Who's Helping Whom?: Learner/Heritage-Speakers' Networked Discussions in Spanish

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1 Applied Linguistics 24/4: 519±544 # Oxford University Press 2003 Who's Helping Whom?: Learner/Heritage-Speakers' Networked Discussions in Spanish ROBERT J. BLAKE and EVE C. ZYZIK UC Davis, USA This paper explores the interaction between heritage speakers HS) and L2 learners of Spanish in a synchronous computer-assisted learning environment. Students enrolled in an intermediate level language course were paired with heritage speakers in order to collaboratively solve a two-way jigsaw task. The transcripts of their interactions were examined for points of negotiation, given the general prediction that negotiations of meaning will stimulate both groups to notice their linguistic gaps and modify their respective output accordingly. The results illustrate that both groups trigger and resolve miscommunications, although HS assist their L2 partners much more often. The notion of `heritage speaker' is discussed along with an assessment of the potential linguistic bene ts of networked exchanges from both L2 learners and heritage speakers. INTRODUCTION The interactionist model predicts that oral discussions between native speakers NS) and non-native speakers NNS), as well as those that only involve NNS, will prime second language learners to notice their linguistic limitations, which is an essential step in the SLA process Gass 1997). The notion of negotiation is central to this priming process and can be de ned as `communication in which participants' attention is focused on resolving a communication problem as opposed to communication in which there is a free- owing exchange of information' Gass 1997: 107). Typically, negotiations arise in the foreign language classroom when students must accomplish a communicative task and then encounter a non-understanding along the way. 1 Researchers have referred to the process of `pushing down' from the original line of discourse in order to resolve these miscommunications or nonunderstandings Varonis and Gass 1985). The conversation is momentarily put on hold while the particular item, be it lexical or grammatical, is negotiated. These linguistic negotiations become precious moments when new structures can rst be noticed or primed for acquisition. Pellettieri 1999) and Blake 2000) have shown that these `priming' bene ts also obtain for learner/learner discussions within the medium of synchronous computer-mediated communication CMC). Networked communication, in particular, has often been singled out as bene cial for

2 520 NETWORKED DISCUSSIONS IN SPANISH neutralizing the negative e ects of asymmetrical power relationships and unequal status among participants Warschauer 1996). According to this view, partners in CMC tend to concentrate more on the message since they have no recourse to their partner's physical appearance or body language. 2 While the literature con rms the positive mediating e ects of NS/NNS faceto-face oral discussions Long 1983; Varonis and Gass 1985; Pica 1994; Mackey 1999), and NNS/NNS networked interaction Pellettieri 1999; Blake 2000), no one has probed the pairing of L2 learners with heritage speakers. The present investigation is the rst CMC study to include bilingual students whose heritage language, Spanish, is rapidly becoming the uno cial second language of California as well as other parts of the USA. One might normally expect, in a similar fashion to NS/NNS oral exchanges, that heritage speakers would eventually come to spur L2 learners on to notice gaps in their linguistic knowledge and, subsequently, help them to mediate and resolve their misunderstandings. But the notion of the heritage speaker HS) is not unproblematic, as we discuss below. Spanish heritage speakers are far from forming a homogeneous grouping with respect to their language abilities. They obviously share certain linguistic and cultural characteristics with monolingual Spanish speakers, but there also exist signi cant di erences, depending on the individuals' present and past opportunities to use Spanish in their daily lives. This study examines whether the reported bene ts of CMC also hold for exchanges between heritage speakers of Spanish and L2 learners HS/NNS) when these groups are asked to solve tasks within a computer-assisted learning environment. Accordingly, this study seeks to answer the following questions: 1 Do heritage speakers and L2 learners negotiate meaning in the CMC environment in a similar fashion to that of learner/learner pairs, as has already been documented in the literature e.g. Pellettieri 1999; Blake 2000)? 2 If so, do HS/NNS exchanges re ect increased attention to lexical and/or grammatical features of the language? 3 Who triggers these negotiations most frequently, the HS or NNS, and who is responsible for resolving them? In other words, who's helping whom? Do heritage speakers bene t from these networked exchanges as much as L2 learners, or does the HS dominate the ow of discourse as native speakers tend to do in NS/NNS face-to-face encounters? 4 Does the explicit demand for textual output, a requirement of CMC `chatting', promote the use of new vocabulary items and/or grammatical structures by both groups of participants? From a pedagogical perspective, Spanish courses at the university level designed speci cally for `native speakers' i.e. heritage speakers) are ourishing and continuing to expand to serve the needs of these bilingual students, alongside the regular Spanish curriculum for L2 learners ValdeÂs

