Motivation, Self and SLA

Measuring L2 ProficiencyOur SLA series brings together titles dealing with a variety of aspects of language acquisition and in situations where a language or languages other than the native language is involved. It is an inclusive series that embraces books written from a range of theoretical stances and perspectives and accordingly recent titles have ranged from Measuring L2 Proficiency to Discontinuity in Second Language Acquisition and Studies in Second Language Acquisition of Chinese.

That said, for the Multilingual Matters SLA series, this year has seen a bit of a boom in the areas of motivation and the self.  You may have read our blog posts about Laura’s trips to Nottingham for the International Conference on Motivational Dynamics and Second Language Acquisition in August and to the Psychology and Language Learning Conference in Graz earlier in the year.

Motivational Dynamics in Language LearningAlongside these conferences, the publications in our SLA series on these topics are really flourishing.  We started the year with the publication of Multiple Perspectives on the Self in SLA (edited by Sarah Mercer and Marion Williams) and recently followed it up with The Impact of Self-Concept on Language Learning (edited by Kata Csizér and Michael Magid). We are soon to follow these two collections up with the exciting addition of Motivational Dynamics in Language Learning edited by Zoltán Dörnyei, Peter D. MacIntyre and Alastair Henry to the series.  And of course, I shouldn’t forget to mention our numerous previous publications on this subject area (Gregersen and MacIntyre (2014), Apple et al (2013), Taylor (2013)…) which are all well worth discovering.

Motivational Dynamics

9781783092550To start our autumn conferences, Tommi and Laura headed north-east to the International Conference on Motivational Dynamics and Second Language Acquisition which was hosted by Zoltán Dörnyei and the University of Nottingham. This was a special one-off conference to celebrate the exciting work which is currently being undertaken in the field, some of which we are publishing in the forthcoming book Motivational Dynamics in Language Learning. We were proud to be in attendance not only as a publisher but also as the sponsor of the conference dinner (which was thankfully delicious!).

Nottingham University Campus
Nottingham University Campus

The University of Nottingham offered a fantastic location for the gathering – the conference facilities are new and custom built and the centre is set in the striking grounds of the university. The university is one of the most attractive university campuses in Britain thanks to the interest of Sir Jesse Boot, the founder of the Boots pharmacy chain and the university’s main benefactor, in green spaces and fresh air. The university has continued to embrace this and so the campus was a truly beautiful location for the gathering.

On paper the conference schedule looked rich and interesting, and the talks did not disappoint when they were delivered. The keynote speakers, Diane Larsen-Freeman, Ema Ushioda, Kim Noels, Peter MacIntyre and Zoltán Dörnyei, provided plenty of food for thought and the symposium was brought to a close with a panel discussion where the speakers were joined by Martin Lamb and Judit Kormos to answer questions from the delegates.

Jian-E Peng and Laura
Jian-E Peng and Laura

As ever, Tommi and I especially enjoyed meeting many of our authors and contributors and catching up with them in person.  We were very pleased to deliver the first copy of The Impact of Self-Concept on Language Learning to one of the book’s editors, Kata Csizér, in person, just a day after we received it from the printer! I was also happy to meet many people for the first time, including Jian-E Peng, author of Willingness to Communicate in the Chinese EFL University Classroom, with whom I exchanged many emails prior to the book’s publication earlier this year.

Alongside the academic programme, the social programme was also a real highlight. The conference dinner on the Friday night was a lively affair as we were treated to a string quartet, which not only played during the pre-dinner reception but also ran a musical quiz! They played samples of music from around the world and our job was to guess either the nationality of the composer or the film in which the piece appears. I struggled with a lot of the classical pieces but was pleased to at least be able to spot the Harry Potter theme tune!

I had the opportunity to talk at the conference dinner and I was really pleased to have the chance to speak a bit about the forthcoming book and to thank the editors and contributors for delivering a manuscript which is every bit as exciting as we had been promised. To my horror I saw that my speech had been billed as “rousing and life-changing” in the programme…while I don’t think it was either of those I was at least able to get the audience to give a rousing round of applause to thank the conference organisers for all their hard work in pulling off such a wonderful event!

Southwell Minster
Southwell Minster

After the conference had officially closed there was a trip to Southwell Minster and Sherwood Forest for those of us who didn’t have to rush off home. We were fortunate enough to get a glimpse of a wedding coming out of the minster before we went inside, which made the visit even more special! We drove on through Southwell, and past the pub where King Charles I spent his last night before arrest and past the pub where the first Bramley apple was ever grown, to visit the Major Oak at Sherwood, where Robin Hood is rumoured to have met his band of Merry Men. The tree was every bit as remarkable as we expected, and there were many merry men and women aboard our bus as we reflected on a wonderful few days at the conference!

2014 set to be an exciting year for MM’s SLA series

Capitalizing on Language Learners' Individuality2014 has begun in force for our Second Language Acquisition series. Already this year we have seen the publication of Capitalizing on Language Learners’ Individuality by Tammy Gregersen and Peter D. MacIntyre: an exciting book which offers not only an up-to-date, accessible introduction to the theories of learner characteristics but is also jam-packed full of practical classroom activities. Tammy and Peter told us about how the project came about in their blog post last year. If you missed it, you can catch up here.

Multiple Perspectives on the Self in SLAAlso on our blog you may have seen Sarah Mercer and Marion Williams’ introduction (here if you missed it) to their edited collection Multiple Perspectives on the Self which was published at the start of February. This collection of papers brings together a diverse range of conceptualisations of the self in the domain of second language acquisition and foreign language learning. The volume attempts to unite a fragmented field and provides a thorough overview of the ways in which the self can be conceptualised in SLA contexts.

Sociocultural Theory and L2 Instructional Pragmatics

The third addition to our SLA series so far this year is Sociocultural Theory and L2 Instructional Pragmatics by Rémi A. van Compernolle. This book outlines a framework for teaching second language pragmatics grounded in Vygotskian sociocultural psychology. Using multiple sources of metalinguistic and performance data, the volume explores both theoretical and practical issues relevant to teaching second language pragmatics from a Vygotskian perspective. Van Compernolle’s book is the 74th to be published in our SLA series and we are hoping to make it to 80 titles by the end of 2014.

The Acquisition of Sociolinguistic Competence in a Lingua Franca ContextBooks already on their way to publication include The Acquisition of Sociolinguistic Competence in a Lingua Franca Context by Mercedes Durham, Jian-E Peng’s monograph Willingness to Communicate in the Chinese EFL University Classroom, ZhaoHong Han’s edited volume Studies in Second Language Acquisition of Chinese and Measuring L2 Proficiency edited by Pascale Leclercq et al. Other highlights for the SLA series in 2014 include the International Conference on Motivational Dynamics and Second Language Acquisition at The University of Nottingham which we are very excited to be supporting and our annual attendance of EUROSLA which is to be hosted by the University of York this year.

The academic series editor for our SLA series is David Singleton, University of Pannonia, Hungary and Fellow Emeritus, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland and our in-house Acquisitions Editor is Laura Longworth. Should you be interested in submitting a proposal or discussing any book ideas with us, please do not hesitate to get in touch. More information can be found on our website here.