NEGOTIATION, NOTICING, AND THE ROLE OF
SELECTIVE CROSSLINGUAL STRATEGIES IN
FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSROOMS
WILLIAM ROBERT PELLOWE
A dissertation submitted to the
Faculty of Arts
of the University of Birmingham
in part fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree of
Master of Arts
This dissertation consists of approximately 14,800 words.
- Supervisor: Peter Crompton
- Centre for English Language Studies
- School of English
- University of Birmingham
- Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT
- United Kingdom
- March 1998
When learners in foreign language classrooms all share the same native language,
that language is always available for use should the need arise. Teachers in these
situations often instinctively feel that limited, timely use of L1 has a role to
play, yet feel guilty using it. In this dissertation, the author aims to provide
a theoretical basis for timely, judicious application of L1. To bridge the gap between
ESL theory and EFL practice, an exploration of problems and potential solutions for
negotiation for meaning and form in EFL classrooms is followed by analysis of learners'
use of code-switching and lack thereof in learner/learner interaction and within
written texts. Principled, crosslingual teaching approaches based within current
language acquisition theory and research findings are provided.
||Historical Overview (Of L2-Only Orthodoxy)
||Teacher Guilt From Using L1
||Findings on Teacher L1 Use
||Scope Of The Present Study
||NEGOTIATION, GUIDED NEGOTIATION
||Negotiation of Meaning
||"Barranquismo" (L1-Aided Guided Negotiation)
||Hotchkiss (Lexical Transfer)
||"Ong ha" (Phonological Influence of L1)
||CODE-SWITCHING: STUDENTS' L1 USE IN THE CLASSROOM
||Factors Governing Language Choice
||Promoting L2 Use
||Cited/Recited Language: Negotiation of Form?
||Negotiation of Meaning, Disregarding Form
||CODE-SWITCHING IN TEXTS: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN STUDENTS HAVE THE CHOICE TO USE L1?
||The extensive reading program tests
||Functions of Switches
||Discussion (Factors Influencing Language Choice)
||CROSSLINGUAL TEACHING STRATEGIES
||The "Checking Device" And Word Storage
||Katakana English And Loanwords
||Starter Rules: A Contrastive Analysis Technique
||The Uniqueness Principle (And Pedagogical Implications)
||Crosslinguistic Error Awareness Raising to Promote Noticing
||Comparisons Between Languages
|LIST OF REFERENCES
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
LIST OF TABLES
||Language of Test Texts Per Student
||Japanese Usages in Mixed Texts
||Numerical Breakdown of English Words vs. Japanese Words
||Functional Distribution of Japanese Code Switches by Types
LIST OF DEFINITIONS
Abbreviations and terms used herein either conform to the accepted norms of the field
or are defined when presented. However, to avoid confusion in terminology, two standard
abbreviations are used in a more restrictive sense than is normally found in the
||L1 will always refer to the mother tongue of the students.
||L2 will always refer to the target language, which may or may not be the mother tongue
of the instructor. Thus, an "L1-proficient teacher" could be a native or
a non-native speaker of that language.
The focus of this paper is the use in the classroom of learners' mother tongue
(henceforth L1) in EFL contexts in which the L1 is the language of the society. This
paper takes particular issue with the notion that L1 use has no place in the EFL
classroom, and as such should be proscribed.
- 1.1 Historical Overview
- Avoiding L1 came with the advent of the natural method in the 19th century, and
was carried into the direct method (Stern, 1992; Modica, 1994; Harbord, 1992). Audio
lingualism and later the communicative approach, both descendants from the direct
method, did not advocate L1 (Modica, 1994), although some audio-lingual programs
utilized translation drills (Stern, 1992). Furthermore, with L1 use closely associated
with the grammar-translation method, the rejection of grammar-translation occasioned
the rejection of L1 use (Atkinson, 1987).
- Philipson (1992) describes the total avoidance of L1 as the "monolingual
tenet", tracing its historical roots to the situation in some countries where
"monolingualism in English teaching was the natural expression of power relations
in the colonial period" (p. 187). Within communicative approaches, though, advocacy
for L2 use is arguably less political than pedagogic. Littlewood (1981) argues persuasively
that uses of L1 by teachers for social interaction and classroom management would,
if replaced as far as possible by L2, provide well-motivated communicative opportunities
(pp. 44-45). Increased L2 exposure is undeniably beneficial. Hughs (1981), in A
Handbook of Classroom English, provides English phrases and routines for (primarily
non-native) teachers to add to their repertoires. While Hughs states that the purpose
of his book is to increase the use of L2, he stresses that it is not "a dogmatic
plea for a new monolingual teaching orthodoxy" (p. 8). Yet an orthodoxy does
seem firmly entrenched.
- 1.2 Teacher Guilt
- Auerbach tallied answers from an informal survey and found "that despite
the fact that 80% of the teachers allowed the use of the L1 at times, the English-only
axiom is so strong that they didn't trust their own practice: They assigned a negative
value to 'lapses' into the L1, seeing them as failures or aberrations, a cause for
guilt" (Auerbach, 1993, p. 14). Bowen and Marks (1994) also describe L1 use
as "another guilt area" for some teachers whose occasional L1 use transgresses
an "unwritten law [in the] subconscious folklore" (p. 93). Suggesting balance,
especially with vocabulary, they colorfully sum up, "Avoiding translation at
all costs is thus as absurd as telling teachers they have to wear green socks or
that they should never sit down" (ibid).
- This orthodoxy prevails despite arguments advocating thoughtful, selective use
...the use of translation as a teaching technique has long been viewed with suspicion
by language teachers and many, of course, proscribe it altogether as a matter of
principle. I want to argue that translation...can be a very useful pedagogic device
and indeed in some circumstances...translation of a kind may provide the most effective
means of learning.
(Widdowson, 1979, p. 101, cited in Stern, 1992, p. 281)
- Learners have to understand what they are supposed to be learning. Input, in
order for it to become intake, must be understood, yet L2-only can result in non-comprehension
or misunderstanding, which can be offset by selective use of L1 (Izumi, 1995; Modica,
1994; Stern, 1992; Weschler, 1997).
- Atkinson (1993), expanding on earlier arguments (Atkinson, 1987), provides an
accessible, introductory book for FL teachers which stresses the desirability of
more L2, supplemented by occasional L1. Harbord (1992) takes issue with Atkinson
(1987) especially on teachers' use of L1 as a time-saving strategy, but supports
L1 use in terms of crosslinguistic comparisons aimed at facilitating acquisition
(although he does not use those terms). In Prabhu's Bangalore project, while tasks
were presented and carried out in L2, L1 was "neither disallowed nor excluded"
(Prabhu, 1987, p. 60), and instructors occasionally used L1 to gloss words and for
complex procedural instructions.
- 1.3 Findings on Teacher L1 Use
- Polio and Duff (1994) investigated the proportional use of L1 and L2 in 6 American
university FL classrooms with native L2 instructors and found that while the quantity
of L1 varied from teacher to teacher, there were eight general categories of L1 use.
- Administrative vocabulary, typically isolated L1 words or phrase (e.g.
"review section") inserted into L2 utterances, was the most common.
- Grammar instruction, from single terms (e.g. "superlative")
to full explanations.
- Class management, for which two instructors used L1 exclusively.
- To "index a stance of empathy/solidarity" (p. 317) to either
show concern for learners or to joke with them.
- L1 practice (for the instructor) during which students (in 3 out
of 6 classrooms) helped modify instructors' L1 output.
- To translate or avoid difficult vocabulary or expressions, while some
used simpler L2, others either used or provided L1 after repeated L2 exposure.
- Compensating for a lack of comprehension by resorting to L1 after L2 fails
was not common, "but this may be because those concepts anticipated by the teacher
to be most difficult are originally introduced in English [L1]" (p. 319).
- An interactive effect, where student L1 use perhaps influenced teacher
- Polio and Duff strongly criticize all of these uses of L1 as shortsighted strategies
which rob students of exposure to L2 and circumvent opportunities for negotiating
- However, they do allow that some applications of providing L1 is in fact useful:
- Limited, but timely, exposure to an [L1] item with appropriate TL support is
in fact warranted by recent research on fostering language awareness (or consciousness)
and selective attention to grammatical form(s) among instructed learners. A number
of applied linguists now claim that helping students to notice specific gaps in their
L2 knowledge and then proving them with the needed structures are fundamental aspects
of L2 learning and teaching.
(Polio & Duff, 1994 p. 325, n. 11)
- This "limited but timely" L1 use is in fact a counter-argument to two
pedagogical techniques they had recommended earlier (Polio & Duff, 1990). One
was to "establish an L2-only ('no English [L1]') policy for the teacher from
the start" (p. 163), on the grounds that departments which proscribed L1 tended
to contain teachers who were "generally more effective in using a higher quantity
of the L2" (ibid). The other technique, offered as an alternative, was to "establish
a brief period [of time at the end of class] when teacher and students can use English
[L1] to clarify material from a lesson" (ibid). Clearly, both of these are incompatible
with "timely" L1 use.
- What emerges, though, from Polio and Duff (1990, 1994) are two important observations:
(1) teachers are generally unaware of the extent of L1 they use; (2) quite a lot
of L1 used by teachers could, if encoded in L2, provide learners with additional,
useful input. Policies which restrict L1 use by teachers may serve to limit unnecessary
L1, but such policies would have to recognize that they sacrifice useful, even necessary,
uses of L1 by teacher and learners.
- 1.4 Scope Of The Present Study
- In the following chapters, I hope to provide firm theoretical justification for
the inclusion of minimal L1 in the EFL context. Chapter 2
examines problems and potential solutions for negotiation for meaning in EFL classrooms.
Chapter 3 examines learners' use of L2 code-switching in
learner/learner interaction. Chapter 4 complements Chapter
3 by providing further insights on learner code-switching and lack thereof within
written texts. Chapter 5 provides principled, crosslingual
teaching approaches created in response to learner need. Throughout, a critical analysis
is based within current language acquisition theory and research findings as well
as my own practical experiences and research. While much may appear specific to Japan,
this reflects the venue and not the general applicability elsewhere of the theory
and practice described herein.