3 ROBERT J. BLAKE and EVE C. ZYZIK ). Little thought has been focused on the question of whether these two di erent groups can work together to realize their speci c learning objectives for one exception, see Quintanar-Sarellana et al. 1997). The present study seeks to ascertain the e ect of networked HS/learner discussions, given the general principle of the Interactionist Hypothesis, which predicts that negotiations of meaning will stimulate both groups to notice their linguistic gaps and modify their respective output accordingly. BACKGROUND Task-based negotiation The bene ts of having learners realize tasks with native speakers i.e. NS/NNS discussions) are widely recognized. The native speaker can provide the learner with large quantities of input that is made comprehensible by means of various interactional modi cations such as repetitions, expansions, clari cations, and questions Long 1981). The native speaker, in particular, can also supply recasts that are grammatically accurate and pragmatically appropriate. In spite of its many advantages, the NS/NNS pairing can also create an unequal power relationship that, at times, might even discourage negotiation Varonis and Gass 1985). Learner/learner discussions appear to `prime' the SLA pump even more than NS/NNS exchanges since their negotiations are more frequent, more involved, and less inhibited by imbalances of linguistic knowledge and discourse dynamics Varonis and Gass 1985). The present study investigates whether or not heritage speakers can bring to the task the bene ts of advanced linguistic knowledge without the drawbacks of the unequal power con guration sometimes implied by the presence of monolingual native-speakers. After all, in comparison to L2 learners with only four quarters of university Spanish, heritage speakers are more advanced, even if they may not have had contact with the full array of registers that monolinguals enjoy. A task-based inquiry into SLA research also looks more speci cally at the notion of output, in addition to the traditional concerns surrounding input. In Swain's Output Hypothesis 1985, 1995) language production is seen as playing a crucial role in the SLA process. Swain 1995) outlines three potential functions of output: 1) it provides an opportunity for meaningful use of one's linguistic resources; 2) it allows the learner to test hypotheses about the target language; and 3) it encourages the learner to move from semantic to syntactic processing. Swain argues that comprehension of input is a process driven by semantics; in other words, learners do not always need to parse the sentences they hear in order to arrive at the intended meaning. Production, on the other hand, requires the learner to utilize syntax in order to produce coherent, meaningful utterances. When a learner is `pushed' during output, he/she is encouraged to convey meaning in a precise and

4 522 NETWORKED DISCUSSIONS IN SPANISH appropriate manner. This momentary `push' may be critical for language acquisition, since it promotes noticing: Learners may notice that they do not know how to express precisely the meaning they wish to convey at the very moment of attempting to produce itðthey notice, so to speak, a `hole' in their interlanguage Swain 2000: 100). As learners realize that there exists a linguistic problem in their output, they might modify their utterance in some way or attempt to use new linguistic forms i.e. hypothesis testing). Another possibility is that the learner may look to the interlocutor for some sort of external feedback e.g. a recast or modi cation) to help remedy the situation. In either case, the learner's attention is being directed to the more formal properties of the utterance, especially the L2 syntax, while expressing the meaning he/she wishes to convey. The bene ts of negotiation and `pushed' output have been well documented in studies of face-to-face interaction Pica et al.1989; Gass and Varonis 1994; Swain and Lapkin 1995). These bene ts also hold true in a synchronous computer-mediated environment, as demonstrated by Pellettieri 1999). Accordingly, we assume `pushed output' to be a relevant concept for both face-to-face and CMC exchanges. In reviewing the actual instances of non-understanding in the literature, it appears that lexical items are negotiated most frequently Brock et al. 1986; Sato 1986; Pica 1994). It is reasonable to assume that a conversation will come to a halt when a lexical item crucial to the solution of the task is unknown to at least one of the interlocutors. If the conversation is to `pop [back] up' to the main line of discourse Varonis and Gass 1985), the lexical item must be negotiated in some way, or that particular issue must be abandoned altogether. Grammatical items, on the other hand, can often go unnoticed since they carry a lesser communicative load. More speci cally, the relative communicative value of a particular grammatical item is determined by its inherent semantic value and redundancy within the utterance VanPatten 1996). This notion of communicative value explains why it is possible to communicate an idea, albeit not accurately, with less-than-perfect grammar. When, if ever, do learners' negotiations centre around morphosyntax? Pellettieri's research 1999) illustrates that the majority of negotiations are triggered by vocabulary items, but that morphosyntax does come into play when the nature of the task demands it. This corroborates the ndings of Loschky and Bley-Vroman 1993), who suggest that task type directly a ects the amount of morphosyntactic negotiations produced. More speci cally, those tasks that encourage grammatical negotiation include a written component in which the participants are asked to jointly compose a short piece of discourse as a means of concluding the communicative task see Swain and Lapkin 2001 for examples of joint discourse). Furthermore, researchers have become increasingly clever in designing structure-focused tasks that have proven e ective in eliciting production of certain morpho-

