He directs the CEDEL2 corpus (Corpus Escrito del Español L2).
Paul A. Malovrh is Associate Professor of Hispanic Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition at the University of South Carolina. His research focuses on the potential and limitations of foreign and second language (L2) instruction in interlanguage development, with emphasis on L2 processing strategies across different instructional contexts. His recent work emphasizes advanced‐level language proficiency, in particular, and explores its relationship with globalization and curricular design.
Paul Kei Matsuda is Professor of English and Director of Second Language Writing at Arizona State University. Co‐founding chair of the Symposium on Second Language Writing and editor of the Parlor Press Series on Second Language Writing, Paul has published widely in various edited collections as well as journals such as College Composition and Communication, College English, English for Specific Purposes, International Journal of Applied Linguistics, TESOL Quarterly, and Written Communication.
Fátima Montero is a PhD student in the Second Language Acquisition (SLA) program at the University of Maryland. Her research interests include English and Spanish instructed SLA, maturational constraints, implicit and explicit second language learning, negative feedback, individual differences, and Spanish applied linguistics.
Alfonso Morales‐Front is Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Georgetown University. His research interests focus on prosodic aspects of Spanish phonology (syllable, stress, and intonation), the acquisition of first and second language phonology, and study abroad.
Nina Moreno is Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of South Carolina. Her areas of expertise include teacher education, Spanish applied linguistics, cognitive processes in language learning, and computer‐assisted language learning. She has published articles and software reviews in journals such as Language Learning, Foreign Language Annals, and CALICO, and co‐authored Introducción a la lingüística hispánica actual: teoría y práctica (Routledge, 2017).
Matthew E. Poehner is Associate Professor of World Languages Education and Applied Linguistics at The Pennsylvania State University. His research examines Dynamic Assessment, Mediated Development, and Systemic Theoretical Instruction, derived from Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory, as a basis for second language educational practice. His most recent book (co‐authored with J. P. Lantolf) is Sociocultural Theory and the Pedagogical Imperative in L2 Education: Vygotskian Praxis and the Research/Practice Divide (Routledge, 2014).
Leah Roberts is Professor of Psycholinguistics in the Department of Education, and Leader at the Centre for Research in Language Learning and Use, at University of York (UK). Her research focuses on second language learning and processing at the word, sentence and discourse levels. Her recent research topics include what adult and child learners can acquire after only limited exposure to a new language, as well as the ways in which two languages interact in the mind of functionally bilingual speakers during real‐time language comprehension.
Jason Rothman is Professor of Multilingualism and Language Development in the School of Psychology at the University of Reading (UK) and Professor II of Linguistics in the Language Acquisition, Variation and Attrition (LAVA) research group at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. His work is grounded within the generative conceptualization of mental linguistic representation and computation, investigating language acquisition and processing in children and adults’ native and non‐native language. Recent work appears in Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Second Language Research, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Language, Cognition and Neuroscience.
Marianna Ryshina‐Pankova is Associate Professor of German at Georgetown University. As Director of Curriculum she is actively involved in the maintenance, evaluation, and renewal of the undergraduate curriculum and in mentoring graduate students teaching in the program. Her research interests include application of systemic functional theory to the study of second language (L2) writing development and advanced literacy assessment, as well as L2 pedagogy and content‐ and language‐integrated curriculum design.
Kazuya Saito is a lecturer in the Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication at Birkbeck, University of London (UK). His research interests include how second language learners develop various dimensions of their speech in naturalistic settings, and how instruction can help optimize such learning processes in classroom contexts.
M. Rafael Salaberry (PhD, Cornell University, 1997) holds an appointment as Mary Gibbs Jones Professor of Humanities at Rice University. He is a Professor of Spanish Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and he is also the Director of the Center for Languages and Intercultural Communication (CLIC) at Rice University.
Cristina Sanz (PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign) is Professor of Spanish Linguistics and Director of Spanish Programs. An expert on multilingual development and education, she is interested in the interaction between context, including study abroad and computer‐assisted learning, and individual differences, especially the role of prior experience and sociocognitive variables in second language development. She has published over 80 books, articles, and chapters; her volume Mind and Context in Adult Second Language Acquisition: Methods, Theory, and Practice (Georgetown University Press, 2005) received the Modern Language Association’s Mildenberger Prize.
Peter Skehan is Professorial Research Fellow at St. Mary’s University (UK), having previously worked at the University of Auckland (New Zealand), the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and King’s College, London, amongst others. His research areas are foreign language aptitude and second language acquisition, especially task‐based learning and performance. His recent publications include a chapter in the Annual Review of Applied Linguistics (2016) and an article on aptitude and grammar in Applied Linguistics (2015).
