Nach oben pdf Elementary School L2 English Teachers’ Language Performance and Children’s Second Language Acquisition

Elementary School L2 English Teachers’ Language Performance and Children’s Second Language Acquisition

Elementary School L2 English Teachers’ Language Performance and Children’s Second Language Acquisition

At this point in time, it remains inconclusive how teacher proficiency with its broad range of definitions and applications in the studies relates to second language acquisition and if factors such as amount of instruction may mediate an effect. Contrary to the limited amount of data on teacher language in second language acquisition, however, in studies on first language acquisition  – monolingual as well as multilingual  – databases such as the CHILDES project (MacWhinney & Snow, 1985) allow access to real-time recordings and transcripts of caretaker and child communication for analysis. What has been done for first language acquisition research, namely a linguistic account of the primary language providers, is virtually lacking in instructed second language acquisition research. In a recent study, Rankin and Unsworth (2016) state that “the need to take a more robust empirical approach to input is clear if we are to develop a deeper understanding of the nature of input effects” (p. 564). As their study is a reply to a claimed negligence of generative approaches to address input, they add: “both in terms of POS [Poverty of Stimulus] effects and also in terms of distributional properties of the input available to L2 learners” (Rankin & Unsworth 2016, p. 564). Poverty of Stimulus refers to what is considered the logical problem of language acquisition. Researchers of first and second language acquisition alike have been studying and discussing what is called the logical problem of language acquisition, which asks the question “how acquisition could work in principle – how a learner can correctly generalize from a finite sample of sentences in context to the infinite set of sentences that define the language from which the sample was drawn” (Pinker, 2004, p. 949). Research in those fields has been occupied with the psycholinguistic process of language acquisition and development. By nature, the field of second language acquisition is just as concerned with the implications any insights into language processing could have with respect to teaching. 13
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Elementary School L2 English Teachers’ Language Performance and Children’s Second Language Acquisition - Appendices

Elementary School L2 English Teachers’ Language Performance and Children’s Second Language Acquisition - Appendices

)  in  elementary  ::  (0.82)  //  and  {she}   (1.46)   she   just   (0.64)   just   supported   me   ::   //   she   (0.42)   told   me   ::   what   I   could   do   good  ::  and  (0.30)  uhm  (0.57)  //  she  was  strict↑  ::  //  and  she  was  direct↑  ::  //  and  she   (0.44)  could  control  {the}  the  group↑  ::  //  and  uhm  (0.30)  (0.38)  (0.61)  (0.34)  she  just   saw  ::  what  I  could  do↑  //  and  (0.45)  (0.92)  showed  me  a  way  ::  to  get  better  ::  and   gave  me  material  ::  so  I  did  better  ::  and  (0.51)  //  I  remember  ::  {when}  {when  I  left   school}  ::  when  I  left  elementary  school  ::  {I}  I  went  to  her  ::  and  I  said  ::  I  want  to   (0.45)  take  you  with  me↓  ::  //  #00:03:20-­‐9#    
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Cross-linguistic influence in second language acquisition / vorgelegt von Sarah Riepl

Cross-linguistic influence in second language acquisition / vorgelegt von Sarah Riepl

The school she teaches at is a bilingual, international secondary school (approximately age 10 to 19), namely the GIBS, where all subjects and also lesson-external conversations are held in English. I chose this school on purpose as it could be expected that there is a significant difference between language transfer of students of a bilingual school and an ordinary one. What has to be mentioned, however, is that, contrary to expectations, applicants for the GIBS do not have to pass an English language test but a general entrance examination dealing with intelligence and social skills. This seems to eliminate aptitude as an influencing factor at least to some extent. While it is clear that many of the applicants are not only very interested in the English language but also show a certain talent for the language, this cannot be generalised. In either case, once admitted to the school, the children's English proficiency will, of course, increase faster than that of a child in a secondary school where classes are held in German. This is why special focus will be given to the differences of the two teachers' answers in the interview.
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Linguistic and neurobiological aspects of language acquisition in children with specific developmental disorders / vorgelegt von Bernadette Atzlinger

Linguistic and neurobiological aspects of language acquisition in children with specific developmental disorders / vorgelegt von Bernadette Atzlinger

