The purpose of this literary review is to learn as much as possible about written narrative student discourse (WND) in the second language (L2) classroom. In Winter of 2018, I will conduct my first student-based study on non-native (NNS) and heritage German language learners (HL) by asking them to engage in L2 WND. The impetus for this project is to research the development of possibilities for self-hood via discourse as inspired by Heidegger’s 1924 lecture on rhetoric as the hermeneutic of Being, and Foucault’s attention to discourse as epistemological (1972). I choose to look through the lens of subjective development during second language acquisition (SLA) (Kramsch, 2003; Pavlenko & Latolf, 2000). Unlike Pavlenko’s rich narratological study of texts (2001), I will investigate subjectivity through student WND because written narration has a “tangible contribution to the ‘reflexive project of the self’,” (Ivanic, 1998) and students exist at a particular conduit of identity development. This literary review investigates existing approaches to SLA WND and commences with a discussion of how the findings inform my project.
- Pragmatics of WND
Discourse Theory, much like the Latin term ‘discurs’, is interpreted as a complex linguistic phenomenon. Narrative is a mode of discourse while the student classroom narrative defines a domain of discourse. Narrative discourse is historically interpreted through Speech Act Theory in communication studies as a socio-pragmatic praxis of phronesis, or use of practical wisdom (Bühler, 1934; Fisher, 1985; Jakobson, 1960). In current SLA narrative discourse research, communicative wisdom is investigated as a variable linguistic skill, techne, which must be re-conceptualized in each new language. For example, If the student doesn’t know how to write a narrative following a Bildungsroman structure, how can she achieve native accuracy in German WND production? Approaching SLA WND as both a linguistic task and a genre task makes the classroom domain linguistically and contextually critical to SLA.
An analysis of WND’s development in SLA studies shows early attempts at correlation of grammar with functions of discourse (Halliday, 1978; Sinclair & Coulthard, 1975) and more recent attention to interpersonal meanings beyond lexicogrammatical analysis (Martin and White, 2005). Current methodology trends towards a corporeal discourse analysis of teacher contextualization, task assignment and perception, and finally, student response; “What kind of interaction may bring about what kind of affordances for language learning?” (Huth, 2011) My findings for WND in SLA address the roles of artefacts (multimodality, metaphor), code-switching, and cooperative learning (scripting, repair and feedback).
- Cohesion and Coherence as Properties of WND
In this literature review, I outline theories and methods that play a part in analyses of WND in SLA. The majority of research done on narrative in SLA follows the development of speech acts “taking an extended turn to tell a story (narration)” (Burns, Champion, de Villies & Pearson, 2012). Throughout this review, some SLA oral narrative discourse studies will be used to delineate ideas about WND analysis, but no textual or naturalistic studies are included. Historical approaches to discursive narrative analysis include the advent of microstructures, the cohesive links between sentences, and macrostructures at the level of thematic coherence and organization (Halliday & Hasan, 1976). ‘Thematic coherence’ takes a more functional approach to meaning. ‘Cohesion’ implies a formal linguistic distinction of appropriate negotiation of meaning, it is a Generative Grammar that “provides texture” (Wang & Guo, 2014). For example, because German language lacks a continuous tense, an English learner of German might lack cohesion in their narrative if they have not acquired the use of German adverbs to assign the aspect of an event as ongoing. (Berman & Slobin, 1994). Halliday and Hasan (1976) suggest different cohesive devices for analysis of ND which resemble SLA stages of acquisition.[i] In their model, interlanguage variability of aspectual items create breakdowns in cohesion.