5 ROBERT J. BLAKE and EVE C. ZYZIK 523 logical and syntactic features of the target language c.f. Mackey 1994, 1999; Doughty and Long 2000). The heritage speaker As previously mentioned, the notion of a heritage speaker is not easy to de ne, both conceptually and operationally. Heritage speakers HS)Ðalso referred to as native speakers, quasi-native speakers, residual speakers, bilingual speakers, and home-background speakersðcomprise a highly heterogeneous group of individuals, whose common trait is the use of a language other than English in the home. 3 More speci cally, a heritage speaker can be de ned as: a student who is raised in a home where a non-english language is spoken, who speaks or merely understands the heritage language, and who is to some degree bilingual in English and the heritage language ValdeÂs 2000: 1). This de nition covers a broad range of individuals who have some knowledge of a non-english language as a product of the home environment, without necessarily being dominant in that language. For Spanish, ValdeÂs 1997) has developed a typology of eight di erent kinds of HS, ranging from those who have been schooled in a Spanish-speaking country to those who exhibit only receptive competence in the language. The diverse competencies of these bilinguals has made it di cult to provide them with appropriate instruction when they decide to study a language that is, in many senses of the term, their mother tongue. In fact, the pro le of any heritage speaker poses serious problems for the limited theoretical notion of `native speaker'. Although most HS do acquire Spanish in early childhood, this type of acquisition is not identical to the experience of an individual who is exclusively raised and educated in a strictly monolingual context. In many cases, an HS raised in a bilingual US context may not receive the quantity or continuity of input needed to attain full pro ciency in Spanish Montrul 2002). In addition, certain formal features of the language may su er simpli cation and loss due to an interrupted process of acquisition at the age when intensive exposure to English begins Silva-CorvalaÂn 2001). When speaking about the abilities of an HS, it is important to keep in mind that HS are not imperfect versions of the monolingual `native speaker'. They are fundamentally di erent from monolinguals, and therefore should not be judged according to monolingual norms. Yet culturally speaking, heritage speakers are not exactly like their monolingual English-speaking counterparts either. Understandably, the issue of cultural identity goes to the very heart of the concept of the heritage speaker. Many researchers e.g. Grosjean 1992), rmly believe that one must adopt a holistic view of the bilingual, acknowledging the unique and complex interaction of the individual's languages with his/her environment. Indeed, we nd it more useful to

6 524 NETWORKED DISCUSSIONS IN SPANISH interpret the notion of heritage speaker within a functional de nition of a bilingual, concentrating on how he/she uses each language in di erent communicative situations. Similar to other bilinguals, HS of Spanish display a wide range of competencies in various aspects of language use. Bachman 1990) has proposed that language competence consists of grammatical, textual, illocutionary, and sociolinguistic competence. These four areas can be further divided to account for a speaker's control over vocabulary, syntax, morphology, as well as his/her ability to employ di erent registers, express ideas with idiomatic expressions, and make cultural references. Using Bachman's schemata as a guideline, one can recognize the complexity of language pro ciency and, consequently, move beyond the idealized notion of `native speaker'. In fact, a particular heritage speaker may be lacking in the area of textual competence, while at the same time displaying a skilful mastery of idiomatic expressions and other cultural markers. As ValdeÂs 1997) points out, many HS have limited textual competence in Spanish because their schooling was primarily in English. In other words, they have acquired Spanish in the oral medium, and may not have had the opportunity to see or use this language in its textual form. In addition, many HS have heard and used Spanish strictly in the home environment, and as a consequence, their lexicon may be restricted to serve those particular functions. Another important issue related to the heritage speaker is the idea of `standard' Spanish. Many HS employ more stigmatized varieties of Spanish, in comparison with the academic Spanish generally found in textbooks. Also, many of the forms used by these speakers are examples of rural norms, archaic speech, colloquial usage, or contact phenomena with English. Unfortunately, these linguistically well-documented phenomena are often misinterpreted in the community and schools as signs of linguistic de ciencyðor for some, as palpable signs of `alingualism', rather than as manifestations of linguistic variation. In the present study we expect to encounter tokens of all of these phenomena, and we foresee that codeswitching will be inevitable due to the common language background English) of the study's participants. METHODOLOGY Participants During the fall quarter, 1999, eleven university heritage speakers enrolled on a course `Spanish for Native Speakers' were paired with another eleven L2 learners from an intermediate Spanish class. Our university has a separate language series for heritage speakers. Under normal circumstances, heritage speakers would not interact with L2 learners until reaching upper-division courses. The CMC exchanges provide a unique opportunity to allow these two student populations to work together.

7 ROBERT J. BLAKE and EVE C. ZYZIK 525 As explained above, the heritage speakers varied in their exposure to monolingual Spanish-speaking communities as a function of when they arrived in the USA. Three students type I) were raised in Spanish-speaking countries until about age 10. At the time of the study, they had been living in the USA for eight or more years with their parents who were native Spanish speakers. These individuals self-reported that their Spanish was better or equal to their English. Another group of eight students type II) were raised in the USA with at least one parent being a native speaker of Spanish. Some Spanish was spoken at home, but they expressed a preference for English as their dominant language. Data collection Each HS/NNS pair was asked to solve the `apartment hunting' task, which from previous research Blake 2000) has proven so e ective in eliciting linguistic negotiation from learner/learner pairs. This activity can be described as a two-way jigsaw task that requires each participant in the pair to share their portion of a totality of information as they work convergently toward a single goal Pica et al. 1993). Because of the nature of the jigsaw task, the participants enjoy increased opportunities to experience comprehension of the input, feedback on production, and modi cation of interlanguage forms Pica et al. 1993: 17). Task type was an important consideration for this study since it is widely recognized that interaction is an extremely task-sensitive phenomenon. There are many types of communicative tasks for a taxonomy, see Pica et al. 1993), and they di er from one another in four major ways: 1) the responsibilities of the interlocutors which one holds the information); 2) the interaction requirement optional or obligatory); 3) goal orientation convergence or divergence); and 4) outcome options one or more than one nal outcome). In this model, the jigsaw task is viewed as the one most likely to generate opportunities for the learners to interact and negotiate meaning. This does not mean, however, that the other tasks such as problem solving, decision making, or opinion exchange) are not valuable in their own right. The less restrictive tasks i.e. opinion exchange) can also serve as a platform for interaction, especially in the realm of controversial topics. In short, the tasks must be used wisely in conjunction with the speci c goals of the classroom or the research agenda. The partners were seated at computers located in di erent buildings and instructed in English to connect to each other online via the RTA chat program They were told they were connecting to another student of Spanish without reference to the linguistic background of their partner. All focus was directed to solving the task at hand via the chat tool. They then proceeded to solve the `apartment hunting' task using only Spanish. The goal of this task was to share their respective apartment listings 4 each, a total of 8) and nd the perfect t given their assigned personalities,

