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ERIC Number: EJ989704
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jun
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0039-8322
Exploring the Relationship between Language Awareness and Second Language Use
Kennedy, Sara
TESOL Quarterly: A Journal for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and of Standard English as a Second Dialect, v46 n2 p398-408 Jun 2012
Ever since the publication of Hawkins's (1984) "Awareness of Language," researchers have been investigating the language awareness of second language (L2) learners. Few studies, however, have targeted the relationship between classroom learners' language awareness and L2 production, with fewer still focusing on language awareness and L2 pronunciation. This research is part of a larger study (Kennedy & Trofimovich, 2010), one of the few to focus on classroom learners' language awareness and L2 pronunciation. Kennedy and Trofimovich (2010) found that learners' language awareness was positively related to their pronunciation ratings. They also found a positive relationship between qualitative awareness and measures of L2 exposure and use (henceforth, L2 use). Qualitative awareness involves viewing language as a way to communicate meaning rather than simply as a set of linguistic items to internalize. With respect to L2 use, the more L2 listening learners reported at the beginning of the course, the more they demonstrated qualitative awareness throughout the course. This finding suggests that particular kinds of language awareness are linked to particular types of L2 use. Clarifying this relationship is the focus of this study. The findings of this study reveal that for some learners the pathway to increased qualitative awareness may not include increased L2 use, especially if learners already show a certain initial level of qualitative awareness. For other learners, however, the qualitative aspects of language awareness and L2 use seem to be interlinked, such that seeing language as a way to communicate meaning is associated with using the L2. These findings raise an important question about the benefits of increased qualitative, as opposed to quantitative, awareness. Although language learning does involve committing to memory a number of specific linguistic items, language exists primarily to communicate meaning. If learners are to move beyond learning sets of linguistic items and rules, they will need to develop their knowledge of how language works to convey meaning and to apply that knowledge in meaningful communication. Qualitative awareness of language is crucial if learners are to do this. What remains to be seen, therefore, is precisely how qualitative awareness of language, whether or not through L2 use, might translate into language learning gains. (Contains 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada (Montreal)