E. Friginal, J. J. Lee, B. Polat and A. Roberson: EXPLORING SPOKEN ENGLISH LEARNER LANGUAGE USING CORPORA

E. Friginal, J. J. Lee, B. Polat and A. Roberson: EXPLORING SPOKEN ENGLISH LEARNER LANGUAGE USING... In recent decades, electronic corpora have played an increasingly important role in the realm of applied linguistics (Biber and Conrad 2001), enabling Second Language Acquisition (SLA) researchers and language educators to obtain critical new insights into the features and patterns of L1 and L2 speakers’ language use. Many corpus-based studies have investigated various registers in the academic context, such as academic writing and lectures (Friginal et al. 2014; Lee and Subtirelu 2015). However, as Eric Friginal, Joseph J. Lee, Brittany Polat, and Audrey Roberson point out, although learner corpora have been widely employed to explore English learners’ written language, little learner corpus research has focused on learners’ spoken language. In light of this research gap, this volume sets out to probe into L2 learners’ and teachers’ spoken language and to demonstrate how their oral production relates to their cognitive and learning processes, with the goal to yield findings that can help enhance L2 speaking pedagogy. This book is thematically divided into five sections. Part I serves as an introduction, presenting readers with a research background. Along with a review of the history of corpus linguistics, the authors explain what a corpus is and why corpora matter in linguistic research. The following three parts, the essence of this volume, examine L2 spoken language in three different classroom registers, that is English for Academic Purposes (EAP) classes, English learning experience interviews, and peer response/feedback activities. In Part II, the authors state that communication plays a central role in L2 education and reflects both teachers’ and learners’ cognitive processes. The four chapters in this part investigate several linguistic features of spoken language in EAP classroom discourse, including hedges, boosters, personal deixis, and spatial deixis. The comparative analysis shows that hedges are frequently used by teachers to reduce power distance, whereas boosting devices are used more often by learners to express certainty. Substantial overlap is found in the communicative devices used by teachers and learners, indicating that the latter may acquire communicative devices directly from their teachers. The examination of personal deixis reveals how teachers and students conceptualize their positions and communicate through interaction. For instance, the greater use of you is indicative of EAP teachers’ responsibilities to instruct or assign academic tasks to students, whereas the frequent use of I suggests that learners are more self-centered. Finally, the analysis of spatial deixis suggests that learners tend to use proximal deixis to mark their territory within the classroom, possibly as a result of their focus on individual interest. Part III examines learners’ talk in language experience interviews using a mixed-methods approach. To discover the words used by proficient learners during the interviews and how they reflect learners’ learning patterns, the authors focus on the following three aspects in their analysis of the interviews: thematic clusters, psychosocial dimensions, and profiles of experience. The thematic cluster analysis reveals several factors that are strongly related to L2 learning experience, such as school, grammar, and examinations. These factors are claimed to be predictive of what may influence learners’ proficiency enhancement. For instance, the cluster Communication shows that interaction with L1 speakers is deemed as an important means of enhancing speaking skills by most interviewees, but many of them find it difficult to initiate a conversation. With regard to learners’ psychosocial dimensions and profiles, the authors discover that students’ attitude towards cognitive and learning processes vary. While some may focus more on activities that occur in their learning experience, others tend to omit events and place more emphasis on perceptual aspects. Interestingly, students who hold an overall positive outlook towards the L2 learning processes generally achieve better outcomes. These findings could assist educators to dynamically adjust their instruction accordingly. Having probed into spoken language in EAP classroom discourse and English experience interviews, in Part IV, the authors draw attention to peer response activities, a register in which L2 learners could identify their weakness and improve their language skills through peer interaction and feedback. To examine why students’ willingness to incorporate peer advice varies, a corpus of L2 peer responses is employed to investigate the social dynamics and linguistic features of collaboration during peer response. The quantitative results suggest that novice, passive, and collaborative learners are more willing to accept peer feedback and therefore experience greater improvement in writing, whereas dominant students tend to incorporate little of the received advice as they show less trust in the proficiency of their peers. In addition, the study also investigates how modal verbs, a