NEGOTIATION, GUIDED NEGOTIATION
- It has been noted that L1 use circumvents the necessity for negotiation of meaning,
thus the role of L1 in language classrooms is extremely limited, if not nonexistent.
This argument requires closer examination. In this chapter, I first outline what
negotiation is, and then examine transcripts from EFL and ESL contexts to determine
the extent to which this argument is applicable to EFL classrooms.
- 2.1 Negotiation of Meaning
- When learners use L2, they become accustomed to expressing themselves using their
available resources. When difficulties arise, learners are prompted to "push
to the limit their emerging competence" (Nunan, 1991, p. 50). By doing so, they
are able to test hypotheses regarding language form (eg. Skehan, 1994, p. 177) by
creatively constructing novel utterances, and subsequently receiving feedback on
the comprehensibility and accuracy of their messages. This feedback is best provided
through the process of negotiation (Pica, 1996), defined as "the modification
and restructuring of interaction that occurs when learners and their interlocutors
anticipate, perceive, or experience difficulties in message comprehensibility"
(Pica, 1994, p. 494).
- It is important to distinguish between acquisitional strategies and communication
strategies. Feedback focusing merely on comprehensibility is insufficient in acquisitional
terms in that learners' interlanguage systems are said to improve through noticing
differences between their hypotheses of language and the L2 system, allowing learners
to re-evaluate their beliefs in light of new evidence (see, e.g., Sharwood Smith,
- There are limits on negotiation, however. Student-initiated negotiations of meaning
are not always forthcoming due to an "intimacy factor": Students more often
initiate communication with teachers either one on one or within small groups, and
not in front of the whole class (Musumeci, 1996, p. 318). The reluctance of students
to announce when they do not understand can cause them to feign understanding, rather
than initiate negotiation (Doughty & Pica, 1986, p. 319). Even if learners request
clarifications, they may feign comprehension rather than persist in negotiation after
initial attempts fail (Ellis et al, 1994).
- Furthermore, negotiation "doesn't occur when topics and referents
are so mutually familiar that learners and interlocutors are confronted with few
impasses in their communication over which they can negotiate" (Pica, 1996,
p. 258, italics in original). Negotiations of meaning are most frequent when both
partners are language learners (Varonis & Gass, 1985). However, there is an inverse
relationship between similarities between learners and the need for negotiation of
meaning: The greater the similarity between learners, the less the need for negotiation
(in Lynch, 1996, p. 10). Negotiation and modified input is highest when all participants
are non-native speakers of varying proficiency levels and different L1s (Doughty
& Pica, 1986). Doughty and Pica point out that "these results are encouraging
to teachers, as they reflect the makeup of small groups in most second language
classrooms" (p. 321, italics mine).
- So where does this leave foreign language classrooms, where learners share
very similar backgrounds and identical L1s? Below, I examine teacher/class and learner/learner
negotiations and the comprehensibility of learners' messages with an eye on the suitability
of negotiation-driven proscriptions of L1 in EFL classrooms.
- 2.2 "Barranquismo"
- The following transcript appeared in an account of "an in-service training
project designed to raise [teacher] trainees' awareness...of the degree of communicativeness
in their classroom interactions" (Thornbury, 1996, p. 279). An elementary EFL
class in Spain arrives at "a breakthrough point" (in the teacher's words,
p. 286) which, for the first time ever, initiates extended negotiation to bridge
an information gap.
[An elementary class has been working on the language of making suggestions]
- S1:What about go to mountains?
- T: What about...?
- S1: What about going to mountains, we can do 'barranking'. [Ss. laugh]
- T: What is 'barranking'?
- S2: Is a sport.
- T: Yes, but what do you do exactly?
- S3: You have a river, a small river and ... [gestures]
- T: Goes down?
- S3: Yes, as a cataract.
- T: OK, a waterfall [writes it on board]. What's a waterfall, Manual? Can you
give me an example? A famous waterfall. [draws]
- S1: Like Niagara?
- T: OK. So what do you do with the waterfall?
- S4: You go down.
- T: What? In a boat?
- S4: No, no, with a ...¿Como se dice cuerda?
- S3: Cord.
T: No, rope, a cord is smaller, like at the window, look. [points].
S2:You wear? Black clothes...
T: Repeat [student repeats]...[...] This sounds dangerous, is it dangerous?
Ss: No, no.
- S3: In summer, no much water.
- T: Sorry?
- S3: Poco...poco...little water, river is not strong.
- T: OK...and you have done this? What's it called in Spanish?
- S4: Barranquismo. In English?
- T: I don't know. I'll have to ask somebody.
- S2: It is good, you come? ¿Como es dìu? Let's go together.
- T: I don't think so. [laughs]
- S4: Yes, yes, you come, we can go in summer.
- T: Well, in the summer, not now, it's too cold.
- Ss: No, no.
(Thornbury, 1997, pp. 285-286)
- This teacher comments that prior to this lesson, the students "had displayed
reluctance in initiating discussions" and asking questions, but later, while
listening to the taped extract, "they surprised themselves...with the volume
of language produced" (ibid, p. 286). In the following sections, I analyze this
extract in detail.
- 2.2.1 Discourse Shift
- This extract starts with what is apparently an exchange in which the focus is
clearly on the form of the utterance as language samples. S1 produces, "What
about go to mountains", and the teacher's feedback points out the error. The
student complies with the correction, yet a shift occurs: this time, with the addition
of "we can do barranking", the utterance is ambiguous insofar as it could
be interpreted as having genuine propositional value. Willis (1992) describes how
this type of shift can be initiated by students "deliberately escaping from
(the) formal constraints imposed by (the) teacher" (p. 176), and indeed, "humor
can be generated" (ibid) by these shifts, although it is unclear if the ensuing
laugher was caused by this shift or by the creation of an "English" gerund
from barranco [ravine, gorge]. The teacher, by following up with a genuine
question ("What is barranking?"), accomplishes two things at once:
- His response is to the content, not the form -- note that he did not provide
feedback (e.g. "Good" or "Right") on S1's corrected utterance.
This upgrades the status of S1's utterance from a possible Response (to the initial
correction) to an Initiation (and thus the teacher's own utterance becomes a Response/Initiation,
see Francis & Hunston, 1992). In short, this becomes quite similar to a real
- Sanctioning S1's "escape" from rote practice of forms, without censure,
indeed by using the term "barranking" himself, may have provided the right
trigger to encourage the rest of the students in this hitherto quiet class to participate.
- 2.2.2 L1
- S3 produces what appears to be two false cognates (cf. Carter & McCarthy,
1988, p. 14) which the teacher recognizes and subsequently corrects. The first, "cataract",
is quite similar to catarata [waterfall]. While true that one English meaning
of "cataract" is indeed "waterfall", it is a literary word for
large waterfalls, and not very common (Collins COBUILD Dictionary, Sinclair, 1995).
The second, "cord" for cuerda [thin rope] follows S4's L1-encoded
translation request (¿Como se dice cuerda? [How do you say "thin
rope"?]). The teacher does not, however, know barranquismo. Some Spanish
Internet sites on barranquismo provide ideas of what this sport entails. Apparently
one descends into ravines or gorges containing rapidly flowing water, using climbing
ropes to brace against the current. From a photo, it appears that S2's "black
clothes" means "wetsuit".
- 2.2.3 Negotiation of Form During Negotiation of Meaning
- It is interesting that the teacher and students pursued this with a very real
focus on negotiation of meaning. Not only the students, but also the teacher no longer
focused on the "language of making suggestions" which was initially being
highlighted; when S2 and S4 say "you come?", the teacher reacts not to
the form but to the propositional content.
- However, during the negotiation, S2 mispronounces "special clothes",
which is corrected, with S2 repeating the correction. This plus the corrections of
false cognates (2.2.2) indicate a dual focus: the primary focus is on meaning, with
an incidental focus on forms which occur during the negotiation.
- This dual focus is desirable; Seedhouse (1997) argues in favor of correction
which helps maintain a dual meaning/form focus, without correction itself achieving
"interactional prominence" (p. 341). We must ask why the teacher's incidental
focus on form did not extend itself to addressing "You come?".
- An explanation is suggested when we note that the incidental focus on form is
systematically selective, focusing only on those utterances which would potentially
interfere with communication between the students and an outsider with no Spanish
knowledge. "You come?" is understandable in context, despite lacking the
semi redundant attachments of native-like forms. That these forms were what the students
were ostensibly studying must have seemed irrelevant to the teacher at the time,
given the general excitement generated by the novelty (for this class) of the communicative
process. Given the circumstances, I cannot easily fault his decision to (momentarily?)
let them pass. In fact, if the "understandability" criterion were consciously
present, I commend his decision.
- 2.2.4 Participants
- If we view the extract as a dialog between two participants, it resembles the
negotiation found in the literature of NS/NNS negotiation interactions. The crucial
difference, though, is that this negotiation is between a teacher and a classroom
- S1, whose invitation initiated this negotiation, did not participate in it. S1's
only further contribution was solicited ("What's a waterfall, Manual?...."),
perhaps simply to keep him involved. Other students self-nominated themselves to
pick up the negotiation, a situation undoubtedly familiar to both EFL and ESL teachers.
Even more familiar (to EFL teachers, at least) is one student asking another in L1
for an L2 word or phrase to further the negotiation process.
- 2.2.5 Discussion: Barranquismo, Guided Negotiation
- I found it interesting that attempts to bridge the information gap (which did
exist) did not result in the teacher fully understanding what the students were inviting
him to do, as no clear picture of barranquismo emerges. It can be argued that
this point is product-based, not process-based, but surely if the end result is satisfying,
the process is enhanced as worthwhile in the minds of the learners. I hope that the
teacher did later find out what barranquismo was to report back later as promised.
- However, the enthusiasm evident in this extract shows that it is satisfying.
Furthermore, much has been accomplished in that two false cognates and a pronunciation
fault were uncovered, two (apparently new) words were provided (but see 188.8.131.52),
and S3's "no much water" was pushed towards the more accurate and meaningful
"river is not strong". And importantly, as the conversation unfolded, students
received linguistically rich input (e.g. "What do you do with the waterfall?",
"I'll have to ask somebody", and so on) which was evidently understood.
