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Open Access Publications from the University of California

About

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.

Teachers' Forum

Film as Source Material in Advanced Foreign Language Classes

This paper suggests new ways filmic texts might be employed in advanced foreign language classes. Typically, film has been seen as source material for broadening students’ vocabulary or for developing communicative competence. This paper considers what a close reading of a filmic text might offer foreign language educators and students by exploring how three semiotic systems—language, image, and music/sound—are employed in film to create meaning. Specifically, drawing on film’s employment of language in a rich audiovisual context, we demonstrate various tasks that move beyond the denotative function of language to develop students’ understanding of the relationship between utterances and the context in which they are made, as well as foster an understanding of how language is used subtly to obfuscate, evade, or project positions of power. Finally, we demonstrate how film might be used to develop students’ potential for using their second language (L2) to create meaning in new ways. The tasks we describe here address the goals of a foreign language curriculum as articulated in the MLA Report (2007)  (developing students’ translingual and transcultural competence) and in the writings of Claire Kramsch (developing students’ symbolic competence; e.g., 2006).

Articles

"Something for Linguists": On-the-fly Grammar Instruction in a Dutch as Foreign Language Classroom

This article examines grammar instruction produced on the fly by a teacher in response to students' questions in a Dutch as foreign language classroom. Such sequences merit attention because they present teachers with the opportunity and the challenge to provide unplanned instruction on an aspect of grammar to which a student has shown herself to be attending. Using the tools of conversation analysis, we examine two sequences in which a student initiates talk about Dutch grammar and the teacher constructs a mini-lesson using talk, gesture and writing on the blackboard. In first, the teacher produces a paradigm, a practice used widely in linguistics and L2 education. In the second, he produces a contrastive pair, a common practice in linguistics. We consider tensions entailed in on-the-fly grammar instruction produced in response to students' questions.

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Multi-storied Lives: Global Simulation as an Approach to Developing Multiliteracies in an Intermediate French Course

Recent scholarship has proposed a pedagogy of multiliteracies to frame FL curricula and instruction, and encourage critical reflection about language use through a variety of discourses and textual genres. One pedagogical framework conducive to fostering learners’ intersemiotic awareness is Global Simulation (GS). GS consists in the creation of a culturally grounded, fictitious scenario, wherein students adopt specific character roles through which they enact discourse styles associated with their characters’ identities and the simulation’s attendant social demands. The adoption of characters reinforces the notion of literacies based on participation in a variety of discourses from the standpoint of particular social roles. This article reports on the development and implementation of a multiliteracies-based GS in fourth semester French applying a genre-based framework. First, we provide background on GS and its compatibility with multiliteracies and genre-based approaches. Next, we outline the framework and various texts and modules used in the course under study. Finally, we demonstrate through our findings the potential for this approach to foster learners’ awareness of language and other communication modes as social signifying practice, and their abilities to draw upon multiple Available Designs in making meaning.

Revisiting the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS): The Anxiety of Female English Language Learners in Saudi Arabia

With the increase in globalization, the study of English has become common in Saudi Arabia, but students’ experiences of foreign language anxiety (FLA) have been underexamined. Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries are culturally distinct from the Western world, where the most popular assessments of FLA were developed. Through a qualitative and then quantitative study, the current research examined the suitability of the most popular existing FLA questionnaire, the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS), for use with students of English in Saudi Arabia. In Study 1, Arab women studying in an English preparatory program at an English medium college in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, responded to a single-item, open-ended questionnaire prompting them to list the situations in which they experience anxiety while trying to learn English. A new questionnaire drawing on the women’s responses and the FLCAS and incorporating new items pertinent to the context was then created. In Study 2, the AFLAQ questionnaire was administered to a new sample of Arab women studying in the English medium college, and their responses were analyzed to determine whether the situations described were actually common causes of anxiety, and to identify the most common causes of anxiety. The new questionnaire, called the Arabic Foreign Language Anxiety Questionnaire (AFLAQ), presents a modified version of the FLCAS that was designed to identify and understand specifically what the female Arab students studying in Saudi Arabia experience. A particular emphasis on concerns about self-presentation and embarrassment is fundamental to the AFLAQ due to the importance of honor and respect in Saudi Arabian culture, a concern that does not play as significant of a role in the FLCAS or in Western culture.