Systemic-Functional Linguistics (SFL) takes into account the cohesion of lexical and aspectual functions of discourse (Simon-Vandenbergen, 2014, as cited in Martin, 2016). The difference between the lexical grammatical aspect and the aspectual grammatical distinction mark two different but complementary frameworks in SLA studies – the Aspect Hypothesis (Anderson, 1986 as cited in López-Ortega, 2000) and the Discourse Hypothesis (Bardovi-Harlig, 1994). Discourse systems of foregrounding and backgrounding are functional systems that don’t rely on grammar alone (Bardovi-Harlig, 1995; Hopper, 1982; López-Ortega, 2000). The relationship of discourse and aspect recurs back on Vendler’s ranking of aspectual classes as the red thread between language and philosophy through discourse (1957, 1967, as cited in Vendler, 1980).
Halliday uses Vendler in his 2004 study about “the linguistic system as a whole” (3) during spoken narrative discourse. Halliday cites his 1970 study about systems of transitivity and ergativity, explaining that speaker involvement in a narrative as either the “Affected” or the “Causer” shifts the tense and the aspect, particularly in relationship to verbal morphology. I will reflect on narrator subject position in section VI, but am using Halliday’s study to contend that cohesion is determined both formally and functionally. Vendler’s ranking suggests that the aspectual category of ‘telicity’ has the highest level of complexity in discourse – the notion of experienced time as a determinus for morphology. Anderson (1991) also determines that acquisition of telic morphology follows acquisition of lexical time phrases, which he called the “Lexical Aspect Hypothesis”. Researchers Bardovi-Harlig and Reynolds (1995, 1998), López-Ortega (2000), Potowski (2005), Ramsey (1990) Salaberry (1999) and Wulston-Christianson (2015) look at aspect in foreground and background clauses to determine that lexical cohesion increases with SLA, following the order of the Lexical Aspect Hypothesis.
Studies that have disproven the Lexical Aspect Hypothesis, most notably the European Science Foundation’s longitudinal corpus, are often function-based rather than form-based (Bardovi-Harlig, 2000: 269). Looking at lexical aspect and verb morphology in WND against a backdrop of functional concerns like foreground and background, Flashner (1989), Ellis (1986) Givón (1983), and Verónique (1987) have mixed results about whether foreground or background verbs typically carry morphology. Likewise, in Hatch, Shirai and Fantuzzi’s 1990 study of interlanguage variability in narrative discourse, the grounding aspects are weighed against the time distinctions, but they conclude: “Tense cannot be described without reference to narrative structure and the goal of the storyteller” (Cohen, Gass & Tarone, 2013). Grounding principles (the background and the foreground information), lexical aspect and subject position are interdependent properties of cohesion in SLA WND.
Breakdowns in cohesion do not completely undermine coherence of the WND, meaning that there is a way to analyse WND beyond cohesion. Privileging a thematic discourse analysis, Widdowson’s 1978 Illocutionary Act Theory states: “In the case of cohesion, we can infer the illocutionary acts from the prepositional connections which are overtly indicated: in the case of coherence, we infer the covert prepositional connections from an interpretation of the illocutionary acts,” (Wang & Guo, 2014). “Coherence” emerges as a metalinguistic analysis of meaning which looks at “underlying functional connectedness” (ibid.) of written or spoken language. WND can be coherent without cohesion, which represents the success of universal grammar communication within a basic variety of morphology (Klein & Perdue, 1997). Underlying structural relationships of narrative story telling can be contributed to our pragmatic communicative capability as humans.
Evaluating coherence in SLA is both a socio-pragmatic and pragmalinguistic concern because linguistic actors are negotiating conversational goals (Mitchell, Mylers and Marsden, 2013 (henceforth ‘MMM’: 210). MMM note that one main goal of L2 pragmatics research is determining how far L1 pragmatic knowledge transfers over: is politeness register the same between languages? A challenge to investigating L2 pragmatics is the attainability of L2 pragmatic data, in which learners react to different social situations. One method here is the Discourse Completion Task, which is a written task requiring learners to appropriately respond to a given situation. This method is criticized because it does not take place in real-time – it is inauthentic (ibid.) To this end, significant attention has been paid to conversation within L2 pragmatics studies (ibid.).