8 526 NETWORKED DISCUSSIONS IN SPANISH which provided points of con ict as well as agreement. The details of their assigned personalities type A vs. type B) were given in English through Web pages consult The separate apartment listings were in Spanish and had been taken from a Madrid apartment- nding Internet service. The RTA chat program allowed these pairs to engage in synchronous CMC and kept a record of all of the keyboard exchanges. The pairs communicated online for about an hour in order to come to a consensus on which apartment they wanted to rent. All pairs successfully agreed upon one apartment, which required them to share their four listings as well as their assigned likes, dislikes, and budgetary restrictions. Data analysis The transcripts were then examined for points of negotiation: non-understandings, misunderstandings, clari cations, con rmations, and expansions. The exchanges were labelled according to Varonis and Gass' 1985) model for negotiations of meaning: the trigger the utterance that causes a nonunderstanding), the indicator the beginning of the negotiation of meaning that pushes down from the original line of discourse), the response a solution o ered by the partner), and the reaction an optional recognition of the resolution of the non-understanding and a signal to resume the normal line of discourse). Particular attention was given to identifying subsequent instances of output that might suggest that acquisition had actually occurred. There were a total of thirty negotiation events, as illustrated and described in the following section. RESULTS The eleven pairs generated thirty instances of negotiations during their respective hour-long CMC sessions. For an unfocused task such as the `apartment hunting' task, 4 the amount of negotiations of meaning is consistent with previous ndings Blake 2000). Table 1 shows the distribution by lexical, grammatical, and pragmatic negotiations. As can be seen from Table 1, the negotiations were primarily lexical in Table 1: Total negotiations of meaning Negotiation type Tokens Lexical 24 Grammatical 4 Pragmatic 2

9 ROBERT J. BLAKE and EVE C. ZYZIK 527 nature 24), as has been reported in the literature Blake 2000: 132). This result is not surprising because of the nature of the task, which involved reading the apartment listings and understanding the descriptions and Spanish abbreviationsðvocabulary, not syntax, is crucially important to choosing the best apartment from many advertisements. The transcripts show that the pairs communicated mostly in Spanish, although they did resort to English at times in order to clear up some lexical misunderstandings. 5 Codeswitching did occur for both types of participants but it seemed to be restricted, once again, to the lexical domain. The exchange in 1) is representative of a successful lexical negotiation. 6 1) NNS/HS type II) lexical confusion RESOLVED NNS: que signi ca `piso a estrenar?' [INDICATOR] what does `brand-new at' mean? HS: que esta nuevo [RESPONSE] that it's new NNS: ay que bueno [REACTION] that's good Although two heads were better than one most of the time, not all lexical negotiations reached a successful resolution, as illustrated in 2), although they come tantalizingly close to the correct answer. 2) NNS/HS type II) lexical confusion UNRESOLVED NNS: tambien, crees que c/c signi ca califacion? [TRIGGER/INDICATOR] also, do you think that c/c means heating? HS: okay, entre los dos tenemos 6 necessidades, contemos cuantos hay en cada apartemento, okay, between the two of us we have 6 necessities, let's count how many there are in each apartment, HS: no se [RESPONSEÐunresolved] I don't know HS: no creo que quiera decir califacion I don't think it means heating NNS: tampoco [REACTION] I don't either In four cases, grammatical item s) were the immediate cause of a miscommunication. Although not always the case, the communicative load of a grammatical item i.e. preposition, pronoun, or verb form) can sometimes be su cient to cause a communicative breakdown. In 3), the negotiation is rst triggered by an inappropriate use of a preposition followed by improper copula selection coded in bold). 7 3) HS type II)! NNS grammatical confusions NNS: De donde es la profesora? Tengo una pregunta? [TRIGGER] Where is the professor from? I have a question?

