Vol 6 No 1 (2020): Theory and Practice of Second Language Acquisition
The present issue has a clearly visible leading theme, extending over the first four contributions, which revolves around the strategic and combined use of all learners’ linguistic resources in various communicative situations, more or less directly associated with their language learning/acquisition process. The additive approach, highlighting a united perspective of all language systems functioning as one communicative resource, is often discussed under the heading of translanguaging, while the alternative approach, focusing on switching between available separate systems, driven by local and goal-oriented needs, is traditionally subsumed under the label of code-switching, although as we will see in the papers comprising the bulk of the present issue, the distinction is not always so clear. The first paper, entitled “Chinese Teachers’ Attitudes Towards Translanguaging and Its Uses in Portuguese Foreign Language Classrooms,” presents the results of a very interesting study among native Chinese Teachers of Portuguese as a foreign language, working at Chinese universities, on the potential benefits of using students’ L1 in the classroom. The author, Jorge Pinto, confirms the observations of other researchers that, contrary to the recommendations of the administrators, translanguaging practices involving the use of students’ L1, especially in the initial stages of acquisition, are conducive to more effective learning. The second contribution, by Dominika Dzik, titled “Variations in Child-Child and Child-Adult Interactions – A Study of Communication Strategies in L3 Spanish,” extends the perspective to three languages, because the communication strategies reported in the study offer evidence for intriguing strategic exploitation of all language resources which the learners have at their disposal. Interesting findings demonstrate preferences for resorting to learners’ L1 (Polish) or L2 (English) repertoire as correlated with the age and native language of the conversational partner. CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), although on principle giving preference to the L2, and sometimes insisting on its exclusive use, can nevertheless accommodate code-switching practices, as demonstrated by Katarzyna Papaja and Marzena Wysocka-Narewska in their study “Investigating Code-switching in a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Classroom.” The study is predominantly diagnostic in nature, aimed at finding the situations where code-switching takes place, as well as the most important reasons for that phenomenon. The authors additionally attempt to assess which instances of code-switching could have facilitating, and which have detrimental effect on learners’ progress. Spanish as L3 returns as the major focus of the paper by Teresa Maria Włosowicz “Translanguaging as the Mobilisation of Linguistic Resources by Learners of Spanish as a Third or Additional Language.” In the article the multilingual perspective of the present volume reaches its peak, as the strategic use of at least five different languages is demonstrated here. A number of intriguing contrasts between students of English Philology and students of Romance Philology are demonstrated and discussed, pertaining to the activation of learners’ linguistic resources in situations where their command of Spanish proves insufficient. The fifth contribution in the present issue, by Katarzyna Rokoszewska, titled “Intra-individual Variability in the Emergence of Lexical Complexity in Speaking English at Secondary School––A Case Study of a Good, Average, and Poor Language Learner,” shifts the perspective to a very detailed and focused investigation of individual learners. Somewhat to her surprise, the author finds out that all the learners mentioned in the title exhibited a similar level of lexical complexity, which she attempts to account for within the Complex Dynamic Systems Theory, a novel approach to the role of variability, highlighting the dynamic and non-linear nature of language development. The final research paper in the present issue, “Metaphors We Academicize the World With? – Metaphor(icity) Perceived in the Context of Academia (A Case Study of English Philologists-to-be),” by Adam Palka, investigates a peculiar, but prospectively a very influential (in the context of professional L2 use) environment, of Polish students of English, in the context of their developing command of selected aspects of academic discourse. The author focuses on the learners’ awareness of metaphorical encoding of reality, especially in the context of their everyday functioning in the academic environment.
As in a number of previous ones, the present issue also concludes with three book reviews. The first one, by Marek Derenowski, presents a commentary on the monograph by Sarah Mercer and Marion Williams, entitled Multiple Perspectives on the Self in the SLA (2014), which brings together the theories formulated within many disciplines, focusing on the construct of the Self, and explicates their significance for the present-day understanding of the processes involved in SLA. In reviewer’s opinion, it is both comprehensive enough to appeal to a very diverse audience, and at the same time sufficiently comprehensible to serve the needs of not only advanced researchers, but also of young apprentices in the academic trade. The second publication, Małgorzata Bielicka’s Efektywność nauczania języka niemieckiego na poziomie przedszkolnym i wczesnoszkolnym w dwujęzycznych placówkach edukacyjnych w Polsce [The Effectiveness of Teaching German at the Pre-school and Early School Levels in Bilingual Educational Institutions in Poland] (2017), is reviewed on by Zofia Chłopek. The reviewer acknowledges the value of the empirical study presented in the book, stressing the fact that there are not many such accounts of bilingual programmes in Poland with L2 other than English. One of the most valuable assets of the volume is also its development of a new rating scale of learners’ grammatical competence, which promises a potential of methodological application in other studies to come. Although the reviewer notices certain drawbacks, pertaining predominantly to the content of the theoretical part, she nevertheless considers Bielicka’s monograph a valuable contribution to our knowledge about teaching foreign languages to young learners. Finally, the third review, by Jolanta Latkowska, comments on Vaclav Brezina's monograph Statistics in Corpus Linguistics: A Practical Guide (2018), representing a modern approach to introducing linguistics into arcana os statistical analysis. Since the publication offers the readers access to a number of very useful online calculators as well as a package of extra materials available from the publisher's website, it clearly makes a significant step beyond the traditionally understood idea of a practically-oriented resource book. It is highly recommended by the reviewer to all applied linguist requiring solid quantitative bases for their research.
(read more in the Preface)