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EUROSLA Yearbook

image of EUROSLA Yearbook
ISSN 1568-1491
E-ISSN 1569-9749

The annual conference of the European Second Language Association provides an opportunity for the presentation of second language research with a genuinely European flavour. The theoretical perspectives adopted are wide-ranging and may fall within traditions overlooked elsewhere. Moreover, the studies presented are largely multi-lingual and cross-cultural, as befits the make-up of modern-day Europe. At the same time, the work demonstrates sophisticated awareness of scholarly insights from around the world. The EUROSLA yearbook presents a selection each year of the very best research from the annual conference. Submissions are reviewed and professionally edited, and only those of the highest quality are selected. Contributions are in English.

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  • Focus on Form in Second Language Vocabulary Learning
    • Author: Batia Laufer
    • Source: EUROSLA Yearbook, Volume 5, Issue 1, 2005, pages: 223 –250
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    • The realization by applied linguists that second language learners cannot achieve high levels of grammatical competence from entirely meaning centered instruction has led them to propose that learners need to focus on form, i.e. to attend to linguistic elements during a communicative activity (Long 1991, De Keyser 1998, Norris and Ortega 2000, Ellis 2001). However, most advocates of Focus on Form (FonF), have also proscribed Focus on Forms (FonFs), the systematic teaching of isolated grammatical items and rules. So far, FonF research has been concerned with grammatical, not lexical, instruction. In this paper, which was originally presented as a plenary session at the 2004 EUROSLA conference, I examine the need for Focus on Form and the proscription of Focus on Forms from the vocabulary learning perspective.  First, I argue that, similarly to grammar, comprehensible input is insufficient for acquiring vocabulary, and consequently Focus on Form is an essential component of instruction. I base my argument on the fallacy of the assumptions which underlie the vocabulary-through-input hypothesis: the noticing assumption, the guessing ability assumption, the guessing-retention link assumption and the cumulative gain assumption. Second, I defend Focus on Forms and argue against the claim that attention to form must be motivated by and carried out within a communicative task environment. The defense is based on the nature of lexical competence, which is perceived as a combination of different aspects of vocabulary knowledge, vocabulary use, speed of lexical access and strategic competence. The two arguments above will be supported by empirical evidence from three types of vocabulary learning studies: (a) the ‘classic’ task embedded FonF, (b) task related FonFs, and (c) ‘pure’ FonFs studies, unrelated to any task.
  • The socio-educational model of Second Language Acquisition: A research paradigm
    • Author: Robert C. Gardner
    • Source: EUROSLA Yearbook, Volume 6, Issue 1, 2006, pages: 237 –260
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    • In this paper I discuss our socio-educational model of second language acquisition and demonstrate how it provides a fundamental research paradigm to investigate the role of attitudes and motivation in learning another language. This is a general theoretical model designed explicitly for the language learning situation, and is applicable to both foreign and second language learning contexts. It has three important features. First, it satisfies the scientific requirement of parsimony in that it involves a limited number of operationally defined constructs. Second, it has associated with it the Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB) that yields reliable assessments of its major constructs, permitting empirical tests of the model. Third, it is concerned with the motivation to learn and become fluent in another language, and not simply with task and/or classroom motivation.
  • Interface vulnerability and knowledge of the subjunctive/indicative distinction with negated epistemic predicates in L2 Spanish
    • Authors: Michael Iverson, Paula Kempchinsky, and Jason Rothman
    • Source: EUROSLA Yearbook, Volume 8, Issue 1, 2008, pages: 135 –163
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    • Much recent research in SLA is guided by the hypothesis of L2 interface vulnerability (see Sorace 2005). This study contributes to this general project by examining the acquisition of two classes of subjunctive complement clauses in L2 Spanish: subjunctive complements of volitional predicates (purely syntactic) and subjunctive vs. indicative complements with negated epistemic matrix predicates, where the mood distinction is discourse dependent (thus involving the syntax–discourse interface). We provide an analysis of the volitional subjunctive in English and Spanish, suggesting that English learners of L2 Spanish need to access the functional projection Mood P and an uninterpretable modal feature on the Force head available to them from their formal English register grammar, and simultaneously must unacquire the structure of English for-to clauses. For negated epistemic predicates, our analysis maintains that they need to revalue the modal feature on the Force head from uninterpretable to interpretable, within the L2 grammar.With others (e.g. Borgonovo & Prévost 2003; Borgonovo, Bruhn de Garavito & Prévost 2005) and in line with Sorace’s (2000, 2003, 2005) notion of interface vulnerability, we maintain that the latter case is more difficult for L2 learners, which is borne out in the data we present. However, the data also show that the indicative/subjunctive distinction with negated epistemics can be acquired by advanced stages of acquisition, questioning the notion of obligatory residual optionality for all properties which require the integration of syntactic and discourse information.
  • The effect of Study Abroad (SA) on written performance
    • Authors: Carmen Pérez Vidal, and Maria Juan-Garau
    • Source: EUROSLA Yearbook, Volume 9, Issue 1, 2009, pages: 269 –295
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    • Research on the effects of Study Abroad (SA) periods on learners’ linguistic progress has tended to focus on oral skills, and few SA studies have focused on learners’ development in writing while abroad. The subjects in the present study were 37 advanced level non-native (NNSs) university students of English on a SA programme. Written compositions were analysed for fluency accuracy and complexity gains after the SA. They were contrasted with progress after formal instruction and with native speakers (NSs) baseline written performance. Language background data, attitudes, and stay abroad conditions were elicited with questionnaires. The SA period resulted in significant progress, which receded in the mid-term. Formal instruction only showed some improvement in accuracy. Significant differences were found between NSs and NNSs, although not in all domains. Results allow us to identify the students who benefit most from the SA and to examine the factors which seem to characterize them.
  • Habits and rabbits: Word associations and the L2 lexicon
    • Author: Tess Fitzpatrick
    • Source: EUROSLA Yearbook, Volume 6, Issue 1, 2006, pages: 121 –145
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    • Word associations have traditionally been used in linguistic research as a means of accessing information about the organisation of the mental lexicon. A number of important studies have revealed differences in word association behaviour in the L1 and the L2, but have failed to find consistent behaviour patterns. The study reported here suggests that this failure might be due to two factors: the choice of stimulus words and the categorisation of responses, which impose artificial constraints on both association behaviour and the exploration of response types. In order to move the investigation of L2 word associations forward, this study compares native speaker responses to a specific set of stimuli with those of advanced non-native speakers. The types of association response made by each group of subjects are investigated by means of a retrospective interview, and patterns in response types are mapped. This results in a new method of categorising word association responses, and provides more precise insight into the differences between L1 and L2 association patterns.
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