Colloquia and Pre-Conference Workshops

Pre-Conference Workhops


Workshop 1:

Linear mixed-effects models

Organizer: Dr. Sara Peters (Newberry College)

Time: 2:00-5:00 pm, Wednesday, Oct. 22

This workshop will introduce participants to the background of multi-level modeling of experimental data. Participants will be walked through a working example from an SLA study, and introduced to the packages involved in multi-level modeling available in R statistical software. Additionally, participants who are interested in help with their own data can contact Dr. Peters ahead of time and there will be time scheduled at the end of the session to examine this data individually on a first-come first-served basis.

Workshop 2:

Eye tracking data analysis

Organizer: Dr. Marcus Johnson (SR Research)

Time: 2:00-5:00 pm, Wednesday, Oct. 22

The methodology of eye tracking is a useful tool for investigating the cognitive processes involved in spoken/written text comprehension.  In addition to allowing for relatively natural experimental paradigms, eye tracking can provide us with insight into the time course of processes like word identification, semantic access, and syntactic integration. The data that is involved in eye tracking studies can be intimidating to researchers who are new to this methodology.  Fortunately, over the past few decades, great strides have been made in creating specific operational definitions for dependent measures that can be extracted from eye tracking data and that map to specific cognitive processes.  Moreover, great strides have been made in creating tools for extracting these measures from the data.  This workshop will serve to provide instruction on practical techniques for retrieving dependent measures from eye tracking data from reading and visual world paradigms.  The workshop will include discussion of defining areas of interest, filtering/cleaning fixation data, changing/expanding areas of interest (e.g., to investigate parafoveal preview/spillover effects), and ultimately extracting these specific measures of interest from the eye tracking data


Overview of Colloquia


Colloquium 1: New Directions in CALL – Research, Tools, and Trends

Colloquium 2: Issues in the production & perception of phonological aspects of connected speech of L2 Spanish/French/ESL

Colloquium 3: The Roles of Individual Differences in Learning Chinese as a Foreign Language

Colloquium 4: Location, location, location: Thinking INside the box



Colloquium 1

Thursday, Oct. 23

New Directions in CALL – Research, Tools, and Trends

Organized by:

Lara Ducate, University of South Carolina

Lara Lomicka-Anderson, University of South Carolina

This colloquium reviews current innovation in CALL research, including trends, tools, and future directions. Each paper addresses a specific area of CALL research and includes: 1) a review of the current research; 2) an overview of relevant tools and applications; and 3) directions for the future. The colloquium concludes with a general discussion of future directions and foreseeable trends and innovations within CALL research.


Second Language Learning through Mobile Technology: A Contemporary Review of Literature

Abeer Mohammad, Andrea Lypka, Yao Liu, and Fahad Alharbi

University of South Florida

This review synthesizes research from 40 empirical studies (published in 2007 to 2013) on second language acquisition (SLA) through mobile-assisted language learning (MALL). The need for such a systematic review stems from: (a) the absence of a systematic review of the current literature; (b) the increased use of computer-assisted language learning (CALL)/MALL to facilitate SLA processes; and (c) the contemporary theoretical changes in the conceptualization of mobile learning.  The result reveals that many researchers focused primarily on (a) attitudes and perceptions toward MALL, (b) vocabulary and reading, and  (c), speaking and listening or speaking and listening comprehension.  Implications for SLA research include the call for more classroom-based research grounded in SLA and instructional design theories in the contexts of MALL and the global landscape of second language learning, robust methodologies, and the importance of learning outcomes and technology integration in the language learning curriculum.


CALL and Vocabulary Learning: A Review of Technology Types and Their Effectiveness

Ulugbek Nurmukhamedov

Northern Arizona University

This presentation is a review paper that examines Computer-Assisted Vocabulary Learning (CAVL) and reviews several experimental studies that looked at MALL,  web-based lexical resources (e.g., online dictionaries, corpora), TV programs/movies (e.g., subtitles), readings (e.g., glosses) as possible applications that promote CAVL in foreign language teaching.


CALLing for a more pedagogical view of plagiarism detection software

Ilka Kostka

Northeastern University

Most educators agree that the Internet and proliferation of electronic texts have considerably influenced the ways in which students conduct research and write academic texts. The Internet has also raised concerns for educators, who fear that students can easily plagiarize and/or purchase academic texts online. In response to these concerns, hundreds of institutions worldwide have purchased plagiarism detection software programs to manage inappropriate source use, an approach which remains highly contentious.

