Foreign language learning

  • Hanne-Leeth ANDERSEN (Århus, Danemark)
    The application of Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in the new programmes of French in Denmark
    2006, Vol. XI-1, pp. 45-60

    Recently we have been witnessing a didactic evolution in language teaching in Denmark which is quite manifest in the teaching of French. This evolution is the result of adoption of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and a slow step towards a more communicative teaching with clearer goals ensuring a progression and a more pronounced awareness of this progression in acquisition. This evolution is based on research in which begins to influence more directly the national teaching programmes. The present article analyses the programmes and the initiatives in primary and secondary school teaching and in teacher education, and treats some problems which remain to be solved (choices of grammatical description and target language, integration of culture in language teaching).


  • Galina BOUBNOVA (Moscou, Russie)
    Phonetic correctness: the case of the teaching of French to Russophone learners and Russian to French learners
    2006, Vol. XI-1, pp. 7-19

    In learning the phonetics of a foreign language an adult student takes in new sounds still sustaining the definitive influence of the phonological categorization of his or her mother tongue. In Russia phonetic correction mainly makes use of such methods as visual display as well as tactile and motive drills aimed at developing articulation. By making pronunciation subordinate to myoneural control that procedure virtually disregards the prosodic component of the speech. Teaching foreign language prosody as presented in this article is based on the fact that a student cannot only hear but also see the appropriate audio signal. The use of the visual channel enhances work on the prosody of a language to be studied both at the stage of its perception and at the stage of production.


  • Angela CHAMBERS (Limerick, Irlande)
    Learning Second Language Written Expression with the Aid of a Specialised Corpus
    2010, Vol. XV-2, pp. 9-20

    Originally created to provide data for linguistic research, corpora are increasingly attracting the attention of researchers in applied linguistics. This study raises and discusses a number of issues concerning the consultation of a specialised corpus of research articles in French by teachers and writers (in both cases non-native speakers of French), writing essays, theses and research articles. A one-million word corpus of research articles in French (Chambers & Le Baron 2007) will be used as an example. After examining issues relating to the creation of the corpus and giving a brief account of publications on the use of corpora as a resource for writing, pedagogic applications of the corpus will be discussed, taking the use of the first person plural, nous, as an example. This will enable us to assess the potential of specialised corpora in language learning and teaching in general and, more particularly, in the learning and teaching of writing.


  • Andrew D. COHEN (Minneapolis, États-Unis)
    The Use of Translation Strategies in Coping with Language Learning Difficulties
    2001, Vol. VI-1, pp. 99-105

    Drawing on learner verbal report, this paper describes ways in which verbal report data reflecting the use of mental and written translation strategies have provided insights into language learning and language use. The paper characterizes the use of mental translation strategies, considers the choice between mental and written translation, and then deals with translation strategies in the different modalities.


  • Piet DESMET (Lille 3)
    Teaching and learning languages in the digital era: recent tendencies and challenges
    2006, Vol. XI-1, pp. 119-138

    Due to the rise of the digital era, ICT has become one of the basic teaching tools of any language teacher and the language classroom, or at least part of it, has turned into a digital environment. In this contribution, we comment on seven tendencies which have emerged recently in the domain of computer assisted language learning (CALL). Each tendency is illustrated through a selection of recent projects realized within our research group ALT, Research Center on CALL.


  • Sylvain DETEY (Tokyo, Japon)
    Learners of French and pronunciation norms in the FL : what input do we need to reach what results
    2012, Vol. XVII-1, pp. 81-96

    In the field of French language education, the developments of corpus linguistics have spurred a reassessment of the importance of pedagogical norms and linguistic variation in teaching curricula. In this article, we focus on the phonetic-phonological dimension of the teaching/learning process and, after a short glance at pronunciation models in French, we examine the impact of sociolinguistic descriptions of varieties of French on pronunciation education. Referring to the notions of 'errors' and 'accents' among non-native speakers, we point out the need for broad and systematic corpus-based studies, comparable with native databases. Finally, we introduce the InterPhonologie du français contemporain project and look at the notion of non-native norms, both from theoretical and applied perspectives.