10 528 NETWORKED DISCUSSIONS IN SPANISH HS: es de Mexico porque? she is from Mexico, why? NNS: Lo siento... Donde es la profesora? I'm sorry... Where is existence) the professor? HS: como? [INDICATOR] what? HS: donde esta la profesora? [RESPONSE] where is location) the professor? NNS: Si, lo siento! [REACTION] Yes, I'm sorry! HS: no te preocupes, ella esta aqui don't worry, she is here Another grammatical miscommunication, shown below in 4), dealt with clitic pronoun placement. The L2 learner transfers the canonical English SVO word order to Spanish object clitics, which results in a clari cation request from the HS with the correct word order, as well as the correct shift in point of view to 2nd person singular te). This helpful information on placement further confuses the NNS, who focuses on the change in person, rather than the error in word order. A resolution is reached when the HS speaker provides a more detailed explanation and models the correct form and word order, much as a teacher would do in the classroom. 4) HS type II)! NNS grammatical confusions HS: tambien esta amueblado also it is furnished NNS: que es electro domesticos? what is electric appliances? NNS: La profesora ayudame! [TRIGGER] The professor help me! informal command form used to indicate a declarative) HS: te esta AYUDANDO? [INDICATOR] she is HELPING you? NNS: Si, te esta ayudando... es mas correcto? Yes, she is helping you... is it more correct? HS: como? [INDICATOR] what? NNS: `te esta ayudando' es la forma corecta? `she is helping you' is the correct form? HS: si tu quieres decir que te estan ayudando a `ti' entonces tu tienes que decir `me esta ayudando' [RESPONSE] if you want to say that they are helping `you' emphasis) then you need to say `she is helping me.' NNS: O si,gracias. Ahora, busque a los apartamentos. Es bien? [REACTION] Oh yes, thanks. Now nd the apartments. Is that okay?

11 ROBERT J. BLAKE and EVE C. ZYZIK 529 The exchange in 4) illustrates two separate problems. The learner has used an imperative word order to express a declarative sentence clearly a transfer of word order from English). The HS correctly guesses the intended meaning and makes a correction from her point of view, using the second person singular clitic te. Subsequently, the learner fails to shift the point of view of the event to the rst person, and a secondary negotiation ensues. This raises an important issue concerning feedbackðwhich aspects of feedback do learners pay attention to? This is especially important for grammatical miscommunications, since errors in word order 4) or preposition use 4) are often accompanied by other syntactic or semantic di culties, and thus may require a more involved negotiation routine in order to clear up the misunderstanding. The two pragmatic confusions encountered in the transcripts were the result of non-understanding on the part of the L2 learner. This is not at all surprising since L2 pragmatic competence usually lags behind grammatical competence Bardovi-Harlig 1999). Since pragmatic cues are hard enough to interpret in face-to-face exchanges, the computer medium certainly does not convey e ectively subtle points of humour and irony. In 5), the L2 learner fails to grasp the fact that the HS is only joking about hiding their co-ed living arrangement from her parents. The learner insists on truthfulness, while the HS playfully suggests that concealment is more expedient, but she is really pulling the learner's leg on this one. The HS responds to the learner's confusion and protests with ironic and humorous retorts until the end of the exchange when a direct statement of `I'm kidding you' nally brings the L2 learner to the realization that he has missed the pragmatic import of the conversation. The L2 learner signals with a happy face that he now understands, which successfully resolves this pragmatic miscommunication. 5) HS type I)!NNS pragmatic confusions HS: Me llamo Anna My name is Anna HS: Y tu? And you? NNS: me llamo Juan my name is Juan NNS: eres una mujer? are you a woman? HS: Es lo que creo I believe so HS: Eres un hombre? Are you a man? NNS: si yes HS: Si, soy una mujer Yes, I am a woman

12 530 NETWORKED DISCUSSIONS IN SPANISH NNS: para clari car algo, to clarify something, NNS: no pude alquilar un apartamento con una mujer... I could not rent an apartment with a woman... HS: ah no? Como eres hombre, creo que se lo voy a tener que esconder a mis papas [humour] oh no? Since you're a man, I think I'm going to have to hide it from my parents. NNS: no voy a esconder nada, si ese esta en realidad I'm not going to hide anything, if this is reality NNS: pero no es la realidad but this is not reality NNS: por eso because of that NNS: podemos hacerlo, we can do it, HS: Bueno, lo podemos hacer pero no se lo cuentes a mis papas... Okay, we can do it but don't tell my parents... HS: Solo estoy bromeando I'm only joking NNS: :) [NNS nally understands that it's a joke] The transcriptions were further analysed to reveal who was responsible for resolving the communicative breakdowns. As Table 2 illustrates, the majority of the resolutions can be attributed to the heritage speakers with lexical confusions being the principal trigger. In 6), the L2 learner is forced by the communicative task to nd an equivalent for English to save a digital computer le). In Spanish there are at least three separate entries for this English verb: guardar `to save/store information or objects'), ahorrar `to save money/time'), salvar `to save a life'). As Swain 1985, 2000) has noted, the demands of producing output forces learners to put their linguistic resources into action and make speci c grammatical choices. Technically speaking, example 6) involves a lexical/ semantic choice rather than a purely syntactic one. However, the general principle of the output hypothesis still applies to this example because the communicative task forces the learner to choose among several possible Table 2: Resolutions of linguistic di culties by type and speaker HS NNS NNS self-correction Lexical Grammatical 3 Ð 1 Pragmatic 2 Ð Ð

