Variability in predispositions for language learning has attracted scholarly curiosity for over 100 years. Despite major changes in theoretical explanations and foreign/second language teaching paradigms, some patterns of associations between predispositions and learning outcomes seem timelessly robust. This book discusses evidence from a research project investigating individual differences in a wide variety of domains, ranging from language aptitude over general cognitive abilities to motivational and other affective and social constructs. The focus lies on young learners aged 10 to 12, a less frequently investigated age in aptitude research. The data stem from two samples of multilingual learners in German-speaking Switzerland. The target languages are French and English. The chapters of the book offer two complementary perspectives on the topic: On the one hand, cross-sectional investigations of the underlying structure of these individual differences and their association with the target languages are discussed. Drawing on factor analytical and multivariable analyses, the different components are scrutinized with respect to their mutual dependence and their relative impact on target language skills. The analyses also take into account contextual factors such as the learners’ family background and differences across the two contexts investigated. On the other hand, the potential to predict learner’s skills in the target language over time based on the many different indicators is investigated using machine learning algorithms. The results provide new insights into the stability of the individual dispositions, on the impact of contextual variables, and on empirically robust dimensions within the array of variables tested.View less
This book deals with the phenomenon of third language (L3) acquisition. As a research field, L3 acquisition is established as a branch of multilingualism that is concerned with how multilinguals learn additional languages and the role that their multilingual background plays in the process of language learning. The volume points out some current directions in this particular research area with a number of studies that reveal the complexity of multilingual language learning and its typical variation and dynamics.View less
This book provides a forum for methodological discussions emanating from researchers engaged in studying how individuals acquire an additional language. Whereas publications in the field of second language acquisition generally report on empirical studies with relatively little space dedicated to questions of method, the current book gave authors the opportunity to more fully develop a discussion piece around a methodological issue in connection with the interpretation of language-learning data. The result is a set of seven thought-provoking contributions from researchers with diverse interests. Three main topics are addressed in these chapters: the role of native-speaker norms in second-language analyses, the impact of epistemological stance on experimental design and/or data interpretation, and the challenges of transcription and annotation of language-learning data, with a focus on data ambiguity. Authors expand on these crucial issues, reflect on best practices, and provide in many instances concrete examples of the impact they have on data interpretation.View less
This work is devoted to morphosyntactic processing in the earliest stages of L2 Polish. The target structure taken into consideration is the morphosyntactic opposition between the nominative and accusative case, respectively corresponding to the subject and object function. This is the first book-length work devoted to the VILLA project, a large multi-national initiative within which 90 adult learners took part in a first-exposure, 14-hour Polish course under controlled input conditions. As participants had never been exposed to Polish or other Slavic languages, the experiment portrays the very first contact with a completely new target language; moreover, since the learners were evenly distributed among five L1 groups, L1 interference can also be investigated in depth. In addition to an in-depth analysis of the effect of input properties on morpho-syntactic processing, the book discusses sensitive methodological points such as the role of semantics in semi-spontaneous production as well as the impact of elicitation techniques.View less
This book deals with the effects of three different learning contexts mainly on adult, but also on adolescent, learners’ language acquisition. The three contexts brought together in the monograph include i) a conventional instructed second language acquisition (ISLA) environment, in which learners receive formal instruction in English as a Foreign Language (EFL); ii) a Study Abroad (SA) context, which learners experience during mobility programmes, when the target language is no longer a foreign but a second language learnt in a naturalistic context; iii) the immersion classroom, also known as an integrated content and language (ICL) setting, in which learners are taught content subjects through the medium of the target language—more often than not English, used as the Lingua Franca (ELF).
The volume examines how these contexts change language learners’ linguistic performance, and also non-linguistic, that is, it throws light on how motivation, sense of identity, interculturality, international ethos, and affective factors develop. To our knowledge, no publication exists which places the three contexts on focus in this monograph along a continuum, as suggested in Pérez-Vidal (2011, 2014), with SA as ‘the most naturalistic’ context on one extreme, ISLA on the other, and ICL somewhere in between, while framing them all as international classrooms. Concerning target languages, the nine chapters included in the volume analyze English, and one chapter deals with Spanish, as the target language. As for target countries in SA programmes, data include England, Ireland, France, Germany, and Spain in Europe, but also Canada, China, and Australia. While the main bulk of the chapters deal with tertiary level language learners, a language learning population which has received less attention by research thus far, one chapter deals with adolescent learners.
Carmen Pérez-Vidal, Sonia López, Jennifer Ament and Dakota Thomas-Wilhelm all served on the organizing committee for the EUROSLA workshop held at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, in May 2016. It is from this workshop that this monograph was inspiredView less