Coherence in WND is understudied in SLA outside of its relationship with tense and aspect because of a contention about the validity of delayed response communication (ibid.). Written narratives created outside of the classroom (and read in the classroom) can be seen as a text, while SLA WND remains a discourse by virtue of its statements made in conversation with the task (Foucault, 1969). Because classroom L2 WND requires a negotiation of meaning, the SLA written narrative remains in a discoursal form. The narrative line functions around the specific goals of the author, and in the context of SLA, the reader, too.
Leppänen and Kalaia (2002) assign this process of “story grammar” to linguistic autobiographies, examining them in the coherence schema of Propp’s Story Grammar Analysis (1968, as cited in Pavlenko, 2007): setting, initiating event, character’s internal response and plan, character’s attempts to solve the problem, consequences. Following this narratological line, Labov’s High Point Analysis is applied to SLA NWD by Rintell (1990): presence and non-presence (abstraction), orientation, complicating action, evaluation, and a resolution. Mann and Thompson (1987) also take a functional approach with Rhetorical Structure Theory, suggesting that narrative discourse can be simply divided into nuclei and statellite statements. Maeno (1995) uses stanza analysis on L2 narrative prose. These coherency studies account for the dialogical processes of positioning the self in an L2, though other frameworks of analysis also claim to do so.
Considering learners’ own positionality as a property of SLA NWD has inspired analysis of discourse to the extent of Subject Positionality, Life Reality Positionality and Text Reality Positionality (Pavlenko, 2007). In each of these three endeavours, emphasis is directed to either the subjective sphere, the socio-political sphere and the narrative value sphere. By thematically coding SLA narrative discourse, themes from each category are highlighted. Advantageous to this method is the thematization of SLA experiences and therefore themes that are important to learners. For example, Menard-Warwick (2009) points out the life reality and subjective experience of gender norms within SLA. These resources create visibility for key issues in learner experience. A textual reality example of this is Francheschini’s 2003 study of Turkish immigrants in Germany: their textual nuance and subtleties increased significantly when narrating about her adulthood in Germany, as opposed to the more basic textual form her narration of childhood took on.
SLA NWD has formative and functional aspects that are interwoven. Analytic approaches to SLA NWD take cohesive and coherence approaches, which are bound together by rhetorical, linguistic and contextual L2 knowledge. Purely formal considerations of SLA NWD are not enough to analyse discourse, while purely functional analyses are not enough to measure SLA. SLA NWD is special because it represents a crossroads of subjective and linguistic development into another system of expression.
- Genre and Critical Language Awareness in WND
In her 1992 study of SLA and narrative writing, Hatch agrees with Halliday (1976) that narrative coherence is transferred from the L1 and must be learned again for the L2. For example, the American positions their narrative orientation at the front of the discourse (in the form of a thesis) while the German positions their orientation at the end (the analysis). Trained in school to write in these specific academic styles, German learners of English struggle with narrative formation due to conflicting communicative competence (Bagarić, 2007).
For one or two days per semester, “English Academic Writing (C1)” students at the University of Münster would demand a discussion about how thesis-based “inductive” reasoning became prevalent in American academic writing. I would explain to them that the American thesis-based writing is a relic of oral, political argumentative tradition, while the German purpose-based introduction is a relic of the philosophical, written tradition (Dahl, 2004; Mauranen, 1993). While reading American narratives in the following lessons, students would complain that American authors “auspacken” (“to give it up” in a manner similarly annoying to conveying too much personal information to an acquaintance) too quickly, and they lose interest. This cultural variation between “inductive” and “deductive” discursive style was so strong, that some of my students refused to write thesis-based argumentative papers in their bilingual subject courses. Hinds’ 1987 contrastive rhetoric approach would suggest that English is a “writer-responsible” language while German (and most others) are “reader-responsible” because the purpose-based model requires readers to reach the end before making conclusions. Mauranen (1993) suggests that discourse acts performed in oral and written narrative are culturally informed.
