International Journal of Applied Linguistics

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1473-4192
Publications
Article
This feature provides a critical reappraisal of a well-known book that was published some time ago in order to asses how far it is still relevant to current thinking.
 
Article
This feature provides a critical reappraisal of a well-known book that was published some time ago in order to assess how far it is still relevant to current thinking.
 
Article
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)
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Data and questions used in exploring citation practices
Citations in English and other languages by citation category within the Portuguese EMN and EMI sub-corpora. For description of EMN and EMI, see Table 1.
The TAKPsych corpus
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Verbal working memory scores (based on standard scores for the three components)
Pearson product-moment correlations between overall verbal working memory scores and overall anomaly detection scores
Article
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.
 
Article
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.
 
Article
This paper has several goals. One is to introduce and contextualize the papers that contribute to this special issue. All of the papers in the issue are grounded in Communication Accommodation Theory and Coupland, Wiemann & Giles’(1991) typology of miscommunication. These theories are briefly reviewed here, and some links between them are explored in the context of the contributory papers. Another goal of this paper is to discuss some of the themes and issues raised by a reading of the other papers as a set. In this regard, two issues which may be worthy of further research and theoretical attention in the future are selected and highlighted. First, the degree to which communicators are aware of various language and communication strategies, especially accommodation strategies, is considered. The relationship between awareness and research tasks such as self-reporting is important here. Second, the concept of accommodation dilemmas, their relationship to miscommunication and problematic talk, along with possible avenues of dilemma resolution are explored.
 
Article
While acknowledgements have been largely neglected in the EAP literature, they are almost universal in dissertation writing, where they offer students a unique rhetorical space to convey their genuine gratitude for assistance and to promote a favourable social and scholarly character. This article explores the importance of this genre and examines the generic structure and linguistic patterns used to express thanks. The study is based on analyses of the acknowledgements accompanying 240 Masters and PhD dissertations in six academic disciplines written by students at five Hong Kong universities, and on interviews with postgraduate writers. The results confirm the importance of this genre, with around 90% of the texts containing this section and some 1400 separate acts of acknowledgement. Genre patterns reveal a three-move structure sub-divided into a number of steps realised by a relatively restricted range of lexico-grammatical patterns. The analysis also shows that PhD students, particularly those in the “soft” sciences, tended to construct generically more complex acknowledgements with a greater variety of patterns. It is argued that the unexamined nature of acknowledgements may disadvantage non-native writers, and the authors suggest that EAP teachers assist their students by raising their awareness of the ways they can structure their acknowledgements to promote a competent academic identity.
 
Article
This paper has two intersecting themes: computer-mediated communication (CMC) and English as a lingua franca (ELF) interaction. Although the underlying objective is to introduce Skypecasts, a new voice-based CMC tool, what will be examined is how this medium is being used by participants from all over the world as a forum to learn and use English. Despite their similarities with classrooms, where learning and using English are clear objectives, what is deemed an ‘appropriate’ or ‘normal’ contribution in Skypecasts is neither fixed nor predetermined, but an organic collaborative agreement. By focusing on the social-interactional practice of getting acquainted, this paper will offer some insight on how speakers of English as an additional language communicate outside of classrooms.
 
Article
According to the prior assumption that a L2 is acquired by being used as a tool for doing things with others, this article is devoted to an attempt to analyse certain mechanisms which teacher and pupils use in order to build up the meaning of their interaction in the target language. More precisely, it is postulated that it becomes feasible to use a language which the pupils do not yet know because the process of making meaning in this L2 is presented as a social process, initially other-regulated, in which the joint action undertaken with all the classmates is so organized that it can be used cooperatively as a first shared indexical territory.
 
Article
Lexical progression involves a process of network building whereby learners acquire depth of lexical knowledge. This includes the knowledge of a word's different sense relations, paradigmatic as well as syntagmatic, to other words. The focus of this article is a longitudinal study of young foreign language learners’acquisition of English adjectives. A series of tasks were developed to tap lexical relations between adjectives of emotion, e.g. the paradigmatic relations of synonymy and gradation, in order to study how a particular adjective such as thrilled finds its place among other near-synonymous expressions in the subfield HAPPY. Data were collected over a three-year period, so it was possible to study learner performance over time as well as across tasks. Findings revealed that network building is an extremely slow process and that some subfields are much more difficult than others. With the help of qualitative analyses, an account is given of the way in which particular adjectives become enmeshed – or fail to become enmeshed – in the meaning network of related words in the lexical field.
 