Based on their retrieved data, Andreou and Katsarou argue that “[…] the semantic domain of language is a region of deficit in children with DS” and that “[…] receptive language, though poor, is proven to be the strongest area in semantics, when compared to expressive” (2016: 65). In an earlier study, Nash and Snowling (cf. 2008) assessed whether the number of semantic clusters (sets of 2 or more semantically and syntactically similar successive words) in children with DS and TD differs. They also investigated whether number and size of semantic clusters expand with receptive vocabulary age. Concerning the former, children with DS were observed to produce fewer semantic clusters, though not significantly. Regarding the latter, they found that there is indeed a positive correlation between the increase in the number of clusters and receptive vocabulary age, however not in terms of the size of the clusters. Furthermore, Nash and Snowling (2008) highlight that the growing number “reflect[s] the acquisition of new word meanings (more exemplars at the child's disposal), whereas increases in cluster size may reflect the organization of known meanings” (Troyer et al. 1997; qtd. in Nash/Snowling 2008: 690) . Figure 10 illustrates the most common food and animal examples that were generated during the tasks. The words “cat” and “dog” appear to be the most prominent examples in DS as well as TD participants. In the figure, “PF” stands for production frequency (cf. Nash/Snowling 2008: 696).
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Turkish-language ability of children of immigrants in Germany: which contexts of exposure influence preschool children's acquisition of their heritage language?

Turkish-language ability of children of immigrants in Germany: which contexts of exposure influence preschool children's acquisition of their heritage language?

Linguistic studies into children's vocabulary acquisition verify that children's vocabulary development strongly depends on parental language input. These studies usually conduct repeated observations at the families' homes and observe parent-child interactions. It has been shown that the quantity of parental language input (Huttenlocher et al. 1991), as well its variety and complexity (Hoff and Naigles 2002; Pan et al. 2005), has positive effects on children's vocabulary acquisition. In addition to these linguistic studies, some sociological and economic studies have shown that specific parent-child activities matter for children's development in various areas (Ermisch 2008; Sylva et al. 2004). Using the data of the British Millennium Cohort Study, Ermisch shows that reading more frequently to children significantly improves their vocabulary development. Results from The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education project also demonstrate the importance of different aspects of parental activities, such as reading to their child, teaching songs and nursery rhymes, playing with letters and numbers, visiting the library, painting and drawing, and so on (Melhuish et al. 2008; Sylva et al. 2004). It can be concluded that activities inside the family are crucial for children's language development and that children's vocabulary growth is strongly related to the amount of parental talk. Research also finds that social differences in these areas are very pronounced: toddlers in professional families hear, on average, three times as many words as do children in welfare families (Hart and Risley 1995). Moreover, the quality of parents' verbal interactions differs as well, with children in high
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English Language Proficiency and Its Relationship with Academic Performance and the Nurse Licensure Examination

English Language Proficiency and Its Relationship with Academic Performance and the Nurse Licensure Examination

safeguard students' academic success in nursing school and the licensure examination. Providing students with academic guidance remains a vital aspect of nursing education (Oducado, Frigillano, Gunce, Jover, Meliton, & Pangilinan, 2017). This study has its limitations. The data used were only secondary data in one college of nursing, thus limits the generalizability of the findings. Another limitation is that the English proficiency measure used in this study did not specifically assess English skills in the dimensions of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Language proficiency in English is usually defined by a combination of these four skills (Sadiku, 2015). Future studies may be conducted on a larger scale using standardized English tests to validate the results of the investigation. Also, a qualitative component was missing, which could have explored students’ views on the influence of the English language on their academic and licensure success. Nonetheless, this study has addressed the paucity of research on the influence of proficiency in the English language has on licensure examination within the local context. Additionally, this study has provided support on prior studies affirming the impact of English language proficiency on students’ academic performance where English is the medium of instruction in a non-native English speaking country.
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Elementary and secondary school students’ perceptions of teachers’ classroom management competencies

Elementary and secondary school students’ perceptions of teachers’ classroom management competencies

