Agnieszka Otwinowska-Kasztelanic (University of Warsaw)
Vocabulary learning in a second or foreign language can take place in many different ways. In our project, we want to better understand how learners learn words incidentally or intentionally through the use of digital tools. Our project covers several language combinations and is being conducted in two countries in parallel, Poland and Switzerland. In Poland, we study learners who are Polish monolinguals and learn English as a second language (L2).
Organisational, pedagogical and individual factors
For more than three decades, the Canton of Valais “Bureau des Echanges Linguistiques” (office for language exchanges) has been responsible for coordinating language exchange programmes in the canton’s two language regions as well as outside the cantonal borders. In addition, exchange activities in the canton are also organised independently by families, school classes or schools.
The Inventar des zweisprachigen Unterrichts (inventory of bilingual education) provides an overview of bilingual education in Switzerland, specifically of all bilingual education programmes currently in progress (2021/2022 school year) at compulsory schools and upper secondary schools.
When commencing the compulsory education curriculum, pupils are five years old and are assumed to have mastered the oral foundations of the language of instruction. In some districts however, up to 80% of pupils entering 1H speak a different language at home, and between 60 and 70% do not speak or understand French at all. The processes whereby so-called “allophone” students, even if many of them were born in Switzerland, acquire phonological representations of French (i.e.
Digital translation tools and dictionaries have become an indispensable part of language use. DeepL, Leo and Co. are used extensively and for various purposes, however, their benefits for foreign language teaching and learning remain contested. Some consider these tools to be of educational value, while others express their doubts on the sustainability of their contribution to language learning.
Vocabulary is the basis for receptive and productive language use. Influential theories on second language acquisition and learning consider vocabulary and grammar to be complementary, rather than opposing elements of language. Vocabulary is viewed as an integral component of learner grammars that is worth promoting and consolidating in the foreign language classroom. In recent years, digitialisation has seen the development of many learning apps and platforms that provide new opportunities...
Supervision: Prof. Dr. Thomas Studer
When asked about their goals, students learning a foreign language generally say they want to speak the language. Despite the value placed on speaking, however, various studies on the foreign language competence of Swiss school students reveal that many learners have difficulty in meeting the learning outcomes set for spoken language (Peyer et al. 2016, Wiedenkeller/Lenz 2019).
SWIKO is a multilingual learner corpus describing learner language according to principles of corpus-linguistics. The corpus is an umbrella project developed during the 2016–2019 research period and being further developed in the 2021–2024 period. It incorporates data from other projects at the Research Centre on Multilingualism. SWIKO can currently be accessed via a request to the Institute of Multilingualism.
Further development and applications of the Swiss learner corpus SWIKO
In line with the strong presence of usage-based approaches to language description and research in language acquisition, research in corpus linguistics has intensified and diversified in recent years. This applies equally to corpus-based and corpus-oriented research into language acquisition as well as to applied pedagogical research. Nevertheless, research gaps and desiderata remain. For instance, in regards to learner corpora, certain bias towards English as the target language, intermediate...
Didactic partnership: Centres de Formation Professionnelle de l'Etat de Fribourg (CD-CFP)
The aim of the DiCoi project is on the one hand to produce teaching material from recordings of authentic conversations (spoken language corpora) and on the other hand to describe the longitudinal development of interaction skills (over 2 years) from recordings of free interactions. Spoken language corpora can be used as a resource for foreign language teaching with the aim of providing exposure to the authentically produced but contextualised target language.
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