Volume 22 Number 1, February 2018



A system for adaptive high-variability segmental perceptual training: Implementation, effectiveness, transfer

Manman Qian; Evgeny Chukharev-Hudilainen; John Levis

Many types of L2 phonological perception are often difficult to acquire without instruction. These difficulties with perception may also be related to intelligibility in production. Instruction on perception contrasts is more likely to be successful with the use of phonetically variable input made available through computer-assisted pronunciation training. However, few computer-assisted programs have demonstrated flexibility in diagnosing and treating individual learner problems or have made effective use of linguistic resources such as corpora for creating training materials. This study introduces a system for segmental perceptual training that uses a computational approach to perception utilizing corpus-based word frequency lists, high variability phonetic input, and text-to-speech technology to automatically create discrimination and identification perception exercises customized for individual learners. The effectiveness of the system is evaluated in an experiment with pre- and post-test design, involving 32 adult Russian-speaking learners of English as a foreign language. The participants’ perceptual gains were found to transfer to novel voices, but not to untrained words. Potential factors underlying the absence of word-level transfer are discussed. The results of the training model provide an example for replication in language teaching and research settings.

Discourse moves and intercultural communicative competence in telecollaborative chats

Marianna Ryshina-Pankova

With a shift toward understanding the goals of foreign language learning as development of intercultural communicative competence (ICC; Thorne, 2010), telecollaborative interaction with geographically distant partners has been seen both as a pedagogical tool that can play a significant role in promoting intercultural negotiation abilities and attitudes and as a felicitous context for assessing these abilities. Addressing the assessment task through a linguistically-grounded investigation of telecollaborative chats, this exploratory study aims to demonstrate how abstract aspects of ICC can be operationalized as deployment of particular discourse structuring and linguistic resources. Drawing on the systemic-functional approach to discourse analysis (Eggins & Slade, 1997) and Byram’s (1997) framework of ICC, this study examines written synchronous chats created throughout a 7-week telecollaborative activity by advanced American learners of German at a private US University and by German University students, future FL teachers. The quantitative and qualitative results demonstrate what precise discursive moves and language resources that realize them characterize ICC and at the same time enable it. Implications of the use of the methodological framework for further research of ICC in telecollaborative discourse, as well as some applications of the findings to pedagogy, conclude the study.



Emerging Technologies

Edited by Robert Godwin-Jones

Second language writing online: An update

Robert Godwin-Jones

I last wrote an overview of developments in second language (L2) online writing 10 years ago (Godwin-Jones, 2008). Since that time, there have been significant developments in this area. There has been renewed interest in L2 writing through the wide use of social media, along with the rising popularity of computer-mediated communication (CMC) and telecollaboration (class-based online exchanges). The recognition of writing as a social act has also led to a significant rise in interest in collaborative writing. This has been aided by the popularity of tools providing a shared writing space, such as Google Docs. The importance and recognition of genre in both student work and writing theory have grown considerably among practitioners and researchers. The increased practice of integrating multimedia into writing is reflected in the popularity of multimodal projects, such as digital storytelling. At the same time, digital tools for evaluating writing have become more widely available in the form of digital annotators and automated writing evaluation (AWE) software, which take advantage of advances in corpus linguistics and natural language processing (NLP). In addition, tools for processing and evaluating large data sets enable approaches from data mining that provide valuable insights into writing processes. The variety and, in some cases, the complexity of online writing environments has increased the need for both learner and teacher training.

Language Teaching and Technology Forum

Edited by Greg Kessler


Edited by Jon Reinhardt