The Role of Awareness in the Development of LC1 and LC2 Competence in E-tandem Exchanges between Learners of Mandarin and English (Volume 1 of 2)

Wei Tan

    Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis


    E-tandem learning happens between two native speakers of different languages in separate locations. They communicate regularly with one another usually using electronic media, with the purpose of learning the target language and culture. Tandem experiences are well established in Europe; however, the approach has grown in popularity beyond Europe and is proving very effective for intercultural language learning. This study is an e-tandem project by e-mail between Irish/American students studying Mandarin as a Foreign Language and Chinese students taking English as a Foreign Language. The project focuses on second language (L2) usage and learners’ intercultural and language awareness development through e-tandem exchanges. The study relies on a task-based approach to promote participants’ intercultural and language awareness. Data was obtained from participants’ e-mails, online forum entries, learning diaries, focus group interviews and questionnaires, which were analysed by using both qualitative and quantitative approaches. 3 case studies were also conducted. In order to see how participants developed their understanding during the exchanges, data was categorised according to different themes of awareness of self and other. Moreover, participants’ noticing patterns of L2 usage, partners’ L2 errors and newly-learned L2 features were also recorded to gauge their language awareness development. Finally, response patterns emerging from Irish/American participants, on the one hand, and from Chinese participants, on the other, were also identified. Results indicate that e-tandem provides a means for the elaboration of a third space for the development of linguaculture awareness through cognitive processes such as noticing, comparing and understanding. As e-tandem participants developed a strong will to be understood by others in their language and culture, changes in their communication behaviour began to emerge through reflection on their own linguaculture. The emotional impact of the exchange on participants became manifest, while perceived cultural differences appeared to become a communication barrier between several tandem partners.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Furlong, Aine T., Supervisor
    • Kennedy, fionnuala, Supervisor, External person
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2017


    • Mandarin language, English language


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