For Christopher Brumfit (1940–2006)
The teaching of literature can thus be seen as a means of introducing learners to such a serious view of our world, of initiating them in the process of defining themselves through contact with others’ experience. How it is best done, what the relationship between ‘reading’ and ‘literature’ needs to be for the greatest number of people to be led to literature, exactly what books are appropriate at what levels – these are questions for teachers to address. But the seriousness of the enterprise should not be doubted. It is only when these reading processes are centrally addressed as processes and when the debate moves away from content to what we do with literary texts, that genuine literary issues can be addressed.
(Brumfit 2001: 92)
A strong tendency towards a letter-level recoding strategy in reading has traditionally been interpreted as a sign of poor skills in the visual modality. Dyslexics who read relatively few words ‘immediately’have been considered to suffer from poor visual discrimination and memory (e.g. Boder & Jarrico 1982). However, this assumption has never been experimentally verified. The present study compared reading skills and strategies with auditory skills and naming speed using 26 severely dyslexic adolescents and 26 younger, normal readers matched for reading level and IQ. Phonological discrimination abilities were found to account for much of the variance in phonological abilities in reading such as the ability to read nonsense words. Naming speed was found to explain much of the variance in reading strategies. The last result was replicated in a post hoc analysis of the data from the Colorado twin study (Olson et al. 1989). The result indicates that terms like ‘visually’impaired or ‘dyseidetic’used for poor whole-word readers may be grossly misleading. Rather, dyslexics with a relatively small vocabulary of ‘sight words’may have specific difficulties with retrieval of the sounds of words, and teaching should develop methods to deal with this problem.
Four classes of bilingual children from grades three and five, speakers of Spanish and Náhuatl (in central Mexico), participated in a study of literacy development focused on interlinguistic transfer and the application of narrative schemata as seen in writing samples produced in both languages. The paper reports on: 1) a methodological approach that appears to be relatively effective in eliciting connected discourse in an indigenous language which normally does not form part of classroom literacy instruction; 2) borrowing and code-switching features in students’written production, in contrast with the application of discourse and text organization strategies available to bilinguals in either language. The assessment of indigenous bilingual students’language and literacy development is discussed, with particular consideration given to the circumstances of the classroom teacher who may not be proficient in the community's language, a situation that is typical of the majority in indigenous community schools.
Studies regarding multilingualism have shown that literacy in two languages facilitates the acquisition of a third. This paper compares the progress of Mexican bilingual indigenous language/Spanish-proficient students to Mexican monolingual Spanish-proficient students in their university level English classes. Two major research strategies are presented: (1) qualitative analysis based on a student questionnaire, and (2) inferential quantitative analysis of bilingual and monolingual students' grade averages in academic and language classes. Results show that bilingualism in an indigenous language positively affects the acquisition of English language skills. These results suggest that through language maintenance and development, indigenous communities in Mexico may be able to benefit from globalization, or at least withstand its negative effects.
Los estudios con respecto al multilingüismo han demostrado que el conocimiento en dos idiomas facilita la adquisición de un tercero. Este artículo compara el progreso de estudiantes cuya lengua origen es la indígena mexicana y quienes además hablan español, con el desempeño de los estudiantes españoles monolingües mexicanos, en sus clases de inglés a nivel universitario. Se presentan dos estrategias de investigación importantes: (1) Un análisis cualitativo basado en un cuestionario aplicado a los estudiantes, y (2) Un análisis cuantitativo inferencial de las calificaciones obtenidas por los estudiantes monolingües y bilingües en sus clases de inglés. Los resultados demuestran que el bilingüismo en una lengua indígena afecta positivamente a la adquisición de conocimientos lingüísticos en la lengua inglesa. Estos resultados sugieren que con mantenimiento y el apropiado desarrollo de la lengua, las comunidades indígenas en México podrían beneficiarse de la globalización, o por lo menos soportar sus efectos negativos.
There is a clear contradiction between the predictions of psychologists and applied linguists regarding the relationship between extraversion and learning. Psychologists claim that extraversion is a disadvantage for learning on the grounds that an extravert has less cortical arousal, is more easily inhibited and has a limited long-term memory. In contrast, many applied linguists predict that extraversion is an advantage for learning a second/foreign language, based on the assumption that an extravert elicits more input and produces more output. To resolve this conflict, forty Iranian, non-English Major Ph.D. students who took the TOEFL and IELTS were given the Persian restandardised form of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire twice. They were also asked to report their grade point averages (GPAs) for their school diploma, Bachelor's and Master's degrees. A negative but non-significant relationship was found between extraversion and GPAs. An even weaker but still negative relationship emerged between extraversion and both the totals and sub-scores for TOEFL and IELTS. Thus extraversion may not help in developing either linguistic skills or even communicative skills in such an Iranian EFL situation where there is no exposure to English and where non-communicative teaching methods are used in English classes. This preliminary research led to our main study (Kiany 1997d) which includes three different subsamples – no English exposure, exposure to English only in classes, and exposure to the language in a natural English-speaking environment – as well as a much wider variety of measurements of English proficiency.