"Mira, mamá! Sin manos!": Can speech recognition tools be applied soundly for L2 speaking practice?

Thomas Plagwitz

Based on a recent language center and departmental implementation (see e.g. Workshop), this paper will give a brief overview over the current research status of the (known "hard task") of speech recognition as a prominent subset of the (recently much more widely discussed) automated Natural Language Processing, compare various engineering implementations that are more or less readily available to the end user (MS-Windows, Google (Chrome/Android), language learning material providers like Auralog), and discuss their possible application in SLA programs for speaking practice in various dictation exercises (including recognition samples from native speakers and language learners) and integration into language learner achievement ePortfolios.


Colloquium 2

Friday, October 24, 2014

Issues in the production & perception of phonological aspects of connected speech of L2 Spanish/French/ESL

Organized by:

D. Eric Holt

University of South Carolina

The presentations in this thematic colloquium address various issues regarding phonological aspects of when words are pronounced not in isolation but in connected speech in L2 Spanish and French, as well as ESL. Topics include acquiring (re)syllabification across word boundaries in Spanish and French, the reduced realization of intervocalic stops in ESL, the role of information structure and prosodic cues to interpret meaning, the use of a spoken corpus in teaching, psycholinguistic methodologies in testing recognition of (non)coincidence of word and syllable boundaries, the role of feedback, and the perception of foreign accentedness by learners.

Acquiring (Spanish) resyllabification across word-boundaries: Results from a picture task

Carolina González and Christine Weissglass

Florida State University

This study reports an acoustic analysis of durational and transitional properties in CV sequences across word-boundaries in a picture task in 33 L2 Spanish learners. The effects of transfer and pronunciation instruction are explored, and the results obtained are compared to those from a reading task by the same participants.


Across-word linking in connected speech in L2 Spanish

D. Eric Holt.

University of South Carolina

Careful styles of speech usually favor accurate production, but for connected speech we might expect increased fluency to lead to higher production of synalepha and final-consonant linking, but this is not fully the case. This study investigates variables like segment quality, prosodic boundaries, word class, mean length of utterance, and others.


What prevents non-native speaker linking in L2 French?

Nadine de Moras

University of Western Ontario

This study examines the NNS production of French liaisons andenchaînements compared to the production of Francophones; more specifically, the study examines the factors which prevent linking: the role of a L1, the phonetic components which prevent linking, and the role of three types of lexical frequency.


Go with the flow: Perception and production of reductionist features of connected speech in Spanish

Elena Paz-Vizcaya

Dublin Institute of Technology & Universidade da Coruña

This study incorporates authentic connected speech from a spoken corpus and the use of a slow-down algorithm to document productive and receptive intelligibility problems for L2 students of Spanish. It explores alternative methodologies, since the effectiveness of the slow-down tool was deemed inconclusive in previous studies.


Recognition of resyllabified words by L2 speakers of Spanish

Daniel Scarpace

University of Illinois at Urbana‑Champaign

This paper looks at recognition of resyllabified words in continuous speech, focusing on English learners of Spanish in both priming and eye-tracking experiments. Learners of Spanish must learn both that syllable and word boundaries do not always coincide in Spanish, and the language-specific behavior of word-final and initial /r/.


L2 learners’ perception of stress and foreign accent in a syllable-timed language

Elena Schoonmaker-Gates

Elon University

The present study investigates the perception of foreign accent by L1 English speakers learning Spanish. The results suggest that learners develop an understanding of what constitutes native-like timing in the L2 fairly early, confirming the utility of using perception as a tool for examining the learners’ interlanguage.


Production of stops in connected, spontaneous second-language speech

Miquel Simonet, Natasha Warner, Benjamin Tucker, Daniel Brenner, Maureen Hoffman, Alejandra Baltazar, Andrea Morales, Yamile Díaz, and Anna González

University of Arizona

We examine intervocalic stops in the L2 English of Spanish speakers differing in experience. We measure consonants from spontaneous conversation and from word-list reading, and from word-internal and word-final positions. Learners use L1-specific reduction processes in their L2, but they do so selectively—for some sound but not others.