Most likely, these features would not have found their way into the pedagogical corpus
if the class had remained focused on meaning-impoverished samples of language.
- The use of L1 as a strategy was interesting, with students using both L2 and
some L1, and the teacher soliciting L1 to aid the negotiation. Arguably, if S1 had
not used L1 to make his meaning known to the others, they would not have been able
to help in this negotiation. Furthermore, if this were a classroom in which L1 were
proscribed, this "breakthrough point" for the class might not have happened.
Last, the teacher's L1 knowledge helped move the negotiation forward.
- Thus, this extract illustrates guided negotiation, a process usefully
enhanced by an allowance of limited L1. Guided negotiation coupled with L1 finds
precedent in Atkinson (1987), who notes, "clearly once it is established (through
L1) what the learners want to say, the teacher can then encourage them to find a
way of expressing their meaning in English or, if necessary, help out" (p. 342).
When teachers know the meaning, yet guides the expression, it is a guided negotiation
of (meaningful) forms, not unlike when one "abandons the role of 'knower'"
(Ellis, 1988, p. 116) in order to participate in information gap activities despite
already knowing the answers. A dual focus (negotiation of both meaning and
form) is only present when teachers do not fully understand what the students are
attempting to express. Full prior understanding is not necessary; the supportive
encouragement is the main factor, as illustrated by Lynch (1997) in the next section
- Before moving on, though, I must voice one reservation. The teacher in "barranquismo"
was perhaps too quick to supply the correct items for the false cognates. The guided
negotiation would have been enhanced if he had first tried soliciting L2 words from
others in the class, thus making the process more salient. S3 may not have even noticed
that "waterfall" was a correction of "cataract", which could
potentially result in an addition ó as opposed to a replacement ó to the learners'
language systems. This criticism is made, however, knowing only too well that such
"real time" decisions are affected by many factors, including the surprise
of lessons taking unexpected turns.
- 2.3 Hotchkiss
- The next extract (2.3.1) features an extended negotiation of meaning prompted
by a Japanese learner's use of the word hotchkiss. In Japanese, this word is
[hotchkisu, stapler], a loanword oft-cited as "Japanese English"
as its use as English is firmly entrenched. The origin of the word is obscure, but apparently it is from an early producer of staplers (see
Fig. 1: Hotchkiss Stapler No. 2 (circa 1886). Note the
engraved name HOTCHKISS.
- In the following extract from Lynch (1996, 1997), the learners are engaged in
a pre writing task to create explanations of technical terms from their professional
fields. There are four people present, although only three take part. T is the teacher,
P is a Japanese doctor, Q is a microbiologist from Thailand, and R, silent throughout
the exchange, is a Japanese veterinarian .
- P: yeah so we we can + cut gall bladder and sew this injury with some kind of
scissor and hotchkiss
- Q: hm?
- P: + + you know hotchkiss? + hotchkiss?
- T: no we don't know hotchkiss
- P: hotchkiss means + + we can use paper
- T: scissors?
- P: no + clip + uh clip?
- T: ah
- P: do you know maybe + + many people use like clip with paper
- Q: paper clip?
- P: yeah paper clip + + or paper hotchkiss + + um hotchkiss + + (takes two
sheets of paper and pinches them together with her fingers) hotchkiss
- T: hotchkiss?
- P: hotchkiss
- T: hotchkiss + + I recognize it as a name but I didn't know it was a clip
- Q: I know clip
- P: so maybe most people have ever used + + (finds a stapled set of papers)
ah ah this is hotchkiss
- Q: ah st- + um staple
- T: staple
P: staple yes + I'm sorry + in Japan hotchkiss (laughs) so with scissors and
with staple through the other two holes + + so patients can discharge within one
week because we only open three holes.
(Lynch, 1996, pp. 74-75; Lynch, 1997, pp. 320-321)
- This extended exchange is initiated when Q indicates that "hotchkiss"
is an unfamiliar term. P, obviously believing it is English, then repeats it twice.
However, the teacher confirms Q's query ("No, we don't know 'hotchkiss'"),
so P tries a number of different ways of getting her meaning across; despite gestures
and circumlocution, the meaning is conveyed only when she finds an actual staple
to show the others.
- 2.3.2 Nudging
- Lynch (1997) used this extract to illustrate "teachers contributing by nudging
the learners towards a solution, rather than providing one themselves" (p. 324).
Thus "nudging" does not imply any false pretence regarding the true extent
of the teacher's knowledge -- the teacher can legitimately not know the answer, or
the teacher can allow other learners a chance to jump in first with the solutions.
- 2.3.3 Shared L1
- Of particular interest to me is the fact that R, who is also Japanese, does not
utter a word during the exchange, despite undoubtedly knowing the word "hotchkiss".
Lynch's explanation (1996) of R's silence does not refer to the L1 which he and P
share, but to the similarities of their professions: "I believe the reason why
R did not contribute more to the negotiation is that he did not need to; his own
professional field ...was close to P's, so he was probably familiar with the technique
she was explaining" (p. 146). Thus when Lynch notes that "separating students
from same or similar backgrounds...would have widened the information gap...and would
have encouraged more active negotiation" (ibid.), he means professional backgrounds,
although he agrees that "learners' need to negotiate meaning varies from group
to group (even using the same text/task), primarily according to whether the learners
share an L1 or a common L2, apart from English" (Lynch, personal communication,
e-mail, 3 January 1998).
- The most credible explanation for why R did not aid P is that he too did not
know the English word for "hotchkiss" (or thought "hotchkiss"
was English). Because this extract is from an ESL context, negotiation among
learners occurs, yet if R and P were performing the same task in an EFL classroom
in Japan, with other Japanese learners, it is fair to assume that negotiation would
not have occurred.
- 2.4 "Ong ha"
- This short section complements 2.3 in that we once again see that members of
a linguistically heterogeneous group receive L1-influenced slips in different ways,
depending on each member's own L1. "Hotchkiss" in 2.3 was a lexical slip;
in this extract, again from Lynch, the slip is phonological.
- Lynch (1996) illustrates how negotiation of meaning among students can result
in negotiation which makes speech more comprehensible, yet not more accurate, with
the following conversational except. The learners are discussing the QE2 cruise ship:
- E: it must be very nice to travel on her. (sounds like "ong ha")
- A: yes.
- E: it must be very nice
- H: to travel
- E: to travel ong ha
- H: ong?
- E: ong ha
- H: ong ha?
- E: ong ha + and next?
- H: what's + what's mean 'ong ha'?
- A: a ship + on a ship
- H: a ship?
- J: that's the ship + the boat + you know? + the Queen
- A: okay
- J: she is mentioned the Queen + the vessels or ship they are + they always
- H: okay okay
J: always she
(Lynch, 1996, pp. 118-9)
- Lynch comments that
- E's faulty pronunciation of 'on her' is not explicitly corrected. Student H asks
for clarification but gets only repetition from E. Finally student J explains that
the word her/she refers to ships, but he assumes that H has recognized 'ong ha' as
'on her'. (ibid)
- In other words, J misdiagnoses the source of H's problem. Unexamined, but more
relevant for my purposes, are A's contributions. Earlier in Lynch, we learn that
E and A are both Japanese, while H is from Spain and J is from the Faroe Islands.
Reexamining the excerpt with this in mind, we see that when E says "It must
be nice to travel ong ha", A, also Japanese, immediately agrees ("yes"),
indicating that she understood what E was saying. Negotiation only starts when H,
with a different L1 background, asks what "ong ha" means. Perhaps A did
not even notice that E's pronunciation was faulty, a supposition supported by A's
later attempts to move the negotiation forward by responding to H's "what's
mean 'ong ha'?" with "a ship + on a ship" instead of clarifying the
pronunciation. If this group were comprised of only E and A, this negotiation, like
"hotchkiss", would not have been forthcoming.
- 2.5 Conclusion
- What emerges from "ong ha" and "hotchkiss" is a realization
that what works in ESL settings is unlikely to achieve similar results in EFL settings,
as ELF homogeneous-L1 classes operate under different constraints. The primacy of
negotiation of meaning, with its attendant purpose of providing opportunities for
learners to notice gaps in their current interlanguage systems, runs aground when
learners share the same L1 and their shared errors or common slips are simply not
recognized as such. When these shared problems do not cause communication breakdowns,
negotiation for meaning is not forthcoming.
- This is not a claim against the value of negotiation itself in EFL settings,
nor a recommendation that it be eschewed. This is simply to make the point that negotiation
cannot be considered sufficient or central in addressing the systematic problems
typical of EFL learners. As such, negotiation-driven teaching strategies should be
approached with caution, applied with caveats, and monitored.
- This is, however, a claim against banishing L1 from the EFL classroom on the
grounds that recourse to L1 circumvents negotiation. As we saw in "barranquismo",
a leniency towards limited L1 is as effective in EFL settings in promoting "noticing"
if the guided negotiation, with incidental focus on form, is profitably applied.
L1 proscriptions would circumvent the utility of guided negotiations, which are enhanced
by limited but timely L1. The "trigger" for guided negotiation is not always
a breakdown of meaning, as often the meaning can be
- supplied through L1 (whether produced intentionally or unintentionally)
- provided through the teacher's familiarity with the individual learner's interlanguage
system (cf. Pica, 1996)
- provided through the teacher's knowledge of errors typical to that L1 group
- With the interpretation intact, the negotiation would be in terms of encoding
(i.e., a negotiation of form) with selective focus on what would be misunderstood
by non-L1 speakers.
- Furthermore, in 2.1.2, it was noted that for various reasons, student-initiated
negotiations are not always forthcoming. However, teacher-initiated negotiations
prompted by L1 use appear to provide both motivation and opportunity for student
output. Both "hotchkiss" and "barranquismo" were supported
by teachers who admitted not understanding. Perhaps more often in EFL contexts than
ESL, this triggers a role reversal situation in which the instructor, despite expert
knowledge of the code, willingly admits to lacking the knowledge which the rest of
the participants possess. The co-construction of the exchange, with learners conveying
the information and the instructors guiding/nudging the encoding, differs significantly
from situations in which the onus of initiating negotiation rests with the learners.
