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The University of Southampton
Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research

Completed projects

CALR completed projects

LANG-SNAP: Languages and social networks abroad

Social networks, target language interaction, and second language acquisition during the year abroad: A longitudinal study is a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (research award number: RES-062-23-2996) running from May 2011 to October 2013.

The specific aims of the project are to document the development of Modern Languages students’ knowledge and use of the target language over a 23-month period including a 9-month stay abroad, and to investigate:

 

Participants are students of Spanish and French, spending their third year (of a four-year degree course) abroad in Spain, Mexico, and France. We have recruited 25 students per language (drawn from ERASMUS, foreign language assistant, and work placements). Ten native speakers of each language have also been recruited.

During the main fieldwork phase, six data collection cycles with all participants are planned: 1) pretest, 2-4) successive on-site data collection cycles, 5) posttest and 6) delayed posttest. Pre- and posttests will take place at the home university, while all other data collection will take place abroad. A subset of 12 participants will additionally be invited to participate in individual case studies. These in-depth studies will involve day-long participant observation (shadowing) on two occasions during the year to document amount of time spent interacting in the target language, and the nature of that engagement. These participants will also self-record three interactions in the target language, with members of their current social network, using audio equipment.

Researchers: Prof. Ros Mitchell. Dr. Nicole Tracy-Ventura, Dr. Kevin McManus, Laurence Richard and Dr. Paty Romero De Mills

 

Biliteracy teaching and learning in two-way-immersion

This project investigates biliteracy teaching and learning as it unfolds in an Italian-German two-way-immersion programme in a primary school in inner Frankfurt/Germany. The study looks into an approach that helps fostering a multilingual environment in which biliteracy can be acquired simultaneously in two languages, Italian and German. The study is ethnographic and collaborative in nature involving active contributions from academics and practitioners and seeks to deepen our understanding of the possibilities for multilingual and multimodal learning in multilingual contexts and the development of multilingual curricula.

Researcher: Dr. Gabriele Budach

 

Multiliteracies in an urban Inuit community

The project entitled „Multiliteracies in an urban Inuit community“ (funded by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council 2008-2011, PI: Prof. Donna Patrick, Carleton/University, Ottawa and Co-Investigator Gabriele Budach, University Southampton) investigates literacy practices of Inuit living in the city of Ottawa. This action research project is conducted in collaboration with the Ottawa Inuit Childen Centre in Vanier (http://www.ottawainuitchildrens.com/) and looks into the ways in which multilingual and multimodal literacies are important for urban Inuit to sustain their life as an aboriginal migrant community in the city. The focus of our research is on community based activities developed by and for Inuit in order to understand what literacy means for them in this context and to contribute to the development of aboriginal language policies which take into account the community’s own semiotic resources, in terms of languages and culture.

Researchers: Dr. Gabriele Budach

 

Using online learning objects to develop intercultural awareness in ELT: a critical evaluation in a Thai higher education setting 

Researcher: Dr. Will Baker (University of Southampton)

Summary:

E-learning offers many new pedagogic opportunities as well as challenges but while it has grown in prominence, it is still far from a normalised part of English Language Teaching (ELT). Similarly, the importance of the cultural dimension in ELT has also gained in importance. However, the use of English as a truly global language, going beyond the traditional ‘native speaker’ English countries, has raised concerns about how users of English are able to cope with the variety of contexts and interlocutors they may encounter. One approach to answering this challenge has been the inclusion among the goals of ELT of intercultural communication skills and the knowledge and attitudes associated with ‘intercultural awareness’ (ICA). This study will investigate and evaluate the benefits of an online course in intercultural communication and ICA for a group of English language learners in a higher education institute in Thailand. The research aims to produce insights concerning the use of new technologies in online courses to help develop intercultural awareness among English language learners, equipping them for the demands of English as a global language. The research will be conducted in partnership with Silpakorn University in Thailand.

Funding: British Council English Language Teaching Research Partnership Awards, September 2010-September 2011.

 

FLLOC: Learning French from ages 5, 7 and 11: An investigation into starting ages, rates and routes of learning amongst early foreign language learners

Researchers: . Mitchell (University of Southampton), F. Myles (University of Newcastle), A. David (University of Newcastle), S. Rule (University of Southampton) C Dos Santos (University of Newcastle).

Summary:

The latest addition to the sequence of projects in the French learner language (FLLOC) programme has four broad objectives:

Fieldwork was undertaken in schools in the North-East of England, with the videoing of lesson sequences and development of a series of tasks to measure learner development.

Website: www.flloc.soton.ac.uk

Funding: ESRC funded October 2009-September 2011.

 

FLLOC: Learning French from ages 5, 7 and 11: An investigation into starting ages, rates and routes of learning amongst early foreign language learners

Researchers: . Mitchell (University of Southampton), F. Myles (University of Newcastle), A. David (University of Newcastle), S. Rule (University of Southampton) C Dos Santos (University of Newcastle).

