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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.


Mapping Monolingualism within a Language/Race Cartography: Reflections and Lessons Learned from ‘World Languages and Cultures Day’

An interactive exhibit at a university’s ‘World Language Day’ challenges systems of privilege that organize the study of ‘foreign’ and ‘world’ languages. Through discursive framing, participants’ written responses reveal an alignment with hegemonic ideologies of race and nation that elevate English monolingualism as a proxy for a White, virtuous cultural order within which ‘World language’ education safely—and additively—finds its place.


Negotiating Power In L2 Synchronous Online Peer Response Groups

Many synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC) studies have been conducted on the nature of online interaction across a range of pragmatic issues. However, the detailed analyses of resistance to advice have received less attention. Using the methodology of conversation analysis (CA), the present study focuses on L2 peer review activities in a synchronous online context: that of giving and receiving advice based on participants’ writing drafts. In L2 peer review activities, advice givers are momentarily positioned as the more knowledgeable party on the issue being discussed, while advice recipients can be viewed as having a subordinate status. I show that advice recipients invoke authority, provide a justification, or initiate inquiries to indicate resistance in a delicate manner. I argue that these resistance strategies cooperate to establish the recipients’ identities as competent, independent participants and to assert their primary rights over their manuscripts. The study reveals that L2 SCMC peer response is not only a means for participants to develop rhetorical knowledge, but also to negotiate advice and manage interactional practices.


Business Spanish in the Real World: A Task-Based Needs Analysis

The growing demand for Spanish for Specific Purposes (SSP) courses at universities in the United States in the last two decades (Klee, 2015) has brought to light the need for more theoretically driven research in this field, which can inform pedagogical decisions and materials design. The present study conceptually replicates Serafini and Torres (2015), adopting a Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) approach to instructional design, and it aims to contribute to the under-researched field of SPP by a) performing a needs analysis (NA) of a university business Spanish course at two institutions, and b) creating a semester-long syllabus, which better equips non-expert instructors to teach their business Spanish courses. Results indicated that of the total 40 target tasks cited in the first phase of the NA, 21 were reported to be very commonly performed by at least 30% of the respondents in the second phase. These 21 tasks were regrouped and categorized into five more abstract, super-ordinate target task types that made up the objectives for the semester-long business Spanish syllabus informed by TBLT.


The Effects of L2 Proficiency on Pragmatics Instruction: A Web-Based Approach to Teaching Chinese Expressions of Gratitude

This study investigated whether the effects of pragmatics instruction delivered via a self-access website in a Chinese as a foreign language learning environment vary according to learners’ language proficiency. The website provided learners with explicit instruction in how to express gratitude appropriately in Chinese and offered them pragmatic consciousness-raising activities for practice. Two groups of learners who differed in Chinese proficiency received the instruction over five weeks. The results showed that all learners produced more appropriate expressions of gratitude and used more varied thanking strategies in the posttest, but higher-level learners benefited more from the instruction in both pragmatic awareness and production. In their reflective e-journals, learners reported the promising possibilities of using websites as a tool for teaching pragmatics in foreign language contexts.


Thanks to Reviewers

The individuals listed here served as referees for the L2 Journal in the calendar year 2016. We wish to express our sincere gratitude for their important contributions to the quality of the articles published in this journal.

Teachers' Forum

Redesigning an Introductory Language Curriculum: A Backward Design Approach

In response to calls for curricular change in foreign language programs and institutional requirements to evaluate programmatic effectiveness, this article presents a backward design approach to the redesign of an introductory French curriculum grounded in the framing concept of cultural literacy. In addition, data from student evaluations, written exams, and instructor feedback illustrate how program evaluation efforts have contributed to curricular fine-tuning, enhanced assessment practices, and informed instructors’ teaching and professional development experiences. The article concludes with a discussion of implications and future directions for curriculum design at all levels of undergraduate foreign language programs.

The Impact of a Computer-Mediated Shadowing Activity on ESL Speaking Skill Development: A Pilot Study

This pilot study explored the instructional value and potential of a computer-mediated shadowing activity for improving English as a Second Language (ESL) learners’ speech intelligibility. Prospective International Teaching Assistants (ITAs), who were enrolled in an ESL classroom communication class at a large public, completed a computer-mediated shadowing activity using two web resources, Go Animate and TED talks. Then, these adult ESL participants were surveyed on their perceptions of the efficacy of this shadowing activity for improving their pronunciation, intonation, rhythm, and fluency. In addition, participants’ speech samples recorded during the shadowing activity were independently rated by certified ESL speaking exam raters. The evaluation results, including holistic proficiency scores and rater comments, were analyzed in terms of pronunciation, prosodic control, and overall intelligibility of the speech samples. Although the study is inconclusive, findings from this case study suggest that the computer-mediated shadowing activity may well be an effective means to raise ESL learners’ awareness of the problems in their prosodic control and help improve their speech intelligibility.

Teaching Strategies to Develop Inquiry and Literacy Skills: Languaging in Foreign Language Immersion Education

One-way, or foreign language, immersion schools face unique challenges as they seek to support the literacy development of their students. This manuscript draws on sociocultural theories of literacy development and the concept of languaging, the process of using language to make meaning. Working with two classrooms over one semester, we asked: How were fifth-grade students using language to make meaning and develop new skills during literacy activities? Where and when did students apply their learning? Teaching the strategies in English, the authors posit, provided students with moments of languaging, or talk about language, that allowed them to transfer certain strategies to target language instruction. Examples from our work demonstrate how explicit languaging about literacy strategies in English helped students to develop new research skills, which they later applied to inquiry projects completed in their school’s immersion language. However, while we witnessed students’ languaging in reference to literacy strategies, we rarely observed translanguaging, or students drawing upon their range of linguistic repertoires (English, Spanish, Bosnian, African American vernacular, and so on) to make meaning. We conclude by highlighting the potential of languaging to develop new literacy skills in language immersion education, as well as the need for future research on translanguaging in such contexts.