This study investigated language educators’ readiness in coping with language assessment during the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the enforced move to Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT). This pandemic prompted debates on language assessors’ roles in adjusting to a New Normal. While a good body of research has investigated the role of teacher assessment perceptions versus assessment behavior for many decades, little is known about the factors that may have impacted language educators’ assessment perceptions and practices during the recent crisis. To address this issue, an online survey was administered to 256 language educators. Pearson correlations and simple linear regression were utilized to determine if the language educators’ perceptions of (1) the official assessment measures, (2) purposes, and (3) their assessment self-efficacy were predictors of their assessment practices during this crisis. The results revealed a total absence of any correlations between these variables. The findings suggest that the assessment accommodations adopted by the teachers were not determined by their assessment perceptions. Other factors such as assessment policy and the assessment culture may have shaped their practices during this crisis.
“Z” is a young sign language developing in a family whose hearing members speak Tzotzil (Mayan). Three deaf siblings, together with an intervening hearing sister and a hearing niece, formed the original cohort of signing adults. A hearing son of the original signer became the first native signer of a second generation. Z provides evidence for a classic grammaticalization chain linking a sign requesting attention (HEY1) to a pragmatic turn-initiating particle (HEY2), which signals a new utterance or change of topic. Such an emergent grammatical particle linked to the pragmatic exigencies of communication is a primordial example of emergent grammar. The chapter presents the stages in the son’s language socialization and acquisition of HEY1 and HEY2, starting at 11 months, through his subsequent bilingual development in both Z and Tzotzil, jointly deploying other communicative modalities such as gaze and touch. It proposes a series of stages leading, by 4 years of age, to his understanding of the complex sequential structure that using the sign involves. Acquiring pragmatic signs such as HEY in Z demonstrates how the grammar of a language, including an emergent sign language, is built upon the practices of a language community and the basic expected parameters of local social life.
In  (p. 2), we highlight that Deuchar and Stammers  postulate that their data does not support Poplack and Meechan's assumption that the distinction between code-switching and borrowing is categorical .[...]
Educators, scholars and practitioners whose work intersects with refugee learners’ lives and schooling are familiar with the many strengths and challenges these learners bring to and encounter in classrooms and communities every day [...]
The editorial team greatly appreciates the reviewers who have dedicated their considerable time and expertise to the journal’s rigorous editorial process over the past 12 months, regardless of whether the papers are finally published or not [...]
This paper focuses on the way in which small and medium-sized businesses in Flanders adapted communication with their customers during the economic lockdown in March–May 2020. It documents, more specifically, how shops tried to maintain, re-establish, or even re-invent communication with their customers during this two-month period. Based on pictures of shop windows in a Flemish city, we analyze the (semi-)commercial messages that appeared in this setting during this period. This analysis adopts an interdisciplinary perspective, in which a cognitive linguistic approach is integrated with analyses and practical advices by marketing agencies. Despite their orientation towards distinct, theoretical and practical goals, both approaches share an analytical interest in mapping participants and their mutual relationship as part of a communicative interaction. In the period of economic lockdown, marketers urged shop owners to ‘humanize’ their business strategy by downplaying content-related issues in favor of maximal social outreach towards customers. Considering this advice, it was hypothesized that under these circumstances participants in commercial transactions would be construed much more prominently, presenting themselves and each other as unprecedented empathetic business personas. Much of our data comply with this expectation, thus providing empirical evidence of a subjectified communicative ground, in which both buyer and seller personas figure with augmented prominence as parts of the object of conceptualization. Messages include, among other things, expressions of empathy, solidarity, combativity, but also creativity and humor thus incorporating a new type of humanized business communication. With respect to the analysis of marketing strategies, the collected data at the same time instantiate and legitimize marketers’ communication advice about humanizing one’s business exchange.
Teaching Adult Immigrants with Limited Formal Education: Theory, Research, and Practice is a compendium of the six modules that were the result of the third phase of the EU-Speak Project, European Speakers of Other Languages: Teaching Adult Migrants and Training Their Teachers, an ambitious collaborative research project carried out by several European and American universities with the purpose of orienting second language educators whose target pupils are immigrant second language learners with limited education and literacy. Each chapter covers different linguistic, psycholinguistic, sociolinguistic, and pedagogical issues in order to offer a complete guide to those interested in teaching a second language to this particular group of learners. As a result, the book presents itself as a link between researchers, teachers, policy-makers, and administrators with the common aim of integrating these learners as active members of their new countries through the acquisition of their new languages.