Summary:

The latest addition to the sequence of projects in the French learner language (FLLOC) programme has four broad objectives:

Fieldwork was undertaken in schools in the North-East of England, with the videoing of lesson sequences and development of a series of tasks to measure learner development.

Website: www.flloc.soton.ac.uk

Funding: ESRC funded October 2009-September 2011.

 

SPLLOC 2: The Emergence and Development of the Tense-Aspect System in L2 Spanish

Researchers: L. Domínguez (University of Southampton), R. Mitchell (University of Southampton), and F. Myles (University of Newcastle)

Summary: This project aims to expand the current SPLLOC project in order to cover new data investigating the acquisition of Tense and Aspect by English learners of Spanish. Our goal is to analyse both oral production and interpretation data from three different groups of learners (beginners, intermediate and advanced). This will allow us to test the predictions made by two leading hypotheses on Tense and Aspect development: the Lexical Aspect Hypothesis (which predicts that the use of tense and aspect is determined by the properties of the verb) and the Discourse Hypothesis, (which predicts that the use of tense and aspect is determined by the discursive context) paying special attention to those scenarios where these hypotheses make contradictory predictions. This research will contribute to answering current theoretical problems about second language learning such as how different grammatical components (i.e. semantics, morphology, syntax) are involved in the acquisition of Tense and Aspect. It will also assist in curriculum design and evaluation by providing better description and understanding of typical learner development in Spanish which can be utilised by policy makers, curriculum developers and teachers

Website: www.splloc.soton.ac.uk

Funding: ESRC funded, August 2009-January 2010.

 

Complexity in Language

Researcher: Glyn Hicks (University of Southampton)

Summary: This 15 month project explores the implications of viewing the grammars of natural languages as complex adaptive systems, and identifies new methodologies for linguistic research within complexity science. The project employs complexity theory to model the interactions between the different components of the grammar (e.g. morphology, syntax, phonology) and the ways in which these interface with non-linguistic systems of the mind. It then uses these insights to sketch a new model of the organisation of the human language faculty, exploring consequences for current understanding of the evolution of language in humans.

Funding: University of Southampton Research and Enterprise Committee, July 2010 - September 2011.

 

In search of multicompetence: exploring language use and language values among multilingual immigrant students in England, Italy and Austria

Researchers: R. Mitchell and Amanda Hilmarsson-Dunn (University of Southampton), Silvia Dal Negro, Enrica Cortinovis and Gessica De Angelis, (University of Bolzano, Italy), and Marie-Luise Volgger (University of Vienna, Austria)

Summary:

This collaborative project forms part of the wider LINEE network funded under the EU 6th Framework (Languages in a Network of European Excellence). The team investigated language use and language attitudes of multilingual students in three European cities: Southampton, Bolzano (Italy) and Vienna (Austria), specifically:

Website: www.linee.info

Funding: EU funded November 2008-April 2010.

 

BALEAP Tracking Project

Researchers: Liz Hauge, colleagues from Reading; Kent; Durham; Oxford Brookes; Exeter; Nottingham; Nottingham Trent; Lancaster; Sheffield; Lhwsester de Montfort; Leeds; and Queen Mary, London.

Summary:

BALEAP is funding the project and there are now fourteen universities tracking the progress of pre-sessional students once they join their degree programmes. The project is looking at the student experience in general, but most investigators are also interested in how students cope with the writing and speaking demands of their degree programmes and the extent to which they are using the skills and strategies taught on their pre-sessional courses.

A wide variety of students will be looked at. Some investigators are looking at students who took general pre-sessional courses before going to one particular discipline (UG or PGI); some are tracking students who did a discipline-specific pre-sessional course (and are either UG or PGI). Some are looking at the progress of specific nationalities. Liz Hauge will be tracking mainland Chinese students who took the LLM pre-sessional course last summer.

The project is working towards a PIM (Professional Issues Meeting) - or one day seminar - to be held at the University of Kent on 25 June 2011 where we will present our research findings. Papers from the PIM will appear in a BALEAP publication after the event.

Funding: BALEAP funded 2009-2011.

 

LINEE Work Package 7a: Learning, use and perceptions of English as a Lingua Franca communication in European contexts

Researchers: Jennifer Jenkins and Alessia Cogo (University of Southampton), Karolina Kalocsai and Don Peckham (University of Szeged), and Tamah Sherman and Dagmar Sieglová (Charles University, Prague).

Summary:

This collaborative project with partners in Southampton, Szeged and Prague forms part of the wider LINEE network funded under the EU 6th Framework (Languages in a Network of European Excellence). The team is conducting research into the acquisition of ELF and its use in conversational settings, and into European non-native and native English speakers¹ perceptions of effective ELF communication. The research will enable us to draw conclusions about English language learning and teaching in multilingual environments, about perceived links between effective communication and correctness according to native-speaker English norms, about the awareness of/value placed on communication skills such as accommodation and codeswitching, and about native English speakers¹ ability to communicate in European ELF settings.