13 ROBERT J. BLAKE and EVE C. ZYZIK 531 options. Furthermore, we assume that the lexicon plays an important role in making grammatical choices, and that lexical and grammatical development are highly interrelated processes see Bates and Goodman 1999 for a review of research that supports this position). In this particular case, this learner opts for the already known meaning of salvar, which is a false cognate in this particular context. This provokes a clari cation request from the HS. Once the HS understands the context, the proper Spanish verb guardar can be suggested and the breakdown is resolved. 6) HS type I)! NNS lexical confusions NNS: esta bien, como terminamos esa programa, lo salvamos el texto? [TRIGGER] ne, since we nished that program, we save it the text? HS: salvamos que? [INDICATOR] we save what? NNS: la informacion, no? the information, right? NNS: para Ana? for Ana? NNS: Eva NNS: para Eva for Eva HS: si hay que guardar la informacion [RESPONSE] yes we have to save the information HS: Lo quieres guardar bajo el nombre de NNS, Aguilar, Anna, o Juan? Do you want to save it under the name NNS, Aguilar, Anna, or Juan? NNS: no importa it doesn't matter NNS: pon los dos. put both. HS: o voy a guardar bajo el nombre `Aguilar y NNS' entonces I am going to save it under the name `Aguilar and NNS' then... NNS: bien! good! HS: ya lo guarde I have already saved it Five lexical confusions were resolved by the L2 learner, who took the initiative in helping the heritage learner understand an unfamiliar vocabulary item. In four of these ve cases, the learner was working with a type II heritage speaker, but in one instance, a learner assisted a type I heritage speaker in nding the correct word for central heating. 8 The L2 learners have more exposure to certain formal lexical items normally found in the classroom

14 532 NETWORKED DISCUSSIONS IN SPANISH that are not necessarily part of the bilingual repertoire. Example 7) represents a fragment of an exchange in which the learner assists the HS with the verb anä adir `to add'), a fairly common word in L2 classroom discourse. It is clear from the exchange that this particular HS had no previous exposure to this verb's use or meaning. 7) NNS! HS type II) lexical confusions NNS: solo tiene un numero, si? it only has one number, right? HS: creo que si I think so HS: porque luego comiensa a describirlo because later it begins to describe it NNS: bueno. puedes anadirlo [TRIGGER] good. you can add it HS: pondre solo el numero? should I put just the number? HS: que es anadir? [INDICATOR] what is to add? NNS: si. y que que es de lista `a' yes. and that it's from list `a' HS: esta bien ne NNS: anadir signi ca poner mas [RESPONSE] to add means to put more HS: o si oh yes [REACTION] NNS: lo has anadido. perfecto! you have added it. perfect! HS: que bueno that's good HS: bueno ya acabamos? good, so we're done? In 8) the NNS, again, takes the lead in resolving the communicative breakdown, but in this case, the lexical item provided comes from a colloquial register rather than the standard language. Since the HS was not familiar with the more standard word for `patio' terraza, the learner was forced to nd another comprehensible synonym; she chooses the word porche `porch' to illustrate the concept. 9 This is another case in which negotiation of meaning provides the participants with opportunities to make the most of all of their linguistic resources. 8) NNS! HS type II) lexical confusions HS: que es una terraza? [TRIGGER] what is a terrace?

15 ROBERT J. BLAKE and EVE C. ZYZIK 533 HS: Tambien quiero que haiga un lava platos. I also want there to be a dishwasher. NNS: este precio es bueno para mi tambie. this price is good for me also. HS: que bueno that's good HS: terraza? [INDICATOR] terrace? HS: He estado leiendo de unos apartamentos que se rentan I have been reading about some apartments for rent NNS: creo que esta palabra esta correctaðuna terraza es un porche [RESPONSE] I think that this word is correctða terrace is a porch HS: oh In reviewing the transcripts, special attention was directed towards instances of output that resulted from previous negotiations. Both 9) and 10) are examples of such output, and suggest that the forms in question are in the process of being acquired. In 9), the learner rst solicits help from the HS, who then provides the Spanish equivalent of `furnished', It seems that the learner incorporates this word into his/her working vocabulary and, subsequently, uses it to ask two di erent questions. 9) HS type II)! NNS lexical confusions NNS: oh, si. es mal, no recordi que quiero un apartamento `furnished' [TRIGGER] oh, yes. it's bad, I didn't remember that I want a `furnished' apartment NNS: como se dice `furnished' en espanol? [INDICATOR] how do you say `furnished' in Spanish HS: amueblado [RESPONSE] furnished NNS: amueblado. bueno. gracias [REACTION] furnished. good. thanks NNS: vale. mira un apartamento amueblado? [OUTPUT] ok. look at a furnished apartment? NNS: que sientas? Preocupas si el apartamento es amueblado? [OUTPUT] what do you feel? Do you worry if the apartment is furnished? HS: encontre uno! I found one! In 10), a similar pattern is at work: the NNS asks the HS to clarify the use of calentoân, and then uses the very same word later on in the exchange. 10 The transcripts provide solid evidence that the NNS were not familiar with these

