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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Created in November of 1989, Issues in Applied Linguistics is a refereed journal managed, edited and published by graduate students of the UCLA Department of Applied Linguistics. The journal is published twice yearly and has established international distribution and a solid reputation in the field of Applied Linguistics.

Our aim is to publish outstanding research from students, faculty, and independent researchers in the broad areas of discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, language acquisition, language analysis, language assessment, language education, language use, and research methodology. We are particularly interested in publishing new departures and cross-disciplinary endeavors in the field of applied linguistics.

Volume 17 Issue 2 2009

Issue cover

Copyeditors and Proofreaders: Bahiyyih L. Hardacre, Rita Kahn, Andrea Olinger, Jonathan Schmidgall, and Angela Tan

Additional Readers: Inge Bartning, Lucile Duperron, Gary Harfitt, Emmanuelle Labeau, Bill Littlewood, Jun Liu, and Zsuzsa Czirasky Londe



Individual Differences in Working Memory Capacity and the Development of L2 Speech Production

This study investigates the relationship between individual differences in working memory capacity and L2 speech development. Thirty-two undergraduate English as a Foreign Language students participated in this study, which involved two data collection phases, each consisting of a working memory test (the speaking span test) and a speech generation task, with a two-month interval between the two data collections. Participants’ speaking samples were analyzed in terms of fluency, accuracy and complexity. The results show that only lower span individuals demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in working memory capacity and that such improvement was not a function of increased proficiency. In addition, although the speaking span test predicted fluency and complexity in participants’ L2 speech, it was not a good indicator of the development of speech accuracy.

Expressing Irrealis in L2 French: A Preliminary Study of the Conditional and Tense-Concordancing in L2 Acquisition

With a view to complementing the vast array of existing findings on the acquisition of tense and aspect, this article presents a quantitative analysis of the morphological expression of irrealis through the conditional in spoken L2 French by advanced Irish learners. Although previous studies suggest that the conditional is acquired late, our results demonstrate its frequent use in the advanced learner variety, particularly in simple clauses in particular, approaching similar levels of use as the past time marker of the passé composé, while also being used relatively more frequently than the imparfait. Such generally high levels of use in simple clauses contrast, however, with the difficulty demonstrated in its application in complex clauses where the learners experience greater difficulty in the morphological distinction between conditions expressing varying degrees of hypotheticality, in tense-concordancing across complex clauses, as well as in the expression of past conditions with the conditional anterior.

Are They Ready to Participate? East Asian Students’ Acquisition of Verbal Participation in American Classrooms

This study investigates seven East Asian graduate students’ acquisition of verbal participation competence in American classrooms. By examining the acquisition process, the study focuses on the factors that deactivate participants’ intents to participate, the strategies they develop to realize these intents, and the moments that signal readiness to participate. Participants’ struggles, strategies, and moments at which they participated were analyzed at four phases over a two-year period through semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, and participant observations. Cross- and single-case analyses of the data were conducted, and a complex mix of affective, cognitive and situational factors was identified. The analysis suggests that participants are challenged more by cognitive factors than by cultural factors in the acquisition process. Metacognitive and sociocultural strategies work interactively and shape effective access to full participation membership. A case is made for language teaching to treat cultural conventions of participation from an acquisitional perspective.