Considerable differences between the views of pupils and students have been identified. Such differences indicate that, as students get older, teachers pay less attention to the aspects of quality class management in all its dynamics and multi-prospects. We can conclude that secondary school teachers are more fo- cused on achieving educational goals, while aspects of forming a suitable class climate remains less important. Lewis (2006) reported that teachers in secondary schools might see themselves as teachers of information and classes rather than teachers of individual student. Similarly, Lewis (1999, as cited in Lewis, 2006) found the stereotypical distinction between primary (elementary) and second- ary teachers: the first focus primarily on involving, supporting and educating the whole child, while the latter emphasise more surveillance and punishments to se- cure the establishment of the order necessary to facilitate learning. Harter (1996, as cited in Pianta, 2006) researched how relationships with teachers change from elementary to junior high school: “relationships between teachers and students become less personal, more formal, more evaluative, and more competitive” (ibid, p. 699). In contrast, many studies showed that high-quality relationships between teachers and students, adequate class climate, respect, consideration of feelings, trust between teachers and pupils, and appropriate support for teachers contribute to better learning outcomes (Hamre & Pianta, 2001; La Paro & Pianta, 2003 in Jennings & Greenberg, 2009; Pianta, 2006).
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Understanding low outcomes in English language education in Austrian middle schools: the role of teachers’ beliefs and practice

Understanding low outcomes in English language education in Austrian middle schools: the role of teachers’ beliefs and practice

(De Angelis 2011 ). Tea- chers ’ insecurities about using German and other languages in the English language classroom might also be reinforced by misinformed beliefs, e.g. that the presence of other languages in the classroom interferes with successful language learning, that mixing languages indicates that a speaker is ‘confused’ and/or that language teachers should behave like monolingual native speakers who do not move across and between languages, as was found in other contexts (cf. Meier 2018 ). The findings of this study indicate that teachers’ beliefs about their middle school students’ language abilities and motivation play a role in the disparity of outcomes in English language edu- cation in Austria. Adopting an intersectionality lens can help teachers and other stakeholders in education in this and similar contexts better understand the complex range of dynamics that in flu- ence their students ’ learning, as well as a fuller awareness of the importance of their beliefs and prac- tices in this (Atewologun 2018 ). This study indicates that English language teachers of students from multilingual, low SES backgrounds need further strategies for developing students ’ motivation and con fidence, developing their abilities to support simultaneous language learning, promote language awareness that can be applied across languages and foster cross-linguistic transfer in the English language classroom, drawing on students ’ full language repertoire and out-of-school language practices. Changes in teachers ’ practice go hand in hand with a shift in beliefs (OECD
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Background Noise and Phonological Processing in Second Language Learners

Background Noise and Phonological Processing in Second Language Learners

In today’s global world, many students are acquiring knowledge through the medium of a language that is not their mother tongue. Thus, it is important to understand the effect of second language (L2) use on learning, and how this effect may interact with other known sources of classroom interference. Background noise reduces the audibility of speech and contributes to listening effort. Both of these effects are greater for foreign speech, even when the listener is proficient in the L2 (1). Listening effort can be understood in terms of the cognitive resources that are allocated to a listening task. The Framework for Understanding Effortful Listening (FUEL, 2) describes the factors that contribute to listening effort. These fall into two categories: individual factors and task demands. Listening effort increases as task demands increase as long as the individual is motivated to continue listening and has the necessary capacity to process the speech. However, if the listener is insufficiently motivated and the task is hard, listening effort may drop as the individual opts out of the task. Thus, when there is background noise in a learning situation, more cognitive resources need to be devoted to simply understanding what is being said, and learning suffers (3).
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The role of explicit knowledge and experience with accent in the acquisition of second language sounds

The role of explicit knowledge and experience with accent in the acquisition of second language sounds

