Applied Linguistics Research at the Service of Classroom Practices: Bridging Connections

By Marqués-Pascual, Laura; Spencer-Rodgers, Julie | Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research, January 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Applied Linguistics Research at the Service of Classroom Practices: Bridging Connections


Marqués-Pascual, Laura, Spencer-Rodgers, Julie, Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research


Laura Marqués-Pascual1 , Julie Spencer-Rodgers2

1University of California, Santa Barbara, USA {lmarques@spanport.ucsb.edu}

2California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, USA {rodgers@berkeley.edu}

Received on 27 June 2016; revised on 30 June 2016; accepted on 30 June 2016; published on 15 July 2016

DOI: 10.7821/naer.2016.7.200

With educational practices changing more rapidly than ever, there is a need for new approaches in the classroom regarding the increase of heritage language instruction inside and outside of the United States. Hence our decision to choose such a title for the presentation of this issue of NAER; after all, it contains a large special section with papers specifically dedicated to this topic.

For that purpose, we took as a point of departure the assumption that applied linguistics research does in fact have numerous pedagogical implications. Thus, we have wondered how it can improve the field of education as a whole. Educational research cannot leave aside pedagogical insights gained from applied linguistics and its more specialized focus on the topic of second and foreign language acquisition. In turn, this type of research influences methodology and approaches in classroom teaching practices. Our conclusion is that a need definitely exists to expand our perspective and teaching methods according to new discoveries in the field. This special section consequently serves a twofold goal: 1) to make research in applied linguistics known to those researching and working in the field of education; 2) to show some of the recent advances in Applied Linguistics research and check that it forms an integral part of education.

With this aim in mind, we have included well-documented articles on the pedagogical implications of applied linguistics research and one about the implementation of a classroom based project. Likewise, three articles provide empirical studies on the acquisition of Spanish as a foreign language (Checa, Chui, Pardo-Ballester) while another three report research on heritage languages in the United States and its implications for educators (Lamar-Prieto, Lee et al., Rao & Kuder).

In "An analysis of communicative language functions in the speech patterns of bilingual Korean and Mexican immigrant children," Jin Sook Lee, Jane Y. Choi, & Laura MarquésPascual analyze patterns of language use identified in children from Mexican and Korean households. Given the significance of language development opportunities in home settings, this study examines the home language use of 20 second-generation children (ages 6-8) of Mexican and Korean descent in the United States. Amongst the most important findings in this study stands out the fact that Mexican-American children had a greater tendency to use the heritage language in the home than KoreanAmerican children, who used more English. Another finding worthy of mention was that children do not have enough chances to use all communicative functions at home and, therefore to develop their bilingual abilities fully.

In her article on "Prosodic Cues in Relative Clauses Disambiguation: Bilinguals vs. L2 Learners," Irene Checa García investigates the preferences for relative clause attachment to complex noun phrases in Spanish-English bilinguals and advanced students of Spanish. Her results suggest that advanced learners are influenced by their L1 (mother language) more heavily in oral comprehension than in reading, whereas it takes bilinguals longer to process prosodic cues. The author offers some interpretations about why this happens and draws some consequences for prosody teaching.

In the article "Heritage, Second-Language and Native Speakers' Intuitions on Deictic Verbs in Spanish: Beyond the Linguist's Intuitions," Daniel Chui uses the classical results based on the analysis of the deictic verbs venir and traer carried out by Fillmore (1975) and concludes that both heritage speakers and second language learners made a significantly higher number of errors than native speakers when the direction expressed in the stimulus was oriented towards the listener, suggesting that both groups may benefit from instruction on this topic. …

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