Strategic Language Learning (Second Language Acquisition)

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Lantolf, J. The function of language play in the acquisition of L2 Spanish. Perez-Leroux Eds. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press, Research timeline: Sociocultural theory and second language acquisition. Language Teaching , , Nassaji, H. Swain A Vygotskian perspective on corrective feedback in L2: The effect of random versus negotiated help on the learning of English articles. Language Awareness , 1, Swain, M.

Examining dialogue: Another approach to content specification and to validating inferences drawn from test scores. Language Testing , 18, Harlow: Longman. Skip to content. Segalowitz and Freed reported the relationships between the creation of social networks and the length of stay. They pointed out that a semester of study abroad was too short and did not allow social relations to develop sufficiently. Lafford also showed that students did not always see the necessity to interact with native speakers and that they preferred to spend their leisure time doing other kind of activities that did not require using the L2, so interaction with native speakers was almost non-existent.


In those cases, hardly any effect on linguistic knowledge or on communicative competence was observed. On the other hand, concerning grammatical and lexical knowledge, studies showed different results. For instance, Collentine and Allen and Herron have pointed out that significant progress does not always occur after having studied a semester in an L2 speaking country, while, on the other hand, works of researchers such as Isabelli and Nishida or Isabelli have shown that notable advances are found after studying abroad, especially among those who have a more advanced level.

Moreover, there have been divergent conclusions regarding the development of writing abilities. Freed, So, and Lazar have shown in their comparative study that students who remained in their own country wrote better than those who studied abroad, but Sasaki , on the contrary, has noted that students who learned abroad wrote better than those who stayed in their country during the same period. Research work that compared different contexts, such as the work by Freed, Segalowitz, and Dewey , has equally shown different findings.

Students who studied in programs of immersion in their own country improved their fluency and learnt more grammar and vocabulary than those who studied abroad or in regular courses in their own country. That can be explained by the fact that the context of immersion learning allowed students to perform communication tasks similar to those required while studying abroad, almost without any cultural or social obstacles and emotional barriers Dewey, In relation to intercultural sensitivity, Engle and Engle , Medina-Lopez-Portillo , or Berg have shown that study abroad had a positive influence, even though the length of the stay was short.

Studies on the influence of extra-linguistic factors during study abroad have shown that similar phenomenon can affect the learning process differently. On the other hand, studies such as those by Engle and Engle , Medina-Lopez-Portillo , and Berg have highlighted that long stays allowed, more significantly than the short ones, the development of intercultural sensitivity and may have led a complete cultural adaptation.

On the other hand, research on the living conditions has shown that living with host families often influences the learning process positively, although some researchers have observed that this option can also bring negative effects. Allen et al. The real possibilities to interact with native speakers and create social networks that study abroad provides are one of the factors that has generated more controversy. Some researchers do not agree with the established ideas about the potential of exposure to the target language and the possibility of using it outside the classroom that study abroad provides.

Researchers such as Lafford doubt that study abroad would provide more opportunities to use the language and interact with native speakers.

1. Introduction

Among other reasons, students did not always see the necessity to communicate with native speakers and, therefore, chose to spend free time doing other kinds of activities that did not require the use of the target language. Coleman and Chafer have also questioned the idea that study abroad provides greater exposure to the L2 and more possibilities to interact with native speakers, since over the past decade access and development of the media have transformed the experience of living in another country. Cheap and easy access to communication platforms such as Skype have sprung up in recent years, the use of smart phones with internet access is widespread, and the use of social networks such as Facebook or Twitter and apps like WhatsApp, Line, or Telegram that allow immediate contact with friends and family has become popular.

The accessibility of the new media allowing students to keep in touch with their own culture through the internet means that many students perceive striving to interact socially and participate actively in the local culture as unnecessary, which can hinder or even prevent a real process of acculturation that is necessary, according to the theory of Schumann, to assimilate the values and cultural behaviors of the speaker of the L2 community.

The research methods used and the validity of the results concerning the linguistic benefits are also subject to controversy. Researchers such as Coleman have criticized the validity of the results, the methodology and data used in studies comparing different learning contexts with the objective of determining linguistic progress. He has criticized that numerous studies attempted to empirically demonstrate linguistic gains without taking into account that each learning context is unique, and without considering sociolinguistic aspects, individual variables, or extra linguistic factors.

For this reason, it is essential that the research of the acquisition of second languages abroad consider that learners are not a group of people who experience the same learning experience, but they are individuals with unique experiences. In this sense, Ushioda has highlighted the need to study the influence of the context in the development of linguistic knowledge, by taking into consideration, social or individual factors, which can affect each student differently.

As we have noted above, some of the current studies have highlighted the need to expand the scope of research and, rather than analyzing quantitative data on the gains in the linguistic knowledge, analyze more in depth aspects such as the social context in which the student studies, the individual differences motivation, learning strategies, personality, etc. It would also be important to study other relevant aspects such as how the nationality or mother tongue of the students may have an influence on the linguistic gains or in the success or failure in creating social networks, how the language level prior to departure to study abroad may facilitate or make difficult the learning process and the interaction with native speakers, or the attitude students abroad have outside of the classroom.

Moreover, the rise of social networks and new technologies also makes it necessary to carry out a study to describe who uses them among students studying abroad, whether they help or hinder the relationship with native speakers, or whether they create an environment to live virtually in their country of origin or, on the contrary, they do not prevent such acculturation processes. The findings could be useful for teachers and organizers to prepare and advise students for their stay abroad, so that the experience would become more fruitful and successful, both from the personal and the linguistic perspectives.

We suggest qualitative research methods, such as life stories, to study the new research directions mentioned above. Narrative research may let us understand learning beliefs and experiences abroad from the students' perspective. Adams, R. Language learning strategies in the study abroad context. Churchill Eds. Allen, H. A mixed methodology investigation of the linguistic and affective outcomes of summer study abroad.

Foreign Language Annals, 36 3 , Cultural learning outcomes and summer study abroad.

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Mantero Ed. Amuzie, G. Changes in language learning beliefs as a result of study abroad. System, 37 3 , Berg, M. Intervening in student learning abroad: A research-based inquiry. Intercultural Education, 20 sup1 , Campbell, R. The impact of study abroad on Japanese language learners' social networks. New Voices, 5, Churchill, E.

Learning Strategies in Second Language Acquisition | Open Access Journals

Evolving threads in study abroad research. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Coleman, J. Study abroad and the Internet: physical and virtual context in an era of expanding telecommunications. Researching whole people and whole lives.

Learning a Second Language

Kinginger Ed. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Collentine, J. The effects of learning contexts on morphosyntactic and lexical development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 26 2 , Study abroad research: Findings, implications and future directions. Catherine Eds. New York: Wiley. Learning context and its effects in second language acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 26, Dewey, D. Japanese vocabulary acquisition by learners in three contexts.


The effect of style in second language phonology: An analysis of segmental acquisition in study abroad and regular-classroom students. Face Eds. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press. DuFon, M. The socialization of taste during study abroad in indonesia. Dwyer, M. More is better: The impact of study abroad program duration.

Engle, L. Assessing language acquisition and intercultural sensitivity development in relation to study abroad program design. Freed, B. Language learning abroad: How do gains in written fluency compare with gains in oral fluency in French as a second language? ADFL Bulletin, 34 3 , Context of learning and second language fluency in French: Comparing regular classroom, study abroad, and intensive domestic immersion programs. Isabelli, C. Hispania, 87, Development of the Spanish subjunctive in a nine month study-abroad setting.

Eddington Ed. Study abroad social networks, motivation and attitudes: Implications for second language acquisition. Jackson, J.