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  • 1. Athanasopoulos, Panos
    et al.
    Damjanovic, Ljubica
    Burnand, Julie
    Bylund, Emanuel
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Centre for Research on Bilingualism. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Learning to Think in a Second Language: Effects of Proficiency and Length of Exposure in English Learners of German2015In: The Modern language journal, ISSN 0026-7902, E-ISSN 1540-4781, Vol. 99, p. 138-153Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of the current study is to investigate motion event cognition in second language learners in a higher education context. Based on recent findings that speakers of grammatical aspect languages like English attend less to the endpoint (goal) of events than do speakers of nonaspect languages like Swedish in a nonverbal categorization task involving working memory (Athanasopoulos & Bylund, 2013; Bylund & Athanasopoulos, 2015), the current study asks whether native speakers of an aspect language start paying more attention to event endpoints when learning a nonaspect language. Native English and German (a nonaspect language) speakers, and English learners of L2 German, who were pursuing studies in German language and literature at an English university, were asked to match a target scene with intermediate degree of endpoint orientation with two alternate scenes with low and high degree of endpoint orientation, respectively. Results showed that, compared to the native English speakers, the learners of German were more prone to base their similarity judgements on endpoint saliency, rather than ongoingness, primarily as a function of increasing L2 proficiency and year of university study. Further analyses revealed a nonlinear relationship between length of L2 exposure and categorization patterns, subserved by a progressive strengthening of the relationship between L2 proficiency and categorization as length of exposure increased. These findings present evidence that cognitive restructuring may occur through increasing experience with an L2, but also suggest that this relationship may be complex and unfold over a long period of time.

  • 2.
    Bylund, Emanuel
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Centre for Research on Bilingualism. Linnaeus University, Sweden.
    Athanasopoulos, Panos
    Introduction: Cognition, Motion Events, and SLA2015In: The Modern language journal, ISSN 0026-7902, E-ISSN 1540-4781, Vol. 99, p. 1-13Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This opening article introduces the reader to current topics in research on language and thought in monolingual speakers and second language (L2) learners, with particular attention to the domain of motion. The article also delineates the rationale that underlies the special issue at hand, and provides a contextualisation of the individual contributions. It is argued that the centrality of motion in everyday human life, in combination with the vast cross-linguistic variation in motion construal, makes motion events a suitable topic for SLA research, both in terms of ecological validity and learnability challenge. The pedagogical aspects of this line of research are discussed in terms of, first, whether it is desirable to include the acquisition of language-specific thought patterns in curricular goals, and second, whether the knowledge about language specificity in thought can be used in teaching as a means to facilitate learning.

  • 3.
    Bylund, Emanuel
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Centre for Research on Bilingualism. Linnaeus University, Sweden.
    Athanasopoulos, Panos
    Televised Whorf: Cognitive Restructuring in Advanced Foreign Language Learners as a Function of Audiovisual Media Exposure2015In: The Modern language journal, ISSN 0026-7902, E-ISSN 1540-4781, Vol. 99, p. 123-137Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The encoding of goal-oriented motion events varies across different languages. Speakers of languages without grammatical aspect (e.g., Swedish) tend to mention motion endpoints when describing events (e.g., two nuns walk <styled-content style=text-decoration:underline>to a house</styled-content>) and attach importance to event endpoints when matching scenes from memory. Speakers of aspect languages (e.g., English), on the other hand, are more prone to direct attention to the ongoingness of motion events, which is reflected both in their event descriptions (e.g., two nuns <styled-content style=text-decoration:underline>are walking</styled-content>) and in their nonverbal similarity judgements. This study examines to what extent native speakers (L1) of Swedish (n=82) with English as a foreign language (FL) restructure their categorisation of goal-oriented motion as a function of their proficiency and experience with the English language (e.g., exposure, learning history, etc.). Seventeen monolingual native English speakers from the United Kingdom (UK) were recruited for comparison purposes. Data on motion event cognition were collected through a memory-based triads matching task in which a target scene with an intermediate degree of endpoint orientation was matched with two alternative scenes with low and high degrees of endpoint orientation. Results showed that the preference among the Swedish speakers of FL English to base their similarity judgements on ongoingness rather than event endpoints was correlated with exposure to English in everyday life, such that those who often watched television in English approximated the ongoingness preference of the English native speakers. These findings suggest that event cognition patterns may be restructured through exposure to FL audiovisual media. The results add to the emerging picture that learning a new language entails learning new ways of observing and reasoning about reality.

  • 4.
    Kunitz, Silvia
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
    Collaborative attention work on gender agreement in Italian as a foreign language2018In: The Modern language journal, ISSN 0026-7902, E-ISSN 1540-4781, Vol. 102, no S1, p. 64-81Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In cognitivist Second Language Acquisition (SLA), attention and noticing are described as psycholinguistic processes that (may) have a role in language learning. The operationalization of such constructs, however, poses methodological challenges, since neither online nor off‐line measures are coextensive with these cognitive processes that occur in the individual mind–brain. In contrast with such a perspective, the present conversation‐analytic study re‐specifies attention in social terms, as a nexus of publicly displayed actions that are jointly achieved by college level students of Italian as a foreign language as they engage in collaborative writing while planning for a group presentation to be performed in the second language (L2). More specifically, the article describes gender‐focusing sequences that are initiated by attention‐mobilizing turns with which a student directs her coparticipants’ attention to an oral or written item that is oriented to as possibly inaccurate in terms of gender assignment. The study shows the agentive role of students in identifying learnables and solving language‐related issues and provides an example of how participants do learning as a socially situated and collaborative activity by enacting immanent pedagogies (Lindwall & Lymer, 2005).

  • 5.
    Majlesi, Ali Reza
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
    Instructed Vision: Navigating Grammatical Rules by Using Landmarks for Linguistic Structures in Corrective Feedback Sequences2018In: The Modern language journal, ISSN 0026-7902, E-ISSN 1540-4781, Vol. 102, p. 11-29Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study aims to show how multimodality, that is, the mobilization of various communicative resources in social actions (Mondada, 2016), can be used to teach grammar. Drawing on ethnomethodological conversation analysis (Sacks, 1992), the article provides a detailed analysis of 2 corrective feedback sequences in a Swedish-as-a-second-language classroom. It shows that teaching grammar using corrective feedback sequences is a collaborative activity between teachers and students, which requires both verbal and other embodied practices. Specifically, it demonstrates how the teachers made grammatical constructs visible, noticeable, and thus learnable through the use of multiple resources such as annotating and illustrating on a whiteboard or projection screen, using concrete meta-talk (Storch, 2008), together with nonverbal actions such as gesturing. The article argues that the practice of marking a linguistic structure through multiple resources creates landmarks' for teaching purposes. These landmarks were used (a) for an instructed vision through which the intelligibility of abstract grammatical concepts and relations as cognitive phenomena is constituted by a concrete set of observable and reportable actions, and (b) as prompts in organizing knowledge not only for the purpose of the current activity of teaching but also for future occasions.

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