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Language Resource Center

Events of 2017-2018

November 15
Wednesday, November 15, 4pm Stimson G25
Followed by reception

Morten Christiansen, Professor of Psychology
Cornell University

"Squeezing through the Now-or-Never Bottleneck: Chunking in L1 and L2 Learning"
Language happens in the here-and-now. Our memory for linguistic input is fleeting. New material rapidly interferes with previous material. How then can the brain deal successfully with the continual deluge of linguistic input? I propose that, to deal with this "Now-or-Never" bottleneck, the brain must incrementally compress and recode language input as rapidly as possible into increasingly more abstract of levels of linguistic representation. This chunking-based perspective has profound implications for the nature of language processing, acquisition, and change. Focusing on language acquisition, I draw on computational modeling and human experimentation to illustrate the implications for L1 and L2 learning. I conclude that the immediacy of language processing provides a critical constraint on accounts of language acquisition, implying that acquisition fundamentally involves learning to process, rather than inducing a grammar.

December 5
Tuesday, December 5, 9am - 12pm, Stimson G25
Followed by lunch

María Carreira, Professor of Spanish
California State University Long Beach

"Heritage Students and Project-based Learning"
In this workshop, I will first talk about the special needs and strengths of HLs and how they differ from both second language learners and native speakers. In the second half, I will describe a pedagogy that responds to those needs and strengths but is differentiated in a way that suits the needs of all learners. I will also present a model of project-based learning that is well suited for HL classes, as well as mixed classes.
February 22
Thursday, February 22, 4pm, Stimson G25
Followed by reception

Susan Gass, University Distinguished Professor
Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages
Michigan State University

"Learning to Listen: Can Captions Help?"
Listening skills are often the last skill to develop in foreign language learning. This presentation will focus on classroom use of listening-based videos with a particular emphasis on the use of captions for language teaching/learning in foreign language classrooms. I will first present results from large scale assessments at Michigan State University. From these results, we can better understand how proficiency in listening compares to proficiency in other skills. One common tool for teaching listening is to use captions to aid in understanding. However, the usefulness of this pedagogical tool is mitigated by a number of factors. I will present results from studies in which the focus was on the relative usefulness of captions depending on language, proficiency, and order of presentation when listening materials are played twice (with and without captions). I will also look at eye-tracking data from English learners of Spanish and Chinese and Arabic learners of English. The eye-tracking data, coupled with working memory data, provide insight into the attentional focus of captions and the potentially resultant split-attention effect. I will end with some pedagogical implications.
March 2-4
Friday March 2 through Sunday March 4
Conference of the Northeast Association of Language Learning and Technology

This popular regional conference is returning to Ithaca for the third time in 10 years. It was last held in Ithaca in 2013. This is a fairly small friendly conference of language teachers from around the Northeast talking about their teaching practice. It is an opportunity to hear about theoretical and practical ideas of other teachers and to have conversation about language teaching, particularly related to technology use. The call for proposals for the conference will be coming out in November. This is an opportunity to focus your own ideas into a presentation for other teachers.
April 13
Friday, April 13, 4pm, Stimson G25
Followed by reception

María Luisa Parra, Senior Preceptor in Romance Languages and Literatures
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
Harvard University

"Art in the Language Classroom"
May 11
Friday, May 11, 9am-12pm Stimson G25
Followed by lunch

LRC Spring Workshop