Article
The main argument of this article is that the treatment of foreign language vocabulary in an educational context will vary predictably according to whether the pedagogical activity is founded on a structural or a lexical/collocational view of language. It is argued that in a structural approach, for which the author expresses a preference, vocabulary learning is primarily a frequency- and input-based individual endeavor, whereas the lexical approach is said to be more teaching- and textbook-oriented. As a consequence, there will also be a difference in the way vocabulary is tested. It is argued that a statistical testing method is more suitable in a structural context, whereas the lexical context will call for teaching-based tests.
 
Article
Although there is a substantial cross-linguistic body of evidence on expressive devices for kinship reference in a variety of languages, empirical studies dealing with the use of such devices in processes of (second) language acquisition are rather scarce. This multiple-case study takes the latter perspective, focussing on Turkish and Moroccan learners of Dutch. The data were derived from a longitudinal and cross-linguistic project carried out with adult immigrants in Western Europe, under the auspices of the European Science Foundation. After introducing the study, a typological comparison is presented of expressive devices for kinship reference in the three languages under consideration, characterized by a great distance between each of the two source languages and the target language. After a brief description of the informants and data-base, the study focuses on learner varieties for referring to the dimensions of blood relationship, kinship degree, generation, and gender. The study will offer evidence for both general and source-language-specific principles of language acquisition. Language learners start with the use of an initial and standard-like core wordstock for referring to “close” kinsmen. “Distant” kinsmen are initially referred to by non-standard devices, which are partly derived from source-language conventions. Left-branching principles in Turkish vs. right-branching principles in Moroccan Arabic, in particular, show a clear influence on these learners' innovative devices for kinship reference in Dutch.
 
Article
This paper aims at describing English learners' views on the acquisition of the phonetic component of English by focusing on their awareness of the difficulty and importance of English pronunciation as well as their beliefs about influential factors in the acquisition of pronunciation and their attitudes towards English accents. It also aims at examining the differences in phonetic awareness, beliefs and attitudes between learners of English with different first languages (Basque and Spanish). All the participants (n=86) were asked to complete several questionnaires, including a background questionnaire and a specific questionnaire on awareness, beliefs and attitudes. The results indicate that pronunciation is a difficult and important skill for all learners. It was also found that learners consider contact with native speakers and ear training as the most influential factors in the acquisition of pronunciation and that the difficulty of some English accents is related to learners attitudes towards these accents. The results also indicate that all learners tend to share the same awareness of difficulty, importance of, beliefs about and attitudes towards different accents independently of their first language.
 
Article
Many sociolinguistic studies have found that female speakers prefer standard speech forms while male speakers prefer vernacular forms. This article addresses two questions: (1) when does this split between male and female language occur in the language of young children; and (2) how do little boys and girls come to prefer linguistic features which are predominant in the language of adults? Two hypotheses accounting for the mechanisms of transmission are presented – the frequency hypothesis and the role-model hypothesis – and data from a study of Danish children's acquisition of past-tense morphology is presented. The study found gender differences in the past-tense morphology of the 4-, 6- and 8-year-old participants, and it is argued that the role-model hypothesis would most adequately explain these differences. Furthermore, it is argued that early institutionalisation of children in Denmark may lead to increased peer group influence and help explain why gender differences occur at an earlier age compared to studies from the UK and the USA.
 
