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Research Center for Language and Cognition LANSPAN colloquia

LANSPAN lectures 2017

Date Speaker & Title of Presentation Time & Location
28 February

Alison Edwards

"I’m an Anglophile, but …’ A corpus-assisted discourse study of language ideologies in the Netherlands"

16.15 -17.30 , Aweg 30, room 314
7 March

AAAL Symposium

16.15 -17.30 , Harmony building room 1315.0042
11 April

Nel de Jong (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

"Task repetition and second language development: digging into re-use of words and structures"

16.15 -17.30, Aweg 30, room 314
30 May

Angela de Bruin (Basque Centre on Cognition Brain and Language)

"Language switching and executive control in younger and older adults"

16.15 -17.30, 1312.024
28 November

Susanne Brouwer (RU Nijmegen)

Speech processing in challenging listening conditions

16.15 – 17.30, room TBA
12 December

Nihayra Leona (UvA)

Extramural English vs. motivation: Extramural English as the more important predictor of English language learners’ vocabulary.

16.15 – 17.30, room A8 (Academy building)

Note: This schedule is subject to change.


I’m an Anglophile, but …’ A corpus-assisted discourse study of language ideologies in the Netherlands

Alison Edwards

Abstract: This paper explores perceptions of English in the Netherlands by investigating recurrent discourse patterns in a corpus of language-attitudinal commentary by 724 Dutch informants. A decidedly folk view is expressed, whereby languages are seen as discrete, bounded entities that can be used in “good” and “bad” ways. The informants construct English as a language that – unlike Dutch – allows them to connect with the wider world; a utilitarian stance that echoes official/institutional discourses as well as canonical academic discourses on Expanding Circle (i.e. non-native and non-postcolonial) societies in the World Englishes paradigm, whereby English is posited primarily a tool for international communication.

However, a key ideological narrative expressed by the informants revolves around the perception of the constant “unnecessary” use and “overuse” of English within Dutch society in order to appear cosmopolitan, clever or “cool”. This suggests that many people are (or are believed to be) mobilising the language for the purposes of local interpersonal relations and identity construction. These are functions that go well beyond mere instrumentalism, and suggest English is being used not just as a “foreign” or “international” language but rather as an additional local language for creative self-expression and identity performance.

AAAL Symposium

15.00 - 15.30 Merel Keijzer “First language reversion among healthy elderly migrants: fact or fable?”

15.30 - 16.00 Rasmus Steinkrauss “Accuracy and complexity in L1 attriters: age at emigration versus type of continued L1 use”

16.00 - 16.30 Kees de Bot “What counts as evidence in applied linguistics?”

16.30 - 16.55 Wander Lowie & Marjolijn Verspoor “Converging evidence in the time domain”

16.55 - 17.15 Marjolijn Verspoor “Transdiciplinarity”

Task repetition and second language development: digging into re-use of words and structures

Nel de Jong (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Abstract:Repeating speaking tasks can help second language (L2) learners improve their task performance and it may ultimately support language development. Several studies have shown that task repetition can support oral fluency, accuracy and structural complexity in the repeat performance (e.g. Ahmadian & Tavakoli, 2011; Bygate, 2001; Nation, 1989; Sample & Michel, 2014), and other studies have shown that repetition can lead to increased fluency and syntactic complexity on posttests (De Jong & Perfetti, 2011; Kim & Tracy-Ventura, 2013). These improvements are attributed to a shift of attention from meaning to formulation, and to re- use of words and grammatical structures across performances. However, the exact nature and extent of this re-use remains unclear. Most studies report only broad measures of structural and lexical complexity, such as the number of words per clause or a measure of lexical variety, but do not report what words or structures were used and re-used. The reason is that it is commonly assumed that when a task assignment is repeated, task execution is similar as well. But this is not necessarily the case: speakers may choose to add, leave out or change content, words and structures. In this talk I will first show that the extent of re-use depends on task conditions and on individual speakers. Then, I will show what words and content are typically re-used across performances in our studies, and why sometimes they are not. The insight this provides into re-use of words and structures will help to explain the effects of task repetition on task performance and on language development.