CODE-SWITCHING: STUDENTS' L1 USE IN THE CLASSROOM
- We saw in chapter 2 that EFL classrooms such as we find in Japan are often characterized
by the conditions said to be least conducive to maintaining L2 interactions:
learners with identical L1s, approximately similar proficiency levels and very similar
sociocultural backgrounds. What, then, actually occurs in these classrooms? When
do learners use L1, and, more importantly, when they use L2, why do they do so? In
this chapter, I focus on code switches in learner/learner interactions.
- 3.1 Factors Governing Language Choice
- Kramsch (1993) notes that in monolingual classes, learners' L1 use varies with
the parameters of the context, including:
- time constraints
- perceived purpose of the activity
- the "interactional pull"
- group size.
- She suggests that students will find it easier to "emerse" themselves
in L2 in proportion to how strict time limits are and how negotiative the nature
of the task is (Kramsch, 1993, p. 75).
- Hancock found that his Spanish EFL learners use both L1 and L2 in the classroom
when performing role plays using cue cards (Hancock, 1997). Learners used L1 for
organizational features (e.g., prompting partners to speak, appealing for help with
meaning or procedure, and so on) and to mark the boundaries of the task (e.g., final
L2 contributions followed by "si pues ya esta [yes, well that's it]",
p. 227), while reserving L2 for the role play itself. Hancock explains this division
by suggesting that learners' classroom interaction consists of two discourse frames,
the literal frame and the non literal frame (acknowledged as outlined in Goffman,
1974). Learners in role play situations collaborate to perform; Hancock posits that
the collaboration itself is the literal frame, and the performance is the non-literal
frame. In the literal frame, learners are themselves, and the language produced is
"off-record", not considered part of the performance. In the non-literal
frame, learners operate within a kind of L2 performance, and the language produced
is "on-record". Thus, in the literal frame, L1 is the unmarked option,
but in the non-literal frame, L2 is the unmarked option.
- Every performance implies an audience, which can be a teacher who is listening
in, or even a researcher's microphone. The audience does not have to be physically
present; Hancock suggests that
- even when two learners are speaking to one another in private, a third participant
is implied when the two select the L2 -- an idealized native speaker of the L2 or
the teacher perhaps. Following Bell (1990), I call this absent but salient audience
a referee, and I call those aspects of a performance targeted at the referee
referee design. One could say that referee design makes group work viable
in the monolingual language class because the teacher cannot monitor everyone all
(Hancock, 1997, p. 220).
- Thus, Hancock argues, in monolingual classrooms in which a common L1 is always
available should the need for negotiation arise (and given that learners could complete
the tasks entirely in L1), this "referee design" (of the implied third
listener) is what enables pairwork to be a sound pedagogical procedure when the teacher
is not present to police language use.
- One rightly questions, though, whether the nature of the role plays (e.g., a
waiter/customer interaction) exaggerated the performance aspects of the interactions
while emphasizing distinctions between the on-record, non-literal frame and the off
record, literal frame. Using L1 for managing role plays may be a product of the tasks
themselves (to produce a coherent role play in L2). When a learner is expected to
be a waiter in English, any L2 used for task management is subject to misinterpretation
by the partner as a "waiter" contribution. So, from learners' perspectives,
L1 is dually economical; not only is it faster, it also preempts possible confusion
as to "who" is speaking, thus the division between the role and the self
is economically compatible with the division between L2 and L1. In other types of
learner interaction, however, where learners engage in tasks requiring personal opinions
on topics, the interaction is not so apparently prone to separation between the learner's
own self and a fictitious, imposed role (e.g., a waiter). Does the argument that
they are performers playing a role then lose some of its currency?
- Apparently not. Eldridge (1996) describes the learners' roles as inherent to
their being in a language class; learners with a common L1 who are speaking L2 together
are playing the role of "language learners practicing English in the language
classroom" (p. 308) regardless of topic or type of interaction. Eldridge analyzed
code-switching by Turkish EFL learners in a wide variety of classroom activities
and, like Hancock, found L1 to be the unmarked option for organizational features
of classroom task talk, noting that "there seems to be a natural perception
amongst learners that while tasks themselves should be performed in the target code,
comment, evaluation, and talk about the task may legitimately take place in the mother
tongue" (p. 306), as in:
- S1:Where did Gary go?
- S2:Ben sorucagáim [I will ask]. Where did Gary go?
- (Eldridge, 1996, p. 306)
- Eldridge found no relationship between elementary and lower intermediate learners'
frequency of code switching during normal classroom interaction, but noted that during
oral exams, the weaker learners floundered. In addition, he found no L1 used off-task
about other subjects entirely. From the total number of switches, 77% were between
students, and were oriented to classroom tasks, while 16% were directed at the teacher,
concerning procedural matters or questions about English.
- Eldridge summarizes these findings by noting that "this is not to say that
the switches constituted in all cases the most desirable way of attaining those (learning)
objectives, but it does show that the presence of code-switching in the language
classroom does not in itself indicate any kind of breakdown in pedagogical purpose"
(p. 305). He also cautions that developmental code-switching may become an avoidance
strategy if not attended to.
- 3.2 Promoting L2 Use
- Can we persuade learners to use L2 more for all aspects of classroom interaction?
In Pellowe (1996), I found that the amount of learner L2 in use was discouragingly
small. For instance, teacher proximity affected the code choice of all aspects of
tasks for some learners, who "lapsed" into English as I walked near, yet
returned to Japanese as I walked further away. In response, I initiated "assessed
tasks" in which learners were graded high for using English to expand beyond
the questions provided, mid-range for simply asking and answering in English without
expansion, and low for using Japanese. The learners spoke to each other over language
lab headphones, allowing me to eavesdrop. I found that providing positive portrayals
of communication strategies in action, coupled with the extrinsic motivation of good
grades, strongly encouraged students to use L2 for both task and meta-task talk.
The rest of this chapter reexamines data from those tasks as well as others within
the framework outlined so far.
- 3.3 Cited/Recited Language: Negotiation of Form?
- Two categories of Hancock (1997; see 3.1.1) which are complimentary are Cited
and Recited language. Cited language is marked in that it is off-record L2. When
learners produce cited language, they are focused on the wording, not the message,
as when one supplies language for the other to use. Recited language is on-record
L2. In recited language, the speaker is not the "author" of the utterance.
These categories are complimentary in that recited language will often follow cited
language, as the following extract from my own data illustrates.
|Do you think you'll like the same kind of music when you're older?
||(cue question read from paper)
|Soo omoiwanai'tte do iu? [How do you say "I don't think so"?]
||translation appeal (off record)
|"I don't think so."
||cited (off record)
|I don't think so.
||recited (on record)
B initiates the side sequence with an appeal for translation. A's suppliance of the
requested phase is cited language; A is the author, but there is no communicative
intent. When B then uses that modeled language, her utterance is recited language.
As an on record utterance, it shifts the discourse back into Hancock's "performance
frame" in which the learners are performing Eldridge's role of "language
learner practicing English".
- However, as one distinguishing factor between cited and recited language is communicative
intent, it becomes a bit murky when looked at in terms of acquisitional strategies.
While true that A's cited language has no propositional value in terms of meaning,
we cannot deny that she has communicated some (perhaps vital) information regarding
form. If learners are indeed playing a "practicing English" role, then
this can be seen as a negotiation of form.
- In the following extract, we see what happens when a negotiation of form (eg,
an unrequested instance of cited language) is not marked as such by L1 or rising
|What kind of music do you like?
|I like classical music.
|Who's your favorite...[trails off]
|I never heard composer.
|No, you asked me, "composer".
|You said, "Who's your favorite...." I said, "composer". Composer
means [Japanese word] in Japanese. So your question in Japanese is [Japanese
|So that question in English is, "Who's your favorite composer?"
|Who's your favorite composer?
- D's first suppliance of the word "composer" can only be seen as off-record
in light of C's subsequent misinterpretation. When C in the final line moves the
dialog back "on record", her repetition of the initial question highlights
her "speaker as language learner" role.
- Also note that when C's question trailed off, D provided the missing item rather
than answering the question. This perhaps illustrates that her task orientation is
on form (or more accurately, meaningful form). When C misunderstands, D becomes a
- Of interest is that referee design prompts D to mark L1 by explicitly labeling
it as such. When a longer sentence was coming, she gave advance "warning"
that an unavoidable use of Japanese would be forthcoming.
- 3.4 Negotiation of Meaning, Disregarding Form
- It was interesting to see the higher proficiency student above (D, in "composer")
helping a lower proficiency one. The "English only" encouragement, though,
does not always promote such model extracts. In a later activity, when D was paired
with a different learner, the twenty minute task was virtually a monologue punctuated
by "uh-huh"-type feedback from the other learner. 3.4.1 Also, "composer"
was not the norm; learners did not always help their partners towards higher levels
- E: Do you used to...I don't know grammar.
- F: That's OK.
- E: Did you like Pink Ladies [a Japanese pop duet, 1976-1981]?
- F: Yes.
- E: I don't have that memory. [laughs]
- F: [laughs] I liked them very much. Maybe I was three or four.
- E admits to a gap, and F, rather than helping bridge it, lets it pass.
- 3.5 Unintentional Switches
- Poulisse and Bongaerts (1994), in their examination of language switches produced
by Dutch learners performing a number of experimental tasks, found that unintended
language switches decreased with proficiency. They suggest that unintentional switches
occur so frequently with lower level students because "L1 lexical items will
often reach the level of activation required for lexical selection before the corresponding
L2 lexical items do" (p. 46). The chances of this happening decrease as learners
become more proficient and L2 items become more easily retrieved, a process they
call "spreading activation". Eldridge (1996) labels this unintentional
switching "Equivalence"; as most instances of Equivalence performed a floor-holding
function, he suggests that the "speed of retrieval" (p. 306) is slower
for floor-holding phrases in L2, hence the "interlingual repetition" (ibid)
- T: Was this done on your own?
