L2 Journal

The L2 Journal is a fully refereed, interdisciplinary journal which aims to promote the research and the practice of language learning and teaching. It publishes articles in English on all aspects of applied linguistics broadly conceived, i.e., second language acquisition, second language pedagogy, bilingualism and multilingualism, language and technology, curriculum development and teacher training, testing and evaluation.

This site provides a list of all article titles and the opening lines of the abstract, together with links to the article on the L2 Journal site; for the full abstracts, articles, citation information and complete search capability, please go to the L2 eScholarship site.

Current Issue: Volume 8 Issue 4

Transdisciplinary Approaches to Language Learning and Teaching in Transnational Times: Introduction to the Special Issue

The initial ideas for this special issue transpired from an invited symposium panel, “Interdisciplinary Approaches for Language Teaching and Learning in Contemporary and Transnational Spaces,” that I organized for the 2014 AILA (Association Internationale de la Linguistique Appliquée) World Congress in Brisbane, Australia. With the acceleration of globalization, mobility, technological change, and the continued rise of youth with transnational identities and complex linguistic practices, I was compelled to talk about the need for …

Reconceptualising Learning in Transdisciplinary Languages Education

Understanding and working with the complexity of second language learning and use in an intercultural orientation necessitates a re-examination of the different theories of learning that inform the different schools of second language acquisition (SLA). This re-examination takes place in a context where explicitly conceptualizing the nature of learning in SLA has not been sufficiently foregrounded. It also necessitates understanding how language itself, as the substance or object of learning a second language, is conceptualized. Neither the theorization of learning, nor of language on its own is sufficient to provide an adequate account of second language learning for contemporary times. In particular, this paper argues …

A Transdisciplinary Approach to Examining and Confidence-Boosting the Experiences of Chinese Teachers of Chinese in Finland

With the current rise of China as a political, cultural, and economic superpower, Chinese as a foreign and second language has gained popularity worldwide. Finland is also responding to this global wave, as is reflected by the increasing number of Chinese courses in formal and informal settings in the Nordic country. Yet not all actors involved in the promotion of Chinese seem to experience instruction in the language in the same way. This study investigates how Chinese teachers of the Chinese language, who represent the majority of the ‘workforce’ for instruction in this language in Finland, perceive Chinese language education and their role in it…

Translations and Paradoxes of ‘Western’ Pedagogy: Perspectives of English Language Teachers in a Chinese College

This paper engages the perspectives of teachers working in an English language department of a vocational college in China. It takes a transdisciplinary approach, applying constructs from the fields of comparative education, postcolonial theories in education, and critical applied linguistics to a case study of English language teaching; while the study assumes somewhat one-way flows of ‘best practices’ from ‘West’ to ‘East,’ it maintains a postcolonial skepticism of the East-West binary and of essentialist notions of culture and progressive education. Specifically, it situates the shifting conditions and practices of so-called Western pedagogies in China under heightened transnationalism …

Whose ‘Crisis in Language’? Translating and the Futurity of Foreign Language Learning

This contribution questions to whom and to whose learning experience has the idiom of crisis that so pervades the domain of U.S. foreign language teaching been addressed. The authors report on an advanced foreign language classroom-based study from 2013, in which undergraduate German learners translated a 14-page prose poem about translingual experience—“Das Klangtal” (“The Sound Valley”) by British-Austrian poet and translator Peter Waterhouse (2003). The course—located at a university in the American Southwest—created an opportunity for the students and the instructor to reflect on a constellation of relations—transdisciplinarity, translingualism, and transcontextuality—often perceived under the aegis of a “crisis” of the subject. Through an analysis of the students’ reflections as translators, readers, and languagers, the study considers …

Localizing the Transdisciplinary in Practice: A Teaching Account of a Prototype Undergraduate Seminar on Linguistic Landscape

Building upon paradigms of language and languaging practices as local phenomena (Canagarajah, 2013; Pennycook, 2010, Pietikäinen & Kelly-Holmes, 2013), this paper narrates a teacher’s experience in an undergraduate seminar in applied language studies as an exploration in transdisciplinarity-as-localization. Taught by the author in 2012-2013, the seminar was intended as an introduction to the politics of societal multilingualism as visible in the linguistic landscape of public texts. As such, it relied upon …