Language switching and executive control in younger and older adults

Angela de Bruin (Basque Centre on Cognition Brain and Language)

Abstract: Bilingual language control, and in particular language switching, has been linked to non-verbal executive control. For instance, bilinguals may need inhibitory control to suppress the non-target language while switching (Green, 1998) and similar brain areas may be involved in both language and non-verbal task switching (e.g., De Baene et al., 2015). Furthermore, this language control has been argued to lead to cognitive advantages for bilinguals compared to monolinguals. At the same time, several studies have observed differences between language and task switching (e.g., Calabria et al., 2015) and the question whether bilinguals indeed have a cognitive advantage is hotly debated (e.g., Paap et al., 2015).

In this talk, I will firstly present a set of experiments examining the possible effects of language switching and use on both lexical control as well as verbal and non-verbal task switching. While negative effects of language switching and use were observed on tasks using verbal materials, no effects were found on non-verbal tasks. This shows the important role that task materials can play when studying the interplay between language and executive control. In the second part of the talk, I will elaborate on the issue of task impurity by discussing a study examining age effects on three inhibitory control tasks. Similar to bilingualism, age effects were observed inconsistently across tasks. Thus, effects of bilingualism, language switching, and ageing on executive control may depend on the type of task materials that are used.

Speech processing in challenging listening conditions

Susanne Brouwer (RU Nijmegen)

At first sight, listening to speech seems like an easy task. However, in everyday life it is dauntingly complex, as speech typically varies considerably across instantiations, speakers, and contexts. Such so-called challenging listening conditions can originate from the speaker. For example, listeners can encounter speakers who reduce a lot or who speak with a regional accent. They can also originate from the environment: speech can be degraded by traffic noise or babble from other speakers in the background. Finally, they can arise from listener limitations. Non-native listeners, for instance, often experience the detrimental effect of their imperfect second language during listening. Moreover, the adverse effect of such an incomplete language is exacerbated when combined with speaker or environmental degradation. In this talk, I will consider the influence of these challenging conditions on listening.

The first line of research is concerned with the question of how listeners process reduced speech such as "yesay" pronounced as "yesterday". Using a visual world eye-tracking paradigm, I will demonstrate how reduced speech can affect the lexical competition process. The second line of research examines how native and bidialectal listeners segregate speech from noise. Results on a speech-in-speech recognition task show how bidialectal status is of influence on performance. Both of these lines of research reveal how challenging listening conditions can adversely affect communication. The third line of research investigates whether such conditions also affect moral decision making, a serious task in life which could have far-reaching consequences. Preliminary results reveal differences between native and non-native listeners’ moral decisions. In conclusion, these three different lines of research show how challenging listening conditions can affect communication and possibly also moral decision making.

Extramural English vs. motivation: Extramural English as the more important predictor of English language learners’ vocabulary

Nihayra Leona (UvA)

A great number of studies has highlighted the role of motivational factors in adult English second language learning. Some studies have suggested that the younger the learners, the less important the role of motivational factors. Other studies pointed to the contribution of extramural English, i.e. exposure to English outside of a formal language learning setting, to English language learning. As part of the ORWELL project, we investigated the contribution of both motivational factors and extramural English to children’s English language learning. Participants were 284 monolingual (Dutch) and bilingual (Dutch-other language) primary school children (4th graders, 9-yrs olds). The results revealed that the children’s English receptive vocabulary is predicted by several types of extramural English, and that motivational factors play a minor role. These findings indicate that extramural English is critical to children’s English language learning. In contrast to adults, the role of motivation in young children learning English as a second language is relatively minor. The implications of these findings for the teaching of English as a second language in children will be discussed.

Laatst gewijzigd:30 oktober 2018 14:23