A Plurilingual Corpus on Telecollaboration in Third Languages

by Claudia Grümpel (Volume editor) Analía Cuadrado Rey (Volume editor)
©2018 Edited Collection 226 Pages
Series: Telecollaboration in Education, Volume 5


Telecollaboration has been applied in foreign language education for more than two decades. This corpus study on telecollaboration in Third Language Learning has been carried out in institutional (CEFR) and non-institutional settings following the principle of autonomy in the framework of Higher Education implementing online tandems and student recordings in order to analyze discourse patterns. The chapters of this issue are original studies on corpus data of the L3Task project reflecting findings and new research paradigms and instruments that consolidate teaching and research methodology on online tandem practice for third language learning.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Index
  • Series Editors’ Preface (Melinda Dooly / Robert O’Dowd)
  • Introduction to a Plurilingual Corpus on Telecollaboration in Third Language Learning (Claudia Grümpel / Analía Cuadrado)
  • Methodology, possibilities and limitations of the plurilingual corpus study in the L3Task-project (Claudia Grümpel / Analía Cuadrado / Pamela Stoll)
  • Interactional uses of repair by Third Language learners (German and Spanish) in a non-formal online tandem as a plurilingual site of learning: a corpus-based study (Mireia Calvet Creizet / Javier Orduña)
  • Autonomous learning in e-tandems: the role of the tutor and its relationship with the task-based approach (Germán Ruipérez / José Carlos García-Cabrero)
  • Compiling plurilingual data on a non-formal online tandem: Cooperativeness required (Javier Orduña / Xiaomeng Wang)
  • Interpreting the Notion of “Individual Value” within a multicultural Framework via E-Tandem encounters (Kateryna Kremenchuk / Yan Li)
  • Graded Reading and Telecollaboration in German as a Foreign Language (Claudia Grümpel / Analía Cuadrado / Claudia Peter)
  • Feedback behaviour and constitution of relationships in intercultural communication: Cultural differences in online interaction (Oliver Klawitter)
  • Series Index

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Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain & Universidad de Leòn, Spain

Series Editors’ Preface

This series is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the activity of telecollaboration in educational settings. Telecollaboration refers to the engagement of groups of students in online intercultural interaction and collaboration with partner classes from other cultural contexts or geographical locations, under the guidance of educators and/or expert facilitators. The application of such activity may include different subject areas (e.g. Foreign Language Education, History, Science) as well as different educational contexts, including but not limited to primary, secondary, university and adult education.

This fifth volume in our series looks at e-tandem and provides a detailed overview about how this model of online intercultural interaction can contribute to the learning of multiple languages in plurilingual language learning environments –an area of growing relevance in educational research, policy and practice (Dooly & Moore, 2017).

E-tandem is one of the oldest forms of telecollaboration and has been an area of research for over 20 years now (Warschauer, 1995; Brammerts, 1996). In the e-tandem model (O’Rourke, 2007), two native speakers of different languages communicate together with the aim of learning the other’s language, and messages are typically written 50% in the target and 50% in the native language, thereby providing each partner with an opportunity to practice their target language and, at the same time, provide their partner with authentic input. These exchanges are based on the principles of autonomy and reciprocity, and the responsibility for a successful exchange rests mainly with the learners, who are expected to provide feedback on their partners’ content and/or on their foreign language performance. In this sense, tandem partners take on the role of peer tutors who correct their partners’ errors and propose alternative formulations in the target language. The role of the tutor or class teacher in the e-tandem model is usually minimal. For example, learners are often encouraged to take on responsibility for finding their ← 7 | 8 → own themes for discussion, correcting their partners’ errors, and keeping a learner diary or portfolio to reflect on their own learning progress.

Although telecollaboration has diversified in many ways recently, reviews of telecollaborative practice and research (Guth & Helm, 2010; Lewis & O’Dowd, 2016) have shown that e-tandem still remains one of the most common forms of telecollaborative activity at the university level. This was evident at the Telecollaboration in Higher Education conference which took place at Trinity College in Dublin in 2016, where 32 of the 96 presentations were explicitly based on the e-tandem model of exchange. Furthermore, a great deal of current research in telecollaboration continues to look at the learning outcomes of e-tandem learning (e.g. Bower & Kawaguchi, 2011; Vinagre & Muñoz, 2011). There are also various networks of practitioners and researchers who continue to expand the e-tandem approach to language learning. The Teletandem Brasil Project (www.teletandembrasil.org/), for example, stems from the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Brazil and matches Brazilian university students who want to learn a foreign language with students in other countries who are learning Portuguese. The network began in 2006 and now engages Brazilian students in structured, institutionalized online language exchanges with partner universities in over 40 universities in the USA, Mexico, Columbia, Germany, and Italy.