Experiment 1 ergab, dass Lernerinnen tatsächlich besser darin waren, ihre eigenen Produktionen zu verstehen als die der anderen, obwohl diese die Kontraste ähnlich gut produziert hatten. Dieser Vorteil für die eigenen Produktionen war ähnlich stark in allen Produktionsgruppen. Die Erkenntnisse aus Experiment 2 waren, dass gute Produktionen (d.h. deutlichere akustische Unterschiede bei der Produktion der Kontraste) insgesamt von allen Lernerinnen besser verstanden wurden. Sprecherinnen, welche die Kontraste selbst besser produziert hatten, profitierten aber zu einem größeren Ausmaß. Ein zusätzlicher Vergleich mit den Daten aus Experiment 1 ergab, dass ein gut produzierter akustischer Kontrast insgesamt wichtiger für die Wortidentifizierung war, als seine eigenen Produktionen zu hören. Wenn die akustischen Hinweise im Signal aber ausreichend waren und die eigene Stimme gehört wurde, dann wurde die Worterkennung dadurch noch zusätzlich verbessert. Diese Ergebnisse lassen darauf schließen, dass Repräsentationen von L2-Wörtern zusätzlich zu allgemeinen sprachlichen Akzentmustern typisch für die L1 auch noch von den eigenen, ganz persönlichen Sprechmustern in einer L2 geformt werden. Eine erhöhte Vertrautheit mit persönlichen Sprechmustern könnte sich aber auch darauf auswirken, wie der eigene Akzent wahrgenommen wird, der sich ja in den akustischen Eigenschaften der produzierten Wörter widerspiegelt. Kontrollmechanismen beim Sprechen vergleichen den wahrgenommenen Input mit dem geplanten Output (z.B. Tourville & Guenther, 2011). Wenn die eigene Sprache mit Repräsentationen verglichen wird, die von ständigem Hören des eigenen Akzentes geformt sind, könnte eine Diskrepanz nicht wahrgenommen werden, und somit auch kein Grund, seine Produktionen anzupassen. In anderen Worten, besseres Verständnis der eigenen Produktionen und ein vermindertes Bewusstsein des eigenen Akzentes könnten zwei Seiten derselben Medaille sein.
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University language teachers as autonomous learners

University language teachers as autonomous learners

The teachers in subgroup 1 do not make use of some cognitive strategies (C3 INFERENCING , C4 NOTE TAKING and C5 IMITATING ). Instead, they display an extensive use of all meta- cognitive strategies and are the only ones who rely on the elevated processing and more demanding ones C6 FRAMING and C7 INDIVIDUAL RESEARCH . What is striking is that employing specific strategies seems to be a determinant. Two teachers of subgroup 1 demonstrate exceptionally well the fundamental function of specific strategies in professional development. Demonstrating person and task knowledge, Teacher P73 is aware of the fact that it is impossible for her to change everything at once and therefore adopts certain strategies, such as concentrating on one group of learners at a time and meeting with other teachers to develop professionally. By cyclically focusing on one thing at a time, she succeeds in renewing her teaching repertoire and getting the learners’ progress moving into the right direction. Teacher A54 displays a similar pattern: also she is aware of how much there is to learn (“it is like opening the door and then suddenly you realise how much more there is”), and accordingly, she adopts a strategy similar to teacher P73: she “focuses”, makes to-do-lists that help her stay on task and breaks down her goals into small tasks that then result in “small wins” for her. At the same time she likes to share with other colleagues as well. In so doing, she enters a cycle of change, as she explains: “little change and refocusing”.
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Natural language acquisition in recurrent neural architectures

Natural language acquisition in recurrent neural architectures

For example, Yu developed a model that coupled lexical acquisition with object categorisation [305]. The model learns from visual data that is simplified and clustered towards colour, shape, and texture features and from spoken descriptions in terms of single or a small number of words to form word-meaning associations. In particular, visual and auditory data was recorded from subjects reading from a picture book, while looking at its pages using a head-mounted camera. The learning processes of visual categorisation and lexical acquisition was modelled in a close loop and led to the emergence of the most important associations, but also to the development of links between words and categories and thus to linking similar fillers for a role. This development occurred over several iterations in which probabilities for a co-occurrence were adapted and thus bootstrapped a shared representation. Despite the aim for explaining early learning, the words were given in whole and therefore it was not tested how combinations of sounds (phonemes) could be composed to cover a visual category. The perception in the visual stream stemmed from unchanging shapes in front of a plain background and was preprocessed towards visual features that reflect little morphology over time. Monner and Reggia modelled the grounding of language in visual object prop- erties [194]. Their model is designed for a micro-language that stems from a small context-sensitive grammar and includes two input streams for scene and auditory information and an input-output stream for prompts and responses for the input information. The scene input is based on a stream of synthetic object properties in a localist representation, discriminating size, colour, shape and spatial relation. For the auditory input, a stream of phonemes is fed in via a distributed representation. For the prompts and responses, the object properties, some relation predicates, and one out of four labels are defined. The predicates and labels get presented to the network during training in a supervised manner, or are partially present (prompts) and need correctly get produced (responses) while testing. In between the input and input-output layer, several layers of LSTM blocks are employed that are able to find statistical regularities in the data. This includes the overall meaning of a particular scene in terms of finding the latent symbol system that is inherent in the used grammar and dictionary. Yet, the fed in object properties are – in principle – present as given prompts for the desired output responses. Therefore, it could also be the case that the emerging symbols in the internal memory layers are determined or shaped by the prompt and response data and are perhaps less
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Pre-service preschool teachers’ beliefs about foreign language learning and early foreign language teaching in Slovenia

