Foreign Language Teaching and Research

Foreign Language Teaching and Research

international Journal of Foreign Language Teaching & Research, Volume 8, Issue 31, Summer 2020



L1 Transfer in L2 Acquisition of the There-Insertion Construction by Mandarin EFL Learners

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This study examined the role of the native language (L1) transfer in a non-native language (L2) acquisition of the there-insertion construction at the syntax-semantics interface. Specifically, the study investigated if Mandarin EFL learners would make overgeneralization errors in the situation where an L1 argument structure constitutes a superset of its L2 counterpart. Verbs of existence and appearance (EAA) such as exist, appear are possible with the there-insertion construction in which the single argument remains in the underlying direct object position. In Mandarin, some verb classes also allow their single arguments to appear in the verb-subject (VS) order. For example, VEA and verbs of monadic change of state (COS) (die, escape) are compatible with the VS order. Some verbs of manner of motion (MOM) (run, swim) are also permissible with the construction. Seventy upper-intermediate and advanced L1 Mandarin EFL learners and 30 native English speakers participated in an acceptability judgement test, the results of which show that L1 Mandarin EFL learners acquired native-like knowledge of the there-insertion construction with verbs of EAA, but they have difficulties recognizing the unacceptability of the there-insertion sentences with verbs of COS and MOM. Individual results by subjects show that it is possible to recover from L1 transfer. Mandarin EFL learners start to unlearn the overgeneralization errors with MOM verbs by drawing on the semantic properties. The experimental results provide further evidence for the previous findings suggesting that the L2 argument structure acquisition is constrained by L1, and the recovery from L1 transfer is also possible.

Identifying Style Awareness, Indirect Strategy Use and Preferences of Turkish Student Teachers of English

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Styles and strategies are among the fundamental issues to be investigated in the language classroom in order to monitor learning process of language learners and to increase their awareness levels. Research on learner style and strategies suggests that a certain degree of awareness on these issues helps both learners and teachers distinguish between the weak and strong aspects of the learning process and take action reasonably. In this sense, in the present study, it was aimed to investigate the learning styles of the student teachers attending Turkish universities and their awareness about indirect strategy use. In the study, survey method was used. To identify style awareness and strategy use of the student teachers, three questionnaires -The Learning Style Checklist, Indirect Strategy Use Questionnaire, and Strategy Instruction Awareness- were administered to the student teachers. Quantitative analyses were used to evaluate the collected data. Undergraduate student teachers –total 226 second year student teachers- participated in the survey. The results indicated that the student teachers used indirect strategies efficiently as consistent with their learning styles. They used metacognitive, affective, and social strategies to defeat the possible problems they faced during language learning process. It was also reported that they felt themselves capable of planning and evaluating their learning process, lowering their anxiety level, taking emotional temperature by encouraging themselves, and cooperating with others.

The Relationship between Dimensions of Student Engagement and Language Learning Motivation Among Iranian EFL Learners

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Since second or foreign language learning is a?.m long term endeavor and learners may lose their initial interest and enthusiasm, they need to be kept motivated. Student engagement has been recommended as one approach to sustaining such at risk learners at high levels of motivation. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the dimensions of student engagement and language learning motivation among Iranian EFL learners. To this end, 117 intermediate EFL learners at the Iran Language Institute (ILI), Gorgan adult male branch, Iran, having been selected as the participants of the study through convenience sampling, were given two questionnaires: Student Engagement Questionnaire (Hart, Stewart, & Jimerson, 2011; Reeve, 2013) and Language Learning Motivation Scale (Noels, Pelletier, Clément, & Vallerand, 2000). The quantitative data gathered through these questionnaires were analyzed by the software package of SPSS, version 24. The results of the correlation tests showed that there were significant relationships between language learning motivation and each dimension of student engagement, with the cognitive engagement having the highest correlation. Further, the results of multiple regression analyses indicated that cognitive engagement was the sole predictor of language learning motivation.