Website: http://www.linee.info/

Funding: EU funded November 2008 - April 2010.

 

Primary modern languages: a longitudinal study of language learning at Key Stage 2

Researchers:

C Cable (Open University), P Driscoll (Christ Church Canterbury University), R Mitchell (University of Southampton), B Holmes (University of Southampton)

Summary:

This collaborative project tracked the implementation in primary schools in England of the Key Stage 2 Framework for Primary Languages. This foreign language learning initiative is introducing an element of foreign language study into the curriculum for all children from age 7. The research team conducted ethnographic research in a small sample of schools, to trace the extent to which schools were succeeding in providing a coherent FL experience for their learners, in line with the Framework guidelines, and the factors influencing success. A special responsibility of the Southampton team was the assessment of children’s oracy and literacy in relevant foreign languages (French, Spanish and German).

Funding: DCSF funded September 2006 – August 2009.

 

SPLLOC 1: Linguistic Development in L2 Spanish: Creation and Analysis of a Learner Corpus

Researchers:

R Mitchell (University of Southampton), F. Myles (University of Newcastle), E. Marsden (University of York), L Dominguez (University of Southampton), and S. Rule (University of Southampton)

Summary:

The purpose of the project was to study how students, aged 14-21, learn Spanish as a second language. The project had two parts. During the first year researchers visited local schools and colleges in order to collect oral data for a corpus of Spanish as a second language. The data were then transcribed and digitally prepared for analysis, and have been made available to both the teaching and research community from the project website. During the second year of the project data analysis was carried out, paying attention to how certain morphosyntactic properties of Spanish, which are not found in English, are learnt. Features studied included word order, clitic pronouns and lexical development. This project helped understand the processes involved in learning a second language in general, and Spanish in particular. The conclusions drawn are relevant to both researchers in language acquisition and foreign language teachers.

Website: www.splloc.soton.ac.uk

Funding: ESRC funded, April 2006-March 2008.

 

FLLOC: The Structure of French Interlanguage: A corpus-based study

Researchers: R Mitchell (University of Southampton), F. Myles (University of Newcastle), A. David (University of Newcastle) and S. Rule (University of Southampton).

Summary: This project created a new corpus of intermediate level spoken L2 French (the "Newcastle corpus") and added this to the existing collection of French learner language oral corpora available within the FLLOC website, along with a small corpus of native speaker French. In the post-fieldwork phase, the entire set of corpora within FLLOC is being exploited to produce a full account of the development of the language system of instructed learners of L2 French. Existing corpora are being maintained and updated in line with evolving technical standards and deposits of additional complementary corpora are invited from other researchers.

Website: www.flloc.soton.ac.uk

Funding: AHRC funded October 2005- September 2008.

 

Losing your tongue: first language attrition in monolingual and bilingual settings

Researcher: L Dominguez (University of Southampton)

Summary: This project explores in what ways immigrant bilingual speakers modify their first language (including their vocabulary and key syntactic structures) under the influence of the new linguistic environment. There are two different groups of participants in the study: Cuban exiles who have settled in Miami and still use Spanish as the dominant language, and Spaniards who moved to the UK and have replaced their Spanish with English almost entirely. By comparing these two different groups the role that the surrounding speech community has on the linguistic competence of those who move abroad will be analysed as well.

Funding: British Academy funded June 2007- May 2008.

 

Speaking the language of the 'enemy': exploring language and identity among Greek-speaking Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus

Researchers: E Ioannidou (University of Southampton)

Summary: This is a small scale sociolinguistic project (Jan-Oct, 08), exploring language use (Greek Cypriot Dialect), language values and adopted ethnic identities among a specific group of Turkish Cypriots who had Greek (and not Turkish) as a home language. The methodology adopted will be mainly ethnographic interviews and participant observation in the northern part of Cyprus.

Funding: British Academy funded January – October 2008.

 

Traditional pedagogic cultures in foreign language education and the need for multicompetence

Researchers: R Mitchell and Elena Ioannidou (University of Southampton), Silvia DalNegro, Gerda Videsott and Gessica De Angelis, (University of Bolzano, Italy), and Katalin Petneki, University of Szeged, Hungary

Summary: This collaborative project formed part of the wider LINEE network funded under the EU 6th Framework (Languages in a Network of European Excellence). The team conducted case study research into the teaching of German as a second/ foreign language in three national contexts (England, Italy/ Alto Adige, and Hungary). The case study of German was used to explore the evolution of European language education policy, and to determine how far this is in line with overall goals of societal multilingualism and individual multicompetence.

Website: http://www.linee.info/

Funding: EU funded November 2006-April 2008.

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