By introducing an innovative smartphone technology, this project will study when, where, and how often language learners are exposed to and involved in target-language use in different learning environments outside educational contexts. This step is crucial to improve our understanding of the challenges of language learning outside of classrooms. In two case studies, we will contrast newly arrived migrants in Sweden learning Swedish, and Swedish Erasmus students staying abroad learning a foreign language.
The research questions we ask are a) what characterises exposure to and use of the target languages in the two learning environments; b) to what extent differences in organized leisure time activities (e.g. sports, music, handicrafts, etc.) affect the quantity and quality of target-language exposure and/or use; and c) if gains in language proficiency can be related to quantity and quality of target-language exposure and/or use.
We develop a smartphone app where learners are regularly prompted to report their experiences with the target language and take language tests. The novelty of this method will allow for both more participants and more accurate measurements of target-language exposure and use over time compared to previous studies.
For second language acquisition research, the project will further our understanding of the role of language exposure and use for language learning by developing a tool for a more accurate measure of these constructs. Moreover, the study of learners in two different learning environments will allow researchers, educators, and other stakeholders to gain vital insights into language learning conditions outside of the educational context.
The project is a collaboration between the Centre for Languages and Literature, and Lund University Humanities Lab.