The paper presents a new tool for approaching foreign languages. The “A1 for everyone” (A1FE1) project aims to promote multilingualism (meaning the ability of an individual to use different languages) in tune with the focuses of EU language policy, i.e. “to make a wider range of languages available to learners to allow individual choice”. A1FE1 aims to create a series of compact manuals, language introduction guides, different from self-study courses or tourist phrasebooks, which should allow everyone to reach level A1 (“Breakthrough”) in a foreign language (L2), using the technologies available today and a new reader-tailored approach. In fact it is not a guide for a single language being translated into several others, but each L2 guide is written specifically for a type of L1 users, since combinations of typologically distant languages (Danish for Spanish, Czech for Finnish) must tackle the same A1 material in a different way compared to especially genetically similar languages (Danish for Swedish, Czech for Slovaks). The paper introduces the Italian language guide for Lithuanians (Italų kalba šnekantiems lietuviškai). There are two main principles in this project: the comparative and contrastive approach, which proceeds from what is familiar (L1) to illustrate what is new (L2) and the central role of the lexicon as vehicle of communication and unifying element of the three components of grammar (phonetics, morphology and syntax). This is the reason why the bulk of each guide consists of four sections presenting the sounds, the basic forms, logical connections and words of the L2, followed by a two-way minimal dictionary full with communicative examples. The level descriptors of the Common European Framework are not language-specific, hence A1 structures and lexicon should be selected according to teaching practice resources available in the countries where the L2 is spoken, such as syllabuses, word frequency lists, etc. Audio recordings of all L2 material presented in the guides and additional videos following the books’ structure can be accessed online. Italų kalba šnekantiems lietuviškai will serve in fact as a prototype, outlining practical and problematic aspects to take into consideration when drafting other guides. After its release, feedback from users and field experts will help evaluate the real development possibilities of the project, including the involvement of institutions at European level.
The aim of this article is to analyze the differences between Lithuanian and French sounds and to provide a general outlook of the Lithuanian articulatory phonetics mainly intended for French speakers. Such a comparative analysis is relevant because (a) there is no consistent equivalent between written and spoken language, even in Lithuanian, which has a relatively young written language, (b) the international phonetic alphabet does not always accurately reflect differences in pronunciation, (c) the contrastive perspective helps learners to focus on differences that could be unnoticed. Besides the articulatory aspects, the orthographic issues where the spoken form cannot be directly deduced from the written form by a simple relation from grapheme to sound but depends on the graphemic context (mainly related to some assimilation processes) are given a special attention. The questions that remain controversial between Lithuanian phoneticians (such as the retroflex status of the phonetic counterparts of <š> and <ž>) are also mentioned. The comparative analysis shows that the two systems exhibit significant differences: most sounds are not shared. Nevertheless, differences are often slight, so that it is more an issue of orthoepics. Attention should be paid to the differences in the duration and qualitative characteristics of long and short vowels and the relation of graphemes <a, e, o, i> to sounds. From the point of view of consonants, , [r, rj], [x, ] are problematic, their pronunciation must be learned separately. The pronunciation of palatalized consonants as simple consonants, and not as clusters with [j] as the second element, is also challenging for French speakers.
This article reports findings from an investigation into migrant and non-migrant origin pre-service teachers’ beliefs about multilingualism and the relationship between their linguistic trajectories as students and how they perceive themselves as future teachers. We analize the beliefs of around seventy pre-service teachers taking part in a university course, collected through an individual reflection tool based on a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) and a group discussion in which students had to discuss their ideas and create a collective document. In this article we focus on the discourse of four pre-service teachers, two of whom had migration backgrounds and two of whom who did not. Findings suggest that pre-service teachers’ life and learning experiences contribute to different emotions and feeling about language and teaching in a multilingual setting. They also influence the perception the pre-service teachers have of themselves as future teachers. Pre-service teachers regard the preparation received at the university negatively and express insecurities. Findings illustrate that migrant origin pre-service teachers feel more prepared in the sense they believe that their migration experience can help to understand newcoming students and be empathic with them.
The study presented here is the first contemporary investigation of the subjective compared to the objective ethnolinguistic vitality of West Frisian. West Frisian is a minority language spoken in the province of Fryslân, in the north of the Netherlands. The objective ethnolinguistic vitality of the language was established on the basis of policy documents and statistical data. To investigate the subjective ethnolinguistic vitality of the language, rich qualitative data were gathered by means of a questionnaire, which – due to low literacy rates – was administered to West Frisian speakers (N=15) in person. The primarily open-ended items in the questionnaire targeted different aspects of the three main socio-structural factors that constitute the ethnolinguistic vitality of a language: that is, status, demography, and institutional support. Content analysis was performed on the questionnaire data, using rounds of deductive and inductive coding and analysis. The results suggest that West Frisian has a certain amount of vitality, which constitutes a good basis for language planning to ensure its continued maintenance. Moreover, the findings indicate that overall, the subjective vitality tallies with the objective vitality in terms of status, demography, and institutional support. However, two aspects raised concern among the participants: firstly, as part of the status of West Frisian, there was concern about the language's presence in the linguistic landscape (where subjective vitality matched objective vitality, but participants explicitly expressed the desire for a more persistent and pervasive presence of the language in public spaces); and secondly, as part of the institutional support for West Frisian, there was concern about the role of the language in the education system (where subjective vitality did not match objective vitality). The article discusses what implications the findings of this exploratory study – should they hold true – would have for language planning in the province of Fryslân.