SLA NWD is a learned genre. Features that differentiate it between languages require the L1 narrative style to be considered during analysis in order to find, particularly, the coda. Coda is the meaning statement, the moral statement, approached by Hatch as universal to all narrative stories (1992), but this universality is debated by researchers of Hopi and Japanese narratives (cited in Hatch, 1992: Shaul et al., 1987; Matsuyama, 1983). Would educating learners about rhetorical function of L2 narrative heighten their discursive potential, or would it distract students from freely expressing their lived realities by imposing a structure?
Critical Language Awareness (CLA) of writing as a complex social act shapes writer identity, granting the writer social control over their expression (Ivanic, 1998). For example, the students in Münster noticed the use of thesis statements in “personal history” narratives of American university applications, and questioned whether this is a requirement for admission. Developed by Hawkins in 1984 and further by Fairclough in 2003, this CLA hypothesis suggests that students should “discover language for themselves” (Bolitho et al, 2003) before producing language. In the case of WND, teacher input includes the designing, presentation of and potential involvement in the student writing task. CLA in SLA “empowers learners by providing them with a critical analytical framework to help them reflect on their own language experiences and practices,” (Ivanic, 1997), essentially placing narrative at the heart of WND.
Janks discusses the implication of CLA on encouraging transformative action through student journals (1999). In her 2014 book Doing Critical Literacy Janks concludes that WND provides a platform for evaluating student awareness of socio-cultural orientation. Creating cultural contextual awareness proves to elevate the critical level of L2 narrative in English African American Vernacular (Dyson & Smitherman, 2009; Sweetland, 2006), heritage Spanish learners (Valdés, 2005; Leeman & Serafini, 2016; Parra, 2016; Reznicek-Parrado, 2014) and L2 learners (De Cock & Suñer, forthcoming; Campbell, 1990; Kramsch, 2009). During a seminar held between the UC Davis Department of German and Catholic University Louvain, Professor Suñer showed data suggesting that historical context facilitated the comprehension of metaphoric taboo expressions and increased depth of SLA NWD. Using contextual awareness to improve the level of ND is also accomplished by Professor Claire Kramsch.
Kramsch’s The Multilingual Subject (2009) uses studies of university student SLA narrative to discuss language learning and the development of subjectivity. At the end, there is a disclaimer that her students had been informed by a four-month term of multilingualism studies. Kramsch’s students’ awareness of potential SLA narrative depth and direction was culturally au courant, giving them a critical awareness of linguistic subjectivity. Even discourse analysts who have focused on subjectivity within SLA narrative (cited in Pavlenko, 2007: Granger 2004; Pavlenko 2003; Treichel, 2004; Yelenevskaya and Fialkova, 2003) had not exposed their classes to multilingual theory beforehand. My research group will, like Kramsch’s, come from a multilingual theory course, but my course will be taught in a common L2. I hope that their instruction in multilingual theory will allow them to narrow down, clarify and interpret linguistic experiences like in the case of Kramsch and Lam’s 1999 SLA diary narrators.
CLA provides a framework for implicit learning, which supports an input-based, emergentist cognitive model of SLA (MMM, 2013: 99). This contrasts conscious, elicit learning known in the Skill Acquisition Theory (ibid.: 139). CLA is particularly relevant to SLA NWD because it approaches language teaching as discourse teaching, rather than explicit grammar instruction. Kramsch and Suñer contribute NWD coherence and cohesion to conceptual systems previously engaged with during in-classroom context building. CLA underlines lexical, aspectual and discursive crossroads of WND to the extent that writing narrative is viable system for CLA (Svalberg, 2007). Svalberg cites that in preparation for L2 narrative writing, Jones (2001) exposed his Spanish learners to authentic and inauthentic oral narratives and asked them to notice differences. Likewise, this passive approach to teaching critical discourse was undertaken as an educational program in South African highschools, “in order to not agitate the already inflamed national psyche,” after the democratic revolution (Janks, 1996). Using Fairclough’s model of Dimensions of Discourse Analysis, CLA becomes a reciprocal process of ideological and social analysis unto narrative production that includes critical ideological and social discourse (Fairclough, 2003: 206). Task development in the framework of CLA uses and produces informed SLA WND.