L: Tek basinda (on my own)...on my own.
(Eldridge, 1996, p. 306)
- This interlingual repetition is quite common in my own classes:
G: I can't hear, I can't understand vocals's voice.
H: Do you dislike, uh, tatoiba [for example] for example, do you dislike
G: I've never heard their music.
- In chapter 2, we considered examples of unintentional language switches which
would not prompt negotiation for meaning among other speakers of the same L1. Below,
I examine possible literal translations (3.5.2); L1 used as L2, as with "hotchkiss"
(3.5.3); and culturally-influenced language errors (3.5.4).
- 3.5.2 Examples Of Unnegotiated Errors Perhaps Influenced
- This extract is from the interlingual repetition example above.
- G: Do you dislike, uh, tatoiba [for example] for example, do you dislike
H: I've never heard their music.
G: Oh, that's good! Good! Really!
- H: Really?
- G: Heavy metal, a little pop, quiet...good!
- G's "Oh, that's good!" might be a literal translation of the Japanese
phrase [are wa ii yo], which in this context would mean, "Their
music is very good". Judging from H's response and the ensuing discussion, we
can assume that this was the intended meaning, and that it was understood as such.
This utterance, though, would arguably be misunderstood by a native speaker to mean
"It's a good thing you've never heard it", a strange sentiment which would
surely prompt negotiation to clarify what was meant.
- 3.5.3 Unintended Loanword Misuse
- Below, J is asking for more information about a Japanese band. K has heard something
about one band member named Sawaka.
||Could you tell me about them? I don't know about them very much. I heard Sawaka is
very nice, but I don't know who is Sawaka.
||Sawaka is vocalist.
How many people are
- When J says "nice", she most likely means [naisu gai, or "nice
guy"], meaning an attractive or sexy man. Negotiation from a native English
speaker may not be forthcoming as the use could easily be misunderstood to mean "nice"
in the sense of "good, pleasant", as seen in the following extract.
- (The students are speculating about people shown in photographs.)
L: He's been...swimmer, swimming.
M: Swimming. He looks...nice guy.
Afterwards, these students confirmed that "nice guy" was intended to mean
its Japanese counterpart, naisu gai.
- 3.5.4 L1 Cultural Aspects
- As noted, learners who share similar cultural backgrounds may inadvertently circumvent
the need for negotiation by drawing on a common cultural norm which is not shared
by the L2 culture. The following example shows an influence on lexical choice.
- N: I haven't listened to [unintelligible, music band name] for five years.
O: Five years!
- N: My...not high school, not elementary school...
- O: Junior high school?
- N: Yes, junior high school second.
- O: Second grade?
- N: Yes, one, two, three, four, five, six, oh! six years!
- Second grade, in U.S. English, only refers to the second year of elementary school,
yet in Japan it can refer to the second year of any educational stage. This item
in particular is very widely misused, as even learners' dictionaries provide little
- 3.6 Conclusion
- Providing some activities with restricted access to L1, then, can promote learners
to use L2 for all aspects of the interaction most of the time. There are intrinsic
downsides, such as learners who dominate in order to meet the L2-only requirements,
and shared errors which go unnegotiated, but there are obvious benefits as well.
Furthermore, slips or errors causing unintentional switches are obviously immune
to this task design, and should receive explicit attention, which in my experience
is most effectively done with limited use of L1 techniques as outlined in Chapter
- These "restricted L1" tasks accomplished much more in the long term
in that they prompted the learners to later request more relaxed, open discussion
periods once a week. The learners created their own set of guidelines, which included
being able resort to Japanese only after using English as far as possible. I feel
that the students were encouraged to make these suggestions after gaining confidence
in their ability to sustain communication in L2 through the assessment tasks, yet
finding the stringent nature the tasks too taxing. The open discussion periods were
characterized by quite a lot of animated, sustained L2 interspersed with some L1.
Furthermore, L2 use overall later appeared to be higher in all types of class activities.
In short, providing some task opportunities in which L1 is heavily discouraged
appears to have a positive effect on L2 overall while decreasing the amount of "escape
CODE-SWITCHING IN TEXTS:
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN STUDENTS HAVE THE
CHOICE TO USE L1?
- In chapter 3, we saw that restricting L1 in certain types of tasks may provide
learners with the confidence to employ L2 to a greater extent in other types of classroom
discourse. One is prone to assume that students would be less inclined to use L1
with non-native L1 teachers; however, if students know that recourse to L1 is available,
even "sanctioned", will they opt out of using L2? In this chapter, I examine
written test texts produced during an extensive reading program; on these tests,
learners were allowed to use written Japanese freely. In this chapter, the amounts
and functional distribution of L1 use, as well as the proportion of L1 to L2, are
described, and possible motivations for language choice are discussed.
- 4.1 The extensive reading program tests
- Given the benefits of extensive reading (for overviews, see Kim & Krashen,
1997; Nation, 1997; Bamford & Day, 1997), even within the constraints of graded,
simplified texts (cf. Hill, 1997), I implemented an extensive reading program. The
students (n=11) were required to read four self-selected titles from our graded reader
library during the second half of the academic year (September 1997 - January 1998).
The graded readers are basic level, with headword counts of 400 to 700 words. One
half of each Friday lesson was devoted to the program. On these days, students who
had finished books handed them in, and were given tests to complete, while others
used this time to read. Most reading, though, was to be done outside of class; furthermore,
students could take tests during their free time whenever they so chose. Students
who read more than the required 4 would receive extra points on their final term
grades, while those who read fewer would have points deducted.
- The single, simple object of the tests was to determine whether or not the student
had read the book. The test consisted of a photocopy of two consecutive pages from
a random section of the book, and a response paper with two questions:
- Tell me something about what happened before this scene.
- Tell me something about what happened after this scene.
- The written instructions clearly stated that students were allowed to write in
Japanese if they so chose, but that English was encouraged: "Please try to write
in English. If you have to write in Japanese, that's OK!" This decision to allow
Japanese was motivated by research from immediate recall tasks (both reading and
listening) indicating that allowing L1 more accurately taps true comprehension, as
responses are not limited by L2 productive ability (Schmit-Rinehart, 1994), while
disallowing L1 in student responses can have the adverse effect of "trivializing"
the students' commentary (Modica, 1994, p. 303). There was no specification as to
how long the answers had to be; in fact, students were encouraged to be brief.
- 4.1.2 How far did the teacher influence language choice?
- In introducing the program and the test to the students, I told them (lightheartedly)
that their written Japanese would be good for my language study, but that I would
seek help (from another teacher) if needed. I pointed out that their written English
would not only be easier on me, but would benefit their own writing practice while
highlighting for me some areas of English which might be usefully targeted in subsequent
lessons. In short, the encouragement to use English was given as an appeal (to make
things easier for me) and as a pedagogic opportunity. Dictionary use was allowed
(yet some did not always remember to bring them). The texts created in response to
these test questions are analyzed below.
- 4.2 Results
- The 11 students took a total of 48 tests over the five-month period. Given that
they had the freedom to opt to use Japanese, it is striking that the majority of
the texts (62.5%) were composed entirely in English (Table 1).
Four students did not use Japanese at all, and one student used Japanese exclusively.
(However, S5, with 1 text in L2, revealed
|Table 1: Language of Test Texts Per Student
LANGUAGE OF TEST TEXTS
(English with Japanese insertions)
(Japanese with English insertions)
* Students are numbered by rank on oral
proficiency tests. [top]
- that she was initially unaware that L1 was allowed; subsequent texts were exclusively
L1.) Of the 9 texts exhibiting language switching, one is classified as Japanese
with English insertions as 13 of its 16 sentences were in Japanese. The remaining
8 contained 42 instances of Japanese use. One learner, though, used the same L1 word
6 times in her text; counted as one usage, the total is reduced to 37 (Table
|Table 2: Japanese Usages In Mixed Texts (English with Japanese
NUMBER OF MIXED TEXTS
NUMBER OF USAGES OF JAPANESE
- Simply counting the number of occurrences of Japanese is meaningful only within
the context of the amount of English used. The ratio of English words to Japanese
words  (Table 3) reveals that the quantity
of Japanese insertions varied widely, from one single word for S9, up to over 16%
of one text for S7.
|Table 3:Distribution of English Words vs. Japanese Words
NUMBER OF ENGLISH WORDS
NUMBER OF JAPANESE WORDS
PERCENT JAPANESE WORDS
- 4.3 Functions of Switches
- The functions of L1 varied considerably. Switches fell into three main categories:
fill ins, clarifying translations of English, and single Japanese particles. Fill-ins
and clarifying translations each contained instances of single words, clauses or
full sentences (Table 4), discussed below.
- 4.3.1 Clarifying Translations
- Clarifying translations serve as a side-note explanation of English text, clarifying
the intended meaning. In Example 1, the learner marks this relationship with an arrow
drawn from the Japanese word to its English equivalent.
- The student is unsure that "Black people" is the right term. The spoken
counterpart of clarifying translations would perhaps be L2 marked both intonationally
and with gestures (rising intonation, direct eye contact, perhaps raised eyebrows)
as a clarifying
|Table 4: Functional Distribution of Japanese Code Switches
- check to solicit confirmation of the accuracy of the term. Given that the written
mode does not allow for this kind of interactive negotiation or solicitation of feedback,
the clarifying check anticipates a possible error while serving to eliminate ambiguity
resulting from inaccuracies. Thus, clarifying translations mark the L2 as tentatively
offered. The five other instances of clarifying translations were paired with single
words (2), a phrase, and whole sentences (2). In each case, the clarifying translation
was set apart from the context by the inclusion of arrows, as in example 1, or by
enclosure between parentheses.
- 4.3.2 Fill-ins
- Clarifying translations are different from the more common fill-ins (Examples
2 through 8, below) in that clarifying translations are additional L1 items supplementing
what is already on the page in L2, whereas fill-ins are instances of L1 used in place
of L2 to bridge a (usually lexical) gap. Fill-ins accounted for 29 of the 38 instances
of Japanese text insertions. The most common use of fill-ins were single words (13).