  • Martine DREYFUS (Montpellier 3)
    Teaching and learning of French in Africa: balance and development in 40 years of research
    2006, Vol. XI-1, pp. 73-84

    This paper shows how research on variation in spoken French and studies on languages in contact in West Africa have changed attitudes towards the French language and its teaching. There has been an ever increasing amount of research interest in acquisition of French in Africa over the last years and these studies might also have changed attitudes and perceptions towards learning French. The current research is focused on the analysis of classroom interactions. Both the constitution of a large corpus on acquisition and learning of French and the prospects for a revival or change in teaching methods and training are related here.


  • Marie-Laure ELALOUF (Cergy-Pontoise)
    Connectors in French ministerial directives and textbooks (French L1/English L2)
    2011, Vol. XVI-2, pp. 121-140

    In French L1 syllabuses, the term connecteur is defined according to semantic criteria and covering invariable words, and even syntagms commuting with adverbial phrases. They are given in lists and thus cannot be really used to interpret L1 texts.L2 learners are not made aware of the functioning of these heterogeneous L2 units, which makes their task even more arduous. The L1 filter compounded by limited awareness of the functioning of L1 thus leads to one-to-one relations that hinder L2 skills especially when items learnt by rote are artificially inserted instead of being used to connect ideas. A unified and contrastive grammatical terminology would allow an efficient metalinguistic awareness.


  • Danièle FLAMENT-BOISTRANCOURT (Paris X-Nanterre)
    Learning/acquiring foreign languages: new tendencies
    2006, Vol. XI-1, pp. 5-6
  • Anne-Laure FOUCHER (Clermont-Ferrand)
    Chats, face-to-face activities and macro-tasks in learning French as FL : the contribution of each of these means
    2010, Vol. XV-2, pp. 155-172

    The aim of this paper is to offer new elements to the discussion on Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) in foreign language learning. In particular, we want to know how chats, forums and face-to-face work can contribute to the achievement of a written macro-task in FFL (French as a Foreign Language). We base our analysis on a computer-mediated learning system, based on both face-to-face and distance sessions via forums and chatting between French-learning Cypriot students and FFL teachers-to-be. Two types of data are considered: synchronous and asynchronous interaction data and questionnaires which were administered to the participants at the end of the project.


  • Jeannine GERBAULT (Bordeaux)
    ICT: A Panorama of Spaces of Interaction and Feedback for the Learning of Written Expression in a Foreign Language
    2010, Vol. XV-2, pp. 37-52

    Today, the reflection about the potential of ICT for language learning and teaching unfolds in several directions. To the contribution of multimodality in learning environments is now added that of the new devices for communication and collaboration. We examine these contributions in a systematic manner in relation to the specific position of the foreign language (L2) writer as well as to his/her activity and production. After clarification of the concepts of writing and of learning how to write, and of our definitions of a few terms, I present the key concepts and factors that I believe should be taken into account in analyzing the ICT resources supporting the learning of L2 writing, then I present the devices themselves and their functionalities, in order to establish how they meet the criteria that have been outlined.


  • Anna GIACALONE RAMAT (Pavie, Italie)
    The use of connectors: is però always equivalent to mais?
    2011, Vol. XVI-2, pp. 57-74

    Italian grammars written for French speakers do not pay much attention to però and touch very briefly upon its difference with respect to ma. The present study is based upon a detailed analysis of French translation equivalents of però in Veronesi's novel Caos calmo (2005) and draws upon Italian oral data from the LIP corpus (1993). Results of this study show how the grammars considered fail to offer clear indications concerning the freedom of position inside the sentence and the stronger value of però. Furthermore, the introduction of the diachronic dimension shows the gradual development of contrast relations out of temporal and causal lexical sources along paths already established for the processes of grammaticalization and highlights the present-day distribution in both languages.


  • Lucie GOURNAY (Paris-Est Créteil)
    Connectors and the expression of contrast: a French-English comparative study
    2011, Vol. XVI-2, pp. 75-89

    This paper focuses on the contribution supplied by a cross-linguistic approach of the diversity of discourse connectives. It includes two case-studies, which aim at implementations in the lexicological and teaching fields: first, the non equivalence of mais / but when sentence-initial mais does not mark an argumentative opposition; second, false cognates actually / actuellement which hardly ever correspond. These two complementary case-studies illustrate two cases of non direct translation.


