Call for papers: Workshop on Motion Event Construal in bilinguals and L2 learners


Organisers: Fraibet Aveledo and Jeanine Treffers-Daller (University of Reading)
Workshop Dates: 16-17 April 2021 (online via zoom)


We invite abstracts for a workshop which will bring together researchers who have studied how motion event construal is expressed by second language learners or bilinguals either in naturalistic or experimental settings. It is well known that there are differences in the ways in which motion is expressed in different languages.  In English, as in Germanic languages, manner of motion is often expressed in the main verb (Angela ran into the shop) whereas in French, and other Romance languages, the main verb generally contains the path of motion and the manner is optionally expressed in a satellite (Angela entre le magasin (en courant) “Angela entered the shop running”). Restructuring these patterns in the process of acquisition of another language with a different set of patterns is known to be very difficult (Cadierno & Ruiz, 2006; Navarro & Nicoladis, 2005). Further evidence for the complexities involved in restructuring can be found in the bidirectional crosslinguistic influence in learners’ and bilinguals’ motion event construals, among children as well as adults (Aveledo & Athanasopoulos 2015).

Although the learning difficulties for L2 learners and bilinguals are well attested, there is little research which focuses on how a new way to talk about movement through space can be taught. Pedagogical strategies to teach motion events are virtually non-existent as this aspect of grammar is generally neglected in the L2 syllabus. Solutions proposed by the research community include Bylund and Athanasopoulos’ (2015) suggestion that multimodal input (film clips with action scenes) helps to restructure motion, while Laws, Attwood and Treffers-Daller (under review) show that an Input Processing approach (VanPatten & Cadierno, 1993) has a positive effect. We hope that the workshop will inspire more researchers to develop new studies with innovative pedagogical approaches towards the teachability of motion and that findings from these studies can shed new light on the difficulties involved in restructuring this domain in the process of L2 learning. We also welcome papers on motion event construal in languages that have received little attention in the field so far, and papers which are based on innovative techniques to investigate this domain.

Keynote speakers:

Panos Athanasopoulos (University of Lancaster). Thinking in multiple languages: The case of goal-oriented motion events.

Teresa Cadierno (University of Southern Denmark). Motion event construal in second language learners:  From research findings to pedagogical implications and implementations.

Alim Tusun (University of Cambridge). Uyghur-Chinese early successive bilinguals’ acquisition of caused motion expressions.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: Monday 1st February 2021. Abstracts can be submitted for oral presentations and for posters. Abstracts should be limited to 300 words (excluding references). Please add 3 keywords to the abstracts. Submission will be via Easychair (details to be provided). Further information: