One of the major challenges in empirical second language acquisition research is the collection of sufficient as well as the right language production data. This article presents and discusses the methodological challenges encountered in research that deals with the acquisition of German case marking by foreign language learners. With regard to German case marking, the right data entail functional uses of the cases, i.e. case use with arguments that do not take their canonical position. Previous studies experienced that it is difficult to elicit functional case use in oral language production (e.g., object topicalisation). To remedy the lack of the right data the present article proposes to apply the so-called Elicited Imitation Task.2
After nearly a decade of nationwide Vergleichsarbeiten (VERA ‒ comparative standard- based assessment) in Germany, researchers and teachers alike are still struggling with the task of implementing educational standards and system-monitoring in schools. The VERA-test is psychometrically validated and aims at measuring competencies in an objective and reliable manner. Its purpose is to promote school development by providing feedback on students’ performance in competency domains as well as a comparison with state-wide test results. The paper reviews the ongoing discussion in educational standards and the potentials and constraints of VERA with regard to foreign language learning. It then provides the views of approximately 700 English language teachers in the federal state of Hessen, who administered the test to their 8th grade students and completed an online questionnaire afterwards. While the teachers provided positive feedback on the material, the majority neither considered the test results useful in improving classroom learning nor the potential impact on school development.
This article presents the results of a study on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), aiming at the identification of text linguistic concepts that can be applied to foreign language teaching. The learning areas "Creative writing", "Thematic development" and "Coherence and Cohesion" are presented, analysed and evaluated. Specific text types are proposed for the improvement of the illustrative scale "Creative writing". New illustrative scales of high practical value, based on the text linguistic theory, are proposed for the learning areas "Thematic development" and "Coherence and cohesion".
This paper presents the results of a survey conducted among Croatian elementary school students learning English and German as a foreign language to investigate the level of their intercultural knowledge and attitudes. The initial hypothesis was that despite its importance the concept of interculturalism has not yet been sufficiently developed in Croatia due to the coexistence of people of different nationalities. The analysis of the results focuses on the attitudes of the students towards nations whose language they are (not) learning. The target group consisted of younger teenagers who had been lerning English or German as a first foreign language for 7 years.