An important component of fluent linguistic production is control of the multi-word expressions referred to as “clusters”, “chunks” or “bundles”. These are extended collocations which appear more frequently than expected by chance, helping to shape meanings and contributing to our sense of coherence in a text. Clusters seem to present considerable challenges to student writers struggling to make their texts both fluent and assured to readers in their new communities. This paper explores the forms, structures and functions of 4-word clusters in a corpus of research articles, doctoral dissertations and master's theses of 3.5 million words to show not only that clusters are central to academic discourse but that they offer an important means of differentiating genres, with implications for more evidence-based instructional practices in advanced writing contexts.
Componente essenziale di una produzione linguistica scorrevole è la padronanza di espressioni multilessicali comunemente denominate clusters, chunks o bundles. Tali espressioni si presentano come collocazioni estese che ricorrono con frequenza superiore alla casualità, contribuendo alla formazione del significato e alla nostra percezione della coerenza testuale. I clusters appaiono un’area particolarmente problematica per chi, nel processo di acquisizione di una specifica scrittura disciplinare, necessita di rivolgersi alla nuova comunità scientifica con testi a un tempo scorrevoli e sicuri. Questo articolo esplora forma, struttura e funzioni dei clusters di quattro parole in un corpus di articoli di ricerca, tesi di dottorato e tesi di master (3.5 milioni di parole) e si propone di mostrare che i clusters non solo sono un elemento centrale nel discorso accademico, ma offrono un importante strumento di differenziazione dei generi, con una ricaduta verso pratiche di formazione alla scrittura avanzata sempre più basate su dati autentici.1
The purpose of this paper is to determine whether the frequency of academic criticism (AC) varies in the four most frequent written genres of medical Spanish discourse – editorials (ED), review articles (RV), research papers (RP) and case reports (CR) – and whether the frequency has changed over time. The corpus consisted of 76 medical articles published between 1930 and 1999, divided into Block A (1930–1969) and Block B (1970–1999). The results show that: the frequency of AC is significantly greater in ED than in the remaining genres for both blocks, followed by RV, RP and CR; the frequency of AC is significantly higher in Block B than in Block A; and AC has increased over time in all the genres except CR. It is argued that the overall increase in AC frequency can be accounted for by the growth in the number of scientific publications over the last decades, by the scientists’ need to publish, and by the paradigmatic shift from science being assertive to becoming skeptical and probabilistic, based on claim refutability, i.e. on criticism. Cross-generic differences are explained in terms of the communicative function of each genre and of the rank/status power relations that exist between the social role assumed by the authors of the different genres and their audience.
Given the significance of citation in research articles (RA) and the considerable difficulty that novice writers might have in citing other works in their theses, this study compared the use of citation forms in 65 Iranian master's (MA) theses and 65 international research article introduction sections in applied linguistics. The citations were divided into integral and non-integral and their sub-categories. Findings showed several differences in the citation forms used in both datasets. Citations were more frequent in the MA theses than the RAs, and integral citation outran non-integral citation in the MA theses (X2= 61.46); in the RAs, however, the difference was not significant at 0.05 level. The tilt toward integral citations within MA theses marks students' familiarity with formal features of citation but their ignorance of the functional features.
This study investigates the ways in which middle school teachers in the USA develop academic language in intermediate-level English learners who attend mainstream content classes. Analysis of field notes, transcripts, and student work show that (a) academic language and higher-order thinking skills are closely linked, and (b) classroom discourse patterns and activities both develop and impede language growth. The teachers used four principle communication strategies: questioning, gestures, connecting to background knowledge with examples and analogies, and personifying. The results suggest that students, despite growth in certain dimensions of cognition and language, also learn counter-productive “rules of school”. This research is intended to benefit the millions of ‘non-mainstream’ students worldwide who struggle in schools that have been created and shaped to serve mainstream purposes.
