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CALL: past, present and future — a bibliometric approach

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 May 2005

UDO O. H. JUNG
Affiliation:
Bismarckallee 1, D-53173 Bonn, Federal Republic of Germanyhmejung@gmx.de

Abstract

A bibliometric approach is used not only to sketch out the development of CALL during the last 25 years, but also to assess the contribution of educational technology to 21st century foreign-language teaching and learning. This study is based on the six instalments of the author’s International (and multilingual) Bibliography of Computer Assisted Language Learning and the 5,301 entries contained therein. The once text-based bibliography has been transformed into a searchable database. Since index terms to describe both the contents and the nature of individual publications have been attached to the bibliographic data, it is now possible to query whether the 25,000 descriptors cluster around certain topics and to depict developments chronologically. The statistical evaluation of a large corpus also avoids the pitfalls of selective interpretation. Recent controversies about the chronologisation of CALL events as well as the internal consistency of such time chunks are addressed. The data suggest that the online/offline divide occurs around 1993 and that the latest additions to the foreign language teacher’s tool box – from e-mails to voicechats – overcome the language acquisition/language learning barrier. New and student-oriented forms of dealing with foreign language learning come to the fore. This has induced some researchers to concentrate on events where conversation breaks down, because learners must then ask for modified input or negotiate the meanings of lexical items. Such a strategy promises success in instructed second-language acquisition. It is suggested, however, that the foreign language teacher’s intervention is a necessary complement to second-language developmental processes. Educational technology may allow the teacher to let nature run its course nowadays. But when nature is unsympathetic to the cause of foreign language learning the teacher must rein in the student’s language acquisition device to protect him or her from certain sanctions the target community holds in store for the unsuccessful learner.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2005 Cambridge University Press

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