Oral English performance in Danish primary school children: An interactional usage-based approach

Main Article Content

Søren W. Eskildsen
Teresa Cadierno

Abstract

Following the call in Sandlund, Sundqvist, and Nyroos (2016) for incorporating discursive approaches into the field of oral second language (L2) testing, this paper proposes an interactional usage-based approach to the analysis of oral L2 performance. Based on Eskildsen (2018a), we combine analytic tools from usage-based linguistics and conversation analysis. We draw on usage-based linguistics to analyze performance in terms of test-takers’ inventories of linguistic constructions and on conversation analysis to understand their interactional competence in terms of the relation between the linguistic constructions and the actions they are used to accomplish. Performance assessment is thus constructional and interactional. Participants in this pilot study were two Danish primary school children who performed two consecutive oral tasks: a semi-guided interview and a picture-elicited narrative task. Data were analyzed by means of cross-child comparisons and cross-task comparisons within each child. Our data confirm the observation from previous research that simple question-answer(-assessment) sequences dominate oral test formats, but also that the format is sometimes abandoned, which allows for the accomplishment of new social actions. Moreover, the picture-description task affords a different speech exchange system with the interviewer participating more as an active listener when the children do not voluntarily carry out the requested task.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Eskildsen, S. W., & Cadierno, T. (2020). Oral English performance in Danish primary school children: An interactional usage-based approach. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 10(3), 523-546. https://doi.org/10.14746/ssllt.2020.10.3.6
Section
Articles
Author Biographies

Søren W. Eskildsen, University of Southern Denmark, Sønderborg

Søren Wind Eskildsen, PhD, is Associate Professor of Second Language (L2) Acquisition at the University of Southern Denmark in Sønderborg. His primary research interest concerns the usage-based processes and practices in L2 learning, in situ and over time, as seen through the lenses of usage-based models of language and conversation analysis. Other interests include the role of gestures and other embodied conduct in L2 learning and interaction. He works with both in- and out-of-class L2 data and with both adult and child L2 learning. His recent publications include the coedited volume Conversation Analytic Research on Learning-in-Action: The Complex Ecology of Second Language Interaction ‘in the Wild’ (2019, Springer). He is the founding co-editor of the book-series Routledge Advances in Second Language Studies.

Contact details: University of Southern Denmark, Department of Design and Communication, Alsion 2, 6400 Sønderborg, Denmark (swe@sdu.dk)

Teresa Cadierno, University of Southern Denmark, Odense

Teresa Cadierno, PhD, is Professor of Second Language Acquisition and director of the Center for Language Learning at the University of Southern Denmark. Her research interests include instructed second language acquisition, with special focus on the acquisition of grammar by L2 learners, the role of formal instruction in L2 learning and more recently, the role of age in foreign language learning; and the investigation of L2 acquisition from cognitive/usage-based perspectives, with special focus on the development of thinking-for-speaking patterns in second languages. She has co-edited Linguistic Relativity in SLA: Thinking for Speaking (2010, Multilingual Matters), Usage-Based Perspectives on Second Language Learning (2016, Mouton de Gruyter) and Lingüística cognitiva y español LE/L2 (2019, Routledge). In 1996 she received the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages – Modern Language Journal (ACTFL – MLJ) Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in Foreign Language Education. Her research has been financed by funding bodies such as the Velux Foundation, the Danish Research Council for Independent Research and the Marie Curie Multi-Partner ITN program.

Contact details: Department of Language and Communication, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, DK 5230 Odense M, Denmark (cadierno@sdu.dk)