Colloquium 3

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Roles of Individual Differences in Learning Chinese as a Foreign Language

Organized by:


San Francisco State University

This colloquium explores the multiple dimensions of learning Chinese as a Foreign Language (CFL), in particular, the roles of anxiety, motivation, and willingness to communicate play in CFL learners’ written production and global comprehension. Presentation 1 examines the complex factors affecting second language (L2) writing process and outcomes, such as task complexity, individual differences, and time. Presentation 2 studies the relationship between individual variations in affective variables among CFL learners and their acquisition of Chinese characters, measured by form, sound, and meaning recall. Presentation 3 discusses how willingness to communicate (WTC) along with its related antecedents—perceived competence and the communication anxiety—have an impact on CFL learning outcomes.


L2 Online Writing by Learners of Chinese: Task Complexity and Individual Differences

Yang Xiao, San Francisco State University

Ka Wong, St. Olaf College

This study examines the role of task-complexity in second language (L2) online writing in Chinese, and thus, aims to better understand the individual differences in L2 writing process. The project presents a 3-stage controlled lab experiment with 61 English-speaking learners of Chinese at three different levels of college language classes. Analyzing L2 learners’ online assistance- seeking behaviors in accomplishing different types of writing tasks, the goal is to investigate the various factors that affect L2 online writing performance, including individual differences, task complexity, and time allocation in writing processes.

Participant’s proficiency level was measured by a L2 Chinese Elicited Imitation test. Scales of writing anxiety, willingness to communicate, and L2 learning strategies were administered prior to the lab session. During the experiment session, each participant spent an hour finishing 2 subtasks of a general writing task on an internet-ready computer. A usability software (Morea) recorded the learner’s web searching and using activities, including keyword input, mouse movement, windows viewed, and time spent in each window. Two subtasks were different in terms of whether or not they require writers to seek unknown information online. Participants’ perceptions of task difficulty, task familiarity, and satisfaction with the completed tasks were also collected before and after each subtask.

Preliminary results indicated complex interactions among individual differences, task complexity, and writing performance. Findings showed that task type and task session did not affect learners’ task performance, but their task familiarity and task experience did. Learners’ effectiveness in finding useful pages and their time allocated to writing correlated with task performance; so did their reflected perceptions of task experience. Further, topic familiarity could lead to a higher writing efficiency, and task experience could lead to higher searching efficiency and effectiveness.


Individual Variation in Affective Factors in Chinese Character Learning

Yi Xu, Li-Yun Chang, and Charles Perfetti

University of Pittsburgh

In this project, we explore how individual variations among Chinese as a foreign language learners (CFL) in affective factors including general motivation and writing effort correspond to outcomes in character learning, measured by form, sound, and meaning recall. 48 first-year and 40 second-year CFL students participated, and learned 48 characters over four learning sessions. For general motivation, a questionnaire adapted from Wen (2011) was used. Learners’ self-reported experience and intended strategic efforts were found to correlate with gains from pretest to posttest scores. For writing effort, we examined how many times participants attempted to write a newly-learned character within a given time. Writing effort was found to correlate with gains in character form and pinyin recall.  We discuss how certain specific aspects of motivation are related to learning outcome, and how beginning and intermediate level learners are affected differently by these affective factors. 


Willingness to Communicate in Learning Chinese as a Foreign Language


St. Olaf College

The research investigated willingness to communicate (WTC) and its related antecedents and outcomes in learning Mandarin as a foreign language. The study examined the relationship between L2 WTC and two antecedents: the perceived competence and the communication anxiety. The outcomes of WTC investigated are the frequency of language use in Mandarin as an L2 and proficiency in the L2.

One hundred and seventy-nine Mandarin learners at five universities in the United States participated in the study. They are English native speakers and learners of Mandarin at various proficiency levels. The data were collected via a questionnaire to measure their language background, L2 WTC, and the two antecedents and one outcome (frequency of language use) for L2 WTC. In addition, a Mandarin elicited imitation task developed by the researcher was used to measure the participants’ Mandarin proficiency levels. The resulting evidence was analyzed and inspected via AMOS, the structural equation modeling (SEM), to test causal relationships among the variables.