It is within this context that the authors of this current volume present the collection of chapters outlining the findings of the European project L3Task, which examined the impact of e-tandem exchange on university students’ development in their third languages. While much of the research to date has focussed on students’ English language learning outcomes, the chapters in this volume look at students’ progress in German, Spanish or Chinese – their second foreign language.

This fifth volume therefore provides different perspectives, approaches and material for researchers interested in understanding how telecollaboration, and in particular e-tandem, can contribute to foreign language learning.

4 March 2017 ← 8 | 9 →


Bower, J. & Kawaguchi, S. (2011). Negotiation of meaning and corrective feedback in Japanese/English eTandem. Language Learning and Technology, 15 (1), 41–71.

Brammerts, H. (1996). Language learning in tandem using the internet. In M. Warschauer (Ed.), Telecollaboration in foreign language learning (pp. 121–130). University of Hawaai’i: Second language teaching and curriculum centre.

Dooly, M., & Moore, E. (2017). Introduction: qualitative approaches to research on plurilingual education. In E. Moore & M. Dooly (Eds.) Qualitative approaches to research on plurilingual education/enfocaments qualitatius per la recerca en educació plurilingüe/Enfoques cualitativos para la investigación en educación plurilingüe (pp. 1–10). Dublin: Research-publishing.net.

Guth, S., & Helm, F. (Eds.) (2010). Telecollaboration 2.0: Language, literacies and intercultural learning in the 21st Century. Bern: Peter Lang.

Lewis, T. & O’Dowd, R. (2016). Online Intercultural Exchange and Foreign Language Learning: A Systematic Review. In R. O’Dowd & T. Lewis (Eds.), Online intercultural exchange: Policy, pedagogy, practice (pp. 21–68). Routledge: New York.

O’Rourke, B. (2007). Models of telecollaboration (1): E(tandem). In R. O’Dowd (Ed.), Online intercultural exchange: An introduction for foreign language teachers (pp. 41–62). Clevedon, GB: Multilingual Matters.

Vinagre, M., & Muñoz, B. (2011). Computer-mediated corrective feedback and language accuracy in telecollaborative exchange. Language Learning & Technology, 15(1), 72–103. Retrieved from http://llt.msu.edu/issues/february2011/vinagremunoz.pdf

Warschauer, M. (Ed.) (1995). Virtual connections: Online activities and projects for networking language learners. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Center. ← 9 | 10 →

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Universidad de Alicante, Spain

Introduction to a Plurilingual Corpus on Telecollaboration in Third Language Learning

Tandem learning is a language learning activity which involves language exchange and collaboration between two partners who are native speakers of their partner’s target language. Thus, its online equivalent, e-tandem, involves two native speakers of different languages communicating together providing feedback to each other through online communication tools. Telecollaboration was defined by Harris (1998) as an educational endeavor that involves people in different locations using internet tools and resources to work together. It goes back to the pioneering work of the French educationalist Célestin Freinet in the 1920s. E-tandems reached popularity throughout European universities in the early 1990s, especially when foreign language teachers and students gained access to internet on a regular basis (for a review see O’Dowd & Lewis, 2016).

