ESRC-JSLARF Symposium, October 3rd – 4th, 2020

Japan Second Language Research Forum (JSLARF) is proud to announce a two-day symposium on second language acquisition (SLA) to be held on October 3rd – 4th, 2020. The symposium, which is sponsored by ESRC from the British government, will be held online, completely free, and welcome to everyone!

We have a spectacular lineup of speakers, covering a wide range of topics in SLA. We will also have a PhD student workshop, as well as a round table discussion on how to get published in peer-reviewed international journals. All presentations will be in English.


To attend the symposium, please register at the following URL: Registration form.

After registration, you will receive an email with instructions on how to attend the symposium. An email will be sent on October 2nd.

We are also planning to upload the symposium on YouTube and make it available for free after the event.

Note: Even if you register, you do not need to attend the entire symposium. You are free to attend and leave at any time.


3rd October, Saturday

10:00 – 10:10 Welcome remark
10:15 – 10:45 Yuko Goto Butler Digital gaming and young L2 learning
10:50 – 11:20 Shuhei Kadota Exploring the input effect of shadowing training in L2 acquisition
11:25 – 11:55 Yuichi Suzuki and Hyenjeong Jeong The neural foundations of explicit and implicit knowledge:
Comparing elicited imitation and word-monitoring tasks
12:00 – 13:30 Lunch break
13:30 – 14:00 Nobuhiro Kamiya What do mismatching gestures teach us?
14:05 – 14:35 Kyoko Motobayashi Mobility, identity, and the social turn in applied linguistics: Theoretical and pedagogical implications
14:40 – 15:10 Break
15:15 – 15:45 Miyuki Sasaki Investigating L2 writing development: What lies ahead and beyond
15:50 – 16:20 Natsuko Shintani Comparing task-based language teaching and traditional instruction:
Findings and methodological issues

4th October, Sunday

9:00 – 9:30 PhD student workshop
9:30 – 10:50 Round Table Getting published in peer-reviewed international SLA journals: Tips for graduate students and early career researchers
10:55 – 11:25 Takumi Uchihara To what extent does mode of input affect the learning of pronunciation of second language words?
11:30 – 12:00 Ryo Nitta Understanding learner agency from a complex dynamic systems perspective
12:00 – 13:30 Lunch break
13:30 – 14:00 Wataru Suzuki Languaging: Theory, research, and pedagogy
14:05 – 14:35 Kazuya Saito & Adam Tinery Having a good ear as a foundation of second language acquisition

All times are Japanese Standard Time (UTC/GMT +9 hours).


3 October

Yuko Goto Butler (The University of Pennsylvania)

Digital gaming and young L2 learning


Given the recent emphasis on active and autonomous learning as well as situated learning in education, digital games have gained growing attention among educators, including educators of young learners (age 5–17) of second and foreign language (L2/FL). The aim of this paper is to provide L2/FL educators and researchers with an overview of how digital games, as a type of task, can be and have been used as educational tools by examining major studies conducted in L2/FL learning. It addressed both potentials and challenges especially when digital games are used with young language learners.

Yuko Goto Butler is Professor of Educational Linguistics in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the Director of the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Program. Her research interests include language assessment and second and foreign language learning among children.

Shuhei Kadota (Kwansei Gakuin University)

Exploring the Input Effect of Shadowing Training in L2 Acquisition


Shadowing is a technique for enhancing L2 acquisition, in which learners repeat speech aloud as they hear it, as precisely as possible, while listening attentively to the speech. The task is shown to be effective in improving L2 learners’ listening (input effect), in enhancing their subvocal rehearsal in the phonological working memory for learning (practice effect), in simulating stages of speech production (output effect), and in developing metacognitive monitoring by their executive working memory (monitoring effect). In this talk, I will focus on the effect of shadowing practice on input speech processing among the four effects described by Kadota (2019).

Shuhei Kadota is a Professor of Applied Linguistics at Graduate School of Language, Communication and Culture, Kwansei Gakuin University. His publications include: A Mechanism for Successful Second Language Acquisition (SB Creative, 2018: Written in Japanese), Shadowing as a Practice in Second Language Acquisition: Connecting Inputs and Outputs (Routledge, 2019), etc.

Yuichi Suzuki (Kanagawa University) & Hyeonjeong Jeong (Tohoku University)

The neural foundations of explicit and implicit knowledge: Comparing elicited imitation and word-monitoring tasks


There is a theoretical and practical need to validate distinct measurements pertaining to the explicit and implicit L2 knowledge. Prior research suggests that an elicited imitation (EI) task measures speeded-up explicit knowledge, while a word-monitoring (WM) task measures implicit knowledge (Suzuki & DeKeyser, 2015). Their validity has never been examined from neurological perspective, however. We report an fMRI study that explored the neural circuits underlying grammatical knowledge of advanced adult L2 learners by comparing the EI and WM task performance. Theoretical and practical implications for L2 research are discussed.