Esta investigación analiza cómo los maestros de la escuela secundaria in los Estados Unidos desarrollan el lenguaje académico de los estudiantes con niveles intermedios de inglés. El análisis rindió los temas siguientes: (a) el lenguaje académico y las destrezas cognitivas y están vinculados; (b) los patrones discursivos y las actividades desarrollan e impiden el crecimiento del lenguaje académico. Las maestras usaron varias estrategias comunicativas: preguntas, gestos, ejemplos, analogías, y la personificación. Los alumnos, a pesar de del crecimiento del lenguaje académico, aprenden unas “reglas escolásticas” contraproducentes. Esta investigación tiene la intención de beneficiar a los millones de estudiantes minoritarios que tienen dificultades en las escuelas que se formaron para servir a los propósitos de los grupos lingüísticos y socioeconómicos dominantes.
The paper addresses the discourse domains of academic writing in English and Polish using the example of school writing. The English argumentative-expository essay is related to its potential counterpart in Polish. Incongruencies between the two genre prototypes are examined in terms of cultural emphases, text characteristics and educational traditions. An integrated approach is adopted in which user-centered and text-centered parameters are correlated. To drive the issue home, an empirical project was devised in which Polish students were asked to perform a task that subverted the regular expectations of school writing in their native tongue.
One of the conspicuous differences infacademic discourse presentation is the preference for use of the first person singular ‘I’ perspective in some languages versus the first person plural ‘we’ perspective in others. This distinction is due not so much to purely linguistic reasons as to cultural ones. The purpose of this paper is to present some data concerning the employment of the two perspectives in English, German, French, Russian and Bulgarian research articles in linguistics and to suggest some explanations, as well as to point to certain cross-cultural misunderstandings which may result from the differences established here. An attempt is also made to investigate certain cross-linguistic and cross-cultural influences among the five languages. The analysis is based on 5 corpora consisting of 300 pages for each language.
To explore how the global status of English influences knowledge production and circulation, this paper focuses on citations in English-medium national and English-medium international journal articles. Drawing on text, ethnographic, and corpus data from a longitudinal study in four national contexts, we argue that citation practices vary significantly along geolinguistic lines – that is, in terms of who gets cited, where and by whom – and that such differences are highly consequential. We argue that multilingual scholars face particularly difficult decisions which can in part be understood as a tension between the politics of knowledge building and knowledge measuring. We conclude by calling for greater recognition of this tension in discussions about English as an academic lingua franca and in Anglophone centre gatekeeping practices.
A dolgozat országos és nemzetközi tudományos szakfolyóiratok hivatkozási gyakorlatát elemzi, és azt vizsgálja, hogyan befolyásolja az angol nyelv globális státusza a tudományos ismeretalkotás és ismeretközlés folyamatát. Négy különböző országban végeztünk longitudinális kutatást, és szövegelemzéssel, valamint etnográfiai és korpuszalapú módszerekkel nyert adatainkból megállapítottuk: a hivatkozás gyakorlata nagymértékben függ geolingvisztikai tényezőktől, vagyis az, hogy mely szerzők, mely országokban, kikre hivatkoznak, igen eltérő lehet, és ezek az eltérések jelentős következményekkel járnak. Ebből számunkra kitűnik, hogy a több nyelven publikáló kutatóknak különösen nehéz döntésekkel kell szembesülniük, melyek egyik forrása az a feszültség, amely a tudománypolitika ismeretépítéstés ismeretértékelést szolgáló irányelvei között húzódik. Dolgozatunk következtetésében rámutatunk, hogy ennek a feszültségnek több figyelmet kellene kapnia az angol, mint tudományos közvetítő nyelv szerepéről szóló elemzésekben, valamint az angol nyelvű publikációs központok szerzőkkel szemben támasztott követelményrendszerében és szelekciós gyakorlatában.
In Shillong, the capital of the northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya, Indo-Aryan languages from the plains meet the Tibeto-Burman and Austro-Asiatic minority languages of the hills, and the result is a degree of multilingualism that is high even by Indian standards. English is widely used by academic groups everywhere in India, but structured interviews with all 17 faculty members of two departments at North-Eastern Hill University in Shillong reveal special reasons why some parents now choose to use English with their children rather than their own mother tongue. Caste imposes fewer barriers in this part of India than elsewhere, and marriages across ethnic groups are common, but con ?icting kinship practices can bring complications. If a woman from a matrilineal group marries a man from a patrilineal group, both families will, according to their traditions, consider the children to belong to their kinship group. Using English with their children, rather than choosing the language of just one set of grand-parents, can be a way of avoiding potential con?ict. Thus, in addition to the use of English in higher education, increasing geographic mobility, and the general prestige of English, the con?icting demands of different kinship systems needs to be considered among the factors contributing to the spread of English at the cost of local languages in Northeast India.
