November 1, 2019 at 4:28 pm

Linguistics Students, Faculty Present Research on Second Language Acquisition

From left, An Nguyen, Mark Sakach, Rickey Larkin, Matt Kessler, and Tetiana Tytko

From left, An Nguyen, Mark Sakach, Rickey Larkin, Matt Kessler, and Tetiana Tytko

Ohio University Linguistics graduate students and faculty presented at the 2019 Second Language Research Forum at Michigan State University.

The coordinator of this year’s SLRF conference was Matt Kessler, an Ohio University alumnus (’13 Master in Applied Lingustics and ’10 B.A, in English). Kessler is a Ph.D. student in the Second Language Studies program at Michigan State.

Mark Sakach and Rickey Larkin presented on their perceptual experiment with Khmer consonant sounds. The audience included Kent State University faculty with a keen interest in Khmer studies.

“Meeting OHIO alumni, [like Matt Kessler and Magdalyne Oguti Akiding ’17, also a Ph.D. student in the Second Language Studies program at MSU], and seeing where they are now was super inspiring. It was nice how we also had an opportunity to network with some new people with similar interests,” Sakach said after the conference.

An Nguyen and Dr. Hiroyuki Oshita presented their study on the transitive sentence pattern, using grammaticality judgment data obtained from native and non-native speakers of English. Various kinds of verbs (e.g. kick, shake, wave, laugh, etc.) can express an object’s locational change when they are used in the transitive clause. Their study has found that there is an implicational scale of acceptability commonly observed among speakers of different first languages, according to the verbs’ semantico-syntactic properties.

The presentation was well received and audience feedback was appreciated. Nguyen commented that “it was a wonderful opportunity for us to listen to and receive feedback from people in the field,” and she learned a lot from the various presentations. “Also, it is not only about the presentation at the conference – what I appreciate the most is the research experience that I had with Dr. Oshita and the team,” said Nguyen.

Tetiana Tytko’s presentation investigated dimensions of L2 learners’ engagement with technology-mediated and traditional Task Based Language Teaching tasks. She presented findings which indicated enhanced learner engagement in both communicative tasks, with a significantly higher level of engagement in the technology-mediated tasks. Pedagogical ramifications for ESL/EFL classrooms were also discussed in regard to Task Based Language Teaching implementation.

While making her PowerPoint presentation for the research forum, Tytko utilized previous materials developed during her linguistics coursework.  The forum allowed her to further her research in order to prepare for a journal submission.

“As a whole, after presenting at the SLRF conference, I became aware of how great my Linguistics program at OHIO is,” Tytko commented. “At the conference, I got acquainted with Ohio University alumni who achieved amazing professional and academic results…. Our research was so unique in its own field, and we all surely left SLRF with the feeling that our studies are valuable and worth pursuing.”

In addition, Nguyen and Sakach also were able to connect with a former classmate from the SEASSI program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

As the team have indicated, it was a great experience to meet up with fellow Bobcats Kessler and Akiding.

Akiding recently came back to Athens to present her research on “L2 Motivation, Anxiety and Intended Effort among learners of African languages in the United States” in the Linguistics Colloquium Series.

Kessler’s research interests center around exploring issues related to second language writing and literacy, especially concerning learners’ L2 writing development in different genres and academic/professional contexts. He will be back in Athens in February 2020 as part of the Linguistics Colloquium Series. He will present his research: “What you know, how you use it, and why: A longitudinal study of L2 writers’ metacognitive genre development” on Feb. 21 from 12:55 to 1:50 p.m. in in Gordy 301.

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