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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The L2 Journal is an open access, fully refereed, interdisciplinary journal which aims to promote the research and the practice of language learning and teaching. It publishes articles in English on all aspects of applied linguistics broadly conceived, i.e., second language acquisition, second language pedagogy, bilingualism and multilingualism, language and technology, curriculum development and teacher training, testing and evaluation.


Multilingual Translation of English Idioms in Internet-based TV series: A Contrastive Approach

This paper analyzes the strategies and challenges involved in the translation of English idioms in a specific domain of broadcast media. Current technology and distribution networks make it possible to watch series from around the world shortly after they are aired in their original language. Although sometimes dubbed, Internet-based TV series are often broadcast with multilingual subtitles. I will focus here specifically on idioms in subtitles translated from English into German, Norwegian, Spanish, and Portuguese. The study considers 10 comedy and drama series screened by media service providers (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Filmin).

The data will be described from a cognitive and contrastive perspective. I follow a methodology drawn from a previous article (Labarta Postigo, 2020). My main aim is to shed light on the strategies used in the translation process and to compare translation outcomes across languages. In terms of contrastive analysis, variants of the same language, such as Latin-American and European Spanish, and Brazilian and European Portuguese, have been considered.

The findings of this study are of potential use in pedagogical applications that develop learners’ cultural awareness and their understanding of figurative language in the foreign languages in question, as well as in the field of audiovisual subtitling translation.


The Ecology of Study Abroad for Language Learning: Synthesis and Interdisciplinary Insights

This report presents a review of study abroad research conducted from an ecological perspective (Kramsch, 2003; Leather & van Dam, 2003; van Lier, 2004) and identifies areas of inquiry that are lacking compared to second language acquisition and other fields (i.e., linguistics, psychology). It identifies value-based views as a high-priority area of interest and draws on frameworks in other fields to outline how language learning research could effectively describe the moral ecology of study abroad for language learning.

Creative Collaborations in Adult ESL Classrooms: Three Community Language Tutors’ Pre-Understandings, Contradictions, and Growth Points

This study draws upon Mindful L2 Teacher Education (Johnson & Golombek, 2016) to explore how volunteer community tutors of adult English as a Second Language (ESL) conceptualize and enact their roles as creative teachers. Through three case studies, I explore community language teachers’ pre-understandings, contradictions, and growth points. Findings revealed that tutors felt obligated to use survival ESL and grammar-based frameworks for teaching. Contradictions included their frustration with inconsistent student attendance, their fatigue creating lessons, and their feelings of isolation. Research on teacher education for community volunteers is important so that volunteers feel emotionally and pedagogically supported as they commit to teaching learners who otherwise might not have access to language instruction, including adults with immigrant and refugee backgrounds.



Teachers' Forum: Instructors' Perspectives

What Does It Mean to Develop Academic Literacy Practices in a Foreign Language?

A reflection on the importance of academic literacy socialization in foreign language education.

Experimenting with the Teaching of Academic Genres in the Target Culture: A Reflexive Testimony

This testimony discusses an experiment in teaching French academic genres in the context of a French reading and composition class held at UC Berkeley in spring 2020. The experiment was designed and implimenetd in collaboration with Emily Linares. The article describes the reasons for introducing students to these genres, within a multiliteracies framework and explains which pedagogical strategies worked best in this context, and why. It also points to possible socio-political implications of the experiment, which could also prove beneficial to minority students or students from underrepresented backgrounds in American universities.

A Commentary on Linares and Blocker

Kramsch reflects on her own academic background in light of Linares' and Blocker's papers.

Time for New Thinking about ELT in Latin America and Elsewhere

ELT in Latin America and elswehere in public schools and higher education and parts of the private sector has long been failing badly. The coronavirus pandemic should focus minds on changing that situation. Going back to TEFL business as usual should not be an option. In this article areas where radical change is needed are discussed and ideas for change proposed.

Celebrating L2J's 10th-Year Anniversary: Reflections on What Language Instructors Need to Know

A Question of Knowledge Base

This paper introduces the six articles addressing what language instructors need to know. These papers were originally presented at a BLC Forum celebrating the tenth anniversary of L2 Journal.

The Knowledge Base of a Language Instructor: A Former Department Chair's Perspective

A reflection on language learning and teaching as a learner of French, a teacher of Spanish, and as a language department chair.

A Raciolinguistic Perspective on the Structure of Language Programs and Departments

This paper considers the relationship between the structure of language departments and the content of the curriculum.

Gippius, Gender, and Textual Work in the L2 Classroom

These comments make a case for the value of careful philological work with literary texts in the language classroom. I propose that grammatically sensitive close reading of literature is a valuable way to introduce students to the generative relationship between rules and originality in language use, the way that each utterance draws on the available resources of a language to intervene into a concrete situation. In support of this claim, I offer an example from my own Russian teaching, in which the alternating grammatical gender in Zinaida Gippius' 1905 poem "Ты" ("You") opens up linguistic strategies used by present-day non-binary and gender non-conforming Russian speakers.

Using a Literacy-Based Approach to Elicit and Examine Forms of Attention

This is a written version of my BLC roundtable talk from Oct. 9 2020- 

What should be the knowledge base of foreign language teachers in higher education?

Technology as a Core Part of a Teacher's Knowledge Base in the Digital Age

We language educators are constant learners of teaching, not only of up-to-date pedagogy and technology but also the social context of target and native culture within which teaching occurs. Beyond my formal education, integral to my knowledge base are the range of student populations I have served and the variety of language teaching contexts I have encountered, such as heritage learners at UC Berkeley, the global popularity of Korean pop culture since the late 90s, and the pandemic situation since 2020. These are the local contextual factors that have affected the development of my knowledge base. To gain this knowledge base, I developed ways to integrate technology that accommodated my local contextual factors.

My Journey Performing Language: A Perspective on the Challenges and Rewards of Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone in the 21st Century

In this short essay I give my perspective on what I think should be the knowledge base of foreign language teachers, especially in our politically charged times, looking first at my own professional trajectory, and then offering my insights on the importance of participation, engagement and social responsibility.

A Response to Navarrete, Licata, Szarke, Lawton, Kim, and Bellezza: Confessions of a Structuralist

Tracing my journey through academia as a language teacher, I address what a language instructor needs to know and comment on the essays of the six contributors to this section of L2 Journal.

From the Editor

Thank you to reviewers 2020

The editors of L2 Journal wish to acknowledge and express our gratitude to the individuals who completed reviews in 2020.