Addressing the need for multi-dialectal aural input in the L2 classroom with Parlure Games (Rhonda Chung & Walcir Cardoso, Concordia University, Canada)

10:00 AM, Thursday 29 Apr 2021 EDT (30 minutes)
  Virtual session
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Rhonda Chung & Walcir Cardoso, Concordia University, Canada

Title: Addressing the need for multi-dialectal aural input in the L2 classroom with Parlure Games

Keywords: High-variable aural input; dialectal variation; L2 French; parlure games


Second language (L2) learners often struggle to understand the multiple dialectal varieties inherent in their L2 (Major et al., 2005). This is likely because the adjustments made to prosodic melodies and individual phones, which phonetically differentiate dialects of the same language group, are fine-grained in nature (Chambers & Trudghill, 2004). The best predictor of dialectal learning, in both first and second language research (Lively et al., 1994 and Baker & Smith, 2010, respectively), has been high-variability in the aural input, particularly talker variation (Clopper & Pisoni, 2004). L2 classrooms, however, tend to favour prestigious or “standard” dialects (Fox, 2002), a pedagogical practice that aurally constrains learners from understanding naturally-spoken varieties used by members of the target language (Lam & O’Brien, 2014). How can L2 listeners, therefore, be supported in processing and learning the wide dialectal differences inherently found in their target language?

To address this need for more variation in the L2 classroom, we developed the dialect-learning Parlure Games. Using the principles of high-variability training, which demonstrate that listening to multiple speakers of the target language leads to better L2 aural acuity (Barriuso & Hayes-Harb, 2018), Parlure Games integrates excerpts from multiple talkers of different dialectal varieties. During gameplay, learners interact with different audio-visual media to familiarize themselves with the target varieties and identify the speakers’ location. Our target population is adult L2 French learners currently living in a predominantly French-speaking urban city in Canada who have limited familiarity with the dialects selected for this study. We will discuss how this tool can be adapted to different listening activities in the L2 classroom, and report on the results of an ongoing study examining (1) French L2 teachers’ attitudes towards including dialectal input into their curriculum; and (2) the amount and type of dialectal aural input found in these classrooms.