Roumyana Slabakova is Professor and Chair of Applied Linguistics at the University of Southampton (UK) and is Professor at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Her research interests focus on the second language acquisition of meaning—more specifically, phrasal‐semantic, discourse, and pragmatic meanings. Her monographs include Telicity in the Second Language (John Benjamins, 2001) and Meaning in the Second Language (Mouton de Gruyter, 2008). She co‐edits the journal Second Language Research and is the co‐author (with Naoko Taguchi) of Second Language Pragmatics (Oxford University Press, 2017).
Naoko Taguchi is a Professor in the Department of Modern Languages at Carnegie Mellon University where she teaches courses in second language acquisition and Japanese language/culture. She is the author of Context, Individual Differences, and Pragmatic Development (Multilingual Matters, 2012) and Developing Interactional Competence in a Japanese Study Abroad Program (Multilingual Matters, 2015), and the co‐author (with Roumyana Slabakova) of Second Language Pragmatics (Oxford University Press, 2017).
Julio Torres (PhD, Georgetown University) is an Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics in the Departments of Spanish and Portuguese and Linguistics at the University of California, Irvine. He is also the director of the Spanish language program, and is affiliated with the National Heritage Language Resource Center at UCLA. His research interests include heritage/second language acquisition, bilingualism, cognition, and task‐based language learning.
Zhan Wang is Assistant Professor at the Center for Language Education at the South University of Science and Technology in China. She received a PhD in Applied Linguistics from The Chinese University of Hong Kong and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center. Her research interests include task‐based language teaching, psycholinguistics, and computer‐supported collaborative learning.
Stuart A. Webb is a Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Western Ontario (Canada). Before teaching applied linguistics, he taught English as a foreign language in Japan and China for many years. His research interests include vocabulary, second language acquisition, and extensive reading, listening, and viewing. His latest book (co‐authored with Paul Nation), How Vocabulary is Learned, was published by Oxford University Press in 2017.
Marit Westergaard is Professor of English Linguistics at UiT The Arctic University of Norway and Adjunct Professor at NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology. She is also head of the LAVA/AcqVA research groups (Language Acquisition, Variation and Attrition). She has published widely in first as well as second/third language acquisition, multilingualism in children and adults, and diachronic change, mainly focusing on linguistic properties such as word order and grammatical gender.
Paula Winke is an Associate Professor at Michigan State University. She teaches language teaching methods and language assessment in the Second Language Studies, TESOL, and Applied Linguistics Program within the School of Language Sciences & Literary and Cultural Studies. She researches language assessment issues and how individual differences affect second language acquisition. She is a former president of the Midwest Association of Language Testers (MwALT) and in 2012 received the TESOL Award for Distinguished Research.
Feng Xiao is Assistant Professor of Asian Languages and Literatures at Pomona College, Claremont, California. His research interests include pragmatics, second language acquisition, bilingualism, and Chinese linguistics.
Nicole Ziegler is Assistant Professor of Second Language Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Her research program focuses on instructed second language acquisition (ISLA), including mixed method and interdisciplinary research in second language conversational interaction, task‐based language teaching, and computer‐assisted language learning, specifically synchronous computer‐mediated communication.
The inception of the present volume goes back to the summer of 2015, when we had a conversation regarding the growing need for advanced‐level users of foreign language in the private and public sectors in an increasingly globalized world. Our conversation quickly evolved into a list of questions regarding what we really know (and do not know) about advanced proficiency in the field of second language acquisition (SLA). While extensive research had been conducted on the topic, we understood that more questions than answers remained. Previous research had already established various frameworks for pursuing the investigation of advanced proficiency and had posited specific questions to be addressed; this volume merely attempts to bring together some of the ways in which such questions are being explored by many of the field’s leading scholars, with the aim of drawing further attention to the need for a greater understanding of higher levels of language use. A search of key terms using any search engine will continuously yield a list of names of scholars who have dedicated their attention to pursuing the topic—names such as Byrnes, Maxim, and Ortega, to name but a few—and we acknowledge that, without their seminal work, the present volume could never have been realized. Their work provided us with the basic structure of the volume, as well as the specific themes to be explored, and we are grateful for their contributions to the field of SLA.