The devoicing of sibilants took place in Early Modern Spanish, a phenomenon which has been considered problematic to account for due to its occurrence context (medial intervocalic position). Traditional explanations invoked Basque influence or a structural reorganization in search for a more balanced system. However, phonetically based reasons were proposed by some scholars. This research is a preliminary attempt to support these proposals with experimental data from a comparative grammar perspective. The Catalan sibilant system, which is very similar to the Medieval Spanish one, is acoustically and perceptively studied in order to investigate the acoustic cues of voicing and to determine if devoicing is possible. Results indicate that (a) voicing relies mainly in the proportion of unvoiced frames of the segments, on its duration, and, to a lesser extent, on its intensity; (b) sibilant devoicing occurs in all voiced categories; (c) auditorily, confusion between voiced and voiceless segments can be attested for every sibilant pair, and (d) the misparsings are more common in affricate and in palatal sibilants, [d͡ʒ] being the most prone to be labelled as unvoiced. These findings prove that the historical process in Spanish could have a phonetic basis.
The ability to express oneself through written language is a critically important skill for long-term educational, emotional, and social success. However, despite the importance of writing, English Learner students continue to perform at or below basic levels which warrants additional efforts to identify specific areas of weakness that impact writing quality. To that end, this study aims to describe the effect of verb accuracy on writing quality ratings of 5th-grade written expository samples. This study examines the responses of 243 students in the 5th grade who differed in English proficiency. The sample included 112 English Learners and 131 English-proficient students. Verb error patterns in written samples by English Learner students are described and compared to the patterns of their monolingual English-proficient peers. Group differences were examined in verb accuracy, types of verb errors, and overall grammaticality. A regression analysis was used to examine verb accuracy as a predictor of writing quality. Findings showed that English Learner students demonstrated more verb errors than their English-speaking peers and the total number of verb errors was a significant predictor of writing quality ratings.
Underprivileged but highly multilingual Indian children often show low literacy performance. As a complicating factor, these children are often expected to develop literacy not just in the regionally dominant language but also in English. As good literacy skills are crucial for later academic development, it is important to identify factors that could support these children’s literacy development. We, therefore, investigated whether cognitive abilities are associated with literacy development and whether they are so in the same way for both of these children’s languages. In a longitudinal design (Std. 4 and Std. 5), literacy data in Hindi and English were collected from 336 children in Delhi, India. In addition, three cognitive tasks (Raven’s, 2-back, Flanker) were performed. We found that bilingual literacy development is evident across children, although the starting point is low in some cases. Fluid intelligence (Raven’s) and working memory capacity (2-back) significantly positively related to literacy performance in Std. 4 and Std. 5 in both Hindi and English. Literacy improvement from Std. 4 to Std. 5 also related to cognitive abilities—working memory capacity (2-back) for Hindi and inhibitory skills (Flanker) for English—but in the opposite direction: Children who had lower scores on these cognitive tasks show more improvement, indicating that they are in the process of catching up with their higher-performing peers—although they have not fully managed to do so by Std. 5.
Recent proposals suggest that timing in acquisition, i.e., the age at which a phenomenon is mastered by monolingual children, influences acquisition of the L2, interacting with age of onset of bilingualism and amount of L2 input. Here, we examine whether timing affects acquisition of the bilingual child’s heritage language, possibly modulating the effects of environmental and child-internal factors. The performance of 6- to 12-year-old Greek heritage children residing in Germany (age of onset of German: 0–4 years) was assessed across a range of nine syntactic structures via the Greek LITMUS (Language Impairment Testing in Multilingual Settings) Sentence Repetition Task. Based on previous studies on monolingual Greek, the structures were classified as “early” (main clauses (SVO), coordination, clitics, complement clauses, sentential negation, non-referential wh-questions) or as “late” (referential wh-questions, relatives, adverbial clauses). Current family use of Greek and formal instruction in Greek (environmental), chronological age, and age of onset of German (child-internal) were assessed via the Questionnaire for Parents of Bilingual Children (PABIQ); short-term memory (child-internal) was measured via forward digit recall. Children’s scores were generally higher for early than for late acquired structures. Performance on the three early structures with the highest scores was predicted by the amount of current family use of Greek. Performance on the three late structures was additionally predicted by forward digit recall, indicating that higher short-term memory capacity is beneficial for correctly reconstructing structurally complex sentences. We suggest that the understanding of heritage language development and the role of child-internal and environmental factors will benefit from a consideration of timing in the acquisition of the different structures.