- Code-switching and Conducting L2 WND
Targeted instruction towards narrative writing is one way to scaffold learners’ understanding of the task, but it does not represent the learner’s interpretation of the NWD task itself. This section looks to social-constructivist theories of SLA to understand the subjective experience of a NWD task; engaging the “reader-writer relationship rather than directly with the text” (Mauranen, 1993) Writers establish their identity by taking on a “stance” which is not encoded in language (Ochs, 1993). Negotiation of a social stance is particularly difficult for SLA NWD because they are presenting themselves in a context that is not their own. They may also lack awareness about how to position themselves in their desired manner. Addressing interlanguage phenomenon, like avoiding using a thesis statement, Hinkel (1997) shows that learners may choose to not accept the L2 culture because it threatens their reputation in the L1 culture. Rampton’s 2002 study of British learners of German suggests that ritualizing the contentious threat to face, in this case, the use of the imperative in casual speech, “bonds the class into a rite-like initiation,” (Kramsch, 2009). This transition between primary habitus and secondary habitus of a new language is applicable across educational settings. The question at the fore is: how can SLA NWD maintain personal integrity while abiding by new habitus?
Kramsch’s The Multilingual Subject draws on Kristevean notions of personal resignification in the L2. One could say that the Münster students who refused the thesis-based construction lacked the symbolic tactics to resignify, and were instead “hostage to an idealized cognitive model of the self” (ibid.: 117) based on the German language. Kramsch suggests that researchers have approached symbolic orientation in many different ways: attitude (Carroll, 1962; Spolsky, 2000), appraisal (Schumann, 1997), investment (Norton, 2000), enagagement (van Lier, 1996; Pennycook, 2001) and motivation (Dörnyei, 2001). The question of resymbolization and SLA NWD is posed most clearly by Kramsch: “How do they use the semiotic resources offered by their various symbolic systems? What intertextualities do they establish with their prioir discourses and how do they resignify or reaccentuate them?” (ibid.: 127)
The narrative is a conceptual map of our experience. In an SLA context, the SLA is inherently bilingual, with a chance and likelihood of multilinguality in a classroom. Because of this, there are various narrational positions available to the narrator, a circulation of cohabitating awarenesses. So, what happens to the learner when they are asked to narrate something in their L2 when they have experienced and remembered it in another language? This highlights the possibility of code-switching during NWD tasks as beneficial to the cohesion and coherence of NWD (Kramsch, 2009; Pavlenko, 2007).
Code-switching is an important linguistic resource with semantic and affective functions. Following the positive reasoning for task-based code-switching set out by Macaro’s 2001 article, using the L1 during complicated writing tasks accelerates their output process (Anton and DiCamilla, 1998; Kobayashi and Rinert, 1992; Friedlander, 1990), reduces memory constraints (Kern, 1994; Skinner, 1985), allows for contrastive analysis as a nuance within narrative recall (Butzkamm, 1998; Campbell, 1997), and contributes to the development of conceptual abilities and “encourages autonomy of expression” (Ministrè de L’Education Nationale, 1996). Codeswitching is a fundamental language skill (Hagen, 1992) that has been proven to benefit coherence and cohesion of SLA NWD.
The aforementioned studies record teacher’s intentional use of L1 with the learners, and also learners’ allowance of use of L1 with the teacher. A principle idea for L2 exclusivity, that is, that learners would have less exposure to target language (cited in Macaro, 2001: Cook, 1991; Harbord, 1992), is overcome by the idea that the L1 would trigger a deeper understanding of the task. The problem with looking at classrooms as divided into L1 and L2 is noted by Gramling as a “myth of monolingualism” (2016). If a teacher were to use the majority L1, this would still be imposing a framework of power on students’ whose L1 was not represented, while still depriving students of a lexical and syntactic framework for answering. In this heteroglossic context, the multilingual learner encounters the need to cohesively and coherently comprehend and create the NWD task.
