Archive for the 'lang teaching techniques' Category

Infant-directed speech facilitates lexical learning in adults hearing Chinese: implications for language acquisition

Golinkoff, R.M. & Alioto, A. (1995). Infant-directed speech facilitates lexical learning in adults hearing Chinese: implications for language acquisition. J Child Lang, 22, 703-720.

Characteristics and functions of ID speech (compared to ADS)

  • slower speech rate
  • extended frequency rage
  • higher overal fundamental frequency
  • repeated pitch contours
  • marked intensity shiefts
  • longer pauses
  • simplified vocab
  • lengthened vowels

Advantages of CDS

  • intonational highlighting increases perceptual salience (Bock & Mazzella, 1983)
  • seems to communicate positive affect (smiles from young infants are more effectively elicited by high-pitched human voice than by visual or other auditory stimuli – Wolf, 1963)
  • increases eye-gaze in children (Santarcangelo & Dyer, 1988)
  • generates greater attentiveness (Werker & McLeod, 1989)
  • helps early word learning when highlighted word is at the end of a sentence due to both quality of input and recency effect (Fernald & Mazzie, 1991)

Exp 1: Can lexical learning (in foreign lang) for adults be facilitated by IDS?

  • Monolingual Eng speakers assigned to either ID group or AD group
  • Subjs looked at slides of common objects and hear an audio naming and talking about the objects in Chinese. Subjs asked to look at slide and focus on what is being siad.
  • Test: Given 10 numbered Chinese words with 3 choices of English words to choose from. Then heard a speaker name those words in ADS and had to choose the correct Eng equivalent.
  • Results: ID group (~65%) > AD group (~40% correct)

Exp 2: Does IDS help when placed in any part of the sentence or only in the final position?

  • Subjs divided into 2 groups: target word medial and target word final (position)
  • Same procedures as Exp 1
  • Results: There was an interaction between IDS and sentence position. That is, IDS only had an effect on lexical learning when the target word was in the utterance-final position.
  • IDS final > ADS final=IDS media



Language Learner Behaviour in a Virtual Environment

Roed, J. (2003). Language learner behaviour in a virtual environment. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 16, 155-172.

Goal of study: To create guidelines for students and teachers of less widely taught languages on how to create a virtual language department


  1. Can’t just transfer classroom practices to a virtual world. To be effective, must have a different structure and different set of contents.
  2. People’s online behavior can be different compared to real life. After learning the language from the game, can this knowledge be transferred to understanding in real life?
  3. People are less inhibited when communicating via computer than in face-to-face situation. “A shield from being on-stage”
  4. Teachers report online discussions to be more active than in-class discussions.
  5. Factors that affect students not speaking out in classroom: not feeling attractive & people ignoring your comments


1.  There are several strategies we can use to learn language. The most anxiety-provoking/uncomfortable, yet rated as most effective are:

  • start L2 conversation
  • finding the courage to speak when afraid
  • actively look for conversation
  • find ways to use L2
  • ask questions in L2

2. Self-awareness hinders language learning.

Duval and Wickland’s 2-component self-awareness model (1972):

Private self-awareness (awareness of individual motives and goals) – Desire to learn L2 so they can pass exams and communicate with native speakers

Public self-awareness (awareness of possibility of being assessed) – even though students can be happy with their level of proficiency, when starting to communicate, they are open to a medley of humiliations

3. Student anxiety reduced when question is e-mailed. And when they get a response, they can take as much time as they want to understand the answer correctly BEFORE THEY RESPOND.

A problem here might be that virtual language learning may not accurately reflect real life.

Look up: How much time do anxiety patients get to respond in video games to treat phobias?

4. Disinhibition – any behavior characterized by apparent reduction in concerns for self-presentation and judgment of others. The internet generates disinhibition due to low physical distance and low social presence

The study

  • There was a virtual “party at Buckingham Palace” to celebrate the 50th jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The grounds were actually a chat room in WebCT.
  • Students were sitting in the same room, task was undemanding so all students could participate regardless of level of proficiency.
  • Each student was given the identity of someone famous and the task was to interview each other and find out the identities of their fellow guests.
  • Problem with webct = took time to load stuff on screen when network was loaded = frustration. The advantage of a non-networked video game is no server lag.

Lag = time it takes from pressing return key and until message shows up on chatter’s screen. Lag of 2-3 seconds is acceptable to most. Drastic irritation when it goes up to 8-9 seconds or more.

In real life, an 8-9s delay might mean that the person is thinking of an answer but you could still infer what’s going on from body language and context. but when u can’t see those things using a chatroom, you think you’re being ignored.



  1. no accents to distract
  2. no time pressure and no interruptions from teachers/classmates (very important issues for people with anxiety)
  3. no immediate reactions such as giggles or eyebrow raises
  4. students that would never display active participation in classroom are more likely to participate online (good for shy students)


  1. Advanced students will sometimes get bored with other students.
  2. Lag
  3. Latecomers are seldom acknowledged.
  4. Anonymity can be bad for extroverts who want attention, but extroverts are better language learners anyway.
  5. Students can’t choose to communicate entirely by e-mail or in chat for the rest of their lives, although virtual environments can act as scaffolding of confidence.