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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.
  • Is the heritage language like a second language?
    • Author: Silvina A. Montrul
    • Source: EUROSLA Yearbook, Volume 12, Issue 1, 2012, pages: 1 –29
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    • Many heritage speakers (bilinguals in a minority language context) turn to the second language (L2) classroom to expand their knowledge of the heritage language. Critical questions arise as to how their linguistic knowledge compares to that of post puberty L2 learners. Focusing on recent experimental research on grammatical domains typically affected in both L2 learners and heritage speakers, this article addresses whether exposure to the family language since birth even under reduced input conditions leads to more native-like linguistic knowledge in heritage speakers as opposed to L2 learners with a later age of acquisition of the language, how differences in input and language learning experience determine the behavioral manifestations of linguistic knowledge, and whether formal instruction in the classroom is beneficial to heritage speakers. I argue that the extension of theoretical frameworks and methodologies from SLA has significantly advanced the field of heritage language acquisition, but deeper understanding of these speakers will also need more fruitful integration of the psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic factors that contribute to the acquisition and maintenance of heritage languages.
  • Accounting for English article interpretation by L2 speakers
    • Authors: Roger Hawkins, Saleh Al-Eid, Ibrahim Almahboob, Panos Athanasopoulos, Rangsiya Chaengchenkit, James Hu, Mohammad Rezai, Carol Jaensch, Yunju Jeon, Amy Jiang, Yan-kit Ingrid Leung, Keiko Matsunaga, Martha Ortega, Ghisseh Sarko, Neal Snape, and Kalinka Velasco-Zárate
    • Source: EUROSLA Yearbook, Volume 6, Issue 1, 2006, pages: 7 –25
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    • Ionin, Ko and Wexler (2004a) have shown that L2 speakers of English whose L1’s lack articles (Russian and Korean) appear to fluctuate in their interpretation of the and a, allowing them to encode either definiteness or specificity. They argue that these are two options of an Article Choice Parameter offered by Universal Grammar, and that the Russian and Korean speakers fluctuate between them when they are acquiring English. In the present study it is shown that a similar pattern can be observed in L2 speakers of English whose L1 is Japanese (also a language that lacks articles) but not in speakers whose L1 is Greek, a language with articles that encode definiteness like English. It is also shown that while group results for the Japanese speakers suggest fluctuation, individual results do not. It is argued that an account can be given of both cases which does not require appeal either to an Article Choice Parameter or to the concept of ‘fluctuation’. The alternative proposal made here is consistent with Universal Grammar, and follows from an organisation of the grammar where phonological exponents are separated from the lexical items manipulated by syntactic computations, as in Distributed Morphology. It is suggested that a descriptively adequate account which avoids a construction-specific parameter like the Article Choice Parameter and departure from the normal assumptions of UG represented by fluctuation should be preferred.
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