This study examined how second language (L2) speakers’ individual differences in music perception abilities, singing abilities and phonetic aptitude relate to their L2 phonological awareness. To measure participants’ L2 phonological awareness, we used an accent faking paradigm, where participants were asked to speak in their native language (German) while imitating a strong L2 accent (English). We measured their musical abilities with the AMMA test and their singing abilities with two singing tasks and a self-report questionnaire. Their phonetic aptitude was assessed with a combination of phonological short-term memory tasks (forward and backward digit span tasks), and language perception and production tasks, in which participants needed to process and imitate sounds from unfamiliar languages. A regression analysis revealed that singing abilities and phonetic aptitude could predict participants’ English faking abilities. This suggests that being able to sing could help learners produce and memorise highly accurate L2 sounds, although their performance could also partly be explained by innate learning capacities such as phonetic aptitude. This study also proposes a new combination of tests to obtain a well-rounded assessment of individual differences in phonetic aptitude.
The aim of this study was to analyze the narrative abilities of a 33-year-old English-Spanish bilingual with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). The few previous linguistic studies examining monolinguals with PWS have focused primarily on these individuals’ narrative capacity, revealing a performance deficit in this area (Lewis et al. 2002; Garayzábal-Heinze et al. 2012). The present study is novel in that it examines a bilingual speaker and also tests his narrative abilities in both languages. Two wordless picture books from Mayer’s (1967, 1969) Frog story series were used as the elicitation method. The PWS bilingual produced, over two experimental sessions, four narratives (two in each language), which were compared to four analogous narratives produced by a 25-year-old typically developing bilingual with a comparable linguistic background and proficiency level in Spanish and English. Following Gonçalves and collaborators’ (Gonçalves et al. 2001a, 2001b, 2001c) narrative evaluation protocol, the narratives were analyzed according to three dimensions: narrative structure and coherence, narrative process and complexity, and narrative content and multiplicity. Overall, the results revealed that the PWS bilingual (1) presented a poor narration ability in both languages, with narrative content and multiplicity being the least impaired; (2) showed better narrative abilities during the second experimental session (i.e., narrative abilities improved with experience/practice); and (3) did not show typically developing behavior but a comparable performance to that of monolingual speakers with PWS. These findings suggest that bilingualism should not be discouraged in PWS populations and that special attention should be given to the development of their narrative abilities in their school curriculum.
This paper investigates how language awareness influences the writing abilities of bilingual heritage language speakers. The study includes 175 bilingual 9th and 10th graders with Italian, Greek, or Turkish as their L1 and German as an early L2. The analysis is based on a corpus of narrative and argumentative texts in L1 and L2 and a language awareness test to explore semantic, pragmatic, and textual knowledge that was administered in both languages. We found that the students’ writing abilities in both languages were highly interdependent and there was a significant correlation between achieving high scores in the heritage language test and achieving equally high (or even higher) scores in the L2 test. The results further point to a significant correlation between metalinguistic awareness and writing abilities. However, there was a higher correlation between metalinguistic awareness and text level scores in the heritage language, which shows that writing abilities in this language are more dependent on metalinguistic awareness than in the language of schooling. Moreover, differences were found between the respective language groups and different school types. Based on these results, it is argued that the fostering of language awareness ought to be implemented more intensively in the language classroom.
Research in Crosslinguistic influence (CLI) has traditionally addressed two broad types of lexical CLI—transfer of form and transfer of meaning (Ringbom 1987)—which were reconceptualized by Jarvis (2009) as lexemic and lemmatic transfer, respectively. Whereas the former considers the phonological and graphemic structure of words, the latter is related to semantic and syntactic properties. These types of lexical CLI have been analysed in relation to L2 proficiency, but not in relation to factors such as Study Abroad (SA), which the present study aims to investigate. The oral production by 107 Catalan/Spanish learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) was analysed in terms of lexical CLI and the amount of input received during their SA. Results show an inverse relationship between the amount of input in SA and lexical CLI; that is, the higher the number of hours abroad, the fewer cases of lexical CLI. Statistical differences were found for lemmatic CLI and for one type of lexemic CLI. In light of these findings, it is suggested that learners that take part in SA programmes do not rely on L1-based resources when gaps in their knowledge arise.