Yuichi Suzuki is Associate Professor at Kanagawa University. His research interests concern cognitive aspects of SLA. He received the Valdman’s Award from SSLA (2017) and the first IRIS Replication Award (2018). He recently co-edited the special issue of Modern Language Journal “Optimizing Second Language Practice in the Classroom” (2019).

Hyeonjeong is Associate Professor at Tohoku University. Her research focuses on social cognition in language learning. She has published articles in npj Science of Learning, Human Brain Mapping, Brain and Language, NeuroImage, Neurophsycologia and Language Learning. She is currently an editorial board member in Brain and Language and Journal of Neurolinguistics.

Nobuhiro Kamiya (Gunma Prefectural Women’s University)

What do mismatching gestures teach us?


When there is a mismatch in the referents referred to verbally and gesturally, those gestures are called mismatching gestures. They can easily be overlooked as “a slip of the hand”; in reality, they are more informative than non-mismatching gestures in two senses. First, when learners show mismatching gestures, they are on the verge of acquiring a new concept. Second, when teachers teach with mismatching gestures, they can teach two distinct concepts concurrently. Borrowing accumulated evidence gleaned from studies in math instruction and neuroscientific studies on vocabulary, the time is ripe to examine the effects of mismatching gestures on L2 learning.

After burning out by working at three “black” junior high schools for 13 years, Nobuhiro Kamiya (nobi) is now Professor at Department of International Communication at Gunma Prefectural Women’s University. His interests are in instructed second language acquisition, corrective feedback and nonverbal behaviors inter alia, and English education in Japan.

Kyoko Motobayashi (Ochanomizu University)

Mobility, identity, and the social turn in applied linguistics: Theoretical and pedagogical implications


Transnational mobility has become a central theme in applied linguistics, with increasing attention being paid to individual identity trajectories and sociolinguistic repertoire. This paper addresses the issues of mobility, identity and repertoire, which are keywords related to the so-called “social turn” in applied linguistics. After briefly overviewing its emergence and expansion since the 1990s and discussing its impact in the field of applied linguistics, the paper examines the different ways in which the applied linguistics field has discussed identity and mobility, with a special focus on the theoretical and pedagogical contributions of mobility studies as well as some implications for future research directions.

Kyoko Motobayashi is Associate Professor of Japanese Applied Linguistics at the Graduate School of Humanities and Sciences, Ochanomizu University. Her main research areas are sociolinguistics and discourse analysis, focusing on bilingualism, language policies, transnational mobility, and identity issues. Her work has appeared in journals such as International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Multilingua, and Language and Sociocultural Theory.

Miyuki Sasaki (Waseda University)

Investigating L2 writing development: What lies ahead and beyond


In this talk, I will present a selection from the work I undertook in response to recent pleas in the field for more longitudinal, mixed-methods studies to deal with some of the linguistic and sociocultural variables that interact with L2 writing development both at the group and the individual levels. I will also discuss the importance of interdisciplinary efforts by using exemplary projects I have been involved in recently. These efforts suggest innovative methods for addressing some (though not all) currently unsolved issues but also to introduce new perspectives for further illuminating L2 development in general.

Miyuki Sasaki is a professor in the School of Education, Waseda University. Her articles have appeared in Language Learning, Modern Language Journal, and TESOL Quarterly. Her current research interests include the longitudinal development of L1 and L2 writing ability and effects of the environment on L2 learning motivation.

Natsuko Shintani (Kansai University)

Comparing task-based language teaching and traditional instruction:  Findings and methodological issues


This paper examines the findings and methodological issues in studies that have investigated the effectiveness of task-based language teaching (TBLT). I will focus on classroom-based studies that have compared TBLT and more traditional approaches to language teaching such as presentation-practice-production (PPP). These studies have shown overall mixed results. I will then turn to the design issues of comparative method studies. The examination of previous studies suggests the importance of examining process features as well as learning outcomes. The paper concludes with some possibilities for future research on TBLT that employ comparative method studies.

Natsuko Shintani is a Professor in the Faculty of Foreign Language Studies, Kansai University. Her research interests include the roles of interaction in second language acquisition, second language writing, and task-based language teaching. Her new co-authored book, entitled Task-based language teaching: Theory and practice, has been published with Cambridge University Press.

4 October

Takumi Uchihara (University of Western Ontario)

To what extent does mode of input affect the learning of pronunciation of second language words?


Research has shown that learners encountering the written forms of second language (L2) words acquired more vocabulary than learners encountering their spoken forms (Brown et al., 2008). However, earlier studies tended to underestimate the value of spoken input due to their overuse of written vocabulary measures. The present study was designed to respond to this research gap by exploring how mode of input (reading, listening, reading while listening) would affect the learning of pronunciation as well as form-meaning connection of L2 words. I will discuss which mode of input benefits learners the most for developing different aspects of word knowledge.

Takumi Uchihara is a PhD candidate in Applied Linguistics at the University of Western Ontario. His research interests include second language vocabulary acquisition, productive vocabulary assessment, and oral proficiency development. His articles have appeared in Language Learning, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, and TESOL Quarterly.

