Archived Events

Is English a Lingua Franca?: Communication in the Workplace for Japanese Expatriates in China

Dr. Ryuko Kubota, University of British Columbia
Professor, Dept. of Language and Literacy Education, Faculty of Education

February 24
3:30 p.m.
Page Hall, Room 10

Dr. Ryuko Kubota will discuss that there are two prevailing assumptions in foreign language teaching: that nonnative English-speaking people from
different linguistic backgrounds use English as a lingua franca to communicate with each other and that learning to develop English proficiency is absolutely required for transcultural work. Although these assumptions support the current emphasis on English
language teaching in Japan, they need to be empirically confirmed. Based on a qualitative study focusing on major Japanese manufacturing companies with subsidiaries in China, she will discuss the language use of Japanese expatriates and Chinese office workers
in China as well as the views of participants (including managers in Japan) about knowledge, skills, and dispositions deemed important for overseas work. The findings question the universal usefulness of English and raise the importance of developing competencies
and dispositions for border-crossing communication in any language including one’s native language. Yet, it is necessary to critically consider the neoliberal alignment of these arguments.

Sponsored in part by the Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Second Language Studies

Second language acquisition research and second language instruction: A functional approach

Dr. Yasuhiro Shirai
Professor and Dept. Chair
Department of Linguistics
University of Pittsburgh

Wednesday, February 15
2:00 - 3:15 p.m.
Page Hall, Room 20

In this talk, Dr. Yasuhiro Shirai will examine the mechanism of grammar acquisition in SLA and explore how linguistic categories can be acquired effectively. Currently, the mainstream second/foreign language teaching approach
that second language researchers and applied linguists consider effective is the communicative approach. However, as far as the acquisition of linguistic categories is concerned, the communicative approach is largely based on the 'learning by
doing' model, i.e., learners will acquire linguistic categories through input and interaction. Therefore, insights into how individual linguistic items should be best taught are still quite limited, and thus the investigation of effective methods of teaching linguistic categories based on second language acquisition research is sorely needed. He will examine two linguistic domains --tense-aspect and relative clauses--of which acquisition process has been uncovered to some degree, and consider how their acquisition can be facilitated, in particular in relation to the projection model (Zobl, 1985).

Sponsored in part by the Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Second Language Studies

Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Second Language Studies

Annual lecture series

Professor Norman Segalowitz
Concordia University (Department of Psychology)

"Cognitive Aspects of Second Language Fluency"
October 17, 2011
3:00 - 4:30 pm; Reception to follow
The Ohio Union (Great Hall Rooms 1 & 2)

Attaining high level fluency in a second language is often experienced by "late" second language learners as a barrier that is difficult to overcome. In this talk I present a cognitive perspective
on the nature of this barrier, and I discuss the implications this perspective has for research into its origins and for discovering ways to overcome it.

Links to Slides:
Norman Segalowitz references [pdf]
Cognitive aspects of second language fluency slides [pdf]

Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Second Language Studies

Annual lecture series

Prof. Nick Ellis
University of Michigan (Department of Psychology)
"Usage-based SLA: Insights from Corpus and Cognitive Linguistics"

October 15, 2010
Hagerty Hall 180 (Auditorium)
Reception at Cran Café

emergence of linguistic constructions. It focuses on second language development of English verb-argument constructions (VACs: VL, verb locative; VOL, verb object locative; VOO, ditransitive) with particular reference to the following: (a) Construction learning as concept learning following the general cognitive and associative processes of the induction of categories from experience of exemplars in usage; (b) the empirical analysis of usage by means of corpus linguistic descriptions of native and nonnative speech and of longitudinal emergence in the interlanguage of second language learners; (c) the effects of the frequency and Zipfian type/token frequency distribution of exemplars within the Verb and other islands of the construction archipelago (e.g., [Subj V Obj Oblpath/loc]), by their prototypicality, their generic coverage, and their contingency of form-meaning-use mapping, and (d) computational (emergent connectionist) models of these various factors as they play out in the emergence of constructions as generalized linguistic schema.
The results lead us to propose the development of an inventory of English verbal grammar for research and instructional purposes.

Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Second Language Studies

Inaugural Lecture

Prof. Diane Larsen-Freeman
University of Michigan (School of Education)
"Language as Complex Dynamic System: A Second Language Studies Perspective"

November 23, 2009
Faculty Club Rooms A-D