  • Jonas GRANFELDT (Lund University)
    Evaluation of lexical and grammatical level in writing French as a FL: how can automated analyses be of help?
    2006, Vol. XI-1, pp. 103-117

    Is there a correlation between the grammatical developmental level and the lexical developmental level in the written production of learners of French as a foreign language ? We have applied a number of quantitative lexical and grammatical measures to 40 texts in French written by two groups of Swedish adults with different proficiency levels. All analyses were carried out using different software (among them a system wear developed by ourselves) in an attempt to demonstrate the possibilities of current automatic analyses. The results show that, even if several measures discriminate between the two independently established groups, there is no simple correlation of correlation between them. The measure of lexical sophistication was the only one showing a significant correlation with the grammatical measure used.


  • Peter GRIGGS (Lyon 2)
    The cognitive dimension in learning foreign languages
    2002, Vol. VII-2, pp. 17-29

    The aim of this article is to show the importance of basing foreign language teaching pedagogy on a cognitive theory of learning. The article draws on John Anderson's theory of learning and is illustrated by two longitudinal studies. Learning is seen to involve two main stages :at the initial stage a procedural rule giving a specific form to a function is constructed from declarative knowledge from different sources using general problem-solving procedures ; a second phase entails the automatisation of the procedural rule and its gradual modification through processes of generalisation and discrimination. An analysis of classroom practice leads us next to re-focus the problem of instructed language learning on the compatibility between the aims of the teacher, the cognitive activity of the learner and his communicative performance and needs in the target language.


  • Adelaida HERMOSO MELLADO (Séville, Espagne)
    The adverbs Décidément / Decididamente and some others
    2011, Vol. XVI-2, pp. 9-23

    The main goal of this study is to show through the comparative study of the adjuncts décidément and decididamente (and some others) in French and Spanish respectively that a) morphological similarity between two languages is far from being a reliable criterion for translation, as exemplified in: Décidément, quel désastre ! / ¡Desde luego! *¡Decididamente!, ¡Qué desastre! ('It's definitely a disaster!'); b) using elementatry linguistic properties leads to better results. In addition to French décidément, which is the core of the debate, some others cases will also be considered like définitivement, naturellement, incontestablement, indubitablement vs desde luego, decididamente, naturalmente and sin duda. To avoid making arbitrary choices, a good translation of connectives and discursive markers must establish and apply very strict operating rules, as regards syntax and semantics of course, but also contextual and cotextual characteristics.


  • Marjan KRAFFT-GROOT (Lille 3)
    Euroregions and language teaching: the case of Dutch in Northern France
    2006, Vol. XI-1, pp. 61-71

    The development of Dutch in the North of France over the centuries and the teaching of this language are closely linked. Because of a near lack of a language policy for Dutch in the North of France, the number of learners of Dutch in that area remains very low. Moreover, the common history of the three countries involved (France, Belgium and the Netherlands) is not perceived in the same way. That is why the teacher of Dutch L2 in the North of France has to put the languages he teaches in a historical and cultural context, without giving any personal judgement. The learner of Dutch in the North of France has to prepare himself to co-operate with his neighbour across the border. Only such an approach and an adequate economic policy relative to the importance of learning Dutch will allow the teaching of Dutch to take off in the North of France.


  • Eva LARSSON RINGQVIST (Wäxjö, Suède)
    Interrogative constructions with Swedish learners of French
    1997, Vol. II-2, pp. 81-94

    The present article reflects an ongoing research project on the grammar and pragmatics of interrogative constructions in French. The perspective is that of second language acquisition with advanced learners. The aim of the article is to show that the use of a particular interrogative construction in French, which in the language of native speakers is governed by restrictions at different levels, is, in the case of learners, characterized by an imperfect knowledge of these restrictions and by the necessity to rely on specific production strategies.


  • Chantal LIBERT (Paris X-Nanterre)
    In-company language training on a large scale
    2006, Vol. XI-1, pp. 85-102

    We intend to describe the manner in which a French company, needing to internationalise rapidly, redefined its language policy and its approach to language training. A new English-language training programme was devised, complete with a quality control system. The need to train large numbers, 18000 people in this case, necessitated an industrial approach, previously unheard of in training.