crucial stance marker, are used by collaborative and non-collaborative students. In line with findings reported by previous studies in teacher–learner instruction discourse, results show that collaborative students tend to use modal verbs in similar ways as their instructors. The closing section of this volume, Part V, briefly summarizes the findings in previous chapters and puts forth future directions for corpus-based research, such as adopting multi-modal annotation to compile phonetically transcribed corpora, as well as designing more balanced and representative spoken corpora. In sum, this book has explored L2 learners’ and teachers’ spoken language used in three different registers, providing readers with useful new insights into EAP classroom discourse. Nevertheless, there are several areas that could have been expanded in this volume. First, the structure of the volume would be more balanced if the discussion part, where the utilization of multi-modal corpora is mentioned, were further elaborated upon. Unlike written language, spoken language is accompanied by gestures and other body language manifestations (Adolphs and Carter 2013). As such, the use of multi-modal corpora to further explore learners’ oral production is expected to be a trend in future studies, and it would be worthwhile to introduce to the readers how the notion of multimodality is theorized and approached in SLA research and how it may be effectively exploited in L2 pedagogy (e.g. how might video corpora be used as pedagogical tools) (Fortanet-Gómez and Querol-Julián, 2010). Second, the content could be enriched with additional investigation of L2 learners’ spoken grammar, which is essentially left unexplored. As Carter and McCarthy (2017) argued, spoken grammar has long been ‘marginalized in description and neglected in pedagogy’ (p. 1), yet it is essential for achieving successful interactions (p. 10). Further understanding of the grammatical patterns of L2 learners’ spoken language would prove useful for helping EAP teachers deliver more effective pedagogies to enhance learners’ speaking and interactive skills. Finally, more detailed instructions on the application of corpora in language teaching could have been given. Recent years have witnessed a rapid growth in the adoption of corpus tools in language education, as exemplified in the use of data-driven approaches in teaching material adaptation and the development of language education programmes for teaching English to speakers of other languages teacher training (Jin and Lu 2017). Language educators would certainly benefit from additional information on how to integrate the use of corpus data and linguistic analysis in their teaching to improve their pedagogies (Ebrahimi and Faghih 2017; Zareva 2017). To conclude, this volume has advanced our understanding of the EAP classroom discourse and clearly demonstrated how corpus-based research of spoken language can be conducted. It contributes substantially to the domain of educational linguistics, presenting educators and practitioners with valuable insights into the linguistic features of spoken language that, in our view, can help enhance the effectiveness of their pedagogies. As such, the book is highly recommended to all researchers and language teachers interested in spoken English learner language. REFERENCES Adolphs S. , Carter R. . 2013 . Spoken Corpus Linguistics: From Monomodal to Multimodal. Routledge. Biber D. , Conrad S. . 2001 . ‘Quantitative corpus-based research: Much more than bean counting ’, TESOL Quarterly 35/ 2 : 331 – 6 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Carter R. , McCarthy M. . 2017 . ‘ Spoken grammar: Where are we and where are wegoing? ,’ Applied Linguistics . 38 : 1 – 20 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Ebrahimi A. , Faghih E. . 2017 . ‘ Integrating corpus linguistics into online language teacher education programs ,’ ReCALL . 29/ 1 : 120 – 35 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Fortanet-Gómez I. , Querol-Julián M. . 2010 . ‘The videocorpus as a multimodal tool for teaching’ in Campoy M.C. , Cubillo M. C. C. , Belles-Fortuno B. , Gea-Valor M. L. (eds): Corpus-Based Approaches to English Language Teaching . A&C Black , pp. 261 – 9 . Friginal E. , Li M. , Weigle S. C. . 2014 . ‘ Revisiting multiple profiles of learner compositions: A comparison of highly rated NS and NNS essays ,’ Journal of Second Language Writing 23 : 1 – 16 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Jin T. , Lu X. . 2017 . ‘ A data‐driven approach to text adaptation in teaching material preparation: Design, implementation, and teacher professional development ,’ TESOL Quarterly (Advance online publication). doi: 10.1002/tesq.434. Lee J. J. , Subtirelu N. C. . 2015 . ‘ Metadiscourse in the classroom: A comparative analysis of EAP lessons and university lectures ,’ English for Specific Purposes 37 : 52 – 62 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Zareva A. 2017 . ‘ Incorporating corpus literacy skills into TESOL teacher training ,’ ELT Journal 71 : 69 – 79 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS © The Author(s) (2018). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Applied Linguistics Oxford University Press

