UIC Bilingualism Forum Abstracts





Assesment of pragmatic competence of immersion schooled bilinguals
Iftikhar Haider (The University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign)

Dominican Spanish in contact with St Thomas English Creole
Daniel D’Arpa (Mercer County Community College)

Relative clause processing in third semester learners of Russian
Marina Sokolova (Indiana University)

Should Anglo English/Spanish bilinguals think twice before rolling their r in
front of Anglo peers?
Colin Anderson (The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Syntactic variation in bilinguals: the case of Catalan and Spanish clitics in
Amelia Jimenez Gaspar (Universidad de las Islas Baleares)
Pedro Guijarro Fuentes (Universidad de las Islas Baleares)
Acrisia Pires (University Michigan)
Laia Arnaus (Bergische Universität)

The role of L2 in pronoun interpretation with referential and quantificational
Eun Hee Kim (The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Vowel production in simultaneous bilingual child language: an optimality theoretic account
Danielle Fahey (The University of South Carolina)

Texting en español. An activity that connects communicative tools and literacy
skills for heritage bilinguals
Jennifer Isasi (The University of Nebraska-Lincoln)



Preview of program events

Featured talk by Dr. Karin Madlener, Visiting Scholar at UIC, Max Kade Foundation Fellow. Dr. Madlener’s talk and subsequent lunch are sponsored by the Max Kade Foundation.


Dr. Madlener (PhD, University of Freiburg, Germany) is currently a teaching and research associate of German linguistics at the University of Basel, Switzerland. She will be a visiting professor at the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago during the fall semester 2016. Her current research interests include Cognitive Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, (first and second) language acquisition, usage-based models of language (acquisition), German as a second/foreign language, second language pedagogy, (preschool) language assessment, input processing and optimization, spatial language, and (the acquisition of) narrative competence. For more information and downloadable versions of available publications, please click here.


Do findings from artificial language learning generalize to second language classrooms? A usage-based perspective
(Second) Language development is hard to evaluate ‘in the wild’, due to a multitude of possibly intervening factors such as the learners’ age, motivation, prior language knowledge, working memory capacity, pattern recognition ability, or their access to L2 input beyond the classroom. The effects of specific instructional approaches on the acquisition of particular target constructions are even harder to pin down. Tightly controlled artificial language learning experiments targeting the acquisition of selected linguistic phenomena in laboratory or laboratory-like settings have therefore widely been used as potential approximations to (specific aspects of) SLA, facing carefully chosen learner groups with small, noise- and context-free sets of (more or less artificial) language data in specific tasks and settings.
As the experiments are short and many interfering variables are filtered out, the effects of the relevant factors of interest in the learning process are as clear-cut as possible in such settings. Research in the artificial language learning paradigm is based on the assumption that such artificial language learning studies are valid “test-tube models” (Ettlinger, Morgan-Short, Faretta-Stutenberg, & Wong, 2015: 4) for second language acquisition, allowing researchers to pick out the relevant developmental variables at the assumed times of most change. As such, artificial language learning studies may be intended to supplement or even supplant longer-term studies in what Mackey (2012: 37) called the “messier” classroom context.
However, the assumption that artificial language learning experiments are an ecologically valid analogue of natural or classroom second language acquisition is not uncontested. For instance, Robinson (2010) and Goldberg and Casenhiser (2008) raised concerns regarding the generalizability of artificial language learning findings to SLA (in the classroom and beyond). Such concern is all the more justified from a usage-based perspective, which assumes that language acquisition is a predominantly incidental and implicit process, which crucially depends on the processing of meaningful input during meaningfully contextualized social interaction.
This talk therefore raises the question to what extent and under which conditions findings from artificial language learning studies reliably generalize to (instructed) second language acquisition and may therefore inform second language pedagogy. I present and discuss convergent and divergent findings across several domains, including learned attention and frequency effects. The latter are given special attention, as they are crucial to a usage-based perspective.
Comparisons between prior laboratory and classroom studies and data from current classroom research (Madlener 2015) suggest that (1) not all task types used in artificial language learning studies reliably generalize to (classroom) second language learning and that (2) artificial language learning models some aspects of second language acquisition more readily than others. The talk discusses the limits of the generalizability from artificial language learning to second language acquisition as well as a range of explanatory factors, including learning mode and context.


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