  • Elisabeth LINDEN (VAN DER) (Amsterdam, Pays-Bas)
    Mental lexicon and word learning
    2006, Vol. XI-1, pp. 33-44

    While the study of vocabulary knowledge has been for a long time the domain of psychologists and psycholinguists, the eighties have seen a growing interest for word knowledge and word learning.. In this paper, I review shortly some results from psycholinguistic research on the mental lexicon that are relevant for applied linguistics. I further discuss a series of publications concerning factors that influence success in word learning. Finally, I report on a recent study done at the University of Amsterdam on the relative role of sound, image and context in word learning.


  • Johan F. MATTER (Amsterdam, Pays-Bas)
    Authentic pronunciation in a Foreign Language: a neglected problem
    2006, Vol. XI-1, pp. 21-32

    This article addresses the problem why authentic pronunciation in a foreign language, contrary to other aptitudes in that same language, is so difficult, if not altogether impossible, to achieve. The problem is addressed from different theoretical perspectives: psycholinguistics, physiology and psychology. The approach by Guiora seems so far the most complete and the most promising. The problem of the necessity or the desirability of authentic pronunciation from a teaching point of view is not addressed. The article finishes on the question whether in the global village in which we live, the role of authentic pronunciation will not necessarily change in nature.


  • Edith NICOLAS (CNRS)
    Teaching disappearing languages: the case of Australia
    2000, Vol. V-1, pp. 61-69

    Numerous initiatives are currently underway in Australia to try to prevent the dramatic loss of traditional Aboriginal languages. Teaching these languages at school is one of them. However, this process of language revival raises issues that go beyond the pedagogical framework: Is there still enough data available to save all the languages? Are there enough trained staff to provide quality teaching? Following a general presentation of these issues, I account of my own endeavour to produce a teacher's guide of Bardi, an Aboriginal language of Western Australia. Although no one doubts the benefits of saving endangered languages, the issues that crop up once "in the field" are not the only ones that might have been expected.


  • Ide O'SULLIVAN (Limerick, Irlande)
    Using corpora to enhance learners' academic writing skills in French
    2010, Vol. XV-2, pp. 21-35

    Reporting the work of others and appropriate reference to other texts is essential for academic writers. Acceptance into the academic discourse community is subject to mastery of citation techniques, yet students continue to struggle with such practices throughout their tertiary education, particularly non-native speakers of a language. Learners are often unaware of the mechanisms available to them for reporting, for instance, the relationship between reporting verbs and evaluation and, therefore, fail to locate their position in relation to the work of the cited author. This paper explores the use of academic text corpora in French as a means of enhancing language learners' academic writing skills, most notably as a means of enhancing their citation practices in French. It is argued that equipping L2 writers with such skills allows them to express an appropriate stance and put forth more convincing arguments. The conclusion suggests that corpus consultation literacy has an important role to play in the development of learners' written production and that academic text corpora are a valuable resource for access to the specialised language and textual organisation of academic discourse communities.


  • Paul SEEDHOUSE (Newcastle upon Tyne, Grande-Bretagne)
    Interaction in Second Language Classrooms
    2006, Vol. XI-2, pp. 111-122

    Interest in Conversation Analysis (CA) and its possible applications in the fields of language learning and language teaching has grown considerably over the last five years. The article therefore attempts to synthesise the current state of the research and identify the issues and problems that have arisen and those areas which are suitable for further research. This article focuses on language classroom interaction and on teaching languages for specific purposes. It also discusses the relationship between CA and Applied Linguistics and examines the complex issue of what CA can contribute to the study of 'learning'. The issues are illustrated by an example of a CA analysis of language learning processes. The article concludes by considering possible future directions for research.


  • Olga THEOPHANOUS (Montréal, Canada)
    Lexical deviations of form and meaning in learners of French as a SL
    2001, Vol. VI-1, pp. 107-120

    Following an empirical study, this article deals with a specific type of errors in vocabulary acquisition of French as a second language: intralingual lexical confusion. 480 English and Greek speaking learners (beginners, intermediates and advanced) of French were given a L2-L1 translation task of French words. A large number of errors revealed confusions due to formal and/or semantic similarity between the target words and other French words known by the learners. The formal and/or semantic comparison between error and target word allowed a narrower description of intralingual lexical confusion highlighting some precise sub-categories of what the author calls "lexical confusibles".