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Applied Linguistics Research and Methodology

Proceedings from the 2015 CALS conference

Edited By Kristina Cergol Kovacevic and Sanda Lucija Udier

This book offers a selection of sixteen papers presented at the 29th international annual conference of the Croatian Applied Linguistics Society held in 2015. The papers in this book tackle an array of applied linguistics research concerns and provide methodological solutions to many a related problem. The authors’ contributions fall into three main strands of research focus: 1) methodological issues in second language teaching and learning research, 2) experimental research in applied linguistics and 3) spoken and written corpus studies. Almost each individual paper focuses on a different methodological issue in applied linguistics research, treading the path to new related studies.

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Does English hurt? Learning diaries – another step towards better qualitative research in applied linguistics (Renata Šamo)

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Renata Šamo

Does English hurt? Learning diaries – another step towards better qualitative research in applied linguistics

Abstract: Language learners are not just language learners but real people with, among other things, learner histories. Their language learning (LL) sometimes becomes a journey into self-discovery, rich in positive emotions, but negative experiences are also a part of the picture. However, language learners have been mostly seen as abstract bundles of measurable variables. What lies behind the exterior is probably one of the most intriguing questions for teachers/researchers, and this can be revealed with learning diaries. This qualitative tool enables language learners to depict their own psychology, and provides insight into their metacognitive development. It is a category of personal narratives – compared to fictional ones – used in the field of bilingualism. They are ‘stories’ based on learners’ knowledge and experiences, and belong to linguistic autobiographies. The above-mentioned method is rooted in the identity approach to language learning, which characterizes learner identity as multiple and changing, but it may be also related to critical ethnography, feminist poststructuralist theory, sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. The current paper is based on the learning diaries kept by 5 students during the 2013/2014 summer semester. They were learning EFL as a compulsory subject. After showing reluctance to participate in speaking activities and admitting that they would rather have no English course, the teacher suggested keeping diaries, which they accepted as a good idea. It was hypothesised that this could help the language learners to make...

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