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Announcing the Winners of the Mango Languages Dissertation Award!


In April, Mango Languages invited advanced Ph.D. candidates to submit applications for Dissertation Awards. These awards recognize exceptional dissertation research at the intersection of second language acquisition and educational technology. 

We were blown away by the amazing research that all of our candidates are doing. The future of language learning technology is looking bright!

Today, we are pleased to announce the two winners of the first-ever Mango Languages Dissertation Award!


Yingzhao Chen 

Second Language Studies at Michigan State University

Comparing L1 and L2 glosses in vocabulary learning from digital reading

This study explores whether and how providing definitions of words during reading facilitates second language vocabulary development. Learners will read an English novel with some words underlined. When they click on the underlined words, definitions — or “glosses” — will be provided in either the learners’ first or second language. Learner engagement — clicks and time spent on each gloss — will be logged. After reading, learners will indicate how and why they used the definitions (e.g., to aid in reading comprehension or to learn words), and evaluate how useful they found them. In addition, learners will be tested on the accuracy and speed with which they recognize and recall the meanings of the words. This study can inform the design of materials for teaching vocabulary through reading in computer-mediated environments.



Natalie Amgott

Second Language Acquisition & Teaching at University of Arizona

Implementing and evaluating multiliteracies in college French: A nested case study

This project evaluates a new undergraduate French curriculum that leverages resources like news articles, films, music, and social media as the central texts. Students design projects, such as satirical articles and animated poetry in French. Preliminary results show that study abroad students in Paris learned French by using multiple modes (photos, videos, music, text, voice, etc.) that allowed them to improve their vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. Additionally, students in intermediate French courses at their home university felt motivated by opportunities to create critical social justice connections and develop a growth mindset while designing digital projects. This project also includes a program evaluation, which revealed that the new curriculum fostered collaboration and communication within the French program. This dissertation has the potential to inform best practices for incorporating digital projects into language courses, while also establishing guidelines for evaluating and implementing a curriculum during times of crisis, like the pandemic.


A big congratulations to Yingzhao and Natalie! 

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Kaitlyn Tagarelli

Kaitlyn is a Linguist and the Head of Research at Mango Languages. She holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Georgetown University, specializing in how the mind and brain learn languages. Aside from geeking out about all things neuroscience and linguistics, she loves hanging out with her family at their Connecticut home, trying to convince them to speak French with her.

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