Foreign Language Learning: Psycholinguistic Studies on Training and Retention

Psychology Press
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Based on a research project funded by the Army Research Institute, Foreign Language Learning reports original empirical and theoretical research on foreign language acquisition and makes recommendations about applications to foreign language instruction. The ultimate goal of this project was to identify a set of psychological principles that can provide the foundation for--or at least, argumentation for--a foreign language training course. This book reviews the various studies of which the project is comprised. It begins with an overview chapter outlining the scope of the project and summarizing some of the experiments that were conducted in the laboratory. In each of the following chapters, the contributors report on previously unpublished research on selected specific psycholinguistic training principles; vocabulary and concept acquisition; language comprehension; reading processes; and bilingualism. The final chapter--prepared by a prominent expert on second language training--provides an overview and evaluation of the contribution of the research described in earlier chapters to the goal of improving instructional methods in foreign language learning.

Sandwiched between the introductory and final chapters are four major sections:
* Vocabulary and Concept Acquisition, which discusses the effect of first-language phonological configuration on lexical acquisition in a second language, contextual inference effects in foreign language vocabulary acquisition and retention, mediated processes in foreign language vocabulary acquisition and retention, and the status of the count-mass distinction in a mental grammar;
* Language Comprehension, which addresses voice communication between air traffic controllers and pilots who are nonnative speakers of English, cognitive strategies in discourse processing, and the effects of context and word order in Maasai sentence production and comprehension;
* Reading Processes, which discusses the enhancement of text comprehension through highlighting, the effect of alphabet and fluency on unitization processes in reading, and reading proficiency of bilinguals in their first and second languages; and
* Bilingualism, which addresses Stroop interference effects in bilinguals between similar and dissimilar languages, the individual differences in second language proficiency, and the hierarchical model of bilingual representation.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Psychology Press
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Published on
May 13, 2013
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Pages
456
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ISBN
9781134807734
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Bilingual Education
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These personal essays by first and second language researchers and practitioners reflect on issues, events, and people in their lives that helped them carve out their career paths or clarify an important dimension of their missions as educators. Their narratives depict the ways in which professionals from diverse backgrounds and work settings have grappled with issues in language education that concern all of us: the sources and development of beliefs about language and education, the constructing of a professional identity in the face of ethical and ideological dilemmas, and the constraints and inspirations of teaching and learning environments. They have come together as a collective to engage in a courageous new form of academic discourse, one with the potential to change the field. Many of the authors write their stories of having begun their work with voices positioned at the margins. Now, as established professionals, they feel strong enough collectively to risk the telling and, through their telling, to encourage other voices.

This volume is intended to provide graduate students, teachers, and researchers in language education with insights into the struggles that characterize the professional development of language educators. Both readers and contributors should use the stories to view their own professional lives from fresh perspectives -- and be inspired to reflect in new ways on the ideological, ethical, and philosophical underpinnings of their professional personae.
This new book, Processing Instruction: Theory, Research, and Commentary, edited by Bill VanPatten--a pioneer in processing instruction (PI)--is a refreshing presentation of 10 related and not widely available articles that illustrate the role of processing instruction in second language acquisition. The articles provide both historical and current context, as well as describe the influence of the input processing model on PI.

The contents include empirical papers presenting new data that demonstrate both the theoretical and pedagogical threads of research. Aside from simply establishing where PI stands in the field of instructed SLA, the book addresses issues, such as processing instruction versus other types of instruction; the impact of processing instruction on various linguistic structures; the role of explicit information in instructional intervention; and the long-term effects of processing instruction. Each section of the book is highlighted by commentaries from noted researchers in instructed SLA. An attempt was made to include voices that offer critical perspectives on various issues of PI research. The book achieves an unusually balanced approach to a subject that has stirred debate in the field.

Processing Instruction: Theory, Research, and Commentary will serve as an important source of information regarding research methodology and replication in second language acquisition. It will also be useful in graduate courses where students need exposure to research design and is especially useful for illustrating the usefulness of replication in SLA research.
An increasing number of students graduate from U.S. high schools and enter college while still in the process of learning English. This group--the "1.5 generation"--consisting of immigrants and U.S. residents born abroad as well as indigenous language minority groups, is rapidly becoming a major constituency in college writing programs. These students defy the existing categories in most college writing programs, and in the research literature. Experienced in American culture and schooling, they have characteristics and needs distinct from the international students who have been the subject of most research and literature on ESL writing. Furthermore, in studies of mainstream college composition, basic writing, and diversity, these students' status as second-language learners is usually left unaddressed or even misconstrued as underpreparation. Nevertheless, research and pedagogical writings have yet to take up the particular issues entailed in teaching composition to this student population. The intent in this volume is to bridge this gap and to initiate a dialogue on the linguistic, cultural, and ethical issues that attend teaching college writing to U.S.-educated linguistically diverse students.

This book is the first to address explicitly issues in the instruction of "1.5 generation" college writers. From urban New York City to midwestern land grant universities to the Pacific Rim, experienced educators and researchers discuss a variety of contexts, populations, programs, and perspectives. The 12 chapters in this collection, authored by prominent authorities in non-native language writing, are research based and conceptual, providing a research-based survey of who the students are, their backgrounds and needs, and how they are placed and instructed in a variety of settings. The authors frame issues, raise questions, and provide portraits of language minority students and the classrooms and programs that serve them.

Together, the pieces paint the landscape of college writing instruction for 1.5 generation students and explore the issues faced by ESL and college writing programs in providing appropriate writing instruction to second-language learners arriving from U.S. high schools.

This book serves not only to articulate an issue and set an agenda for further research and discussion, but also to suggest paths toward linguistic and cultural sensitivity in any writing classroom. It is thought-provoking reading for college administrators, writing teachers, and scholars and students of first- and second-language composition.
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