Volume 24 Number 1, February 2020

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    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2020-02-01) LTT Staff
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    Exploring L2 learners’ engagement and attitude in an intercultural encounter
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2020-02-01) Oskoz, Ana ; Gimeno-Sanz, Ana
    Following the appraisal framework (Martin & White, 2005), in particular the two discourse-semantic systems of Engagement and Attitude, this study examines the extent to which second language learners in a US-Spain telecollaborative project (a) engaged with their own ideas and those of their partners and (b) expressed their attitude towards their own and the second language culture. The results of the analysis suggest that learners reacted differently when discussing their own culture and that of their foreign language. The data collected provides evidence that learners avoided using monoglossic (i.e. bare) statements regarding both their L1 and L2 cultures, and fewer contracting statements for the latter. Overall, learners also presented a preference for positive Affective, Judgment, and Appreciation markers, which suggests their interest in creating an environment of solidarity and closeness with their telecollaborative partners. The results also indicated the value of discussing the topic in general, without particular reference to the first or the second culture, as a safe space to address conflicting issues that might result in communication breakdowns and move beyond personal, superficial, and anecdotal references.
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    Synthetic voices in the foreign language context
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2020-02-01) Bione, Tiago ; Cardoso, Walcir
    This study evaluated the voice of a modern English text-to-speech (TTS) system in an English as a foreign language (EFL) context in terms of its speech quality, ability to be understood by L2 users, and potential for focus on specific language forms. Twenty-nine Brazilian EFL learners listened to stories and sentences, produced by a TTS voice and a human voice, and rated them on a 6-point Likert scale according to holistic criteria for evaluating pronunciation: Comprehensibility, naturalness, and accuracy. In addition, they were asked to answer a set of comprehension questions (to assess understanding), to complete a dictation/transcription task to measure intelligibility, and to identify whether the target past -ed form was present or not in decontextualized sentences. Results indicate that the performance of both the TTS and human voices were perceived similarly in terms of comprehensibility, while ratings for naturalness were unfavorable for the synthesized voice. For text comprehension, dictation, and aural identification tasks, participants performed relatively similarly in response to both voices. These findings suggest that TTS systems have the potential to be used as pedagogical tools for L2 learning, particularly in EFL settings, where natural occurrence of the target language is limited or non-existent.
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    ‘Successful’ participation in intercultural exchange: Tensions in American-Japanese telecollaboration
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2020-02-01) Nishio, Tomoe ; Nakatsugawa, Masanobu
    The concept of successful participation is context-dependent. Learners have different definitions, which are subject to potential tension in the manner of participation that affects other aspects of the interaction. Drawing on activity theory (Vygotsky, 1987), the present study analyzes tensions that emerged during a six-week telecollaborative project between American learners of Japanese (AMU students) and Japanese learners of English (JPU students) through their understandings of successful participation. Transpacific dyads engaged in online discussions regarding assigned topics and a series of reflective tasks. Using a three-stage grounded theory data coding strategy, major contradictions are identified and analyzed. The findings suggest emergent contradictions in two dyads deriving from differences in the definition of participation. In one dyad, the JPU participant negotiated the imbalanced division of labor due to her passiveness by intentionally changing her participatory behavior. In the other dyad, the AMU participant displayed frustration and disappointment by his JPU partner whose definition of successful participation comprised prompt responses instead of proactive engagement in the discussion. These two cases illustrate how learners’ understandings of successful participation informed their actions and how local definitions affected their overall evaluation of the interaction.
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    L1 for social presence in videoconferencing: A social semiotic account
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2020-02-01) Satar, Müge
    Examining the use of multimodal translingual practices of language learners is a promising area for the study of semiotic resources in online multimodal language learning. As such, although L1 use is theoretically established as one of the many semiotic resources to be drawn upon for meaning-making as part of learners’ integrated repertoire, its role as a catalyst for the establishment of social presence is under-theorised. This paper presents detailed micro-analyses of the videoconferencing interactions of three pairs of language learners, and offers a social semiotic account illustrating transformative processes of transformation, transduction and mimesis (Bezemer & Kress, 2016). This study makes a unique contribution by demonstrating how translingual practice is mobilised with concomitant multimodal resources, and how this social-semiotic practice interweaves with all three dimensions of social presence (affective, interactive, and cohesive). It proposes that as a contributing factor to social presence, L1 use can assume a more prominent role in support for online language learning and teaching by helping learners project themselves socially and emotionally into their online interactions, and engage in a variety of transformative processes offering various learning potentials.