E. Friginal, J. J. Lee, B. Polat and A. Roberson: EXPLORING SPOKEN ENGLISH LEARNER LANGUAGE USING CORPORA

Applied Linguistics , Volume Advance Article – Apr 19, 2018

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Abstract

In recent decades, electronic corpora have played an increasingly important role in the realm of applied linguistics (Biber and Conrad 2001), enabling Second Language Acquisition (SLA) researchers and language educators to obtain critical new insights into the features and patterns of L1 and L2 speakers’ language use. Many corpus-based studies have investigated various registers in the academic context, such as academic writing and lectures (Friginal et al. 2014; Lee and Subtirelu 2015). However, as Eric Friginal, Joseph J. Lee, Brittany Polat, and Audrey Roberson point out, although learner corpora have been widely employed to explore English learners’ written language, little learner corpus research has focused on learners’ spoken language. In light of this research gap, this volume sets out to probe into L2 learners’ and teachers’ spoken language and to demonstrate how their oral production relates to their cognitive and learning processes, with the goal to yield findings that can help enhance L2 speaking pedagogy. This book is thematically divided into five sections. Part I serves as an introduction, presenting readers with a research background. Along with a review of the history of corpus linguistics, the authors explain what a corpus is and why corpora matter in linguistic research. The following three parts, the essence of this volume, examine L2 spoken language in three different classroom registers, that is English for Academic Purposes (EAP) classes, English learning experience interviews, and peer response/feedback activities. In Part II, the authors state that communication plays a central role in L2 education and reflects both teachers’ and learners’ cognitive processes. The four chapters in this part investigate several linguistic features of spoken language in EAP classroom discourse, including hedges, boosters, personal deixis, and spatial deixis. The comparative analysis shows that hedges are frequently used by teachers to reduce power distance, whereas boosting devices are used more often by learners to express certainty. Substantial overlap is found in the communicative devices used by teachers and learners, indicating that the latter may acquire communicative devices directly from their teachers. The examination of personal deixis reveals how teachers and students conceptualize their positions and communicate through interaction. For instance, the greater use of you is indicative of EAP teachers’ responsibilities to instruct or assign academic tasks to students, whereas the frequent use of I suggests that learners are more self-centered. Finally, the analysis of spatial deixis suggests that learners tend to use proximal deixis to mark their territory within the classroom, possibly as a result of their focus on individual interest. Part III examines learners’ talk in language experience interviews using a mixed-methods approach. To discover the words used by proficient learners during the interviews and how they reflect learners’ learning patterns, the authors focus on the following three aspects in their analysis of the interviews: thematic clusters, psychosocial dimensions, and profiles of experience. The thematic cluster analysis reveals several factors that are strongly related to L2 learning experience, such as school, grammar, and examinations. These factors are claimed to be predictive of what may influence learners’ proficiency enhancement. For instance, the cluster Communication shows that interaction with L1 speakers is deemed as an important means of enhancing speaking skills by most interviewees, but many of them find it difficult to initiate a conversation. With regard to learners’ psychosocial dimensions and profiles, the authors discover that students’ attitude towards cognitive and learning processes vary. While some may focus more on activities that occur in their learning experience, others tend to omit events and place more emphasis on perceptual aspects. Interestingly, students who hold an overall positive outlook towards the L2 learning processes generally achieve better outcomes. These findings could assist educators to dynamically adjust their instruction accordingly. Having probed into spoken language in EAP classroom discourse and English experience interviews, in Part IV, the authors draw attention to peer response activities, a register in which L2 learners could identify their weakness and improve their language skills through peer interaction and feedback. To examine why students’ willingness to incorporate peer advice varies, a corpus of L2 peer responses is employed to investigate the social dynamics and linguistic features of collaboration during peer response. The quantitative results suggest that novice, passive, and collaborative learners are more willing to accept peer feedback and therefore experience greater improvement in writing, whereas dominant students tend to incorporate little of the received advice as they show less trust in the proficiency of their peers. In addition, the study also investigates how modal verbs, a crucial stance marker, are