The purpose of the current study was to explore if and how additional-language learners may show changes in phraseological patterns over the course of a stay in a target-language environment. In particular, we focused on noun+adjective combinations produced by a group of additional-language speakers of French at three points in time, spanning 21 months and including an academic year in France. We extracted each combination from a longitudinal corpus and determined frequency counts and two strength-of-association measures (Mutual information [MI] score and Log Dice) for each combination. Separate analyses were conducted for frequency and the strength-of-association measures, revealing that phraseological patterns are significantly predicted by adjective position in the case of all three measures, and that MI scores showed significant change over time. We interpret the results in light of past research that has reported contradictory findings concerning change in phraseological patterns following an immersion experience.
In Spanish, imprecise quantities are typically expressed through approximators (APs) (e.g., casi $60 ‘almost’, como $30 ‘like’, and 90 y pico ‘-ish’). APs make semantic boundaries fuzzy, but they provide instructions for utterance interpretation by establishing upper limits (e.g., casi), lower limits (e.g., y pico), or no specific limits (e.g., como). While APs occur frequently in naturally occurring language, they are rarely included in second language (L2) classrooms or textbooks, limiting learners’ exposure to these forms. This study examined how intermediate L2, advanced L2, and native Spanish speakers (n = 20 per group) discussed imprecise quantities during oral interviews in which they responded to money-related questions. The study investigated the effect of L2 proficiency and cumulative length of exposure abroad in the learners’ lexical knowledge of APs. GLMMs revealed that, overall, an increased L2 proficiency correlated to a more frequent and more natural use of APs. A significant interaction between L2 proficiency and length of stay abroad was also found, as even short periods abroad resulted in significant lexical gains for the intermediate learners. The results show that while proficiency mediates AP use, naturalistic exposure at an early stage accelerates lexical acquisition, promoting a more target-like expression of numeric imprecision.
Epistemic stance markers, such as je pense in French, take on a variety of discursive functions, ranging from asserting an opinion, indicating the source of information, and mitigating a claim, to pragmatic functions, such as gaining time for discourse planning. Previous research suggests that the epistemic marker je pense is mostly used in French conversation to express opinions and can be used as an indicator of the development of a learner’s assertiveness and pragmatic competence during a study abroad period. Using a functional approach, this paper seeks to find out the extent to which study abroad fosters the development of assertiveness and pragmalinguistic competence among L2 learners, through an analysis of stance marking in interview data from 26 Anglophone learners of French, who spent nine months abroad in a French-speaking country, and 10 French native speakers. The results show that learners are globally less assertive in their use of je pense than native speakers, particularly prior to departure, and that they develop pragmatic uses of je pense, thereby showing a development in their interactional strategies. Finally, the high inter-variability in the way learners used je pense suggests the importance of personal style.
With the availability of English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) courses, an increasing number of international students have been joining Swedish universities. However, the language use in Swedish EMI courses may display unique features; while many Swedish students have high English language proficiency, code-switching between Swedish and English is reported as a common practice by both lecturers and students, even when international students are present. Moreover, the term “international students” is often used to include students of various statuses and linguistic abilities, and the experiences and perspectives of short-term exchange students towards the language use in Swedish EMI courses are rarely documented. The current study investigates the perspectives of short-term exchange students from Japan enrolled in EMI courses at a university in Sweden. Questionnaire and focus group interview confirmed previous studies regarding the language-use practices in the classrooms. Moreover, the rate of speech, turn-taking, and background knowledge were found to hinder the learning and participation of the exchange students. The findings suggest the need to raise awareness of the language practices in Swedish EMI courses to students, lecturers, and other universities in order to support the learning experience of short-term exchange students.