Article
Focussing on Turkish immigrant children, in whom weak L1/L2 performance has repeatedly been reported, the article aims at providing explanations for origin-specific differences between the L1/L2 acquisition of immigrant children from Turkey and former Yugoslavia living in Austria. The discussion focuses on the countries of origin, taking into account particularly their policies on (minority) language(s) and education. The resulting new explanatory model integrates approaches from socio- and psycholinguistics as well as language attrition studies, sociology and pedagogy. This model is applied to a sample of 60 primary school immigrant children from the two countries of origin. Because of their interdisciplinary and specifically language-political character, the results may have considerable implications for further research as well as educational and political practice. Der vorliegende Artikel hat zum Ziel, mōgliche Erklärungen für bislang ungeklärte herkunftsspezifische Unterschiede im L1- und L2-Erwerb von in Österreich lebenden Migrantenkindern aus der Türkei und dem ehemaligen Jugoslawien zu bieten. Besondere Aufmerksamkeit wird dabei dem Herkunftskontext, und hier v.a. der Sprach(en)- und Minderheitenpolitik der Herkunftsländer, geschenkt. Das daraus resultierende Modell beruht auf Ansätzen aus Psycho- und Soziolinguistik sowie Sprachtodforschung, Soziologie und Erziehungswissenschaft. In einer empirischen Studie wird das neue Modell erstmals auf 60 Migrantenkinder aus der Türkei und dem ehemaligen Jugoslawien angewendet. Aufgrund des interdisziplinären und spezifisch sprach(en)politischen Charakters der Untersuchungsergebnisse ergeben sich daraus Empfehlungen nicht nur für die verschiedenen Gebiete der Migrationsforschung, sondern besonders auch für die Ebene der schulischen und bildungspolitischen Praxis.
 
Article
This empirical study investigated the effectiveness of auditory support in vocabulary learning by comparing acquisition and retention of lexical items studied using a traditional paired-associates memorisation technique to results achieved using an audio-supported paired-associates technique. The subjects were 88 Korean university students. Results indicated that the audio-supported vocabulary learning approach leads to significantly higher rates of acquisition. This advantage was retained over the two months following treatment. The largest difference was noticed in pronunciation. Furthermore, it was found that success in the audio-supported approach was not significantly dependent on learning preferences, and that the approach enjoyed a higher level of acceptance among subjects than non-auditory paired-associates memorisation.
 
Article
The German-speaking part of Switzerland is one of the country's regions where distinct dialects coexist with the standard variety. This situation poses a challenge for immigrant children: most of their daily input does not correspond to the language variety that is essential for educational achievement, namely Standard German. Current academic measures concentrate on the decreed use of the standard variety in all contexts and all subjects at school. However, the use and knowledge of the local dialect are important for social inclusion. Therefore, immigrant children need to learn to cope with both varieties. In this study, we look at how immigrant children – driven by the need to be affiliated to a group – make use of the different varieties and languages in their everyday lives. This analysis should provide a useful insight into how language competence and use support the social phenomena of inclusion and exclusion, and how arrangements for the facilitation of language acquisition could take actual linguistic practices into consideration.
 
Article
This study investigates English speakers' interlanguage constructions using the Chinese perfective aspect and the sentence-final modal particle. The speech data produced by two different levels of learners were collected, compared and analyzed. The results show that although the surface forms of the perfective aspect -le and sentence-final le are identical, they are learned differently, with the perfective aspect -le acquired first. Furthermore, at the early stage of acquisition of sentence-final le, English-speaking learners experience acquisition difficulties and transfer their Ll-based default value to their L2 Chinese. The explanation for the variation in the acquisition le is due both to syntactic and semantic/functional sources. Structural markedness and functional and pragmatic complexity are important factors in accounting for the variation in acquiring le for Chinese L2 learners.
 
Article
In this paper, we attempt to outline a hierarchical model of acquisition of second language phonology. This is done within strict linguistic parameters. In our opinion, language use involves not only the scrutinization of contexts and evocation of appropriate rules, but also a more global process of referring to the speaker's model of language. Furthermore, we hypothesize that learning the phonology of a second language is accomplished in a contact situation in which a conflict emerges between the native and target phonologies. The contact framework is a dynamic one in the sense that the learner has to carry out a number of operations, such as a selection and synthesis of segments and features and a matching procedure. In more formal settings, the “rehearsal” needs to be reinforced by pedagogical interventions. These help the learner to build a target phonological system with a satisfactory degree of confidence.
 