used by collaborative and non-collaborative students. In line with findings reported by previous studies in teacher–learner instruction discourse, results show that collaborative students tend to use modal verbs in similar ways as their instructors. The closing section of this volume, Part V, briefly summarizes the findings in previous chapters and puts forth future directions for corpus-based research, such as adopting multi-modal annotation to compile phonetically transcribed corpora, as well as designing more balanced and representative spoken corpora. In sum, this book has explored L2 learners’ and teachers’ spoken language used in three different registers, providing readers with useful new insights into EAP classroom discourse. Nevertheless, there are several areas that could have been expanded in this volume. First, the structure of the volume would be more balanced if the discussion part, where the utilization of multi-modal corpora is mentioned, were further elaborated upon. Unlike written language, spoken language is accompanied by gestures and other body language manifestations (Adolphs and Carter 2013). As such, the use of multi-modal corpora to further explore learners’ oral production is expected to be a trend in future studies, and it would be worthwhile to introduce to the readers how the notion of multimodality is theorized and approached in SLA research and how it may be effectively exploited in L2 pedagogy (e.g. how might video corpora be used as pedagogical tools) (Fortanet-Gómez and Querol-Julián, 2010). Second, the content could be enriched with additional investigation of L2 learners’ spoken grammar, which is essentially left unexplored. As Carter and McCarthy (2017) argued, spoken grammar has long been ‘marginalized in description and neglected in pedagogy’ (p. 1), yet it is essential for achieving successful interactions (p. 10). Further understanding of the grammatical patterns of L2 learners’ spoken language would prove useful for helping EAP teachers deliver more effective pedagogies to enhance learners’ speaking and interactive skills. Finally, more detailed instructions on the application of corpora in language teaching could have been given. Recent years have witnessed a rapid growth in the adoption of corpus tools in language education, as exemplified in the use of data-driven approaches in teaching material adaptation and the development of language education programmes for teaching English to speakers of other languages teacher training (Jin and Lu 2017). Language educators would certainly benefit from additional information on how to integrate the use of corpus data and linguistic analysis in their teaching to improve their pedagogies (Ebrahimi and Faghih 2017; Zareva 2017). To conclude, this volume has advanced our understanding of the EAP classroom discourse and clearly demonstrated how corpus-based research of spoken language can be conducted. It contributes substantially to the domain of educational linguistics, presenting educators and practitioners with valuable insights into the linguistic features of spoken language that, in our view, can help enhance the effectiveness of their pedagogies. As such, the book is highly recommended to all researchers and language teachers interested in spoken English learner language. REFERENCES Adolphs S. , Carter R. . 2013 . Spoken Corpus Linguistics: From Monomodal to Multimodal. Routledge. Biber D. , Conrad S. . 2001 . ‘Quantitative corpus-based research: Much more than bean counting ’, TESOL Quarterly 35/ 2 : 331 – 6 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Carter R. , McCarthy M. . 2017 . ‘ Spoken grammar: Where are we and where are wegoing? ,’ Applied Linguistics . 38 : 1 – 20 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Ebrahimi A. , Faghih E. . 2017 . ‘ Integrating corpus linguistics into online language teacher education programs ,’ ReCALL . 29/ 1 : 120 – 35 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Fortanet-Gómez I. , Querol-Julián M. . 2010 . ‘The videocorpus as a multimodal tool for teaching’ in Campoy M.C. , Cubillo M. C. C. , Belles-Fortuno B. , Gea-Valor M. L. (eds): Corpus-Based Approaches to English Language Teaching . A&C Black , pp. 261 – 9 . Friginal E. , Li M. , Weigle S. C. . 2014 . ‘ Revisiting multiple profiles of learner compositions: A comparison of highly rated NS and NNS essays ,’ Journal of Second Language Writing 23 : 1 – 16 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Jin T. , Lu X. . 2017 . ‘ A data‐driven approach to text adaptation in teaching material preparation: Design, implementation, and teacher professional development ,’ TESOL Quarterly (Advance online publication). doi: 10.1002/tesq.434. Lee J. J. , Subtirelu N. C. . 2015 . ‘ Metadiscourse in the classroom: A comparative analysis of EAP lessons and university lectures ,’ English for Specific Purposes 37 : 52 – 62 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Zareva A. 2017 . ‘ Incorporating corpus literacy skills into TESOL teacher training ,’ ELT Journal 71 : 69 – 79 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS © The Author(s) (2018). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)

Journal

Applied LinguisticsOxford University Press

Published: Apr 19, 2018

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