The result shows that L2 communication anxiety predicts learners’ perceived competence. Learners who have lower communication anxiety in using the target language generally perceived themselves with higher competence in the language. When learners have higher perceived competence, they are more willing to communicate in Mandarin in classroom which leads to higher WTC outside classroom. In turn, when learners is more willing to communicate using the target language outside classroom, they will actually use Mandarin more frequently and are able to achieve higher proficiency levels. The study in the end provides the suggestions to reduce communication anxiety and enhance perceived competence, L2 WTC and eventually improve proficiency levels in classrooms of Mandarin learning.


Colloquium 4

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Location, location, location: Thinking INside the box

Organized by:

Ronald P. Leow

Georgetown University 

 “Theory meets practice”: This colloquium traces one theoretical, methodological, and empirical approach to investigating the construct of L2 learning with pedagogical implications for promoting learning in the L2 classroom.  The first presentation provides a Model of the L2 learning process in SLA (forthcoming) that is psycholinguistically-driven. Presentation 2 adopts a comparative and critical approach to the use of concurrent data elicitation procedures such as think alouds, eye-tracking, and response time employed to measure L2 processing and processes.  The next four empirical studies report (1) the findings of a study designed to test the early stages of the above-mentioned Model (presentation 3) and (2) the role of depth of processing in relation to different types of instructional exposure (presentation 4), simultaneous processing for form and meaning together with level of comprehension (presentation 5), and the explication of previously reported data on levels of awareness and the effects of type of feedback (presentation 6). The final empirical study (presentation 7) addresses the role of awareness in item or system learning and the colloquium concludes with one sample of a theoretically-driven and empirically supported CALL task premised on the roles of cognitive processes reported to be beneficial in promoting robust learning (presentation 8).

Presentation 1

Toward a Model of the L2 learning process in SLA

Ronald P. Leow

Georgetown University

This model views the learning process as comprising several testable processing and product stages from input to output. What is taken into working memory in the early stages is postulated to come from several types of intake (attended, detected, or noticed) dependent minimally upon the allocation of attention. Preliminary intake, comprising the first exemplar of linguistic data, may be further processed one of two ways (minimal data-driven processing leading to item learning or conceptually-driven processing leading to potential system learning) depending upon depth or level of processing and/or cognitive effort.  The process of activation of prior knowledge is also viewed from two perspectives, namely, old information and newly processed information. The combination of prior knowledge activation, depth of processing, and potential higher level of awareness takes place in the intake processing stage and allows linguistic data to be restructured if necessary and stored within the system learning component. 

Presentation 2

Methodological considerations in the study of cognitive processes in L2 learning

Sarah Grey, Pennsylvania State University

Silvia Marijuan, Georgetown University

Colleen Moorman, Georgetown University

In order to enhance the quality and explanatory power of SLA research it is crucial that researchers ensure that the methods used to measure cognitive processes, processing, and learning outcomes are accurate and indeed capture the factors of interest. This paper reviews three increasingly used methods in the study of cognitive processes involved in early stages of L2 learning: think-alouds, eye-tracking, and reaction time measures. We take a comparative and critical approach in reviewing the historical context of these three measures and evaluating how they have been used in recent SLA research on L2 processes. Additionally, we review not only the contributions that these methods can make to the body of SLA knowledge on L2 processes but also underscore the limitations of the measures. Finally, we provide suggestions for reliably and meaningfully employing these methods in future research.


Presentation 3

Putting the Model of the L2 learning process in SLA (forthcoming) to the test

Annie Calderon

Georgetown University

This study sought to test the early stages of the Model of the L2 learning process in SLA (forthcoming) and also examine the effects of type of linguistic item. To address the relationships between (1) levels of intake and (2) depth of processing and subsequent recognition, production, and comprehension of a grammatical form and lexical items, two concurrent data elicitation procedures (eye-tracking and think alouds) were employed while Beginning Spanish participants read the experimental L2 text.  Results revealed (1) significant differences in grammatical and lexical recognition between the highest and lower intake groups, and (2) significant relationships between (a) DOP and grammatical production and comprehension and (b) DOP and lexical recognition ability. These results lend empirical support for the Model’s postulations regarding the early intake stage of the L2 learning process and the facilitative role of DOP in L2 development while highlighting the inherent differences between types of linguistic item. 