A further 11 instances were phrases and clauses, and 5 were full sentences.
- 184.108.40.206 Fill-ins: Single Words: nouns
- Examples 2 is from a test on a 600-headword version of The Wonderful Wizard
of Oz (Baum, 1981). The book did not contain the word "tornado", but
described the tornado as "a big wind". However, the student tries to explain
what happened in terms of an analogy to a typhoon:
- Whether or not the student knew from other sources that the storm was a tornado
is uncertain, as the Oz story is not as well known in Japan. This circumlocution
as a communication strategy is rendered less effective, though, when she cannot come
up with the word "typhoon", and thus opts for a single-word fill-in. "Typhoon"
is not an English loanword; it was borrowed into English from Japanese, where the
pronunciation is similar to "tie who", not as similar to the English pronunciation
as it appears to be in the romanization of the word.
Note that taifu is preceded by an indefinite article, which is interesting
because in contrast to English, Japanese has no articles. This indicates that the
Japanese nouns in the data were treated as English items. Although taifu is
somewhat close to its English equivalent, this similarity cannot be cited as a probable
reason for its "English lexicalization", as other Japanese nouns sharing
no similarities with their English equivalents were likewise modified:
- The correct use of the definite article in Example 3, and the possessive "s"
in Example 4 show typical ways in which the learners localized their Japanese insertions
to conform as closely as possible with English conventions.
- 220.127.116.11 Fill-ins: Single Words: verbs
- The three verbs in the data showed less English lexicalization than was evident
with nouns. While verbs occurred in SVO patterns, rather than Japanese (S)OV patterns,
they were not conjugated with English endings. Two of the verbs were given Japanese
grammatical modifications for tense, but one was given in simple dictionary form:
- 18.104.22.168 Fill-ins: Phrases and Clauses
- The second most common type of fill-in was for phrases and clauses. As with single
word insertions, the majority of these were inserted to retain English word order.
In some cases, it was difficult to classify phrases across the language gap, as occasionally
a "phrase" may be considered a single word in Japanese, yet the equivalent
in English would be a strong collocation or a fixed phrase:
- However, most cases were clearer:
- 22.214.171.124 Fill-ins: Full Sentences
- A further five of the fill-ins were full sentences. Their function in the text
was to move the text forward from one L2-based situation to another. (As these are
meaningless outside of their full contexts, no examples are provided, but see Endnote 3.)
- 4.3.3 Japanese Grammatical Particles
- The third type of Japanese insertion involved putting single grammatical particles
into English sentences. In Example 8, the topic marker "wa" is an example
of a Japanese particle insertion:
- These grammatical particle insertions were not common; one student used this
three times, yet never without additional Japanese elsewhere in the sentence.
- 4.4 Discussion
- What factors prompted or influenced these learners in their language encoding
choices? When I tried asking one student directly why she used Japanese, her reply
was "Sorry". Even after assuring her that my question was not censorious,
her reply was apologetic, with an explanation that she did not know the English words.
This experience dissuaded me from asking others directly. While it would be convenient
to draw generalizable conclusions based on connections between the students' language
choices and some other contributing factors, I cannot advance any generalizable,
all encompassing statements other than that the choice was an individual one, yet
within subsets of students, some weak patterns emerged. Possible contributing factors
to these individual decisions are considered and discussed in the points below.
- While some individuals used less English in earlier tests than in later ones,
it is not true that all students progressively decreased the amount of Japanese they
used; in short, there is no significant correlation between when the tests were taken
and the amount, if any, of the Japanese within the texts.
- Comparing proficiency data from two sources (the TOEIC standardized test and
oral interview scores with an English NS unknown to the students) with the language
choices on each test, it is apparent that proficiency does not correlate for the
high or middle sections of the class. S1, who ranks highest on both proficiency measures,
used Japanese, yet there were many who chose not to use Japanese at all. While it
is true that one of the least proficient students opted for Japanese on every test,
a student in the middle ranking of the class (S5) used Japanese on every test save
one, and that one occasion was by mistake (as noted in 4.2.0).
- One contributing factor may be time; when S4 chose not to use Japanese, the length
of her texts were much greater (word counts of 245 and 138) than when she used a
mixture (87 and 95) or used only Japanese. S7 and S1's English texts were similar
in length to their mixed ones. Perhaps given the constraints of time available, these
students chose the most economical use of time and effort. Obviously, though, the
most economical use of time would have been to compose entirely in Japanese.
Their use of English rather than Japanese can only be seen in terms of wanting to
make the most of the learning experience (cf. the next point).
- English Use as a Pedagogic Opportunity
- Students made no concessions to the fact that I was a non-native Japanese speaker
when they wrote in Japanese. Concessions to non-native speakers of Japanese include
using romanized Japanese, avoiding all but the most basic kanji characters, writing
unnaturally full sentences, and using excessive "furigana" (phonetic superscripts
for kanji characters). Instead, the Japanese texts were written as if to a Japanese
person. This gains in significance when we recall that the initial encouragement
to use English (4.1.2) was given as both an appeal to make things easier on me and
as a pedagogic opportunity for them. As the former apparently held little to no sway
for these students, the later must be considered a significant factor in their use
- And what of the corollary to the two preceding points? Do texts written entirely
in Japanese therefore represent a lack of desire to take advantage of pedagogical
opportunities? Sadly, the answer seems to be "yes". The two students who
produced the largest number of Japanese texts (S11, 4 out of 4; S5, 4 out of 5, with
1 L2 text done unaware that L1 was allowed, see 4.2.0) commonly engaged in behavior
incongruent with the assumed classroom goals of learning English, seldom taking constructive
advantage of pedagogical opportunities. They were often off-task, commonly holding
non-pedagogically-motivated L1 conversations at loud volume as they were not in adjacent
rows. Despite repeated warnings and complaints from other students, it took a general
class meeting with their homeroom teacher to impress on them the deviance of their
behavior, and the level at which the others in the class were being disturbed. What
we can generalize from their tests is that students who opt for the bare minimum
or opt out of learning opportunities were the only ones who consistently opted for
only Japanese on the tests.
- 4.5 Conclusion
- We saw that when given the choice to use as much Japanese as they want to on
written tests, most of these learners used Japanese minimally, if they used it at
all. When Japanese is used within English texts, it serves two main functions; one
is to move the discourse forward, and the other is to preempt possible misunderstandings
or mistakes by providing clarifying translations. In both functions, it serves to
bridge a deficiency, whether real or imagined, within the overarching constraints
of time and linguistic resources available. This limited L1 use, which helps move
the discourse forward, thereby provides opportunities for further output.
- A few students relied on a great deal of Japanese to produce their texts. Based
on their texts, it was clear that these students had read and understood the books,
thus meeting the goals of the program, a fact which some of them may not have been
able to demonstrate through an English-only test.
- The instances of L1 use within English texts provide the teacher with useful
information regarding students' errors. It is axiomatic that learners produce errors.
These errors are not always evidence of a deficient interlanguage system; some errors
may instead be temporary slips or mistakes (cf. Sharwood Smith, 1994, p. 19; Corder,
1967/1975, p. 25). Errors are only apparent when the learner attempts to use a form,
and are not apparent if the learner elects to avoid using problematic forms. When
effective circumlocution is not available, recourse to L1 removes the necessity of
using (other) avoidance strategies. The existence of L1 provides the teacher with
an indication of a probable gap in the student's knowledge. It may be that the learner
is unaware of the range a familiar lexical or structural item covers, or it may be
that the L1 use indicates a larger gap. Thus, allowing limited L1 use within L2 texts
in this type of written task highlights gaps in the students' L2 knowledge more effectively
than if L1 were proscribed.
- Last, the medium of written communication differs from oral communication in
that it allows students (operating within the same constraints of L2 accessibility)
to think first in L1, and subsequently compose a translation. This process is not
open to inspection in the data here, as absence of clarifying translation provides
no indications on the presence or absence of this L1 to L2 process. However, the
few instances of clarifying translation are significant from an interlanguage point
of view in that they highlight uncertainty. From a pedagogical point of view, these
clarifying translations provide the instructor with sufficient data to interpret
L2 which may have otherwise been ambiguous.
- The initial concern stated in 4.0 was that students would use too much L1 if
its use were sanctioned. Within the context of written texts, this concern is unfounded
for the majority of the students. However, in order to ensure the benefits of limited
L1 recourse, it would be desirable to discourage L1-only texts by reframing the allowance
of L1 within the positive strategies described above. In short, learners who initially
produce L1-only texts should be made aware that while L1 can usefully clarify L2
and make up for L2 gaps, an exclusive use of L1 is neither expected nor ultimately
CROSSLINGUAL TEACHING STRATEGIES
In chapters 2 and 3 we saw that learners in EFL contexts may share the same mistakes
which go unacknowledged as such during learner interactions. When learners share
false assumptions, the requisite "negative evidence" to draw learners'
attention to gaps or overgeneralizations in their interlanguage systems may not be
forthcoming. Learner interactions are still useful, but not in all the same ways
as with learners who do not have an L1 in common.
- EFL instructors need not despair, however, as there are positive aspects to this
situation as well. When all of the learners share an L1 and tend to share the same
problems, these problems can be addressed in ways which are not always useful in
classrooms with learners from different L1s.
- For example, in order for students to notice language features in L2 input (so
that these features become intake), these features must be made salient. One option
in EFL classrooms is to employ judicious use of crosslingual techniques. Occasionally,
some translation-based activities can fruitfully be employed as an approach to consciousness-raising
activities. Furthermore, using contrastive analysis as a learning experience has
valid applications in the classroom. In this final chapter, I lay the groundwork
and outline some applications of pedagogically-motivated L1 use in the L2 classroom.
(For teachers with no L1 ability, some of the applications below are adjustable,
provided that those teachers use informants or texts, handouts provided by others,
or even L1 elicitation followed by asking if other learners agree.)
