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  • 1.
    Cunningham, Una
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Language Education.
    Echoes of Irish in the English of Southwest Tyrone2011In: Researching the Languages of Ireland / [ed] Raymond Hickey, Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, 2011Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The study of English in Ireland has long had the origin of features of Irish English as one of its main themes. This is true both of the study of Irish English in general and Northern Irish English in particular. This interest is understandable, since the kind of contact language situation that Ireland, north and south has experienced has parallels throughout the postcolonial English-speaking world. The complex processes of interaction between Irish, Scottish, and English linguistic input have resulted in a rich cluster of dialect and accent features. This study deals with the English spoken in south-west Tyrone and the traces of the Irish language that are found in the language and language use of this area. 

  • 2.
    Cunningham, Una
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Language Education. University of Canterbury.
    Flipping the language classroom2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The flipped classroom, where learners access teacher-talk and other material, e.g. in the form of web-based mini-lectures, and come to class to apply the knowledge gained from the mini-lectures with support from their teacher and peers, rather than listening to the teacher in class and being left to struggle alone at home with exercises, has gained popularity. This paper argues that flipped classroom thinking is particularly suited to language learning as it uses digital tools to give learners access to extensive, individualised input, including information about target language environments and cultures, acknowledges their target language practices outside the classroom and offers regular engagement with the target language materials while optimising the use of classroom time for communicative interaction in the target language with teacher and peers. The operation of the flipped language classroom is set against current theories of language learning and teaching.

  • 3.
    Cunningham, Una
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Language Education.
    Growing up with Two Languages: A Practical Guide for the Bilingual Family2011 (ed. 3)Book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 4.
    Cunningham, Una
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Language Education.
    How much linguistics do language teachers need?2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The amount of linguistics required or available as part of an undergraduate degree with a major in a foreign language degree has varied through time and from country to country. Currently in New Zealand it is possible to graduate with a double major in in European or Asian languages without ever having come closer to linguistics than a grammar or pronunciation course. Language graduates may not have studied much in the way of linguistics during their degree study. This means that if they choose to enter initial secondary teacher education, they may be quite linguistically naive, despite years of language study.

     

    Current thinking on language education is that the combination of meaningful spoken and written input in the target language, and the possibility of meaningful interaction in the target language are enough to allow students to acquire communicative competence in the target language. However, all but the most radical believe that most learners will be helped by also learning about the target language – in effect learning something of the pragmatics, syntax, morphology, phonology and phonetics of the target language. Communicative competence is the goal for language education, and this paper examines the role of implicit and explicit linguistic knowledge and linguistic teaching in the learning and teaching of languages and the disconnect between language graduates’ linguistic understanding and language education.

  • 5.
    Cunningham, Una
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Language Education.
    Liminality and Disinhibition in Online Language Learning2011In: International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, ISSN 1492-3831, E-ISSN 1492-3831, Vol. 12, no 5, 25-37 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this paper is to bring theoretical concepts from other areas of scholarly research to bear on synchronous online education in a cross-disciplinary effort to shed light on what is going on by introducing systems of thought from other areas. The liminality and associated communitas which are found in synchronous online learning environments are examined for their possible consequences for learning in general and language learning in particular. Like computer-mediated communication, liminality has been associated with disinhibitory effects. Lack of excessive inhibition has been shown to have positive effects on second language production. The position of the online learner as “neither here nor there” or perhaps simultaneously both here and there is investigated and discussed. 

  • 6.
    Cunningham, Una
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Language Education.
    Teachability and Learnability of English Pronunciation Features for Vietnamese-Speaking Learners2013In: Teaching and Researching English Accents in Native and Non-native Speakers / [ed] E. Waniek-Klimczak & L. R. Shockey, Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2013, 3-14 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Anyone who has tried to learn a language with a very different sound system will understand the challenges faced by speakers of a language as different as Vietnamese who are attempting to learn to speak English in a way that is intelligible to non-speakers of Vietnamese. Many learners have very limited opportunity to hear model pronunciations other than their teacher’s, and no opportunity at all to speak in English outside the classroom. Vietnamese-accented English is characterised by a number of features which ride roughshod over English morphosyntax, resulting in speech that is extremely difficult to reconstruct for the non-Vietnamese-speaking listener. Some of these features appear to be more difficult to learn to avoid than others. Phonotactic constraints in L1 appear to be persistent even in L2, and L1 phonological rules will, apparently, often apply in L2 unless they are blocked in some way. Perception of salient (to native listeners) target pronunciations is often lacking, and learners may not be aware that their pronunciation is not intelligible. Despite years of language study, many learners are unable to produce some native speaker targets. Vietnamese learners typically exhibit a set of characteristic pronunciation features in English, and the aim of this study is to see which of these are susceptible to remediation through explicit teaching. This explicit teaching is compared with a less direct, less interactive kind of teaching, involving drawing native and native-like pronunciation of problematic features of English pronunciation to the learners’ attention. The results of this study can then be interpreted in terms of teachability and learnability, which do not always go hand in hand. If we understand what kinds of phonetic features are teachable and how learnability varies for different features, we can target those features where there is a good return for effort spent, resulting in efficient teaching.