Presentation 4

Processing the Spanish imperfect subjunctive: The effects of different instructional types and depth of processing

Sergio Adrada-Rafael

Fairfield University

This study investigates the effects that different types of instruction have on the learning of the Spanish imperfect subjunctive in conditional sentences and the role depth of processing plays while performing a reading task during type of instructional exposure. Participants of Intermediate Spanish were randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions (+ Explicit + Think aloud (TA), + Explicit - TA, - Explicit + TA, - Explicit - TA), and to two baseline conditions (+/- TA, - instruction). The – TA groups were included to control for any potential reactivity. At treatment, they read a passage, with some of them thinking aloud.  Assessment tasks were a production and an interpretation task and the design was a pretest – treatment – immediate and delayed post-test two weeks later. Results will be discussed in terms of their relevance and contribution to a better understanding of the cognitive processes employed during the L2 learning process.


Presentation 5

Processing for form and meaning: Does comprehension matter?

Allison Caras

Georgetown University

Recent studies (Hsieh, Moreno, & Leow, forthcoming; Leow, Hsieh & Moreno, 2008; Morgan-Short, Heil, Botero-Moriarty, & Ebert, 2012) have reported a potential role for depth of processing in the early stages of the L2 learning process.  In the latter two studies, whether level of comprehension (62% and below) played a role in the findings was not addressed. To this end, the current study probes deeper into the role of depth of processing by addressing the role of comprehension during L2 processing.  Employing the same research design and experimental text of previous studies, 29 participants of Beginning Spanish were exposed to a glossed text while think alouds were gathered as they processed the experimental text. The data will be submitted to a One-Way ANOVA for analysis and results will be reported at the colloquium.


Presentation 6

Depth of processing to explicate long-term effects with differential types of feedback

Nina Moreno

University of South Carolina


Depth of processing to explicate long-term effects with differential types of feedback

The beneficial role of awareness in L2 development has not only been reported in the SLA literature but also several levels of awareness, namely, awareness at the levels of noticing, reporting, and understanding, have been identified (Leow, 1997, 2001; Rosa & O’Neill, 1999; Rosa & Leow, 2004b; Sachs & Suh, 2007). The general trend shows that the higher the reported level of awareness, the better the performance at post-tests. In Moreno (2007), participants who received explicit feedback outperformed the less explicit group and yielded more instances of awareness at the level of understanding. Counterintuitively, the more explicit feedback group also had a significant drop in gain scores at the delayed post-test compared to the less explicit group. In an effort to explicate these findings, this study will recode and report Moreno’s (2007) data in relation to depth of processing, following the Model of the L2 learning process in SLA (forthcoming).


Presentation 7

Awareness and system learning

Katherine Vadella

Georgetown University

While previous studies on level of awareness and participants’ ability to recognize and produce target forms following exposure to new items (e.g., Leow, 2001; Rosa & Leow, 2004; Sachs & Suh, 2007) all used morphological elements and syntactic structures as their target forms, none of them used lexical items bounded by a phonological rule. Additionally, given that not all of these studies (e.g., Leow, 2001) investigated participants’ ability to generalize a pattern/rule for novel exemplars of target forms, further probing into the role of awareness in system or item learning is warranted. The present study addresses both gaps by investigating Beginning Spanish participants’ ability to generalize a phonological rule (a set of feminine Spanish nouns obligatorily taking the definite masculine article el) while performing a problem-solving task.  Think aloud protocols will be gathered to operationalize and measure awareness and performance will be measured on a recognition and written production task.


Presentation 8

Promoting more robust L2 learning: One psycholinguistic-based sample

Ronald P. Leow

Georgetown University

Based on the Model, this sample task has been designed to encourage students’ usage of crucial learner processes such as learner attention, depth of processing, levels of awareness, conceptually-driven processing (activation of prior knowledge), and working memory to promote deeper learning of the problematic Spanish gustar verb. Two major task features are “task-essentialness” (Loschky & Bley-Vroman, 1993) and concurrent feedback provided as students perform the task.  The task has a problem-solving format that promotes a relatively deep level of processing and encourages students to make hypotheses and rule formation as they attempt to solve the problem via several stages of the task. As they receive more feedback, they begin to confirm or disconfirm their initial hypotheses. This in turn allows them not only to process the information more carefully but also potentially raise their awareness of the linguistic form or structure at the level of understanding the underlying grammatical rule.