When we first presented our idea for the edited volume to Wiley, the initial response was extremely encouraging, and our proposal was quickly polished and submitted for review. The reviewers’ responses were unanimous: the need for a comprehensive collection addressing advancedness in SLA, in terms of varying theoretical approaches, multiple perspectives and orientations to context, tasks, and learner profiles, phonological and grammatical development, genre, and socially situated use, was long overdue. We were then fortunate enough to bring on board an impressive list of scholars to contribute their expertise to the volume. We, therefore, wish to thank first and foremost, the editorial and production teams at Wiley. Tanya McMullin, our acquisitions editor, provided us with continued guidance and feedback to keep the project on schedule. Manish Luthra, our production editor, and Giles Flitney, our copy‐editor, were continuously available to provide advice regarding formatting issues throughout the editing process. In addition, we thank the outstanding and wonderful contributors who shared their expertise and research in each chapter of the collection. In all cases, we found the editorial process to be enjoyable, as we received nothing short of complete professionalism and cooperation from those whose work comprise the present volume. In short, the project is indebted to the wonderful support of the Wiley team and to the scholars who contributed to it.
As is the case with any volume of this breadth and depth, a considerable amount of time was devoted to editing and peer review. To that end, we wish to thank a number of individuals who selflessly provided their insight and thoughtful feedback in order to maintain a high quality of work in the final draft. They are:
Fred R. Eckman
Kimberly L. Geeslin
Lara Gurzynski Weiss
D. Eric Holt
Michael H. Long
Matthew E. Poehner
We close our acknowledgement with mention of some of those who have been instrumental in the successful completion of the present volume, through their support and sacrifices, and through their understanding of the importance of our work. They include department chairs, such as Dr. Nicholas Vazsonyi at the University of South Carolina, who acknowledges the important work of his SLA professors through his support for and enthusiasm toward projects such as this. They also include colleagues, such as Professor Matthew Weait, and all members of CARILSE (Centre for Applied Research and Innovation in Language Sciences and Education) at the University of Portsmouth (UK), who understood the value of this project and provided their support and excellent advice throughout. And they include our loving families, our spouses in particular, who have come to know far more about SLA than they probably ever expected to, through their ongoing support of (and interest in) our work. And, finally, they include our graduate students, whose curiosity and thoughtful questions regarding acquisition and advanced proficiency provide a constant motivation for learning more about such topics. We dedicate this volume to them, and to all scholars who strive to understand more about second language acquisition.
Paul A. MalovrhUniversity of South Carolina, USA
Alessandro G. BenatiUniversity of Portsmouth, UK
PAUL A. MALOVRH1 AND ALESSANDRO G. BENATI2
1 University of South Carolina
2 University of Portsmouth, UK
Globalization over the past 20 years has engendered a renewed interest in language learning among researchers and employers alike. Increasingly, studies in second language acquisition (SLA) not only address the capacity and/or potential of advanced language learning and use, but also consider the social demands for multilingual actors, as the traditionally popular descriptors of an individual’s language ability—those such as bilingual or fluent—fail to sufficiently describe proficiency in everyday life. What does it mean to be advanced in a second (L2) or foreign (FL) language?
The need for a more visible and understandable profile of advanced‐level language use—one that is understood by theorists and practitioners alike—serves as the main impetus for the present volume. The volume is of particular interest to theorists and scholars of SLA who seek out a better understanding of advanced‐level proficiency as well as a comprehensive update of contemporary research. The need for such an update can be seen in a variety of recent works in the field, such as The Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition (Routledge, 2012), which contains a chapter devoted specifically to advanced‐level proficiency. In it, Heidi Byrnes (the author) calls for a more comprehensive theoretical basis for understanding advanced‐level language use and capacity, one that combines cognitive, social, semantic, and textual orientations to acquisition. The present volume responds to such an invitation by bringing together a state‐of‐the‐science review of literature addressing various orientations to advanced‐level proficiency, including different approaches to exploring the L2 leaner’s capacity for advanced‐level language use, the complexities of defining advanced proficiency across various genres and socially situated contexts, and a linguistic profile of the performance of advanced users across phonological, morphosyntactic, and pragmatic domains. From a theoretical perspective, the volume addresses a growing need (and interest) in SLA to better understand advanced proficiency. From a practical one, it provides a profile and description of advanced‐level performance according to a variety of contexts, across specific genres, through different modes of communication, and in terms of grammatical structure.
The volume is motivated by a growing need to understand advanced proficiency, within academic and professional circles, as well as the potential and limitations of classroom instruction. In addition to developing the skills necessary for students to analyze and critique literary and cultural texts, language programs must also produce advanced‐ to superior‐level users of foreign language in order to meet the growing societal and global demands for multilingualism. Program assessment metrics often use descriptors of student performance such as advanced, near‐native, professional, and fluent, to name just a few, but without any shared understanding among directors, department chairs, professors, advisors, or SLA experts, of the meaning of such terms. What does an advanced‐level learner look like in terms of linguistic knowledge and ability to communicate? Does enrollment in an upper‐division university course constitute an advanced level of linguistic knowledge? Is a fluent language user also an accurate one? What level of language proficiency can realistically be achieved by a group of students in four years of study? Is studying abroad the only way for a student to become an advanced speaker? All too regularly, such questions lead to confusion, frustration, and discord among practitioners. This volume addresses such questions, balancing empirical research and literature reviews to describe and account for advanced‐level development, psycholinguistic phenomena, variable performance, and the potential of fostering development through classroom intervention.