Pre-service preschool teachers’ beliefs about foreign language learning and early foreign language teaching in Slovenia

As regards the fourth research question (Are the beliefs about the pro- ficiency level required by preschools teachers who teach an FL in kindergarten different between first-, second- and third-year students?), the study demon- strates that, contrary to the outcome of the second research question, first-year students think a higher level of FL proficiency is required. This shows that younger generations are more aware of the importance of a high level of lan- guage proficiency. Having a high FL proficiency level is a condition stated in other research, as well; for example, Enever (2011) stated in the Ellie Report that C1 is the desirable FL level for teaching young learners, while the Slovenian in-service programme for teaching an FL to young learners aims at teachers having C1 level upon the completion of the programme (Brumen, & Daga- rin Fojkar, 2012). Similarly, Hayes (2014) reports that teachers teaching young learners should have an English level of at least B2, and preferably C1. However, the reality is different from the recommendations. Butler (2004) has revealed that there is a substantial gap between the English proficiency level of primary school teachers in some Asian countries and the level they need to teach. Anal- ogously, Černà (2015) reports about the situation in the Czech Republic, where preschool teachers can teach English despite having reached only B1 or A2 level. With regard to the fifth research question (What are preschool teach- ers’ opinions regarding the most important attributes in teaching FLs to chil- dren (e.g., proficient knowledge of the FL, teaching experience, FL methodology knowledge, teacher’s personality), the study reveals that FL methodology was se- lected as the most important attribute in teaching an FL to children. Indeed, the knowledge of an appropriate methodology for working with children has been emphasised in other studies (e.g., Nikolov & Mihaljević Djigunović, 2011; Hayes, 2014). Furthermore, Kelly et al. (2004) claim that foreign language education in the 21 st century should, among others, include training in language teaching
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Worldhood Competence and Performance:
The Site for Wittgenstein"s Religious Language

Worldhood Competence and Performance: The Site for Wittgenstein"s Religious Language

In order to avoid every misunderstanding, Wittgenstein presents a methodology that guarantees active and practical understanding of this social physics, which he calls the world. At the same time his work provides an understanding of the world that allows us to 'go on' with or without much confusion within the given social practice. We may not forget that Wittgenstein's achievement gives us the disposition and toolbox with which we have to review our human behavior as connected with the totality of the world and the facts of the state of affairs (cf. Tractatus: 1-1.2). In the views of Wittgenstein, human behavior is made out of sensible follower-ship of sociality. This is only possible through the stances of what we have called in this paper 'worldhood'. This paper posits that even the question of religion can be answered with Wittgenstein's worldhood conception. This is possible especially when we try to see facts of being-in-the-world through the ability to make use of the phenomenon of the 'reminders' (cf. PI: 127) and the reality of living our lives in the practice of everyday language-mental-state and reservoir. To 'go on' into the background of Wittgenstein's worldhood experiment, we would like to inform ourselves about the language-entwined practice of the concept. It was Sapir (1929: 207) who once said that:
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Language and food : food and language

Language and food : food and language

13 Besides limitation and selection, the writing of this chapter has also been accompanied by the difficulty of finding a system for classifying the various earlier works on the topic. While it is often straightforward to discuss scholarly strands in their chronological order, i.e. different research traditions and their development, this may not always be profitable in this case. Some works are quite independent from the perspective of the connection between language and food since they themselves stand in a tradition with either no relation to language or to food, or to both. Still, these works in themselves may make a contribution at this intersection, for instance, because of the data used. Sometimes a focus on one specific researcher may be the best choice if this person has been influential in the field and their work quite independent. Also, a classification based on the different types of data used, such as discourse genres (recipes, TV shows on cooking), focus group discussions, or participant observation (Ross 1995) could help illuminate the different findings in a telling way. However, this may separate different contributions which may best be discussed adjacently. Some strands such as the important contributions based on family dinner talk may also seem in between: although family dinner talk research will probably not be thought of as a field or subdiscipline of linguistics, anthropology or psychology, many of these works can also not be said to be merely based on a superficial incidental identicalness of data type. On the contrary, most of this work is intricately interwoven and builds on the same premises and beliefs. Finally, food itself could be used as a structuring principle: for instance, research on food preparation could be discussed in one section and food consumption in another. Research on eating disorders, for instance, would potentially profit from being discussed in one place, regardless of methodology or research tradition. Faced with these difficulties which made one overarching structuring principle seem counter-productive, this chapter will classify previous research according to different frames which will hopefully become clear in the course of the individual subsections.
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Refusal strategies of Iranian university English as a foreign language and non-English learners in native language: a comparative study

