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Upcoming Modern Languages/CLLEAR seminars


Modern Languages and the Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) are pleased to be hosting a visit from Dr. Elisabet Pladevall Baluster from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in July, who will be offering two seminars focusing on bilingualism and on CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning). The first seminar will take place on Tuesday 26th July at 4pm (65/1095) and is entitled “L1 Use and Focus on Form in a co-taught CLIL programme”. The second seminar will take place on Thursday 28th July (65/1097) at 4pm and is entitled “Developmental asynchrony in the acquisition of subject properties in child L2 English and Spanish”.

Here are the abstracts for these two seminars:

Title: L1 Use and Focus on Form in a co-taught CLIL programme

Abstract: One of the main aims of CLIL programmes is to increase the number of hours of exposure to a foreign language (FL) in the students’ curriculum (Dalton-Puffer, 2011). However, recent studies have explored the role of the L1 in the CLIL class and in students’ FL oral production tasks and findings suggest that CLIL classes are not always carried out in a monolingual FL mode (Gené Gil et al. 2012). More importantly, the coexistence of the L1 and the FL in a CLIL class may be beneficial for students to carry out specific tasks (Martínez Adrián, 2015; Pladevall-Ballester and Vraciu, to appear), to access and consolidate content (Méndez García and Pavón Vázquez, 2012) and to aid their affective learning. It remains to be seen how the use of the L1 in a CLIL class affects the integration of content and language and how or if focus-on-form is implemented. The present study explores the amount and type of L1 and FL (English) use and the presence of focus-on-form in a CLIL program that is taught by both the content teacher and the language specialist at the same time in 6th grade of primary school. Ten 1-hour CLIL science sessions were recorded, transcribed and analysed. Results suggest that L1-L2 use is kept separate in the case of teachers but not in the case of students. That is to say, while students tend to alternate and mix the use of the L1 and the FL when interacting among themselves and with the teachers, the language specialist only uses the FL and the content teacher only uses the L1, mainly to clarify concepts and expand on key content topics. Focus-on-form is hardly present and mainly restricted to the language specialist, but it is both pre-emptive and reactive and lexical and grammatical.

Title: Developmental asynchrony in the acquisition of subject properties in child L2 English and Spanish

Abstract: It is a well-known fact that children acquiring a null-subject language like Italian or Spanish produce null subjects apparently consistent with the target grammar from early on whereas children acquiring a non-null subject language such as English or French exhibit persistent non-target subject drop in root positions past their third year. The present study aims at determining to what extent the pattern of acquisition of Spanish and English subjects observed in L1A can also be seen in child L2A in bilingual immersion settings where English and Spanish are both source and target languages and whether it extends to the subject properties at the syntax-pragmatics interface. Using an elicited oral judgement and correction task, L1 English/L2 Spanish and L1 Spanish/L2 English five-year-olds with the same age of onset, namely three, are compared in their judgements of purely syntactic subject properties and discourse constraints on subject use. Results suggest that there is developmental asynchrony and that markedness effects might explain why L2 Spanish children generally display significantly more target-like judgements than the L2 English group.

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