16 534 NETWORKED DISCUSSIONS IN SPANISH particular lexical items prior to the negotiation sequence. Most importantly, the knowledge gained from the negotiation was recycled and used appropriately at a later point in time. 10) HS type II)! NNS lexical confusions HS: Eso me parece bien. Yo necesito algo con calenton porque soy muy friolenta [TRIGGER] That sounds good to me. I need something with a heater because I get very cold. NNS: Que es calenton? [INDICATOR] What is a heater? HS: Tambien te queria decir que tengo muy poco dinero y necesito algo de menos de pesetas. Un calenton es algo para que no te de frio. Un heater [RESPONSE] Also I wanted to tell you that I have very little money and I need something for less than 100,000 pesetas. A heater is something so that you don't get cold. A heater HS: Me gustaria tener algo con lavaplatos porque yo soy muy limpia I would like to have something with a dishwasher because I'm very clean NNS: El alquilar del apartamento que a mi) me gusta es muy caro. Yo solo necesito la cocina y la terraza. The rent of the apartment that I like is very expensive. I only need the kitchen and the terrace NNS: Pienso que nos encontro un apartamento. Tiene una cocina, electrodomosticos, y cuesta pesetas. Pero no se si tiene un calenton. [OUTPUT] I think that I nd us an apartment. It has a kitchen, appliances, and costs 85,000 pesetas. But I don't know if it has a heater. HS: Hay un apartamento que tiene cocina, calefaccion, lavaplatos y esta junto el Metro San Bernardo. Vale pts There is an apartment that has a kitchen, heating, a dishwasher and it's right next to Metro San Bernardo. It costs 31,000 pesetas HS: calefaccion es lo mismo que un calenton heating is the same thing as a heater A modi cation of output does not always result from a breakdown in communication. At times, the mere act of producing an utterance stimulates L2 learners to re ect upon their own language use, which is one of the bene ts that Swain sees in forced output. Similar to the language-related episodes described by Swain and Lapkin 1995), 11 the L2 learners in this study did experience moments of self-correction, as illustrated in 11). In this

17 ROBERT J. BLAKE and EVE C. ZYZIK 535 exchange, the NNS asks a question incorrectly using the indicative tense in the subordinate clause, and then modi es his choice of mood, as required by the syntactic structure. In order to arrive at the right form without external feedback, the learner had to do a mental search of his existing knowledge. It is precisely this cognitive process occurring between the rst and second instance of output that may be of crucial importance to second language acquisition Swain and Lapkin 1995). 11) NNS self-correction of syntactic confusion HS: puedes explicar porque querias un balcon, cocina, y muebles can you explain why you wanted a balcony, a kitchen, and furniture NNS: ok HS: yo te ayudo si quieres I will help you if you want NNS: quieres que yo habla mas? do you want me to talk indicative) more? NNS: quieres que yo hable mas? do you want me to talk subjunctive) more? HS: si tu quieres if you want Given the linguistic backgrounds of the participants, it was not surprising to encounter dialectal features of Chicano Spanish in the transcripts similar to the example given in 10). For some language instructors, the question arises of whether or not it is bene cial for L2 learners to be exposed to forms that are not considered part of the `standard' norm. The exchange in 12) is a clear example of such a usage: the HS/NNS pair negotiates the meaning of the verb agarrar to take, to grab). In colloquial usage, the meaning of this verb has been extended in the Chicano community to other semantic domains normally reserved for verbs like recibir to receive), obtener to obtain), and conseguir to get, to obtain). 12) HS type II)! NNS lexical confusion NNS: te gusta el numero tres de mi? do you like number three of me? HS: si me gusto, pero tambien me gusto el mio. Entonces si vamos agarrar credito por este ejercicio [TRIGGER] yes I liked it, but I also liked mine. Well we are going to get credit for this exercise. NNS: que es agarrar? [INDICATOR] what is to get? HS: a recibir [RESPONSE] to receive

18 536 NETWORKED DISCUSSIONS IN SPANISH NNS: a bueno. yo tambien. entonces su apartamento esta bien. solo falta la terraza? oh good. me too. then your apartment is ne. the only thing missing is the terrace? [REACTION] Learning features of colloquial Spanish should not be considered a barrier to mastering the standard norms. On the contrary, from the L2 learner's perspective, more is always better. Ironically, the L2 learner would probably choose recibir to receive) when referring to university credit, if left to his/ her own devices. Yet, the L2 learner hasn't acquired the use of agarrar to take, to grab), which is commonly used in both Chicano and Mexican varieties to express a physical action like `grabbing'. In this case, the verb agarrar has been extended to a non-physical domain, which resembles its function in other expressions of the type agarrar una gripe `to catch cold' or agarrar una borrachera `to get drunk'. Similarly, agarrar creâdito is understandable in a colloquial context; it communicates a message, but at the same time, may sound somewhat odd to speakers not familiar with Chicano Spanish. 12 Accordingly, both the heritage and the L2 learner need to re ne their repertoires, but in di erent ways. The heritage speaker needs to narrow the contexts in which agarrar is used, while the L2 learner must incorporate this high frequency verb into his/her lexicon. Clearly, both types of learners will need more input in order to bring about this lexical expansion. A complete analysis of these exchanges brings to mind yet another important issue: the interaction between the reading material of the task and the instances of output. It is predictable that the L2 learners will make use of the written input of the apartment ads as they attempt to produce the target language while chatting with a partner. Swain and Lapkin 1995: 386) explain `when learners cannot work out a solution, they may turn to input, this time with more focused attention, searching for relevant input.' This appears to be the case in 13), in which the NNS rst struggles with the word for `furnishings' and then nds the answer he was looking for in the reading. This new vocabulary item is later reinforced by the HS, and nally it is attempted, again, by the learner. Although the nal output is not entirely accurate, this does not mean that the interaction has been unproductive. It simply underscores the fact that acquisition is often a process of trial and error, and that many opportunities for production are needed to gain control over linguistic forms. In addition, the L2 learner is trying to make associations between the new lexical item amueblado `furnished' and a possible synonym, completo `complete, fully furnished'. 13) HS type I)! NNS lexical confusion HS: cuales otras cosas? what other things? NNS: en una apartamento in an apartment