Text annotations are literacy practices that are not uncommon in the reading experience of university students. Annotations may be multilingual, monolingual, or multimodal. Despite their enormous diagnostic potentials, annotations have not been widely investigated for what they can reveal about the cognitive processes that are involved in academic reading. In other words, there has been limited exploration of the insights that signs (verbal and non-verbal) inscribed by students on texts offer for understanding and intervening in their academic reading practices. The aim of this exploratory study is to examine the diagnostic assessment potentials of student-annotated texts. On the basis of text annotations obtained from teacher trainee students (n = 7) enrolled at a German university, we seek to understand what different students attend to while reading, what their problem-solving strategies are, what languages and other semiotic systems they deploy, what their level of engagement with text is, and, critically, how the foregoing provide a basis for intervening to validate, reinforce, correct, or teach certain reading skills and practices. Theoretically, the study is undergirded by the notion of text movability. Data suggestive of how students journey through text are argued to have implications for understanding and teaching how they manage attention, use dictionaries, own text meaning, and appraise text.
This study aimed to identify the effectiveness of English-language teaching using study strategies by producing video content on students’ academic enthusiasm and academic vitality. The present study was a quasi-experimental study with a pre-test and post-test design with a control group. The statistical population of all the 12th high school male students in Hamedan in the academic year 2020–2021 was 7302 students, of whom 30 were randomly selected in multi-stage cluster sampling and randomly divided into two groups of 15 people. To conduct the research, under the same conditions, both pre-test groups were conducted using Academic Enthusiasm Questionnaire, which were used to determine their validity from content validity, and to achieve reliability, Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was used, which was 0.71 and 0.82, respectively. Then, a training package of study strategies was prepared for eight sessions, in which the content validity ratio (CVR) and content validity index (CVI) were determined by experts and was concluded to be between 0.9 and 1; while, during this period, the control group did not receive any intervention. At the end of the training sessions on the experimental group, both groups underwent a post-test under the same conditions and, finally, the data were analyzed using analysis of covariance. After the training sessions on the experimental group, both groups underwent a post-test in the same conditions. The results of the analysis of covariance showed that teaching study strategies increase academic motivation in all components of behavioral enthusiasm, emotional enthusiasm and cognitive enthusiasm as well as students’ vitality in English-language courses. In general, the results of this study showed that the use of these teaching study strategies is effective to increase students’ academic enthusiasm and vitality in English-language lessons.
This action research project aimed at evaluating and revising Actionthroughwords (ATW), an online course on language learning through content for high school English language learners. Our multifaceted purpose is to help English language learners in an English language arts class to enhance their academic English language and literacy, while learning online about the work of the UN for health and peace worldwide. A teacher and nineteen students in a public high school bilingual program acted as learner-consultants, with a shift of learners’ roles to one of authority and engagement. Using a mixed design, data came from questionnaires, classroom observation, and interviews with the teacher and eight of her students. All participants responded affirmatively to the ATW site and expressed appreciation not only for the content but also for focused activities to enhance vocabulary development and grammatical awareness. Results showed students’ view of the UN was somewhat positive to begin with and became more positive over time. Participants recommended revision of ATW to make content more accessible through scaffolding and first language support and to offer additional games and videos appropriate for teenagers’ interests and modes of learning. Differentiated instructional materials and strategies integrated with the school curriculum were also suggested for future implementation of the course.
Previous research has shown that the two languages of early bilingual children can influence each other, depending on the linguistic property, while adult bilinguals predominantly show influence from the majority language to the minority (heritage) language. While this observed shift in influence patterns is probably related to a shift in dominance between early childhood and adulthood, there is little data documenting it. Our study investigates the perceived global accent in the two languages of German-Russian bilingual children in Germany, comparing 4–6-year-old (preschool) children and 7–9-year-old (primary school) children. The results indicate that in German the older children sound less accented than the younger children, while the opposite is true for Russian. This suggests that the primary school years are a critical period for heritage language maintenance.