This article discusses a small scale research project that investigated how students learn and use English outside the classroom. It was conducted during the 2019–2020 academic year and completed by administering a questionnaire to 47 students enrolled in the B2-level English language course offered at Vytautas Magnus University in the fall semester of 2019. The data were collected through an online survey. The participants were asked to choose the ways which helped them to learn English outside of the classroom and to comment on them based on how useful they were in terms of learning English. The students were also asked to indicate the frequency of such out-of-classroom (OOC) activities, in other words, how often they engage in the chosen OOCs. The results showed that most of the activities that the research participants engaged in outside the classroom were related to popular culture and their free time activities that were fun and entertaining rather than consciously chosen activities with the purpose of learning English. These activities helped to expand vocabulary and listening, but they did not help to practice speaking and writing (productive skills).
In today's world, when the global movement occurs, there are more and more mixed families interacting in two or more languages. Children born in such families have the opportunity to learn the mother tongues of both parents and become bilingual or multilingual. Whether this can work often depends on the family language policy. The latter is often influenced by a variety of factors, therefore its success depends not only on internal choices, but also partly on external factors. This article provides an overview of research by various authors, which present family language policy strategies. The aim of the study is to find the factors that determine the choice of those strategies and their success. The study revealed that family language policies are influenced both by the family's internal choices, for example, the desire that the children would know the language of one parent or both parents, that they would talk to relatives, would know parents’ culture through language, and by external factors, such as the norms of the society in which they live, integration processes or the conditions for learning the language. A key element in determining the success of family language policy is the consistent adherence to one or more of the strategies chosen.
The paper aims to present the first pedagogic corpus of Lithuanian i.e. monolingual specialized corpus, prepared for learning and teaching Lithuanian in a foreign language classroom. The corpus has been collected as a result of the project “Lithuanian Academic Scheme for International Cooperation in Baltic Studies”. It is motivated by the need to have a more appropriate resource which could be representative, authentic and relevant enough concerning the process of learning and teaching Lithuanian as it is known that language represented in other existing corpora of Lithuanian (e.g. Corpus of Contemporary Lithuanian, 140 m tokens) is too complex to use for learning activities. The pedagogic corpus includes authentic Lithuanian texts, selected using such criteria as a learner-relevant communicative function and genre. Spoken language as well as written language are represented in the corpus. The size of the corpus is 669.000 tokens: 111.000 tokens from texts and spoken language for A1–A2 levels, 558.000 tokens from texts and spoken language for B1–B2 levels (according to the CEFR – Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). In this paper, we aim to discuss in detail the written subpart of the corpus (containing 620.000 tokens) which includes levelled texts from coursebooks and unlevelled texts from other sources. The level-appropriate labels were assigned automatically to the texts from other sources and this text classification procedure is presented in the paper. The texts from coursebooks and other sources could be classified into 29 text types (dialogs, narratives, information, etc.) and 4 groups according to the communicative aims: informational texts, educational texts, advertising and fiction. Informational texts comprise the biggest part of the corpus; three mostly represented text types differ in coursebook texts and other sources: the most common coursebook texts are informational, narratives, and dialogs (appr. 78% of all coursebook texts). Texts from other sources are represented with richer diversity – appr. 73% of all texts from this subpart can be classified into 5 text types: subtitles, informational texts, educational texts, fiction, and advisory texts. The future work making pedagogic corpus available for learners and its possible application are presented in the closing remarks.
The concept of learner-centered teaching is very popular in modern foreign language didactics. Specialized literature emphasizes repeatedly how important it is to enable individual and self-directed learning processes and to support them with advice. It is obvious that autonomy can be seen as a key competence that is urgently needed in a constantly changing world of work. With the principles of learner orientation and learner autonomy, the roles of university lecturers and students are also changing. So it seems to be essential for lecturers to answer the following questions: Under what conditions can self-determined, efficient and successful foreign language learning take place in a university-learning environment? How much freedom students can or want to endure in a foreign language class? What are the limitations of learner-oriented teaching in foreign language classes? This article reports on the implementation of the pedagogical concepts of learner orientation and learner autonomy and shows why the use of the didactic principle of learner autonomy in universities is a challenging task for both teachers and learners. The statements are based on the insights gained during the BA seminar on contemporary German language at Kaunas Vytautas Magnus University.
In order to transition from a monolingual foreign language course to a multilingual one, all the elements that are connected to students’ cognition should be taken into consideration in order to facilitate this shift. Working with classes of French as a Foreign Language involving 11–12 years old Greek students, our study revealed that by switching to multilingual teaching, students’ representations of language(s) start to emerge; these representations had in most cases been hidden, incoherent and fossilized in teaching monolingual classes. While considering metalinguistic awareness, a variable that is central to our research, as a prerequisite for resolving problems emerging in a multilingual educational context, this article seeks to show that the representations language learners make of themselves and their learning constitute metalinguistic reflection at a macro level, which may influence how metalinguistic awareness functions when performing multilingual tasks. This paper focuses on the processing of qualitative data: meta-discourse analysis of the learners participating in our study led us to establish a typology of representations that enabled us to highlight what aspects to focus on in the classroom so as to prepare students to reflect on language more intensively. This involved guiding learners towards modifying their representational framework, by addressing deficiencies and correcting their representations characterized as “unproductive”, in order to take full advantage of multilingual teaching/learning situations.