Refusal strategies of Iranian university English as a foreign language and non-English learners in native language: a comparative study

Research into L2 production of speech acts in general and refusals in particular has been increasingly rigorous (Al-Kahtani, 2005; Allami & Naeimi, 2011; Beebe et al., 1990; Farnia & Wu, 2012; Ghazanfari, Bonyadi, & Malekzadeh, 2013; Hassani, Mardani, & Dastjerdi, 2011; Lingli & Wannaruk, 2010; Martínez- Flor & Usó-Juan, 2011; Silva, 2003; Umale, 2011; Yang, 2008). This research has been mainly motivated by the fact that refusing a suggestion, invitation or of- fer by nature leads to disruption in harmony in relationships and, as a conse- quence, performing this speech act has to be carried out very carefully. The line of research has focused on various issues surrounding this speech act, such as a comparison of native and non-native speakers’ refusal strategies (Umale, 2011), the effect of instruction on the language learners’ refusals (Lingli & Wannaruk, 2010), and so forth. Umale (2011) carried out a study to investigate the simi- larities and differences between ten British speakers and ten Omanis who re- sponded to situations in a Discourse Completion Task (DCT) that consisted of various interlocutor statuses (low, high and equal). Umale’s findings suggested that both the Omanis and the British speakers tended to use indirect refusal strategies, mainly statement of regret, care for the interlocutor’s feeling, giving reasons and promise for future acceptance, to refuse requests from their supe- riors. Umale concluded that while Omanis tried to sound polite when refusing, their overly long answers often led to pragmalinguistic failure.
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Attitudes and practices of English teachers with regard to teaching the pronunciation of English as an international language / vorgelegt von Antje Wozonig

Attitudes and practices of English teachers with regard to teaching the pronunciation of English as an international language / vorgelegt von Antje Wozonig

Another issue regarding the value of pronunciation, as observed by students, concerns the first impression they leave after having been heard speaking in English. Dalton-Puffer, Kaltenboeck and Smit (1997) argue that “[g]ood pronunciation … [is] to a large extent responsible for one’s first impression of a learner’s L2 [second language] competence” (p.115). Problems in pronunciation could lead to learners being judged as uneducated and, as a possible subsequent consequence of over-monitoring the way they sound, they might find themselves socially isolated or limited in their further aspirations in the English-speaking life (Gilakjani, 2012). Bourdieu (1991) also states that “the efficacy of an utterance, the power of conviction which is granted to it, depends upon the pronunciation … of the person who utters it” (p.70). In fact, studies have shown (for instance Gallois and Callan, 1981) that native speakers of English tend to rate a speakers’ personality and language ability more highly if the subjects’ pronunciation does not show strong foreign influences. A study conducted in Austria, which aimed at exploring learner attitudes in connection with L2 pronunciation indicated that, when asked to identify those speakers who would make the best radio presenters, an overwhelming majority clearly preferred those subjects with standard British or American pronunciation over subjects with a pronunciation that showed German inferences (pp.121-122), thus evaluating the latter ones’ oral skills as being less professional. Similar outcomes were reported by Forde (1995), who found that a large part of Chinese primary school students showed a strong preference for speakers with RP [Received Pronunciation ] and GA [General American] pronunciation, especially when asked about their capability to become a good English language teacher.
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Fluctuations in elementary school children's working memory performance in the school context

