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Language, Interaction and Acquisition

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ISSN 1879-7865
E-ISSN 1879-7873

<em>LIA</em>is a bilingual English-French journal that publishes original theoretical and empirical research of high scientific quality at the forefront of current debates concerning language acquisition. It covers all facets of language acquisition among different types of learners and in diverse learning situations, with particular attention to oral speech and/or to signed languages. Topics include the acquisition of one or more foreign languages, of one or more first languages, and of sign languages, as well as learners’ use of gestures during speech; the relationship between language and cognition during acquisition; bilingualism and situations of linguistic contact – for example pidginisation and creolisation. The bilingual nature of <em>LIA</em> aims at reaching readership in a wide international community, while simultaneously continuing to attract intellectual and linguistic resources stemming from multiple scientific traditions in Europe, thereby remaining faithful to its original French anchoring. <em>LIA</em> is the direct descendant of <a href="">the French-speaking journal <em>AILE.</em></a>

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  • Gesture–speech unity: Phylogenesis, ontogenesis, and microgenesis
    • Author: David McNeill
    • Source: Language, Interaction and Acquisition, Volume 5, Issue 2, 2014, pages: 137 –184
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    • This paper outlines an argument for how development in child speech and gesture could shed light on language evolution: child acquisition can be thought of as two types of acquisition, one of which goes extinct (gesture-first, Acquisition 1) and is replaced by another (gesture–speech unity, Acquisition 2). For ontogenesis, this implies that children acquire two languages, one of which is extinct, and which again goes extinct in ontogenesis (it continues as “gestures of silence” rather than as gestures of speech). There is no way to get from Acquisition 1 to Acquisition 2. They are on different tracks. Even when they converge in the same sentence, as they sometimes do, they alternate and do not combine. I propose that the 3~4 year timing of Acquisition 2 relates to the natural selection of a kind of gestural self–response I call “Mead’s Loop”, which took place in a certain psychological milieu at the origin of language. This milieu emerges now in ontogenesis at 3~4 years and with it Mead’s Loop. It is self-aware agency, on which a self-response depends. Other developments, such as theory of mind and shared intentionality, likewise depend on it and also emerge around the same time. The prefrontal cortex, anchoring a ring of language centers in the brain, matures at that point as well, another factor influencing the late timing. On the other hand, a third acquisition, speech evoking adult attachment, begins at (or even before) birth, as shown by a number of studies, and provides continuity through the two acquisitions and extinction.
  • The ‘thinking’ in thinking-for-speaking: Where is it?
    • Authors: Panos Athanasopoulos, and Emanuel Bylund
    • Source: Language, Interaction and Acquisition, Volume 4, Issue 1, 2013, pages: 91 –100
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    • According to the thinking-for-speaking (TFS) hypothesis, speakers of different languages think differently while in the process of mentally preparing content for speech. The aim of the present paper is to critically discuss the research carried out within the TFS paradigm, against the background of the basic tenets laid out by the proponents of this framework. We will show that despite substantial progress in the investigation of crosslinguistic differences in the organisation of information in discourse, the studies that actually examine the cognitive aspects of speech production are, to date, vanishingly few. This state of affairs creates a gap in our knowledge about the thought processes that co-occur with speech production during language use and acquisition. We will argue that in order to reach a more comprehensive picture of the cognitive processes and outcomes of speech production, methodologies additional to the analysis of information organisation must be used.
  • Tracing trajectories: Motion event construal by advanced L2 French-English and L2 French-German speakers
    • Authors: Mary Carroll, Katja Weimar, Monique Flecken, Monique Lambert, and Christiane von Stutterheim
    • Source: Language, Interaction and Acquisition, Volume 3, Issue 2, 2012, pages: 202 –230
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    • Although the typological contrast between Romance and Germanic languages as verb-framed versus satellite-framed (Talmy 1985) forms the background for many empirical studies on L2 acquisition, the inconclusive picture to date calls for more differentiated, fine-grained analyses. The present study goes beyond explanations based on this typological contrast and takes into account the sources from which spatial concepts are mainly derived in order to shape the trajectory traced by the entity in motion when moving through space: the entity in V-languages versus features of the ground in S-languages. It investigates why advanced French learners of English and German have difficulty acquiring the use of spatial concepts typical of the L2s to shape the trajectory, although relevant concepts can be expressed in their L1. The analysis compares motion event descriptions, based on the same sets of video clips, of L1 speakers of the three languages to L1 French-L2 English and L1 French-L2 German speakers, showing that the learners do not fully acquire the use of L2-specific spatial concepts. We argue that encoded concepts derived from the entity in motion vs. the ground lead to a focus on different aspects of motion events, in accordance with their compatibility with these sources, and are difficult to restructure in L2 acquisition.
  • In faint praise of folly: A critical review of native/non-native speaker comparisons, with examples from native and bilingual processing of French complex syntax
    • Authors: David Birdsong, and Libby M. Gertken
    • Source: Language, Interaction and Acquisition, Volume 4, Issue 2, 2013, pages: 107 –133
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    • This study critically examines the widespread practice of comparing the linguistic processes and representations of non-native speakers with those of natives. We argue that, in some respects, the method yields benefits, while in others it does not serve the interests of research into the nature of second language acquisition and bilingualism. We go on to consider certain analytical approaches that skirt the hazards of the method. The potential payoffs of native/non-native comparisons are illustrated in a priming study of monolingual and bilingual processing of ambiguity in complex French syntax (Gertken 2013).
  • Conventions for sign and speech transcription of child bimodal bilingual corpora in ELAN
    • Authors: Deborah Chen Pichler, Julie A. Hochgesang, Diane Lillo-Martin, and Ronice Müller de Quadros
    • Source: Language, Interaction and Acquisition, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2010, pages: 11 –40
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    • This article extends current methodologies for the linguistic analysis of sign language acquisition to cases of bimodal bilingual acquisition. Using ELAN, we are transcribing longitudinal spontaneous production data from hearing children of Deaf parents who are learning either American Sign Language (ASL) and American English (AE), or Brazilian Sign Language (Libras, also referred to as Língua de Sinais Brasileira/LSB in some texts) and Brazilian Portuguese (BP). Our goal is to construct corpora that can be mined for a wide range of investigations on various topics in acquisition. Thus, it is important that we maintain consistency in transcription for both signed and spoken languages. This article documents our transcription conventions, including the principles behind our approach. Using this document, other researchers can chose to follow similar conventions or develop new ones using our suggestions as a starting point.
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