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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.

Volume 1 Issue 1 2009


Corrective Feedback and Teacher Development

This article examines a number of controversies relating to how corrective feedback (CF) has been viewed in SLA and language pedagogy. These controversies address (1) whether CF contributes to L2 acquisition, (2) which errors should be corrected, (3) who should do the correcting (the teacher or the learner him/herself), (4) which type of CF is the most effective, and (5) what is the best timing for CF (immediate or delayed). In discussing these controversies, both the pedagogic and SLA literature will be drawn on. The article will conclude with some general guidelines for conducting CF in language classrooms based on a sociocultural view of L2 acquisition and will suggest how these guidelines might be used for teacher development.

L2 Learner Talk-about-Language as Social Discursive Practice

The purpose of this article is to explore the discursive and social functions of talk engaged in by language learners about language in natural settings, to raise awareness of the benefits of such practice, and to discuss some of its pedagogical implications. Authentic interactions between study-abroad students and native speakers of German that deal overtly with aspects of language are analyzed. These conversational events are labeled “Talk-about-Language” and are distinguished from focus-on-form (Long, 1991) because they do not relate directly to the acquisition of particular forms, and because they do not occur in the classroom, but rather in naturalistic settings in Germany. The research questions for the analysis are (1) how do L2 learners engage in Talk-about-Language?, (2) what conversational or discursive functions does Talk-about-Language serve?, and (3) how is Talk-about Language to be understood as social practice? Employing some of the tools of conversation and discourse analysis, several conversational excerpts are analyzed in order to categorize Talk-about-Language events into a taxonomy and explore Talk-about-Language as a component of L2 learners’ socialization as legitimate peripheral participants in the L2 culture (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Implications for issues of language program articulation, curriculum design, and classroom practice are also discussed.

The role of input revisited: Nativist versus usage-based models

This article examines the role of input in two contrasting theories of language acquisition: nativist (UG) theory and the usage-based (emergentist) approach. Although extensive treatments of input are available for first language acquisition (cf. Gathercole & Hoff, 2007), such research rarely incorporates findings from second language acquisition. Accordingly, this paper examines a range of linguistic phenomena from both first and second language contexts (e.g., yes-no question formation, constraints on want-to con¬traction) in order to illustrate how each theory might explain their acquisition. The discussion of input presented here addresses various constructs, including the problem of the poverty of the stimulus, the lack of negative evidence, the role of indirect (missing) evidence, recovery from overgeneralization, and frequency effects. The article concludes with a reappraisal of the poverty of the stimulus problem in SLA from a usage-based perspective.

Language Use in the Negotiation of Linguistic and Cultural Knowledge and the Sustenance of Online Diasporic Relations

With ongoing immigration patterns, the movement of people has also meant the spread of languages. Mungaka, an indigenous language spoken in Bali, Cameroon has moved to domains beyond its borders due to such migration patterns. Mbonbani is an online forum created to maintain communication between those who moved away and those who stayed. This study investigates language use and ideologies as manifested on this online forum and seeks to find out the following: •How does language use in an online diasporic e-group mediate culture and sustain relations between the Diaspora and the home country? •How do diasporic communities maintain an awareness of the linguistic and cultural knowledge within the structures of such dislocation? •What role does information technology play in the preservation of these diasporic relations? I look at language use on Mbonbani to underscore how the Internet allows a linguistic space where participants appropriate new technologies to advance and enhance cultural traditions. I highlight how a multiplicity of languages is used to co-create indigenous knowledge through the construction and deconstruction of meaning.