  • 7.
    Cunningham, Una
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Language Education.
    Teachability and learnability of English pronunciation features for Vietnamese-speaking learners2012In: Teaching and researching English accents in native and non-native speakers / [ed] Ewa Waniek-Klimczak, Linda R. Shockey, Berlin: Springer, 2012, 1, 1-12 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Anyone who has tried to learn a language with a very different sound system will understand the challenges faced by speakers of a language as different as Vietnamese who are attempting to learn to speak English in a way that is intelligible to non-speakers of Vietnamese. Many learners have very limited opportunity to hear model pronunciations other than their teacher’s, and no opportunity at all to speak in English outside the classroom. Vietnamese-accented English is characterised by a number of features which ride roughshod over English morphosyntax, resulting in speech that is extremely difficult to reconstruct for the non-Vietnamesespeaking listener. Some of these features appear to be more difficult to learn to avoid than others. Phonotactic constraints in L1 appear to be persistent even in L2, and L1 phonological rules will, apparently, often apply in L2 unless they are blocked in some way. Perception of salient (to native listeners) target pronunciations is often lacking, and learners may not be aware that their pronunciation is not intelligible. Despite years of language study, many learners are unable to produce some native speaker targets. Vietnamese learners typically exhibit a set of characteristic pronunciation features in English, and the aim of this study is to see which of these are susceptible to remediation through explicit teaching. This explicit teaching is compared with a less direct, less interactive kind of teaching, involving drawing native and native-like pronunciation of problematic features of English pronunciation to the learners’ attention. The results of this study can then be interpreted in terms of teachability and learnability, which do not always go hand in hand. If we understand what kinds of phonetic features are teachable and how learnability varies for different features, we can target those features where there is a good return for effort spent, resulting in efficient teaching.

  • 8.
    Cunningham, Una
    University of Canterbury.
    Teaching the disembodied2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Postgraduate students studying by distance on a course intended primarily as professional development for language educators were invited to participate in real time in scheduled campus classes in the same course for campus students via Skype on iPads. After initial hesitation, some on-line students took up this real-time participation option. Initial technical difficulties were overcome after seeking input from campus and distance students. Comments suggested that the model where distance students were each represented in the physical space of the classroom as a talking head on a tablet device led to a perceived social presence (Kim 2011, Hostetter & Busch 2013). The classroom discourse evolved to refer to the distance participants in a way reminiscent of the way physically challenged campus students might be referred to, i.e. when a student was asked to help another student to turn to see the board, rather than asking them to turn the tablet.  However, it also became apparent that the two groups of students, the virtual and the physical, were having partially different classroom experiences (c.f. Westberry & Franken 2013).

    Sound problems were experienced by both groups, and this led to some irritation in both groups, so a series of adjustments were made and evaluated, including a move to a model where distance students participated in a group video call via Skype on a laptop rather than on multiple individual Skype calls on iPads. Towards the end of the course, the distance and campus students were asked to evaluate the experience of having physical and virtual participants sharing a physical space and to relate this experience to the asynchronous channels previously available to the participants (Garrison & Cleveland-Innes 2005).  There was some othering taking place (Palfreyman 2005), from both groups, and the distance students expressed that they felt excluded from the campus students’ social community. There seemed to be a monitoring of teacher time and attention dedicated to the other group on the part of some participants in both groups. The comments of both groups of participants were interpreted in the light of an application of activity theory (Barab, Evans & Baek 2004; Brine & Franken 2006), looking at aspects of the seminars as activities with subjects and objects and rules for each group. It appears that student beliefs and student expectations lead to hidden benefits and hidden challenges associated with mixing these groups of students (Westberry & Franken 2013).