Ryo Nitta (Rikkyo University)

Understanding learner agency from a complex dynamic systems perspective


Learner agency is generally defined as the capacity to exercise control or self-regulation over one’s thoughts and learning behaviors. However, it has been increasingly recognized to be a more dynamic and complex construct, characterized as “relational, emergent, spatially, and temporary situated” (Larsen-Freeman, 2019, p. 73). More specifically, learner agency can be regarded as a whole and integrative concept that is closely interdependent with the surrounding environment, and it is built on past experiences, motivated by future orientation, and acted out in the present. In this talk, I will present how learner agency, which is emergent and evolving, can be researched by drawing on recent research from the perspective of complex dynamic systems.

Ryo Nitta is a Professor and Dean of the Center for Foreign Language Education and Research, Rikkyo University. He completed his PhD at the University of Warwick, UK. His research interests are language learning motivation, task-based language teaching, and second language writing from the perspective of complex dynamic systems.

Wataru Suzuki (Miyagi University of Education)

Languaging: Theory, research, and pedagogy


Languaging, the act of producing language in the form of speaking or writing to think through a problem, is believed to play a crucial role in second language learning and development (Swain, 2006, 2010, 2013). In this talk, I will first desciribe two theoreis that oriented research on languaging: socioculrural theory and cognitive psychology. Second, I will give an overview of previous research findings about the processes and products of languaging. Finally, I will consider implications for theory and research and then discuss for second language pedagogy.

Wataru Suzuki is an associate professor at Miyagi University of Education. He has edited several books on second language education and published widely in international journals. With Dr. Neomy Storch, he is currently editing a book titled as Languaging in Language Learning and Teaching to be published by John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Kazuya Saito (University of College London) & Adam Tierney (Birkbeck University of London)

Having a good ear as a foundation of second language acquisition


Learning a second language after puberty is well-known to be subject to a great deal of individual variation. Even if two individuals spend the same amount of time practicing a target language, their final outcomes may differ greatly. In this talk, we will introduce an emerging paradigm that domain-general auditory processing, which scholars have identified as an anchor of L1 acquisition, plays an important role in explaining some variance in post-pubertal L2 acquisition (Mueller et al., 2012). To this end, we will present the results of empirical studies that our team has conducted over the past five years, followed by our summary comments and suggestions for future research.

Kazuya Saito is Associate Processor in the Institute of Education at University College London.
Adam Tierney is Reader in the Department of Psychological Science at Birkbeck, University of London.
By interfacing education, linguistics, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience perspectives, both have thus far worked on a number of empirical projects together with their PhD students and colleagues all over the world.

PhD student workshop

Eight PhD students will present their state-of-the-art research projects in a shot-gun presentation style, with each presentation lasting no more than 3 minutes!!

Name Affiliation Title
Maie, Ryo Michigan State Univeresity Testing Skill Acquisition Stages in Language Learning: A Case of Vocabulary Learning and Practice
Suzukida, Yui University College London Roles of Cognitive and Sociopsychological Individual Differences in Second Language Pronunciation Development in Classroom Settings: A Dynamic System Theory Approach
Suga, Kiyotaka Michigan State Univeresity Potential Test-Learning Effects of an Oral Elicited Imitation Test: Methodological Considerations for Form-Focused Instruction Studies
Eguchi, Masaki University of Oregon The Development of Lexicon-Grammatical Complexity in Two Genres of Writing: A Year-long Study.
Yanagisawa, Akifumi University of Western Ontario To What Extent Does the Involvement Load Hypothesis Predict Incidental L2 Vocabulary Learning?
Tsunemoto, Aki Concordia University Roles of Discourse Organisation in L2 Speech Comprehensibility
Suzuki, Shungo Lancaster University A Multidimensionality of Second Language Oral Fluency: The Interface Between Cognitive, Utterance, and Perceived Fluency
Yamamoto, Masaru University of British Columbia Multimodal Academic Discourse Socialization:An Ethnographic Multiple Case Study of Geoscience Students’ Poster Presentations at a Canadian University

Round Table

Getting published in peer-reviewed international SLA journals: Tips for graduate students and early career researchers

The aim of this Round Table is to discuss how we can get published in peer-reviewed international journals, while you are in graduate programs or in early stages of your research career. Three speakers, who have completed or are currently pursuing a PhD in Second Language Acquisition in Japan, North America, and UK, will share their struggles and efforts behind their successful publication processes in peer-reviewed journals. This Round Table will demystify the backstage publication process and encourage early-career researchers to take on a challenge of contributing their work to the international world of SLA research.

Moderator: Yuichi Suzuki (Associate Professor, Kanagawa University)

  • Speaker 1: Junya Fukuta (Associate Professor, Chuo University): Getting published in international journals in PhD Program in Japan
  • Speaker 2: Aki Tsunemoto (PhD Student, Concordia University): Getting published in international journals in PhD Program in North America
  • Speaker 3: Shungo Suzuki (PhD Student, Lancaster University): What I wish I knew when I started my PhD in the UK


Yuichi Suzuki, Tatsuya Nakata, Takumi Uchihara