- 5.1 The "Checking Device" and Word Storage
- Recall (from 3.5.0) that Poulisse and Bongaerts (1994) attributed unconscious
slips, and their subsequent decline as learners gained in proficiency, to the notion
of spreading activation. However, as seen in "hotchkiss", even highly proficient
Japanese learners will use such L1 loanwords as L2 in the belief that these are in
fact L2 (also see Russell, 1997, p. 84; Smith, 1997; Daulton, 1998; Shepard, 1995).
- Distinguishing between phonologically adapted language switches and non-adapted
language switches, Poulisse and Bongaerts found that the vast majority of their Dutch
learners' accidental L1 items were non-adapted, suggesting that "when a lemma
of a particular language has been accessed, phonological encoding will take place
in this same language since with a few exceptions our subjects used L1 and L2 phonological
encoding procedures to encode L1 and L2 items respectively" (p. 52). They also
suggest that "inflected word forms are stored in the lexicon both fully and
in decomposed form and that there is a checking device used to intercept forms
that are not represented in the lexicon" (p. 52, italics added). This checking
device prevents learners from unintentionally attaching L2 verb stems to L1 verbs,
but does not prevent using an L1 word in place of an L2 one. It is related to the
common occurrence of slips such as "rided" instead of "rode".
- The storage of word forms both intact and in decomposed form runs counter to
a recent informal poll of my students. They knew, for example, "owner",
but not "own"; in short, many words were apparently stored intact yet unanalyzed.
This is supported by a recent study (Schmitt & Meara, 1997, cited in Hunt &
Beglar, 1998) which found that Japanese learners "did not know many inflections
and derivative suffixes of English verbs" (Hunt & Beglar, 1998, p. 7). I
feel that the tendency of Japanese learners to learn words through rote memorization
of word lists contributes significantly. One often sees students studying on busses
and trains from vocabulary cards attached to key rings; that these special ringed
cards are sold in every convenience store attests to their non-specialist, widespread
use. The detrimental effect which I believe occurs through this type of L2-L1 meaning
mapping is that the learners experience many of these words as complete and individual
units, rather than as the sum of parts which are analyzable or generalizable, perhaps
explaining the apparent discrepancy with Poulisse and Bongaerts's description of
- Furthermore, loanwords such as hotchkiss and "nice guy" (cf. 3.5.3),
if believed to be English, would circumvent any need for learners to analyze them
into component parts. This is argued in the next section, followed by classroom activities
to help alleviate these problems.
- 5.2 Katakana English and Loanwords
- Katakana, one of the three Japanese written character sets, is used mainly for
words and names of foreign origin. An analogy to English is the italicization of
some foreign words, such as when keiritsu first started to appear in the English
media. (And, like katakana, italics can serve other functions as well.) However,
this is where the analogy ends, as foreign words in English are often no longer italicized
once they are naturalized into English (such as typhoon, pasta, et cetera), yet in
Japanese, with very few exceptions, foreign words remain written in katakana, which
differs both in form and style from hiragana, the other "phonetic" Japanese
- In short, these words of foreign origin are permanently marked as such.
- It is useful for purposes of discussion to divide katakana English into two categories.
First are words which have entered the lexicon of the language more or less officially,
and are now loanwords (such as hotchkiss). These make up about 10% of the Japanese
language (Shibatani, 1990, cited in Daulton, 1998). The second category encompasses
the use of English as Japanese for the purpose of novelty of expression
, a very common practice throughout the broadcasting, music
and advertising industry. Written in either katakana or English, they are pronounced
"katakana-style", and are perceived as English.
- Learners' prior educational experiences with English may only add to the confusion,
as seen in the following extract (T is a Japanese teacher of English):
- This teacher was unique in Takahashi's study in that he used English nearly all
of the time with the students, which perhaps explains the laughter following "Mo-de-ru-do
a fu-ta-a", provided in an apparently joking response to S9's initiation of
katakana. Takahashi notes, "Such katakanaized English is often heard in the
conversations among the students engaged in pair or group work in the classroom.
...some Japanese English teachers sometimes use this particular type of English to
have the students understand" (Takahashi, 1997, p. 25).
- The high prevalence of loanwords and katakana English, then, in both instructional
settings and outside experiences, poses a serious threat to the effectiveness of
any checking device. When a student's interlanguage system provides an activated
loanword or a katakana English lexical item for consideration, the checking device
could accept it simply on the basis of familiarity through Japanese. Furthermore,
while the phonological adaption of L1 words was rare in Poulisse and Bongaerts, and
invariably resulted in detectable errors, the Japanese student who uses this strategy
erroneously will often succeed without fellow learners catching the mistake.
- What implications are there for the classroom? While Shepard claims that "English
students must learn the words in their own context, not as adaptions from the Japanese
usage" (Shepard, 1996, p. 3), empirical investigations reveal that Japanese
loanwords are useful, preexisting lexical resources which can be exploited in aiding
the acquisition of L2 terms (Daulton, 1998). As these words are very near the surface
for Japanese speakers of English, it makes sense to employ crosslingual techniques
to raise learners' awareness of what is and what is not adaptable.
- Smith (1997) uses a few minutes at the beginning of every class to study katakana
vocabulary. She puts a katakana word on the board and highlights the differences
in pronunciation and meaning. Following this, learners are asked to come up with
their own examples of katakana words (one per learner) and look them up in their
dictionaries. Learners then share their results in pairs or small groups.
- In my own classes, I have combined analysis of loanwords and non-loanwords for
lessons which focus on English lexical regularities which may not be noticeable to
students. For example, the students appeared unaware that ~er can attach to verbs
to create nouns for people or devices. They knew both "teacher" and "teach",
but they could not generalize from that to determine that an "owner" is
one who owns something. My students often use the word "copy" when asking
about printing computer documents, yet they know that the machine is a "printer".
5.2.7 Before describing this activity, I must first acknowledge the great potential
for overgeneralizations. While true that a writer is one who writes, fingers do not
fing, grocers do not groce, and hammers do not ham (Lederer, 1989). This technique
is part of a larger whole (see 5.3) which includes opportunities to test assumptions
and weed out false ones.
5.2.8 On the board, I write three Japanese words which the students know in English.
These words represent three types of Japanese words which sometimes have English
equivalents formed from ~er (or ~or) attached to verbs.
- The first type represents Japanese nouns which do not correspond to Japanese
verbs. The second type represents Japanese nouns formed by adding an ending to Japanese
verbs. The third type represents katakana loanwords. I ask the students (in L2) if
they notice any similarities between the English words. They usually notice the ~er.
I solicit the verb for each noun (eg, what does a teacher do?). Through this, they
are lead to notice that ~er can combine with verbs to create nouns, and that there
are several different types of Japanese equivalents. This is followed by both solicitation
of their own examples (in L1, as L1/L2 equivalents, or in L2) and examples which
I provide (such as can opener, pencil sharpener, photocopier, pitcher [baseball],
and, of course, stapler). At this stage, the L1 functions as a "trigger"
for brainstorming, and aids in clarifying meanings to ascertain similarities or differences
in semantic range, while L2 is the predominant language. Later followup includes
reading a comic strip which highlights both the creative nature of this "rule"
as well as the ambiguity of the terms; the punchline hinges on "garage door
opener" to mean a person instead of a device.
- Through this activity, I have found that learners often know either the noun
or the verb for many words, but not both, indicating that these words are indeed
stored intact. This is particularly evident for loanwords.
- 5.3 Starter Rules: A Contrastive Analysis Technique
- The preceding activity illustrates what I call "starter rules". Combining
stems and affixes to generate lexis is useful as an initial approach to increasing
learners' productive range of vocabulary, if built on current knowledge and if followed
by opportunities to creatively construct new words to test their hypotheses. The
activity above started from L1, yet most typically start from L2, as illustrated
- These simplified pedagogic rules are followed first by consciousness raising
tasks which can employ crosslingual comparison and contrastive analysis as a teaching
technique. They may be used even in multi-lingual classrooms provided that each learner
has an L1/L2 dictionary.
- An example, followed by a report from one of my classes, illustrates the process.
Learners are given a simple "rule" on forming adjectives with ~able:
|~able means "can" as in these examples:
||If something is recognizable, you can recognize it.
||something is advisable, you can advise someone to do it because it is something they
- Then learners are given a stem, such as "adore", to look up in their
dictionaries. Then they look up "adorable", and are asked if they are satisfied
with the rule. In the final stage, learners are encouraged to come up with their
own (creative) applications of the rule, and teachers can provide further examples
if need be.
- Recognizing, of course, that the potential for overgeneralization is great, these
types of activities are geared towards drawing students' attention to the creative
possibilities of language. Follow-up tasks are obviously necessary. When such words
later appear in the classroom corpus, either in texts or in communication with the
teacher, they should be highlighted in their contexts, with reference to the starter
rule activity. If nothing else, the first "starter rule" makes the word
formation phenomena salient.
- 5.4 The Uniqueness Principle
- Crosslingual techniques are also quite useful in cases where similar L2 structures
are realized through contrasting structures in the L1. Sharwood Smith (1994) describes
what others have called the Uniqueness Principle: "the language learner in early
stages of development is very conservative and has little tolerance for what normally
obtains in fully developed systems, namely a single expression covering many functions
and a single function expressed by many forms" (p. 166). A form of this principle
is evident even into advanced stages of learning, as indicated by Dutch learners
who "appear to 'resist' the adoption of two meanings of the past tense ('past
time' and 'hypothetical')" (Sharwood Smith, 1994, p. 167). An example is the
present continuous to express both present action and future plans; Gass and Ard
(1984) "found that ESL students judged sentences illustrating core uses of progressive
aspect, such as 'He is working now', as more acceptable than sentences containing
more peripheral uses, such as 'He is leaving tomorrow'" (Larsen-Freeman &
Long, 1991, p. 104).
- Textbooks themselves can contribute to mislearnt grammar. For example, even though
the teachers' book to Interchange 1 (Richards et al, 1990) clearly states
that the grammar focus of Unit 9 is the present continuous "used to describe
incomplete actions or events...and events that are true at the moment of speaking"
(p. 79), the exercise asks students to fill in gaps, then practice, some conversation
extracts which are in fact demonstrating the future aspect of the construction:
- A: How are you going home?