Previous research addressing advanced proficiency has tended to do so by following a specific theoretical approach, ranging from psycholinguistic processing strategies, to cognition, to the critical period, and to ultimate attainment, to name a just a few. Other works have focused on variable performance according to either individual differences or contextual and situational constraints. And others have taken a pedagogical interventionist approach as a means to explore the limits of instruction at advanced levels, usually arguing for reform in curricular design. The current volume aims to synthesize various dimensions of advanced proficiency with different orientations of, approaches to, and capacity for advancedness. It consists of five main parts organized in such a way that various fundamentally distinct themes may be addressed. The first part addresses the capacity for advanced proficiency by reviewing literature within distinct theoretical frameworks and approaches that address advanced‐level development. Marianna Ryshina‐Pankova provides an overview of systemic functional linguistics in Chapter 2, Leah Roberts addresses psycholinguistic approaches in Chapter 3, and Michael H. Long, Gisela Granena, and Fátima Montero ask what research regarding the critical period may tell us about advanced proficiency in Chapter 4. Jason Rothman, Fatih Bayram, Tanja Kupisch, Terje Lohndal, and Marit Westergaard discuss advanced proficiency according to generative grammar in Chapter 5. Interaction‐driven approaches to advancedness are discussed in Chapter 6 by Nicole Ziegler and Lara Bryfonski, and Matthew E. Poehner provides an overview of advanced proficiency according to Sociocultural Theory in Chapter 7.
Part II of the volume explores the complexity of defining advanced‐level language use, given the multitude of internal and external factors constraining or obscuring our ability to assess proficiency. It focuses on contextually constrained language use and individual differences in advanced performance, as well as different methods of intervening with development in instructed settings. In Chapter 8, Heidi Byrnes provides a thorough call for future research regarding advanced‐level grammatical development in instructed contexts from the perspective of systemic functional linguistics, whereas Paul A. Malovrh and Nina Moreno, in Chapter 11, examine the need for structural reform in basic language programs from the perspective of language processing, arguing that development toward advanced proficiency in instructed settings needs to start from the ground up. In Chapter 9, Paula Winke and Susan M. Gass offer profiles of advanced learners in the form of clusters based on empirical data measuring individual differences, and Cristina Sanz and Julio Torres discuss prior language experience of heritage bilinguals in Chapter 10. Concluding Part II, Gavin Bui, Peter Skehan, and Zhan Wang provide an overview of the effects of task conditions on advanced‐level performance in Chapter 12.
The volume then proceeds to examine advanced proficiency from a linguistic perspective. Part III begins a review of literature yielding a profile of advanced‐level language users’ capacity for phonological development and performance according to several phonological constructs. John Archibald begins the section by providing an overview of advanced‐level phonology in Chapter 13, followed by Fred R. Eckman’s chapter on markedness in the context of advancedness in Chapter 14. Kazuya Saito explores segmental and suprasegmental advanced acquisition in Chapter 15, Burcu Gokgoz‐Kurt and D. Eric Holt investigate connected speech in Chapter 16, and Alfonso Morales‐Front discusses voice onset time (VOT) in Chapter 17.
Another unique feature of the present volume is its compilation of research and literature reviews with regard to the production and grammatical development. Part IV explores the notion of linguistic profiles, and yields a state‐of‐the‐science update regarding various structures and features. In Chapter 18, for example, Aarnes Gudmestad explores four possible ways of classifying advanced proficiency in terms of mood distinction, and in Chapter 19, M. Rafael Salaberry describes previous theoretical definitions of aspect and the possible effects of explicit instruction on advanced knowledge. Roumyana Slabakova examines L2 learners’ variability in their use of inflectional morphology in Chapter 20, and Stuart A. Webb, in Chapter 21, explores lexical development and how we can determine if an L2 learner has reached (or is at) an advanced level. In Chapter 22, Cristóbal Lozano and Marcus Callies argue that one hurdle for advanced L2 learners is the acquisition of lexical and morphosyntactic alternations, when constrained by information‐structure factors, and Tania Ionin provides a review of current research evidence on advanced learners’ knowledge of semantics in Chapter 23.