References

  1. Bachman, L. (1990). Fundamental considerations in language testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. Bates, E., & MacWhinney, B. (1988) What is functionalism? Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, 27, 137-152.
  3. Benitoz-Quieroz, C. F., Wilbur, R. B., & Martinez, A. M. (2016). The not face: A grammaticalization of facial expressions of emotion. Cognition, 150, 77-84.
  4. Brouwer, C. E. (2003). Word searches in NNS-NS interaction: Opportunities for language learning? Modern Language Journal, 87(4), 534-545.
  5. Burch, A. R. (2014). Pursuing information: A conversation analytic perspective on communication Strategies. Language Learning, 64(3), 651-684.
  6. Cadierno, T., & Eskildsen, S. W. (2018). The younger, the better?: A usage-based approach to learning and teaching of English in Danish primary schools. Project report. European Journal of Applied Linguistics, 6(1), 171-182.
  7. Cadierno, T., Hansen, M, Eskildsen, S. W., Hannibal-Jensen, S., Fenyvesi, K., & aus der Wieschen, M. (2020). Does younger mean better? Age of onset, learning rate and short-term L2 proficiency in Danish young learners of English. Vigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 17, 57-86.
  8. Canale, M., & & Swain, M. (1980). Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics, 1(1), 1-47.
  9. Danish Ministry of Education. (2019). Engelsk Læseplan [English curriculum]. Retrieved from https://emu.dk/sites/default/files/2019-08/GSK-Læseplan-Engelsk.pdf
  10. Ellis, N. C. (2002). Frequency effects in language acquisition: A review with implications for theories of implicit and explicit language acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 24, 143-188.
  11. Ellis, N. C., & Ferreira-Junior, F. (2009). Construction learning as a function of frequency, frequency distribution, and function. Modern Language Journal, 93(3), 370-385.
  12. Enever, J. (2011). Early language learning in Europe (ELLiE). London: British Council.
  13. Eskildsen, S. W. (2011). The L2 inventory in action: Conversation analysis and usage-based linguistics in SLA. In G. Pallotti & J. Wagner (Eds.), L2 Learning as social practice: Conversation-analytic perspectives (pp. 337-373). Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i, National Foreign Language Resource Center.
  14. Eskildsen, S. W. (2012). L2 negation constructions at work. Language Learning, 62(2), 335-372.
  15. Eskildsen, S. W. (2015). What counts as a developmental sequence? Exemplar-based L2 learning of English questions. Language Learning, 65(1), 33-62.
  16. Eskildsen, S. W. (2018a). Building a semiotic repertoire for social action: Interactional competence as biographical discovery. Classroom Discourse 9(1), 68-76.
  17. Eskildsen, S. W. (2018b). L2 constructions and interactional competence: Subordination and coordination in English L2 learning. In A. Tyler, L. Huang, & H. Jan (Eds.), What is applied cognitive linguistics? Answers from current SLA research (pp. 63-97). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  18. Eskildsen, S. W., & Cadierno, T. (2007). Are recurring multi-word expressions really syntactic freezes? Second language acquisition from the perspective of usage-based linguistics. In M. Nenonen & S. Niemi (Eds.), Collocations and idioms 1: Papers from the first Nordic conference on syntactic freezes (pp. 86-99). Joensuu: Joensuu University Press.
  19. Eskildsen, S. W., & Cadierno, T. (2015). Advancing usage-based approaches to L2 studies. In T. Cadierno & S. W. Eskildsen (Eds.), Usage-based perspectives on second language learning (pp. 1-18). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  20. Eskildsen, S. W., & Kasper, G. (2019). Interactional usage-based L2 pragmatics: From form-meaning pairings to construction-action relations. In N. Taguchi (Ed.), The handbook of second language acquisition and pragmatics (pp. 176-191). New York, NY: Routledge.
  21. Goodwin, C., & Goodwin, M. (1986). Gesture and co-participation in the activity of searching for a word. Semiotica, 62, 51-75.
  22. He, A. W., & Young, R. (1998). Language proficiency interviews: A discourse approach. In R. Young & A. W. He (Eds.), Talking and testing. Discourse approaches to the assessment of oral proficiency (pp. 1-24). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  23. Heaton, J. B. (1966). Composition through pictures. London: Longman (reprinted 1972).