This paper is concerned with exploring the relationship between cooperative behaviour and public requests voiced in different Danish accents. Following a method devised by Bourhis and Giles (1976), audiences in a Danish provincial town's five-screen cinema were asked, over the loudspeaker system, to assist in the planning of future film programmes by completing a questionnaire. This procedure was conducted on four successive nights, each night using a new guise, all of which represented possible norms in the local speech community (viz., Standard Danish, mild and broad Zealand, and Copenhagen varieties). The five audiences were characterized on a series of background variables, making it possible ultimately to demonstrate how different social groups display different levels of cooperation as a function of the guised requests. Although compliance-gaining was overall most effective when the request was voiced in Standard Danish, intriguing large-scale differences between audiences emerged. Implications of these findings for applied settings are given, as are their relevance for studies in language attitudes in general.
English as a lingua franca entails the ability to understand non-native accents, and learners of English would therefore benefit from being exposed to accent variation during their schooling. The present study looks into two English textbook series used in Finnish upper secondary schools to see if they expose students to non-native accents of English. The analysis is mainly quantitative (the amount of non-native speech has been calculated) but also qualitative (the contexts where non-native accents occur are briefly looked into). The results show that the majority of the audio material consists of native accents, while only 1 per cent in the first (Culture Café) and 3 per cent in the second textbook series (In Touch) are non-native accents.
Kansainvälisen englannin (English as a lingua franca) tutkijat painottavat kykyä ymmärtää vierasperäisiä aksentteja, joten englannin kielen opiskelijoiden olisi hyödyllistä kuulla eri maiden aksentteja englannin tunneilla. Tutkimuksen tarkoituksena oli selvittää sisältävätkö kaksi lukion englannin oppikirjasarjaa vierasperäisiä aksentteja. Analyysi on pääosin kvantitatiivinen (vierasperäisten aksenttien määrä on laskettu), mutta myös kvalitatiivinen (vierasperäisten aksenttien konteksteja esitellään lyhyesti). Tutkimus osoitti, että suurin osa nauhoitetusta materiaalista on natiivien puhumaa englantia; ensimmäinen kirjasarja (Culture Café) sisältää vain 3 prosenttia ja toinen (In Touch) 1 prosentin vierasperäisiä aksentteja.
The ‘transfer’ of reading comprehension skills from a first language (L1) to a second language (L2) has long been discussed in the literature. This study challenges the transfer metaphor, proposing instead a notion of access. Studies based on Gernsbacher's Structure Building Framework (SBF) show that reading comprehension draws on general, amodal cognitive processes. It follows that L1-literate learners of an L2 already have comprehension skills: their need is to access these skills from the L2. To examine whether the SBF predicts L2 readers’ performance, two groups of French learners of English performed an anomaly detection task. Results corresponded to the predictions of the SBF. The difficulty of lower-intermediate readers in accessing their comprehension skills was also linked to capacity problems in L2-based working memory.
Le ‘transfert’ de la compétence de compréhension de l’écrit de la première langue (L1) à la seconde (L2) est étudié depuis longtemps. Cet article conteste la métaphore de transfert, proposant à sa place une notion d’accès. Plusieurs études basées sur le Système de Construction de Structures (SCS) de Gernsbacher démontrent que la compréhension de l’écrit se base sur des processus non liés à une mode d’appréhension spécifique. Il s’ensuit que les apprenants sachant lire en comprenant en L1 doivent déjà posséder la faculté de compréhension; il s’agit d’y accéder à partir de la L2. Pour examiner si le SCS prédit la performance des apprenants de L2, deux groupes d’apprenants d’anglais de langue maternelle française exécutèrent une tâche de détection d’anomalies. Les résultats correspondent aux prévisions du SCS. De plus, la difficulté des apprenants du niveau pré-intermédiaire à accéder à leur compétence de compréhension a été reliée à des problèmes de capacité de la mémoire de travail basée en L2.
The default in inter-Scandinavian communication between Danes, Swedes and Norwegians is the use of the respective mother tongue together with the willingness to accept and understand the neighbouring standard languages. Einar Haugen in 1966 called this form of asymmetric communication ‘semicommunication’. This term has, however, been misleading because it suggests that the interlocutors will only understand roughly ‘half’ of what has been said, which is clearly not the (normal)case. The paper focuses on the relationship between semicommunication and accommodation and discusses two longer extracts from a large corpus of authentic communication. It is argued that semicommunication can adequately be described in terms of accommodation (convergence). Even the occurrence of code-switching cannot be excluded. The discussion shows among other things that even grammatically incorrect accommodation may result in better understanding by the addressee. Various aspects of a comprehensive model of semicommunication are presented and discussed, showing that code-switching and accommodation are not considered antagonistic but rather as scalar phenomena covering different speaker-or addressee-related strategies in interdialectal communication.