Run­ning lan­guage learn­ing exper­i­ments with adults and children

Gwen Brekel­mans, UCL


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Learn­ing to speak a sec­ond or for­eign lan­guage is often dif­fi­cult and requires a lot of prac­tice. Research in sec­ond lan­guage learn­ing has long since used lab­o­ra­to­ry-based exper­i­ments to inves­ti­gate how best to get peo­ple to learn var­i­ous aspects of the sec­ond lan­guage, such as its vocab­u­lary, the speech sounds, and the gram­mat­i­cal struc­ture. More recent­ly, online meth­ods have become more preva­lent in this research. In this talk, I will dis­cuss my work on lan­guage learn­ing with adult and child par­tic­i­pants, focussing on those exper­i­ments in which par­tic­i­pants learnt to per­ceive nov­el sounds from a sec­ond lan­guage. I will dis­cuss two dif­fer­ent ways of using online meth­ods, i.e. ful­ly online meth­ods for adult par­tic­i­pants ver­sus online meth­ods with offline super­vi­sion for pri­ma­ry school chil­dren, and will talk about the dif­fer­ent con­sid­er­a­tions and chal­lenges that come with these approach­es. I will also go into the chal­lenges of run­ning mul­ti-ses­sion experiments.

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