  24. Hopper, P. (1998). Emergent grammar. In M. Tomasello (Ed.), The new psychology of language: Cognitive and functional approaches to language structure (Vol. 1, pp. 155-175). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  25. Housen, A., & Kuiken, F. (2009). Complexity, accuracy, and fluency in second language acquisition. Applied Linguistics, 30(4), 461-473.
  26. Hutchby, I. & Wooffitt, R. (2008). Conversation Analysis. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  27. Karrebæk, M. (2011). At blive et børnehavebarn [Becoming a kindergarten child]. Copenhagen: Copenhagen University Press.
  28. Kasper, G., & Ross, S. J. (2013). Assessing second language pragmatics: An overview and introductions. In S. J. Ross & G. Kasper (Eds.), Assessing second language pragmatics (pp. 1-40). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  29. Kasper, G., & Wagner, J. (2014). Conversation Analysis in applied linguistics. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 34, 171-212.
  30. Levinson, S. C. (2013). Action formation and ascription. In T. Stivers & J. Sidnell (Eds.), The handbook of conversation analysis (pp. 103-130). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
  31. Lieven, E., Salomo, D., & Tomasello, M. (2009). Two-year-old children’s production of multiword utterances: A usage-based analysis. Cognitive Linguistics, 20(3), 481-507.
  32. McKay, P. (2006). Assessing young language learners. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  33. McNamara, T., & Roever, C. (2006). Language testing: The social dimension. Oxford: Blackwell.
  34. Nevile, M. (2015). The embodied turn in research on language and social interaction. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 48, 121-151.
  35. Muñoz, C. (Ed.). (2006). Age and the rate of foreign language learning. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
  36. Nikolov, M. (Ed.). (2016a). Assessing young learners of English: Global and local perspectives. New York: Springer.
  37. Nikolov, M. (2016b). Trends, issues, and challenges in assessing young language learners. In M. Nikolov (Ed.), Assessing young learners of English: Global and local perspectives (pp. 1-17). New York: Springer.
  38. Pekarek Doehler, S. (2018). Elaborations on L2 interactional competence: The development of L2 grammar-for-interaction. Classroom Discourse 9(1), 3-24.
  39. Rea-Dickins, P. (2000). Assessment in early years language learning contexts. Language Testing, 17(2), 115-122.
  40. Roeher-Brackin, K. (2014). Explicit knowledge and processes from a usage‐based perspective: The developmental trajectory of an instructed L2 learner. Language Learning, 64(4), 771-808.
  41. Roever, C., & Kasper, G. (2018). Speaking in turns and sequences: Interactional competence as a target construct in testing speaking. Language Testing, 35(3), 331-355.
  42. Salaberry, R., & Kunitz, S. (Eds.). (2019). Teaching and testing L2 interactional competence: Bridging theory and practice. New York: Routledge.
  43. Sandlund, E., Sundqvist, P., & Nyroos, L. (2016). Testing L2 talk: A review of empirical studies on second language oral proficiency testing. Language and Linguistics Compass, 10(1), 14-29.
  44. Schegloff, E. A. (2007). Sequence organization in interaction. A primer in Conversation Analysis (Vol. 1). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  45. Sert, O., & Walsh, S. (2013). The interactional management of claims of insufficient knowledge in English language classrooms. Language and Education, 27(6), 542-565.
  46. Skehan, P. (2009). Modelling second language performance: Integrating complexity, accuracy, fluency, and lexis. Applied Linguistics, 30(4), 510-532.
  47. Sternberg, R. J., & Grigorenko, E. L. (2002). Dynamic testing: The nature and measurement of learning potential. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  48. Tode, T., & Sakai, H. (2016). Exemplar-based instructed second language development and Classroom experience. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 167(2), 210-234.
  49. Tomasello, M. (2003). Constructing a language. A usage-based theory of language acquisition. Cambridge, MA: Harward University Press.
  50. van Compernolle, R. A. (2011). Responding to questions and L2 learner interactional competence during language proficiency interviews: A microanalytic study with pedagogical implications. In J. K. Hall, J. Hellermann, & S. Pekarek Doehler (Eds.), L2 Interactional competence and development (pp. 117-144). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
  51. Youn, S. J. (2015). Validity argument for assessing L2 pragmatics in interaction using mixed methods. Language Testing, 32(2), 199-225.