As Odlin (1989) suggests, L1 forms used in L2 production may not meet the normative cohesion or coherence of narrative discourse. Odlin is cited in Kubota’s (1998) study of the transfer of L1 to L2 during writing tasks, finding that participants’ L1 and L2 morphological patterns were shared between languages. Using the L1 to scaffold production of L2 is investigated by Uzawa and Cumming (1982), also cited in Kubota, who claim that the L1 nuances were simply simplified to meet requirements of the L2 task. Beare (2000) and Carrington (2007) gave their students the allowance to use L1 in their narrative building, and then tracked student strategies. In both cases, students relied heavily on L1 during conceptual and rhetorical planning, but rearranged their rhetorical structures to create target-like L2 texts. Kobayashi and Rinnert (1992) and Cohen and Brooks-Carson (2001) discovered that early SLA made better use of direct translation, while more advanced students preferred ‘direct composition’ in the L2.
As concluded in Nassaji and Karim (2013), students’ success in L2 writing depends on their awareness of L2 rhetorical features, and the possibility to draft in L1 when they feel it is necessary because “learners need to be trained to discover strategies that work best for them.” Kramsch also suggests that “second language acquisition research strives to find ever better strategies for language learners to gain their own, autonomous space in the foreign language,” (119) and promotes students’ reflection on their own SLA NWD process.
- Corpus Linguistics, CMC and Potential of WND
Unlike the study of narrative as a text, SLA studies of WND see narrative writing by language learners as a discourse. Because the student is in constant communication with the teacher, NWD is a teacher-student discourse unlike spoken narrative discourse between students. Though significant research has been done on SLA oral narratives and SLA narratives as text, the contributions to SLA NWD are relatively slim. This is possibly due to more simplistic methods of testing rhetorical and linguistic accuracy, like with the Discourse Information Gap (DIG) and other shorter activities. Though oral narrative satiates the SLA desire to understand subjective experience of learners and allows conveyance of multimodal meaning, it is a less complex form of rhetorical and linguistic transfer than the written narrative. Attributes of NWD include greater deliberation and sophistication in nuance. NWD is, essentially, a greater body of knowledge about the language learner.
Coding narratives according to themes, rhetorical and linguistic trends, patterns and conceptual changes (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) allows the development of a functional corpus of SLA NWD. Corpus Linguistics as an analytical tool marks the arrival of competence-based performance data (MMM, 8). Jaworski and Coupland (1999) underline that a large corpus of WND qualitative, thematic research complements the quantitative corpus. Lee (2008), McEnery, Xiao and Tono (2006) call for corpus linguistics to augment their annotation systems to mark pragmatic features, which would allow function-based rather than form-based searches possible (Barron & Schneider, 2014). Function-based searches in NWD corpora would allow thematic subcategorization. This feature is used by corpora of spoken narratives, like in the USC Shoah Foundation’s tagging of themes within Holocaust (and other genocide) survivor narratives. Known as the “Visual History Archive”, the Shoah Foundation’s systematic classifications of multimodal discourse make it a significant project for oral narratives. NWD is included in the Narrative Corpus developed by the Heidelberg Corpus (Hendriks, 2005), the British National Corpus and the ICE-GB (cited in Rühlemann, 2015: Nelson, 2001; Rühlemann & O’Donnell, 2012). None of these include functional or thematic subcategories, but provide a database of research for further studies.
