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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


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Academic Paper


Title: EFL learner collaborative interaction in Second Life
Author: Mark Peterson
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.users.kudpc.kyoto-u.ac.jp/~t51193/
Institution: Kyoto University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This paper reports on the task-based interaction of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners in the 3D multiuser virtual environment (MUVE) Second Life. The discussion first explores research on the precursors of MUVEs, text-based 2D virtual worlds known as MOOs. This is followed by an examination of studies on the use of MUVEs in Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). The discussion then focuses on an investigation of the Second Life-based text chat of learners located at a university in Japan. Data analysis reveals that the environment, and tasks, elicited types of collaborative interaction hypothesized as beneficial in the sociocultural account of language development. Collaborative interaction identified in the data involved peer-scaffolding focusing on lexis, and correction. The data further showed that the participants actively maintained a supportive atmosphere through the provision of utterances designed to signal interest, and the extensive use of positive politeness. These factors facilitated social cohesion, intersubjectivity, and the consistent production of coherent target language output focused on the tasks. Participant feedback was broadly positive, and indicates that specific features of Second Life such as individual avatars, coupled to the computer-based nature of the interaction, appeared to enhance discourse management, engagement, and participation. The findings suggest that Second Life provides an arena for learner centered social interaction that offers valuable opportunities for target language practice, and the development of autonomy. Areas of potential for future research are identified.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in ReCALL Vol. 24, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site .



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