French-Chinese Dialogical Interaction via Web Collaborative Blog-Writing: Code-Switching to Extend Online Tandem Language Learning

French-Chinese Dialogical Interaction via Web Collaborative Blog-Writing: Code-Switching to Extend Online Tandem Language Learning

Ya Rao (Paul Valery University, France), Congcong Wang (University of Northern Iowa, USA) and Jacob Bender (University of Iowa, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0177-0.ch010


This qualitative study explores how a French-Chinese web collaborative blog-writing project provides a space for understanding the various metalinguistic approaches that foreign language learners' use to facilitate foreign language learning and intercultural communication. It adopts a multilingual-plurilingual approach, an interlingual approach and a web collaboration approach as a framework. Qualitative data was collected from the blogs and online interactions of 22 French Foreign Language (FFL) learners in China, and 24 Chinese Foreign Language (CFL) learners in France. The findings reveal the increased development of FFL and CFL learners' metalinguistic awareness, plurilingual competence, and bilingual skills that is accomplished through web collaboration. Implications regarding web-based tandem language learning and peer-assisted web collaboration are discussed.
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Prior to 2000, language education in European countries was primarily focused on the study of one’s maternal language and English. But post-2000, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR, now known as the Council of Europe, 2001) proposed that all language learners should possess plurilingual skills and be given opportunities to interact with a growing and increasingly culturally diverse population. Armand and Dagenais (2005) stress that recent foreign language education should focus on systematically preparing students to become bilingual or multilingual stakeholders in their personal lives and fields, as well as in a local-global context. Due to a renewed respect for foreign and regional languages learning, interest in multiculturalism and multilingualism increased (Filippetti, 2014). Thus, plurilingual competence has since become a major goal of language education in Europe.

To help learners develop plurilingual competence, plurlingual environments and pluralistic opportunities are important, which assist learners to develop linguistic and cultural sensibilities and awareness. In the development of plurilingual and pluralist competencies, metalinguistic awareness is central to foreign language learning (Ildikó, 2005). Mediating the gap between the target language and mother tongue, metalinguistic awareness enables learners to discover knowledge about both language practices and systems comparatively. However, the literature shows that metalinguistic awareness has been understudied within tandem and bilingual learning contexts (Reder, Marec-Breton, Gombert, & Demont, 2013). Therefore, this qualitative study explores how French Foreign Language (FFL) learners and Chinese Foreign Language (CFL) learners develop plurilingual competence and metalinguistc awareness through web collaborations.

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