19 ROBERT J. BLAKE and EVE C. ZYZIK 537 NNS: como un sofa, y las sillas, y un escritorio like the sofa, and the chairs, and a desk NNS: los furnishings)... NNS: NNS: NNS: NNS: HS:... HS: se ve bien, tambien, pero no esta amueblado [picks it up from the reading] it looks good, also, but it is not furnished estoy de acuerdo contigo, I agree with you, numero 3 esta el mejor number 3 is the best one puedo tener control de otras ventana? can I have control of other windows? Creo que tienes razon. Ademas de estar amueblado, tiene calefaccion, television, etc. [reinforced by HS] I think you're right. In addition to being furnished, it has heating, television, etc. Lo unico que no tiene es el lavaplatos The only thing it doesn't have is the dishwasher NNS: completo? es amuebable? [OUTPUT, although not accurate] complete? is it furnished? Up to this point, we have shown several successful negotiation routines. There were, however, several exchanges in which important morphosyntactic errors did not spark any kind of negotiation nor self-correction. For example, in 14) the NNS repeatedly fails to notice an incorrect syntactic structure in her output. This error, although quite obvious, does not provoke a communicative breakdown or a correction by the HS. Spanish, a pro-drop language, has no need for a dummy subject such as `it', while in English lling the subject slot is obligatory. In 14), the NNS repeatedly fails to realize that Spanish is a pro-drop language and inserts an object clitic pronoun to ll the subject position. This kind of transfer from the L1 goes un-negotiated by the pair and seemingly un-noticed by the HS in this exchange. 14) Failure to notice a syntactic problem HS: En donde esta la lista de apartamentos? Where is the list of apartments? NNS: Si, encontro una apartamento con un terraza y una cocina pero no lo habla de un calenton o maquina de llava los trastes Yes, I nd an apartment with a terrace and a kitchen but it object pronoun) doesn't talk about a heater or a machine to wash dishes. HS: En donde lo encontraste? Where did you nd it? NNS: Lo esta en Alberto Aguilera? Tienes una lista con todos las cosas que queremos?

20 538 NETWORKED DISCUSSIONS IN SPANISH... HS: NNS: HS:... NNS: It object pronoun) is in Alberto Aguilera? Do you have a list with all the things we want? si, pero es diferente yes, but it is di erent Como es lo diferente? How is it object pronoun) di erent? son diferentes apartamentos they are di erent apartments Lo tiene un terraza o una cocina? Does it object pronoun) have a terrace or a kitchen? Native English speakers often struggle with the more exible Spanish word order, and with the clitic pronoun system in general VanPatten 1984, 1990), but the role of interaction in the development of these, and other complex structures, is still unclear. DISCUSSION The central concern of this study was to investigate the nature of HS/NNS interactions in a CMC environment. Based on the exchanges we have described in the previous section, it is apparent that HS and L2 learners negotiate meaning and engage in the same types of interactional modi cations as learner/learner pairs. The transcripts reveal instances of clari cation requests, expansions, recasts, self-corrections, and other interactional strategies that have been well documented in both face-to-face and CMC environments. This result was expected, but HS/NNS exchanges bring to mind other theoretical interests as well. Turning to our second research question and the issue of lexical negotiations, these HS/NNS exchanges reveal that negotiations of meaning have a positive e ect on vocabulary use. In addition, the demands of electronic chatting, which force the participants to produce output, often provide an immediate record of subsequent uses of new vocabulary items that might indicate a change in the L2 learners' linguistic knowledge. However, this study was not designed to determine whether or not these advances yield only short-term gains or signify more permanent additions to the L2 lexicon. 13 Although the subjects in this study were not administered a delayed post-test, Swain and Lapkin 1998) provide examples con rming a strong relationship between output and delayed recall of lexical items. Accordingly, future studies should include a delayed recall measure to explore more thoroughly this apparent connection between forced output and acquisition. In terms of syntax, the data would suggest that modi cations to interlanguage grammar proceed exceedingly slowly in comparison to vocabulary growth. The transcripts indicated only a handful of grammatical

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