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Motivation in foreign language learning: a look at type of school environment as a contextual variable

Abstract

Impelled by the observation that motivation might be one of the most important factors within the affective domain influencing foreign language learning (FLL), the field of second language acquisition (SLA) has seen an intense worldwide interest in empirical research in motivational issues. The studies have been rooted in different theories and methodologies, (most notably those advanced by Gardner and Dörnyei and their respective associates) that have given precedence to a number of variables assumed to play an important role in understanding the phenomenon of FLL motivation. The present study is set between the macroperspective of the social-psychological period–by giving a general view of second language motivation–and the situation-specific period–by taking into consideration the immediate learning context. It focuses on exploring the nature of FLL motivation in Croatia at secondary education level where FLL is part of core curriculum. In particular, it explores the role of one specific contextual variable that has been largely ignored in SLA motivational research, i.e. type of school environment, and its interaction with gender and success in FLL.

Open access
in ExELL
Using authentic materials for students of tourism in Slovenia: English language acquisition for students of the Faculty of Tourism of the University of Maribor

Abstract

The article examines the process of teaching English for specific purposes at the Faculty of Tourism of the University of Maribor, Slovenia using coursebooks and authentic supplementary materials. The survey has shown that the students of the Faculty of Tourism prefer supplementary authentic materials to coursebooks because they find them sufficiently interesting or challenging. Specially designed classroom materials that are put into the Moodle by the teacher also offer opportunities for various activities in lesson planning for teaching, listening, speaking, reading and writing. Another important aspect of supplementary materials is that they facilitate the teacher’s creativity. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to using only coursebooks or only specially prepared classroom materials, and both - coursebooks and supplementary materials - should be used only after careful consideration. Although authentic materials may contain complex grammatical structures and difficult vocabulary, they bring real-life situations into classrooms, and students therefore find them very motivating, the survey has shown.

Open access
in ExELL
English language students’ productive and receptive knowledge of collocations

Abstract

The importance of collocations in second language learning has been recognized in the past few decades. There have been numerous studies in L2 acquisition research that investigated how the knowledge and use of collocations at different levels of proficiency affect learners’ communicative competence and language performance. Moreover, it seems important to mention that most of the studies investigating the collocational knowledge of students learning English as their L2, indicated students’ poor performance (Fayez-Hussein 1990; Aghbar 1990; Bahns and Eldaw 1993; Stubbs 2002; Wray 2002; Nasselhauf 2005; Ozaki 2011). The aim of this paper is to explain the notion of collocation as well as its most common classification, and to point out the importance of its proper use for English language students who are native speakers of the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BCS) language. Furthermore, this study examines the productive and receptive knowledge of lexical collocations in order to access students’ collocational competence. The results indicate students’ poor collocational knowledge. This can be due to the fact that collocations of the language students are learning are interfering with the collocations of their mother tongue, but also due to the way students are taught English (vocabulary negligence in comparison with grammar and unawareness of the importance of collocations in language learning).

Open access
in ExELL
The phonesthetics of blends: A lexicographic study of cognitive blends in the OED

Abstract

This preliminary study of 285 morphological and cognitive blends (attestation dates 1200-2012) aims to investigate the role of phonesthemes in the structuring of the English lexicon. A study of OED word origins shows a disparity between older (1200-1900) and recent blends (1903-2012). Sound symbolism plays an overriding role in over 50% of older blends, leading to a study of initial phonesthemes (i.e. consonant clusters). Several case studies of diachronic semantic shift attested in the OED point to the existence of multidirectional motivation ties. This preliminary study supports the psycholinguistic theory that 1) there is a structured secondary sound symbolism in English, and that 2) it is still productive today and may play a role in the creation of neologisms as well as ensuring their survival (see Bergen, 2010: 52). A more in-depth usage-based analysis using sophisticated measurement tools is the next step in the study.

Open access
in ExELL
Where do we go from here? Method and pedagogy in language teaching

Abstract

Language-teaching methods such as audio-lingualism or task-based instruction have been promoted at different times as the ‘best’ way to teach a foreign language. Each such method prescribes a set of learning procedures rooted in a particular theoretical conceptualization of the nature of language and language acquisition, based on linguistic and applied linguistics research. It is suggested in this article that the principles guiding teachers in selecting procedures should not be dictated by any particular method recommended by researchers or theoreticians, but should be rather defined as a pedagogy of language teaching, shaped by various general pedagogical – not only language-learning – considerations, as well as by local factors, and determined by the teacher her- or himself.

Open access
in ExELL
ExELL
Explorations in English Language and Linguistics
Open access