Initially, telecollaboration and computer-assisted language learning (CALL) research focused on online contact, exchange, development of intercultural awareness and intercultural communicative competence (Müller-Hartmann, 2000; O’Dowd, 2003; Ware & Kramsch, 2005). Telecollaboration addressed “internationally-dispersed learners in parallel language classes using internet communication tools such as e-mail, synchronous chat and other forms of electronically mediated communication, … in order to support social interaction, dialogue, debate, and intercultural exchange.” (Belz, 2003, p. 2). This long-distance collaboration extended the scope of learning, from a focus on language learning, to the learning of culture, such as intercultural competence, cultural learning, and cultural literacy. Telecollaborative exchanges can contribute to a variety of learning outcomes, from individual aspects such as learner autonomy, linguistic accuracy and fluency, as well as electronic literacy, to cultural aspects such as intercultural awareness and online intercultural communication skills. Online Intercultural Exchange has now reached ← 11 | 12 → a stage where it is moving beyond individual classroom initiatives and is assuming a role as a major tool for internationalization, intercultural development and virtual mobility in universities around the world (Dooly & Tudini, 2016; O’Dowd & Lewis, 2016; Helm, & Guth, 2016; Leone & Telle, 2016). This integrated approach applies technology to create communicative events that foster collaboration, crowdsourcing and problem-solving, while teaching students to ‘e-function’ proficiently (Dooly, 2015). Although many studies on online language learning behaviours are available, there are not so many analytic studies on ordinary and institutional talk, based on analysis of audio transcripts of task-oriented out-of-class telecollaborative Skype (video) interaction (Dooly & Tudini, 2016).

In this volume we report qualitative and quantitative findings on the Corpus Study of the European Project L3Task. It provides theoretically-informed accounts of Online Intercultural Exchanges which will be relevant to researchers in Computer Assisted Language Learning, Computer-Mediated Communication, or Virtual Education. Contributors offer a collection of practitioner-authored and practically-oriented case studies.

The main idea behind the L3Task-project was to provide learning opportunities to third language learners of German, Spanish and Chinese with real life interaction with native speakers focusing on learners on the edge of the threshold level (A2/B1). Furthermore, we offered native input in an early state of third language learning with the help of English as lingua franca as it was the common Second Language for all learners.

The chapters presented in this volume contribute to the literature on online intercultural exchange by providing original case studies of the Corpus developed in the framework of the L3Task project. This publication also intends to provide insights and reflections on findings, new research paradigms and instruments that will help to consolidate teaching and research methodologies related to online tandem practice for third language learning.

The first chapter refers to the methodology, possibilities and limits of a plurilingual corpus, providing an overview of telecollaboration experiences in third language learning within an institutional context. The corpus study is based on self-repair, corrective feedback, negotiation of meaning and code-switching.

The second chapter analyses data in non-formal online tandems as a plurilingual site of learning, examining repair by third language learners of German and Spanish. Repair may be a starting point for non-formal ← 12 | 13 → online tandem exchanges, where activation of the plurilingual (trilingual) repertoire of the participants is encouraged by the tandem project’s design.

The third chapter is a reflection on autonomous learning in tandems and the role of the tutor in this task-based approach. The learner’s spoken interaction skills are conceived as a set of learnable and teachable practices brought about endogenously through their language performance. Interaction is understood as a goal-orientated activity achieved jointly with others and these competences can be transferred from other languages.

The fourth and fifth chapters focus especially on telecollaboration in Chinese as first or third language. In chapter four, interactions took place between students of Chinese in Germany and Spain with learners of German and Spanish in China. In all cases it was expected that the language to be practised would be the learners’ third language and English be used as a common second language. Non-formal online tandems offer a platform where discrepancies and convergences of learning cultures can be observed; i.e. national, transgenerational, technically improved cultures.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2018 (September)
Intercultural online exchange language acquisition telecollaboration
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2018. 226 pp., 3 fig. col., 42 tables, 2 graphs

Biographical notes

Claudia Grümpel (Volume editor) Analía Cuadrado Rey (Volume editor)

Claudia Grümpel is Professor for German as a Foreign Language at the University Alicante (Spain). She holds a PhD in Theoretical Linguistics and Language Acquisition from the University Complutense (Spain) and graduated from the University Heidelberg (Germany) in Translation Studies for German, French and Spanish. In the field of research, she published studies on Second Language Acquisition and Discourse Analysis. Her recent research addresses intercultural online exchange. She is the author of the L3Task Project funded by the European Commission in the frame of the Life Long Learning Programme. Analía Cuadrado Rey holds a PhD in Translation Studies and Master in Institutional Translation of the University Alicante (Spain). She teaches at the Translation and Interpreting Department. She published several research works on Translation, Phraseology Translation and Teaching and German as a Foreign Language. Her recent research addresses intercultural online exchange.


Title: A Plurilingual Corpus on Telecollaboration in Third Languages
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