Likewise, CMC is a potential realm for gathering SLA NWD. This post-modern addition to the possibility of narrative discourse provides ample opportunity for collecting student-student samples. Garton (2012) suggests that teacher-fronted elicitation of NWD produces reactions of agency among learners, that they will purposefully reinterpret the project to match their own linguistic aspirations. Likewise, Hellermann and Doehler (2010) note the individual adaptation of tasks in student-student discourse pairs, suggesting that this type of co-construction produced more discourse than teacher-student interaction. Toth (2011) contends that student-student narrative discourse is better at solidifying known structures, while teacher-student discourse encourages students to grammaticalise. CMC also distorts the possibility of teacher-student NWD, because, in the case of blogs or Canvas chats, students are asked to engage in a public space, rather than personally. Kramsch (2009) suggests: “The displacement creates a physical space of disjunction that throws off his interlocuters.” (165)
Teacher-fronted SLA NWD exists in a unique realm of academic interaction with a focus on context, accuracy and reflection. By analysing SLA NWD, the context of a learner as a learner is forefronted in the narrative reflection, while the lexical-grammatical aspects are deemed important beyond merely the comprehension in student-student interaction. There is space in the SLA studies discourse for a corpus of NWD to be collected and marked according to cohesion and coherence, in order to balance attention between the subjective, socio-political and textual research being done.
- Discussion of Findings
When taken together, this paper has provided an extended review of understanding how SLA narrative discourse works in the L2 classroom. These findings suggest that narratives represent a discursive practice between the learner, the target language, the target culture, their teacher and themselves. More specifically, the grammatical, lexical and other critical features of communicative competence have taken shape in the context of NWD. This paper has noted that teachers are an integral part to SLA NWD, but more important is student interpretation of the task. Thus, the structure of interaction between teachers and students via the task has been investigated. However, although a great deal of information has been learned about the nature of WND in the SLA context, more empirical research is needed. What follows are potential future research paths in this area as well as some sample research questions.
First, most of the research on SLA NWD has been carried out in L2 classrooms that focus on linguistic content. More research is needed to understand the nature of discourse patterns in content-based courses. Focusing on SLA NWD of advanced bi- and multilinguals could shed light on their process. Some research questions to be explored here include: How do high-proficiency learners participate in discourse with their teacher through narrative? What are the features of NWD in content-based courses as opposed to linguistic-based courses? Is this an argument in favour of CLIL?
Second, virtually none of the studies reported here have dealt with the question of how students’ ethnic backgrounds play in to their formation of foreground and background in NWD. Though alluded to by studies of Hopi and Japanese differences in narrative genre, the treatment of narrative as a universal reality seems problematic. The paucity of research regarding linguistic socialization into genre begs the question: How does the learner’s L1 factor in to narrative genre?
Third, there is a distinct poverty of discourse data for German learners. The PoLL and ESF longitudinal projects shed some light onto narrative progression in German, but these studies are not thematised for coherence. The abundance of literature on French, Spanish and English exists within the realm of romance languages, while other Latin-based languages with more complex casual forms are ignored. Given the relative difficulty of learning native-like German modality and mood, at what point in SLA does NWD become ‘advanced’? What marks an advanced German learner in NWD? Are there culturally specific writing conventions that should be taken into account?
Fourth, though CLA studies account for empirical investigation into in-class work and learner production of critically aware NWD, there is no work done about the contribution of whole-class discussions. Reserved primarily for smaller, seminar-style, content-based settings, CLA as a classroom discourse has room for exploration. A main question here is: do students gain more implicit information in whole-class or peer settings? How is multimodality advantageous to CLA? What is the best potential scaffolding for their abstract/symbolic competence?
Many studies engage how students perform narrative discourse in oral settings and
focus on specific patterns of interaction between discourse partners. They investigate the student’s positionality and acquisition level from a retrospective point of view. In my SLA NWD study, I want to focus on students as active reshapers/ resignifiers of their own language. I would like to use in-class experiences (in the L2) to facilitate NWD. To the end of CLA multimodality, I will look towards L2 cinematic expression as an authentic and affective way to deliver meaning.
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