     

    References

    Barab, S. A., Evans, M. A., & Baek, E. O. (2004). Activity theory as a lens for characterizing the participatory

    unit. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research on educational communities and technology. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Brine, J. & Franken, M. (2006). Students' perceptions of a selected aspect of a computer mediated academic writing program: An activity theory analysis. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 22 (1) 21–38.

    Garrison, D. R., & Cleveland-Innes, M. (2005). Facilitating cognitive presence in online learning: Interaction

    is not enough. The American Journal of Distance Education, 19(3), 133–148.

    Hostetter, C. & Busch, M. (2013). Community matters: Social presence and learning outcomes. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 13 (1), 77 – 86.

    Kim, J. (2011), Developing an instrument to measure social presence in distance higher education. British Journal of Educational Technology 42, 763–777.

    Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Palfreyman, D. (2005). Othering in an English Language Program. TESOL Quarterly 39 (2), 211-233.

    Westberry, N. & Franken, M. (2013). Co-construction of knowledge in tertiary online settings: an ecology of resources perspective. Instructional Science 41 (1), pp 147-164.

  • 9.
    Cunningham, Una
    University of Canterbury.
    The role of blogs and forums in the linguistic expectations of pilgrims on the Camino to Santiago2013In: Computer mediated discourse across languages / [ed] Laura Álvarez López, Charlotta Seiler Brylla & Philip Shaw, Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2013, 137-154 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Every year thousands of pilgrims from more than a hundred countries embark on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. Many of them prepare for their pilgrimage physically and mentally.  Dozens of web pages, forums and blogs in a number of languages are dedicated to helping them with this preparation. This paper examines the role of blogs, web pages and forums in constructing pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. One of the pervasive themes of these texts is the communitas that is experienced by pilgrims without regard to language or nationality. It appears to be unproblematic to communicate even when there is no or very limited common language. The hypothesis is that material accessed by pilgrims before beginning the journey leads them to expect to be able to communicate with everyone they meet, regardless of their actual language skills. This paper uses qualitative data analysis software (NVivo 10) to look at how the web-based material treats cross-linguistic communication in the multilingual liminal space of pilgrimage on the Camino, and at how pilgrims tell the story of their expectations after the pilgrimage is complete.

  • 10.
    Cunningham, Una
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Language Education.
    Twenty quick steps to better English for teachers and other busy people2013 (ed. 1)Book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This book is intended to support people who need to improve their basic command of written and spoken English, but who don’t have much time to spend working on it. The book focuses on the most common problems Swedish speakers have in English and offers a quick fix and also a simple explanation, without going too far into grammar terms. This makes it especially useful for teachers who need to be able to teach English, but feel unsure about their use of the language.There is a companion website with an electronic version of the text and sound examples for the pronunciation chapters, as well as a self-diagnosis test you can use to see what you need to work on.

  • 11.
    Cunningham, Una
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Language Education.
    Curnick, Lesley
    Henderson, Alice
    Frost, Dan
    Tergujeff, Elina
    Kautzsch, Alexander
    Murphy, Deirdre
    Kirkova-Naskova, Anastazija
    Waniek-Klimczak, Ewa
    Levey, David
    The English pronunciation teaching in Europe survey: selected results2012In: Research in Language, ISSN 2083-4616, Vol. 10, no 1, 5-27 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    his paper provides an overview of the main findings from a European-wide on-line survey of English pronunciation teaching practices. Both quantitative and qualitative data from seven countries (Finland, France, Germany, Macedonia, Poland, Spain and Switzerland) are presented, focusing on teachers' comments about:● their own pronunciation,

    ● their training,

    ● their learners' goals, skills, motivation and aspirations,

    ● their preferences for certain varieties (and their perception of their students' preferences).

    The results of EPTiES reveal interesting phenomena across Europe, despite shortcomings in terms of construction and distribution. For example, most respondents are non-native speakers of English and the majority of them rate their own mastery of English pronunciation favourably. However, most feel they had little or no training in how to teach pronunciation, which begs the question of how teachers are coping with this key aspect of language teaching. In relation to target models, RP remains the variety of English which teachers claim to use, whilst recognizing that General American might be preferred by some students. Differences between countries are explored, especially via replies to open-ended questions, allowing a more nuanced picture to emerge for each country. Other survey research is also referred to, in order to contextualise the analyses and implications for teaching English and for training English teachers

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