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 12, Issue 3, 2020
L2 Multimodal Composing Abroad: Remixing Languages, Cultures, and Identities
This paper explores the second language, digital multimodal composing practices of 12 American undergraduates studying French abroad in Paris. Drawing on multiliteracies, multimodality, and translanguaging frameworks, this study utilizes a qualitative lens and multimodal composing timescapes to analyze how students leveraged languages and modes across 72 digital multimodal reflections and vlogs. Findings demonstrate how reflective multimodal composing developed multilingual identities by fostering metalinguistic awareness and goal-setting practices. Through their vlogs, students additionally participated in transcultural repositioning by making cross-cultural connections and sharing emotional experiences. Throughout the term students increased in traversals of modes, languages, spaces, and places as they became more comfortable with the French language, living in France, and multimodal composing. These results illustrate how digital multimodal composing can enhance learners’ linguistic and intercultural competencies while studying abroad. The article concludes with implications for multimodal composing to learn languages and calls for further research on the reflective multimodal composing practices of second language learners.
Developing Performative Competence and Teacher Artistry: A Pedagogical Imperative in the Multicultural Classroom
Teaching performatively is an art that must be honed and developed through sustained practice. In this paper, I explore the theoretical considerations of a performative-humanistic approach to second language acquisition and the practical applications for a performance-based pedagogy, which is meant to offer readers an occasion to reflect on what it means to prepare students to become reflective and critical performers on the world stage. Particular attention is placed on the unique roles teachers play, and the responsibilities inherent in those roles. The paper is also an invitation to revisit existing approaches and practices through a performative lens engaging in a dynamic interdisciplinary dialogue, reflecting on the aesthetic dimension of language learning, and exploring the potential of the theatrical experience in the construction of a Self able to represent, perceive, create, and reflect.
Vocabulary and the Upper-division Language Curriculum: The Case of Non-native and Heritage Spanish Majors
L2 lexical studies have established that learners need to acquire knowledge of the first 3,000 most frequent words in order to enjoy 95% coverage of the vocabulary used in spontaneous speech (Nation 2006). However, there has been little data available that reveal how many of these most frequent words can be recognized by university language majors, with Robles-García´s (2020a, 2020b) recent study being a welcome exception. The present inquiry into L2 vocabulary gains employed the same word-recognition test developed by Robles-García (2020a) in order to characterize the vocabulary size enjoyed by upper-division Spanish majors, both non-native and bilingual native (i.e., heritage) speakers, enrolled in a California public university. The results show that non-native Spanish majors in their third and fourth year of the major are still struggling to learn the first 3,000 most frequent Spanish words. In contrast, the heritage students demonstrated strong word recognition of almost all of the words in this basic inventory. The curricular implications of these results are discussed with respect to both non-native and bilingual native Spanish majors and an argument is made for continued explicit vocabulary instruction throughout the upper-division program.
Disinventing and Reconstituting the Concept of Communication in Language Education
In this article we draw on the praxiological framework of disinvention and reconstitution of language(s) to problematize the concept of communication in language education. Considering the fact that the concept of language as an instrument of communication was a metadiscursive regime used to (re)invent language as an isolated and unproblematic element, we argue for an idea of communication that embraces the complexity of language practices, communicative interactions, and the world at large. The critical (re)views shared throughout the text point to a complex perspective of communicative language classes, which requires an understanding of language and communication as complex social practices and as spaces with great potential to promote epistemic decoloniality.
Examining Students’ Co-construction of Language Ideologies through Multimodal Text
French immersion (FI), one of the hallmarks of French as a Second Language education in Canada and mandated in New Brunswick, Canada’s only officially English/French bilingual province, is often the target of language ideological debates surrounding its purposes and expected outcomes. Yet, notably absent in FI scholarship has been a focus on the ideologies informing students’ investment in French, including what bilingualism might mean for their language learning and identity. In this article, we discuss nine Grade 8 French immersion students’ co-construction of language ideologies regarding bilingualism. In a focus group, these students created a promotional video regarding the merits of bilingualism whose audience was comprised of fictional peers in a predominantly Anglophone province. Our analysis was guided by Darvin and Norton’s (2015) model of investment. We employed the tools of multimodal critical discourse analysis to consider the students’ construction of language ideologies through their video production. Through macro and micro analyses, we identified five primary ideologies: Bilingualism (a) is a matter of personal decision; (b) provides access to jobs; (c) provides access to economic capital; (d) provides access to Francophone communities of practice; and (e) provides access to symbolic capital. We discuss how the students have “remixed” the dominant provincial ideologies on bilingualism into their own, considering the implications of these ideologies on their investment in French. Finally, we suggest how multimodal practices provide a means to develop language students’ meta-cognition and expand their investment in their target language.