Volume 8 Issue 3

Symbolic Competence in Interaction: Mutuality, Memory, and Resistance in a Peer Tutoring Context

Symbolic competence (Kramsch, 2009, 2011) has been proposed as a crucial addition to world language learning, as it enables a language learner to negotiate the complex symbolism of words, expressions, and discursive events from the target culture in order to reference them effectively and in the appropriate contexts. However, fostering symbolic competence is still a challenge within the day to day reality of the world language classroom. Moreover, there is still little research on what symbolic competence looks like in interaction. In this article I examine a peer tutoring context as one possibility for examining symbolic competence in interaction. Using a close discourse analysis …

Creating a Social Context Through Film: Teaching L2 Pragmatics as a Locally Situated Process

Pragmatics is an underrepresented area in L2 instruction, in spite of disciplinary emphasis on communicative skills (de Pablos-Ortega, 2011; Eisenchlas, 2011). Films have been shown to be capable of mitigating this lack of pedagogically prepared materials (Abrams, 2014; Kambara, 2011; Fernández-Guerra, 2008; Grant & Starks, 2001; Washburn, 2001), and may provide scaffolding for teaching pragmatics as a dynamic, context-dependent phenomenon. In line with current research in pragmatics …

Volume 8 Issue 2

“I Thought That When I was in Germany, I Would Speak Just German”: Language Learning and Desire in Twenty-first Century Study Abroad

We live in a time of unmatched global mobility and correspondingly, the number of U.S.-American students studying abroad continues to increase. For years now, applied linguists have displayed an increased interest in study abroad students’ perspectives and desires about second language (L2) learning and use while abroad. Yet few studies have analyzed how these students’ beliefs and desires are shaped by the broader discourses regarding monolingualism and diversity that surround them. This paper thus investigates the experiences of two U.S.-American students during their year abroad in Marburg Germany, considering …

Politicizing Study Abroad: Learning Arabic in Egypt and Mandarin in China

This paper examines ideologies of American study abroad in politically and culturally “non-Western” countries. Drawing from the theory of orientalism (Said, 1978), we analyze how American public discourse on study abroad for learners of Mandarin and Arabic manifests an orientalist thinking, and how such macro discourse both produces multilingual subjects (Kramsch, 2010) and considerable tensions with the micro discourses of these subjects. Our findings show …

An Activity Theoretical Approach to Social Interaction During Study Abroad

This case study examines the orientation to social interaction by one study abroad student who spent a semester in Spain. Using an activity theoretical approach, the findings indicate that the student did not only view social interaction with his Spanish host family and a expert-Spanish-speaking age peer as an opportunity for second language (L2) learning, but also had other goals for the interactions such as relationship building and enjoyment. The analysis further highlights …

Echoes of Postfeminism in American Students’ Narratives of Study Abroad in France

In qualitative research on Americans in study abroad contexts, female gender often emerges as problematic, with young women portrayed as hapless victims of sexual harassment. The assumption underlying interpretation of these studies appears to maintain that female students are victimized because they find themselves in places where inherently superior American discourses of gender equity do not prevail. Meanwhile, however, scrutiny of participants’ stories reveals deeper mysteries, to do with  gender trouble from home that students bring to their experiences abroad. This paper adopts a narrative approach to interview and journal data from a previous study in which …

Becoming Global Elites Through Transnational Language Learning?: The Case of Korean Early Study Abroad in Singapore

Since the late 1990s, early study abroad (ESA) in English-speaking countries has been a popular educational strategy for pre-university Korean students to acquire important language skills such as global English, which is imagined to help them prepare for the competition in global educational and occupational market. However, as ESA, commonly known as jogi yuhak, became a prominent educational strategy among Korean middle class Korean, the destination for Korean Study Abroad began to diversify, showing significant increase of Korean Study Abroad in non-Western countries. For instance, Singapore has emerged …