Article
Book reviewed in this article: Robert Bayley And Dennis R. Preston (Eds.), Second Language Acquisition And Linguistic Variation
 
Article
Both second language acquisition (SLA) researchers and language testers collect data in order to make statements about what learners have learned. Many researchers and testers consider the ideal data for this purpose to be naturally occurring language use. This paper examines whether data elicited by instruments designed to provide separate measures of implicit and explicit second language knowledge afford a valid basis for determining what learners have learned. It reports on a study that tested predictions derived from Pienemann's Processability Theory regarding the learning difficulty of four grammatical structures. The results showed that the predictions were borne out in the data from the tests of implicit knowledge but not in the data from the tests of explicit knowledge. The study suggests that experimentally elicited data can be used to examine interlanguage development (i.e. how learners’ implicit knowledge develops) and to make statements about learners’ grammatical proficiency. It also indicates that what constitutes learning difficulty needs to be considered separately for implicit and explicit knowledge. The implications for SLA research and language testing are considered.1
 
Article
Eighty Saudi EFL students were assessed on their understanding of English temporal conjunctions (TCs) and on the effect of the sentence position of the temporal subordinate clause (initially or finally) on such acquisition. The combined performance of the experimental groups did not show any significant difference between TCs indicating sequence and simultaneity. TCs were categorized according to their relationship in time with the main clause event: e.g., FIRST TCs indicate that the main clause event occurs before that in the temporal clause. Responses over the semantic categories of the TCs varied: SECOND and SAME TIME were more difficult than FIRST. The subjects’performance on individual conjunctions within these semantic categories also varied. Similar to the performance for the control group of native speakers, it was found that before (FIRST), after (SECOND), and when2, while, and as (SAME TIME) were the least difficult conjunctions within these categories for the EFL learners by a significant amount. It was also found that whenever1 and directly (SECOND) and now that2 and whenever2 (SAME TIME) were the most difficult conjunctions for the EFL learners. Weak evidence of transfer (positive and negative) was observed in the data. The experimental and control groups gave similar performances for the conjunctions in the SAME TIME category. The EFL learners performed better on temporal clauses which occurred initially in the sentence than on those which occurred finally. The results also showed that these learners, in processing the temporal conjunctions, faced problems similar to those of L1 learners.
 
Box plot of estimated functionally useful vocabulary size of the adult-onset L2 learner group and the two native speaker control groups pooled
Means and standard deviations on the dependent variables for the three groups
Article
This study investigated whether adult-onset second language (L2) learners achieve native level vocabulary after decades of immersion. Vocabulary tests were given to three groups of participants: highly successful adult-onset learners of English, monolingual English speakers, and bilingual native speakers of English. Overall, the native speakers outperformed the non-native speakers; however, the rate of native like achievement was remarkably high among the successful adult-onset learners, which indicated that native level L2 vocabulary size and depth of word knowledge were attainable in adulthood. Factors that correlated with native level L2 vocabulary were: childhood caregivers' education, verbal ability and literacy in the native language, and interest in word learning and daily reading. The findings suggest that the lexicon may be the potentially most successful area of adult-onset L2 learning.
 
Article
This article presents data from an on-going project comparing L1 and L2 acquisition of Swedish syntax. Within the L1 group, normal as well as specifically language impaired (SLI) children are included; the L2 group consists of pre-school immigrant children. The analyses of the data are made within a second language acquisition perspective with a focus on word order. One basic issue within second language acquisition research is the question of natural developmental sequences, i.e. do all learners follow the same development? Another important issue is whether the development in L2 acquisition is the same as or different from L1 acquisition. Both issues are addressed in the study. The results show interesting similarities between the SLI group and the L2 group. The L1 group differed from the other two groups in important ways. The findings suggest that there is no fundamental difference between L1 and L2 acquisition of syntax, as has been claimed.
 
Top-cited authors
Lynne Cameron
  • The Open University (UK)
Diane Larsen-Freeman
  • University of Michigan
Rod Ellis
  • Curtin University
Tim Mcnamara
  • University of Melbourne
Carsten Roever
  • University of Melbourne