Fall 2010     ISSN 1096-1453     Volume 14, Issue 3
Editorial: East Asian languages


Second language acquisition and pedagogy: East Asian (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) languages and students Following the successful endeavor in Fall 2008 (Volume 12 Issue 3), this special edition again explored useful cutting-edge knowledge of second language acquisition (SLA) and pedagogy. This time, however, we highlighted an emerging area of research about East Asian languages and students. This issue aimed at examining the processes of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean (as a second) language acquisition among American students as well as ESL (English as a second language) acquisition among students with East Asian backgrounds.

With the rapidly increasing influence of East Asian countries and economies, the number of American students studying East Asian languages has been steadily rising. In addition, East Asian languages significantly differ from European languages in structure, culture, and orthography (writing system), and so do the processes of learning Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. When students with East Asian backgrounds learn English as a second language, their processes also tend to exhibit different phenomena from students who do not share the same ethnic/cultural backgrounds.

As for more specific topics, this special edition examined two components that are related to the processes of SLA: (1) learner variables (such as motivation, personality characteristics, and learning styles) and (2) grammatical acquisition. In addition, it also explored three components pertinent to actual learning and teaching: (3) study abroad, (4) computer-assisted language learning (CALL), and (5) teaching speaking, reading, and/or writing skills.

Here are brief descriptions of the eight articles included in this edition. Related to (1) learner variables, Masako Hamada studied the learning styles of American university students studying Japanese and found that they can adopt one or multiple learning styles that are more effective for their classes. Also related to the topic of (1) learner variables, Masako Nunn investigated motivation styles of American university students studying Japanese. Her article elucidated that the ethnic/cultural backgrounds of students do mediate their motivational beliefs.

Regarding the topic of (2) grammatical acquisition, Jiang Song Gong and Tully J. Thibeau studied the processes of acquiring Chinese measure classifiers among American college students. This article indicated that their L2 classifier development may differ fundamentally from L1 classifier development among native Chinese children. Also dealing with Chinese as a second language, Jack Jinghui Liu addressed the topic of (3) study abroad for American university students studying Chinese. His article discussed various curriculum and administrative issues that may be of interest among students, administrators, and faculties.

The Kwan-yee Ng and Androula Yiakoumetti article presented the topic of (5) teaching reading skills. The Jacquelyn Burkett and Qiuying Wang study was related to the topic of (5) teaching speaking skills. Both articles dealt with teaching and learning processes of ESL among students with Chinese backgrounds.

Finally, because of the caliber of research, this edition comprised two more articles that did not necessarily pertain to East Asian languages and students. The Lyudmila Klimanova and Carol Severino study was pertinent to the topics of (4) computer-assisted language learning (CALL) and (5) teaching writing skills. The Gail August article discussed the topic of (5) teaching reading skills.

To locate aforementioned articles, please see Table of Contents or KEYWORD Index.

Another special issue of Second language acquisition and pedagogy is expected in 2012 with slightly different foci.

Hiroshi Matsumoto, Ph.D.
Feature Editor, Second Language Acquisition and Pedagogy: East Asian Languages
Associate Professor of Second Language Acquisition and Japanese
Soka University of America