Effects of Textually-Enhanced Reading Tasks and Strategic Pre-Task Planning on Learning English Passive Voice

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In the realm of second language acquisition (SLA), task-based language teaching (TBLT) and input enhancement (IE) have been the focus of a great number of studies. However, the idea of investigating the effects of focus on form instruction through input-enhanced tasks along with pre-task planning time as one of the features of task-based language teaching has been rarely explored in the field of SLA. Therefore, the current research set out to examine the impacts of focus on form instruction via textually-enhanced reading tasks along with strategic pre-task planning on L2 learners’ grammatical development in terms of learning English passive voice. For the purpose of the study, 60 intermediate learners of English were selected and divided into two groups of thirty namely as enhanced and unenhanced. Then, each group was divided into two sub-groups of fifteen as +planning and -planning. The participants were provided with a pretest prior to the treatment, then, they were instructed via the materials chosen for the purpose of the study for ten sessions and at the end they were provided with the posttest of the study. Their performance on the pretest and posttest were analyzed to find out the possible effects of the instruction provided throughout the treatment phase. The results revealed that learners who were exposed to enhanced reading tasks along with strategic pre-task planning time outperformed the other learners. The findings of the present study can be of use for language teachers, syllabus designers, and task designers.

Pros and Cons of Dancing in the Dark: Enhancing EFL learners' oral proficiency in an unplugged learning community

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Recent thrust of research has focused on non-conventional classrooms for teaching to EFL learners. Amongst the newly developed models, Unplugged Classroom Model (UCM) is the most debated one as textbooks are aside and the syllabus is based on conversation-driven activities. This study sought to determine the pros and cons of unplugged teaching for enhancing EFL learners' oral proficiency. From a pool of 317 intermediate and upper-intermediate Iranian EFL learners, 120 intermediate and upper-intermediate learners (60 each) were selected based on SPEAK NOW 1-4 Interview Placement Exam and were divided into conventional and non-conventional classrooms at each proficiency level. The participants in the non-conventional classrooms received unplugged instruction; whereas, their counterparts in the control group (conventional) classrooms were taught according to their textbook's instruction. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to measure learners' performances before and after instruction through paper-based exams and interviews. Participants' perspectives and viewpoints in the non-conventional classrooms were analyzed using the Community of Inquiry (CoI) questionnaire and the instructor's observations, respectively. The findings revealed that not only did the UCM participants enjoy collaborative learning but also enhanced their learning ability to produce more orally proficient utterances and to expand their gained knowledge in order to scaffold their classmates' conversation.

Reacting to “Failure and Triumph” among Iranian Soccer Coaches: A CDA outlook of the sports media language

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The importance of sport as a social, psychological, and cultural agenda in today’s world can by no means be denied. This is, as a rule, reflected in all its aspects through the language of media. The present descriptive study has thus tried to investigate how the language of sports media shape sport consumers such as coaches, players, the audience, and sporting officials at large. For this purpose, fifty soccer games were investigated during an eight-month period. The data collected from TV interviews, newspaper reports, and a sporting talk show called Navad (i.e. 90) were transcribed and analyzed with a CDA perspective in view, for the coaches, players, the audience, and officials. As a result, twelve categories were extracted based on the coaches’ reactions to their failure, from which the most salient was referees’ judgments. A close look at these categories reveal a circular relationship among sports media, coaches’ reactions to their failure or triumph, the audience interpretation of their favorite teams, and macro decisions of the officials in this field. The findings of this study can contribute to the development of a better and more appropriate environment among the four mentioned groups involved in soccer game in Iran.

Exploring EFL Teachers’ Self-Efficacy, Reflective Thinking, and Job Satisfaction: Structural Equation Modeling

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The increasing call for learning English as a foreign language has dramatically heightened the necessity to recruit effective English teachers. This is mainly because teachers have a key role in the success or otherwise of an educational program. Nevertheless, a comprehensive review of the related literature confirms the paucity of research studies on teacher characteristics which can influence their job satisfaction. The present research set out to investigate the association among EFL teachers’ self-efficacy, reflective thinking, and job satisfaction. Two-hundred and twelve Iranian EFL teachers from language institutes, schools, and universities participated in the study. They were asked to answer Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale, Reflective Thinking Scale and The Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire, as the main data collection instruments. The questionnaires were presented in three different ways: social networks, email, and in person. Structural Equation Modeling was employed to examine the hypothesized model of relationships. This model was confirmed following the application of the modification indices proposed by the software (Normal chi-square = 3.6; RMSEA =.03; RMR =.02; GFI =.93; AGFI =.90; NFI =.92; CFI =.93; IFI =.93). The results revealed that there were significant internal correlations between all the latent variables and their sub-scales. Moreover, results of multiple regression analysis represented that self-efficacy and reflective thinking positively predicted job satisfaction, with self-efficacy exerting more predictive power compared to reflective thinking. Pedagogical implications of the findings have been discussed.