Fluctuations in elementary school children's working memory performance in the school context

importance of WM for higher cognitive abilities (i.e., fluid intelligence and reasoning, cf. Süß, Oberauer, Wittmann, Wilhelm, & Schulze, 2002) and academic achievement (cf. Swanson & Alloway, 2012). Moreover, WM has been shown to vary on a daily basis in adolescents and adults before (Riediger, Wrzus, Schmiedek, Wagner, & Lindenberger, 2011; Schmiedek et al., 2013). We conceive of WM as the ability to maintain and process information simultaneously in a controlled manner (Baddeley & Hitch, 1994). The central mechanisms underlying WM include the building, maintaining, and updating of structural representations via dynamic bindings (Wilhelm, Hildebrandt, & Oberauer, 2013). These bindings temporarily relate informational input (e.g., numbers in a subtraction task) to places in a mental coordinate system. Binding new information that is outside the focus of attention necessitates the switching of attention (Oberauer, Süß, Wilhelm, & Sander, 2008). These mechanisms of binding and attention switching form the basis for solving diverse problems in the school and everyday life context and thus qualify WM as a fundamental cognitive resource. Beyond its theoretical significance, empirical evidence has long demonstrated that WM is particularly important for the acquisition of new capacities in different school subjects (e.g., Hitch, Towse, & Hutton, 2001). WM performance is related to performance in mathematics (Friso- van den Bos, van der Ven, Kroesbergen, & van Luit, 2013; Swanson, 2011) and reading (Loosli, Buschkuehl, Perrig, & Jaeggi, 2012. More generally, relationships have been demonstrated between WM capacity and learning of new competences (Anderson, 1982), language comprehension (Daneman & Merikle, 1996), and general academic attainment (Alloway et al., 2005). Further, WM is related to children’s fluid and general intelligence (Giofrè, Mammarella, & Cornoldi, 2013; Hornung, Brunner, Reuter, & Martin, 2011).
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Speaking the same language - The effect of foreign origin teachers on students’ language skills

Speaking the same language - The effect of foreign origin teachers on students’ language skills

Population diversity arising from international migration does not only affect the labor market, but also its training ground – the classroom. While the economics literature studies the large and persistent achievement gap between native and foreign origin students, surprisingly little is known about the effect of having a foreign origin teacher on students’ academic achievements. In this study, I investigate whether having a foreign origin teacher causally affects the language skills of students in German secondary school, holding constant both observed and unobserved factors related to academic outcomes. Exploring within-student variation in assignment to teachers, due to student mobility and teacher turnover, I am the first to show that foreign origin teachers significantly increase the reading comprehension of students. Most notable is the positive effect of foreign origin teachers who report a mother tongue other than German. They increase reading comprehension scores universally. Ruling out alternative explanations, I argue that bilingual teachers are particularly well-equipped in teaching languages to both native and foreign origin students.
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Acquisition pace and developmental path of early second language learners of German. A longitudinal study on acquisition of morphosyntax and semantics

Acquisition pace and developmental path of early second language learners of German. A longitudinal study on acquisition of morphosyntax and semantics

between age 1;2 and 1;6. More importantly, all five TD children used resultative verb particles auf and zu first in isolation which unambiguously mark the endstate of an event and are therefore the head-of-event as defined by Pustejovsky (1991). A few weeks after the emergence of these bare verb particles, the light verb machen ‘make’ occurred in combination with the particles; i.e. the children extended their event structure representation such that it included not only the endstate, but the process subevent as well. The SLI children showed a different pattern. They produced their first particles later than the TD children between age 2;0 and 2;4. More crucial is that they started out with the deictic prefixes such as runter ‘R-down’ or rauf ‘R-up’ instead of the resultative verb particles. These prefixes do not refer to a specific subevent and consequently do not mark a given event as telic or atelic. Based on these results the authors proposed that in the initial stage, the TD children focused on the event structure, and not on the verb’s core meaning or argument structure. To put it more specifically, children first assess whether the verb denotes a telic or an atelic type of event. The more successful strategy for a child is therefore to log into the verb lexicon with a verb that has an unambiguous event structure in terms of its event type. In German, particle verbs such as auf-machen ‘open’ or zu-machen ‘close’ are obligatory interpreted as telic, and consequently meet this requirement best. Additionally, the internal hierarchy of the transition type event is optimally transparent in these verbs: the prefix unambiguously marks the endstate as the head-of-event, and the light verb lexically marks that the process subevent is less prominent. According to Schulz et al. (2001), the TD children are expected to profit from the event structural bootstrapping strategy in the comprehension of the particle verbs since they should recognize that particle verbs entail telicity, and consequently should be rejected for events in which the endstate is not achieved. The remainder of this section focusses on studies investigating the comprehension of telicity.
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