Part V completes the volume with a profile of advanced‐level performance in terms of socially situated language use by exploring topics such as cultural literacy, interlanguage pragmatics, and advanced rhetoric and writing. Feng Xiao begins the section, in Chapter 24, by reviewing the results of empirical research measuring pragmatic competence of high proficiency levels in instructed contexts. Keiko Koda and Sihui Echo Ke, in Chapter 25, define reading as a three‐phased process among tertiary‐level FL learners, consisting of text meaning building, personal meaning construction, and knowledge refinement. In Chapter 26, Naoko Taguchi offers a profile for advanced pragmatic competence by synthesizing findings from cross‐sectional studies comparing L2 learners’ pragmatic performance, and in Chapter 27, Gregg Fields and Paul Kei Matsuda explore rhetoric and writing as two important factors describing and defining advanced second language acquisition, and they discuss how these two factors influence the development of socially situated language acquisition in general. Finally, in Chapter 28, Kimberly L. Geeslin identifies the abilities used by second language learners to vary the language they produce. She discusses how linguistic variation among native speakers functions as a mechanism to express and interpret information about individual characteristics of the speaker and the context in which the interaction takes place. The chapter provides an analysis of how these abilities might be developed in second language acquisition.
Each chapter in the volume concludes with a description or definition of advancedness according to its respective content, and provides a call for future research. Among them, the reader will note various consistent threads interwoven throughout the volume, such as the need for more longitudinal data, the need for more direct analysis of internal mechanisms using on‐line measures, and the need for the triangulation of research data elicited (or collected) by different means. In short, the volume makes a strong argument for the need for more sophisticated research design, as well as more analyses of multiple advanced‐level skills. It also sets the stage for meeting a number of goals established in previous SLA research. Consider, for example, the list of directions, posited in Byrnes’s (2012, pp. 516–517) conclusion, which need to be pursued in order to better understand advancedness in SLA:
A push toward theorizing advancedness through functionally and textually oriented approaches to language analysis;
Explicit linking of advancedness to multilingualism;
Expansion of research contexts into additional domains;
Expansion of the domains of inquiry regarding advancedness;
Longitudinal studies investigating diverse aspects of instructed language learning;
Research on learning multiple languages to advanced levels;
Development of corpora that use to greatest advantage the capacities of corpus‐based analysis; and,
Further specification of research methodologies suited for investigating the development of L2 abilities.
The present volume provides an overview of the research that has been conducted in the six years since, and takes note of the areas in which more still needs to be done. For example, Malovrh and Moreno (Chapter 11, this volume) note the need for more longitudinal data examining the effects of instructed learning, and Lozano and Callies (Chapter 22, this volume) note the need for more corpus‐based analyses. The reader will find chapters that touch on at least one of the above‐cited themes cited in Byrnes’s conclusion. What becomes evident to us is that, despite the pioneering work of scholars such as Maxim, Norris, and Ortega, to name just a few, the study of advancedness in SLA is still in its infancy, and to re‐emphasize Byrnes’s (2012) assertion, the field of SLA needs, “a sufficiently comprehensive theoretical basis for understanding advanced language … and use” (p. 506). The present volume contributes to the field by compiling (and adding) research to serve as a foundation upon which such an understanding may be developed.
To conclude our introductory chapter, we call on our readers to make note of topics that were excluded from our table of contents but which deserve attention by future scholars if we are to continue to theorize on advancedness in SLA. For example, what can we learn about advancedness through the study of balanced bilingualism? And, what can the study of conversation and interaction tell us about advancedness in situated language use? Furthermore, what other grammatical and morphological features deserve attention and should be studied in future research to add to the profiles of advancedness yielded in the present volume? It is our belief that the importance of such research will only continue to grow, and its demand will increase in proportion to the changing geopolitical landscape of globalization. As the world continues to demand “advanced” multilingual actors, researchers in SLA will continue to be called upon to help us understand precisely what that means, and to more appropriately situate the concept according to theoretical, academic, professional, social, practical, and pedagogical contexts.
Byrnes, H. (2012). Advanced language proficiency. In S. M. Gass & A. Mackey (Eds.),
The Routledge handbook of second language acquisition
(pp. 506–520). New York: Routledge.
The research of L2 proficiency, specifically at the advanced levels of acquisition on which this chapter focuses, finds its basis in the systemic functional linguistics (SFL) theory of language (Halliday & Matthiessen, 2004; Martin & Rose, 2003), as well as its applications in L1 learning and educational settings (e.g. Christie & Derewianka, 2008; Coffin, 2006; Rose & Martin, 2012
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