Thanks to Reviewers

The individuals listed below served as referees for the L2 Journal in the calendar year 2014. We wish to express our sincere gratitude for their insightful contributions to the quality of the articles published in this journal:

Heather Allen; Alan Astro; David Franklin Ayers; Zehlia Babaci-Wilhite; Catherine Barrette; Usree Bhattacharya; David Block; Carl Blyth; Claudia Brovetto; Brigitta Busch; Christopher Bush; Daniela Augusta Cavalli; Bee Chamcharatsri; Jinhyun Cho; Christian W. Chun; Anthony Cordingly; Jean Marc Dewaele; Pedro Erber; Nikolaus Euba; Sunao Fukunaga; Adolfo García; Thomas Garza; Eva Gentes; David Hanauer; Rachel Harris; Yoko Hasegawa; Monica Heller; Emily Hellmich; Inez Hollander; Diana Holmes; Jin Kyoung Hwang; Adriana Jacobs; Gabriela Borge Janetti; Adam Jaworski; Michael Kelly; Celeste Kinginger; Aurelia Klimkiewicz; Andreas Kramer; Juergen Kurtz; Jet van Dam van Isselt; Nirali Jani; Brian Lennon; Glenn Levine; Adrienne Lo; Nadia Louar; Donaldo Macedo; Suzanne Majhanovich; Dave Malinowski; Mark Nelson; Jean Pacquement; Joseph Park; Kate Paesani; Alfonso Del Percio; Mary Louise Pratt; Jim Ranalli; Lyudmila Razumova; Norbert Ricken; Jörg Roche; Silvia Rodríguez-Sabater; Dinorah Sanchez-Loza; Trevor Sanders; Jean Schultz; Lynn Mario T. Menezes de Souza; Ania Spyra; Tamar Steinitz; Jason Vivrette; Adrian Wanner; Paige Ware; Karen Ann Watson-Gegeo; Lionel Wee; Lihua Zhang

Teachers' Forum: Instructors' Perspectives

Editor's Preface to the New Journal Feature: Instructors' Perspectives

We are happy to announce a new section of the L2 Journal, Instructors' Perspectives. This section presents short, informal opinion pieces that offer a personal stance on any aspect of the teaching and learning of language and culture in instructional settings. It can also serve to share thoughts about readings or experiences that have enriched the teaching and learning of languages and cultures.

The Perilous Legitimacy of the Foreign-born Spanish Instructor in the U.S.

This article discusses the perilous legitimacy and professional vulnerability of the foreign-born Spanish instructor in the U.S.  First, it examines the academic goals of language and in particular Spanish departments regarding the development of language proficiency, the study of cultural values of the Spanish-speaking world, and the place of broad principles of humanistic inquiry and critical thinking skills in language teaching.   Next, it considers the general approach to culture and Latin American politics in Spanish textbooks to then highlight the implications of discussing highly sensitive political issues in Spanish classes, namely U.S.-Latin American relations, which may compromise the legitimacy of foreign-born Spanish instructors. Finally, drawing from experience and outcomes, I propose a framework that could make discussing U.S.-Latin American relations possible between foreign-born Spanish instructors and students while upholding the academic goals outlined above in order to foster learners’ critical awareness of political developments so essential to the understanding of modern Latin America.

In the Dutch Mountains

In this paper, the author shares some of the pedagogical ironies she has experienced while teaching Dutch on an American university campus.

Teaching Chinese as a Second Language: From Taiwan to the United States

Teaching Chinese as a second language in Taiwan vs. in the United States.

How are they different?

What are the challenges to teachers?

This article will bring to you interesting findings from the perspective of a native speaking Chinese teacher.

The Importance of Bridging

In this article, I will discuss the importance of the fundamental aspect of “bridging” in the wider context of language teaching. I will use “bridging” particularly in terms of cultural differences and underline the pivotal role of specific techniques, in a language class as well as in a pedagogy class or seminar, to help finding common ground between groups of people with different backgrounds. In this sense, I will highlight the beneficial role that multicultural native speakers play in language departments, as examples of successful integration in another culture, as “bridges” between two cultures who physically embody the joining of two or more backgrounds and effectively erase the distance between the two, and as travellers who have geographically bridged the distance between two countries. Drawing from my experience both as a multicultural native speaker and as an instructor in a language class, I will illustrate a few examples of in-class strategies aimed at promoting multiculturality, ranging from simple vocabulary presentations to role playing and target language discussion groups focusing on controversial differences between the countries, and discuss the importance of the mediating role of multicultural instructors. Finally, I will argue that multilingual and multicultural native speakers are key players of globalization, and are able, in class, to transmit with their own physicality the very condition of our globalized society, which rests on the ability to bridge cultural gaps and accept a less determined, more fluid identity.