- B: Steve is giving me a ride, I hope!
- This meaning of the form, though, is covered much later in the text, in Unit
15. Furthermore, the exercise includes ambiguous meanings, as seen in A's contribution
in this example:
- A: Are Bill and Helen coming to the party?
- B: No, Bill is studying for an exam, and Helen is working late.
- For texts containing examples of these "single forms" with many usages,
learners can demonstrate understanding by underlining instances of one use and circling
instances of the other (and perhaps bracketing ambiguous uses), and following up
with a translation of those items to reflect the different meanings (best done whole-class
or in groups which report afterwards). This serves two important functions. First,
it shows unambiguously the different functions/meanings which are created by the
single form. This confirms or contradicts learners' initial understanding of the
meanings within context. Second, through this translation, learners are further discouraged
from believing that there are simple one-to-one relationships between L1 forms and
- 5.5 Crosslinguistic Error Awareness Raising to Promote Noticing
- Translation of common errors resulting in unintended meanings is another starting
point for consciousness-raising activities. This direct feedback makes the learners
aware of the gaps between their own interlanguage and the target language in two
ways: One, they realize the true meaning of what they say, thus it helps realign
erroneous form-meaning pairs; two, they realize that they must find a different way
to express their intended meaning. Typical examples collected from my own students
- (1) I'll call you until midnight.
- (2) Almost Japanese people like rice.
- (3) I am like a dog.
- (4) May I rent a pen?
- Some of these typical errors seem to involve overgeneralizations from L1. In
(3), it is useful to note that the English verb "like" is in fact an adjective
in Japanese. However, it is not possible to determine precisely where some errors
originate, as several factors could contribute, including errors induced from transfer
of training and L2 overgeneralization (Sharwood Smith, 1994, p. 39). The most economical
and striking approach, I have found, is to provide literal translations.
- If the reader is doubtful of the efficiency of direct translation as an error
awareness raising approach, it is helpful to place oneself in the learner's position
to examine one's own reactions. One night, two JSL (Japanese as a Second Language)
learners in a Japanese bar attempted to ask the bartender to pass them a bottle of
herb liqueur so that they could sniff the contents. The correct expression within
this informal context would be "Niotte ii"; however, the learners
produce these two expressions instead:
- (a) Nyou shite ii?(pronunciation problem)
- (b) Niowashite ii?(grammatical problem)
- When (a) failed, (b) was attempted. Both utterances provoked roars of laughter,
reasonable evidence of inaccuracy, to be sure. While negotiation focusing on the
intended meaning (including gestures) would eventually get the message across, it
would probably not contribute much towards preventing similar mistakes from reoccurring.
In terms of noting the importance of revising meaning-form pairs, these JSL learners
would benefit more by knowing that (a) is a very informal request for permission
to begin to urinate, and (b) is a request for permission to emit one's own body odor
(examples and translation by Cox, 1997). Maintaining an intralingual discussion of
these points would more than likely have less impact.
- Furthermore, crosslinguistic techniques can also prevent misunderstanding of
the teachers' output. One winter day, my students complimented me on my new sweater.
I said that it was a Christmas present from my mother, adding, "She has good
taste." Realizing that Japanese express the concept through the loanword sensu,
or "sense", meaning fine sense of style or good taste in clothing, I then
wrote the sentence on the board and asked what it meant. When none knew (some thought
it meant "delicious"!), I explained it in Japanese. Explicit crosslingual
techniques ensure students understand that this meaning of "taste" was
not simply a new word for them, but that it should replace "sense" in their
interlanguage systems, which many erroneously believed encodes the concept. This
is not, of course, limited to loanwords. Common yet non-core meanings of L2 words
in expressions which are not transparent (such as "say", as in "Say,
where are you going?", or "I can tell", as in "I can tell you're
happy") are usefully translated functionally to counteract the students' likely
piecemeal, literal translation.
- When learners express ideas which may be non-understandable to native speakers,
such as when my students said that a singer was "nice", it is easy to later
either confirm their intended meaning through a question, or to use the opportunity
for illustrating a new point. This need not, of course, be initiated in L1, but often,
given the situation and the level of the learner, it may be the best way; asking
for an alternative L2 description may not work, as learners may simply not know the
requisite L2 to provide additional circumlocutions.
- 5.6 Comparisons Between Languages
- Comparisons between conceptual metaphors (eg, anger is heat) in L1 and L2 are
beneficial; noting where L1 and L2 correspond and highlighting where differences
exist could make learning these metaphoric uses of L2 easier (Deignan, Gabrys &
Solska, 1997). Idioms, too, allow for fruitful crosslinguistic exploration; learners
use L1 as well as L2-based strategies to comprehend and produce idioms (Irujo, 1986),
so explicit comparisons may be useful.
- Reciprocal Data Driven Learning (DDL) materials (Johns, 1996) provide further
opportunities. Parallel citations invite comparison of specific features of usage
and meaning crosslinguistically. An extract follows (but note that these materials
progress through stages and provide a wider-ranging coverage than illustrated here).
Learners of French are asked to notice how dont is expressed in English:
|'La Guerre des mondes' (1898) dont la libre adaptation sur les ondes par Orson
Welles sema la panique aux Etats-Unis en 1938.
||The War of the Worlds (1898),whose 1938 radio adaptation by Orson Welles created
a wave of panic in the United States.
- 5.7 Conclusion
- The techniques above are but some of the options available to instructors who
accept that crosslingual approaches have a place in the classroom. Note that I did
not include production of text translation, as I am more convinced that selective
L1, when used to draw learners' attention to features of input or their own output,
is far more useful in acquisitional terms.
- Given the post-communicative importance of the saliency of form as it relates
to meaning, and the primacy of noticing in the acquisition process, outright bans
on L1 are unfounded, unsound and imprudent.. For the same reasons, a preponderance
of L1 is equally unsound and imprudent.
- During EFL lessons, numerous approaches and techniques are utilized towards the
enhancement of various aspects of the learners' language development. To issue a
single proscriptive statement regarding L1 covering all aspects of classroom interaction
ignores that different aspects place different constraints on learners. The stance
towards L1 should reflect the goals of instruction. Thus, fluency activities designed
with interaction in mind are prime candidates for strict discouragement of L1, whereas
other areas of classroom interaction and instruction may allow for (and occasionally
require) more freedom. Selective use of contrastive analysis as a teaching technique
offers benefits not easily found in ESL or L1-only classrooms. Literal translation
of learner errors can both alert learners that what was said in fact has meaning,
yet what was meant was not in fact said. Guided negotiation and discussion is enhanced
with access to L1, but within a classroom culture which fosters a perception of this
as a marked option to be utilized towards subsequent L2 input. Thus, L1 use can allow
for further L2 output in that it bridges gaps, and can provide relevant and timely
input if functionally-equivalent L2 is forthcoming.
- The ideal level of student and instructor use of L2 could be stated, "Use
L2 beyond as much as possible". That is, learners should push their production
as far as possible, and then some. Rather than view L1 use as a source of guilt,
instructors should view it as a valuable resource to be cheerfully and judiciously
applied towards fostering their learners' language development.
- [nb: click the note number to return to the note's occurance in the text]
- Extensive searches revealed no accounts in the literature of the origin of "hotchkiss",
and I have yet to find a Japanese who can explain it. Most Japanese speakers of English
assume it is English, and in fact it may have been English at one point. One of the
first companies to produce staplers in the United States was called Hotchkiss (the
other was Acme), and its name was engraved on the staplers. While "staple"
in English has been in use since the 13th century to refer to U-shaped metal fasteners,
the term "stapler" to mean a person or device which inserts staples apparently
did not appear until circa 1909 (Webster's 9th Collegiate Dictionary), over 10 years
after the debut of the Hotchkiss model shown in Figure 1, leading me to speculate
that these devices used to be referred to in English by their brand name (indeed,
they still are among collectors). [BACK]
- The nationalities and occupations of the learners are not immediately apparent
in Lynch 1996, as the complete information for each learner is not directly relevant
to the points being made. In the first instance (p. 74), the nationality of learner
R is not given, nor are the professions of P or Q. The second instance (p. 143),
where this extract is embedded within a longer exchange, provides the professions
but not the nationalities of all three learners. In Lynch (1997, p. 320), we are
given the nationalities and professions of all three, though only two appear. [BACK]
- The nature of the Japanese language makes counting the number of Japanese words
a challenge. Japanese is written without spaces separating words; furthermore, text
length specifications, such as with academic papers, are given in terms of how many
individual characters, not words, are required. Characters cannot be meaningfully
compared with words, so, to arrive at the count for Japanese words, I first discussed
my method and later verified my count with two native Japanese speakers. Particles
were not counted as words unless they occurred by themselves. Grammatical endings
of verbs were not counted unless they were complex. For the sake of replicability,
one example from a student's test may suffice to explain this for those who understand
Japanese (and note that I rely a great deal on the context, as well as knowledge
of the story, to provide the English translation; spacing between "words"
in the Japanese text has been added for sake of clarity):
||corpse, dead body
||particle: topic marker
||see not, view not
||to the extent that
||past form of copula
||It was better not to view the corpse (because it was badly maimed in the accident
/ because of the state it was in).
- Furthermore, the ratio of Japanese to English based on word counts errs on the
conservative side where sentences are concerned due to the often parsimonious nature
of Japanese. One student wrote,
(Mother wa yorokonde shita e.)
- which translates literally as "mother happily downward", yet within
the context could be loosely translated as, "Filled with joy, the mother went
(Note that the student's mirenai in the table is not grammatically correct
Japanese, but is a typical example of "young people's Japanese", according
to an informant who is a native-speaking Japanese as a Second Language teacher. Mirarenai
grammatically correct expression.) [BACK]
- An example of "novelty English" comes from an NHK televised broadcast
of the Nagano Olympics; commenting on Germany's sweep of all three medals in the
women's speedskating event, the Japanese commentator exclaimed "uan chuu
suree no finishu!" [one two three (particle "no" indicating apposition)
finish], "A one two three finish!" (NHK, broadcast, February 11, 1998).
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