The inclusion of European minority languages in public spaces such as education, administration and the media has led to the emergence of a new profile of speakers, “new speakers”, who typically acquire a minority language through education, but vary in terms of their language experience and use. The present study investigated whether a distinctive variety spoken by Galician new speakers (neofalantes) has emerged in the community and whether listeners’ language background influences accent identification abilities and patterns. Galician-Spanish bilingual listeners completed an accent identification task and were asked to comment on factors influencing their decision. Results demonstrated that all listeners could identify Galician-dominant better than Spanish-dominant bilinguals but could not identify neofalantes. Neofalantes were categorised as both Spanish- and Galician-dominant, supporting the idea that neofalantes have a hybrid variety. This finding suggests that listeners have a gradient representation of language background variation, with Galician-like and Spanish-like accents functioning as anchors and the neofalantes’ accent situated somewhere in the middle. Identification accuracy was similar for all listeners but neofalantes showed heightened sensitivity to the Galician-dominant variety, suggesting that evaluation of sociophonetic features depends on the listener’s language and social background. These findings contribute to our understanding of sociolinguistic awareness in bilingual contexts.
This study examines the experiences of adult new speakers of Welsh in Wales, UK with learning pronunciation in Welsh. Questionnaire data were collected from 115 adult L2 speakers with English as an L1 located in South Wales. We investigated self-reported perceptions of accent and pronunciation as well as exploring which speech sounds were reported to be challenging for the participants. We also asked participants how traditional native speakers responded to them in the community. Perceptions of own accent and pronunciation were not rated highly for the participants. We found an effect of speaker origin affected responses to perceptions of accent and pronunciation, as well as speaker learning level. In terms of speech sounds that are challenging, the results show that vowel length as well as the consonants absent in the L1 (English) were the most common issues reported. A range of responses from traditional native speakers were reported, including speaking more slowly, switching to English, correcting pronunciation or not responding at all. It is suggested that these results indicate that adult new speakers of Welsh face challenges with accent and pronunciation, and we discuss the implications of this for language teaching and for integration into the community.
Children with and without communication disorders have difficulty understanding words and sentences produced by talkers with unfamiliar characteristics, such as unfamiliar accents. To date, few studies have investigated how this difficulty manifests in linguistically diverse children. Studies of monolingual children have found that lexical and phonological skills predict accurate perception. For linguistically diverse children, there are differences in the structure of their linguistic input relative to their monolingual peers. These differences in their linguistic input influence their lexical and phonological development, suggesting that they may also differ in how they perceive unfamiliar accented speech. In this paper we present different hypotheses for how input variability might affect unfamiliar accented speech perception. Then, we conduct a focused review of the literature on how input variability affects early linguistic development for bilingual and bidialectal children. We link this information to the literature on how children with and without language disorders understand unfamiliar accented speech to identify important areas for future inquiry. Determining how input variability interacts with linguistic skills to predict unfamiliar speech perception is a crucial area for future inquiry. Effective clinical recommendations and educational accommodations require understanding of the linguistic skills and experience that support accurate variable speech perception for diverse populations.
This study set out to investigate whether US Heritage Spanish features a more streamlined verbal paradigm in psych verb constructions compared to standard varieties of Spanish, where HS speakers find an invariable third-person singular form acceptable with both singular and plural grammatical subjects. In standard Spanish, the semantic subjects of psych verbs are typically pre-verbal experiencers cast as oblique arguments in inverse predicates such as in me encantan los buhos ‘I love owls’. The translation of this sentence shows that equivalent English predicates are typically direct constructions. The data were gathered using an acceptability judgement questionnaire that was distributed to participants that fit into one of three groups: early bilingual heritage speakers of Spanish from California, advanced Spanish as L2 speakers, and non-bilingual native speakers of Spanish who had learnt English as an L2 as adults. The Heritage Spanish speakers in this group often patterned differently from both other groups, who surprisingly patterned together. We argue that this is due to L2 speakers’ mode of acquisition (formal and subject to prescriptive grammar), in comparison with Heritage Spanish speakers’ naturalistic acquisition. Specifically, we find evidence for a streamlining of the Spanish verbal paradigm not immediately attributed to English interference, and that in psych verb constructions, Heritage Spanish speakers more readily accept a third-person singular invariable verbal form. This differentiation of the verbal paradigm from standard Spanish use should be considered a bona fide linguistic change, but not proof of either incomplete acquisition or language attrition. Since Heritage Spanish speakers are, after all, native speakers of Spanish, this study shows that Heritage Spanish should be considered and studied as any other dialect of Spanish, with its distinctive grammatical features, and subject to variability and change.
The present study examines the relative order of noun-adjective sequences within code-switched Determiner Phrases. Several hypotheses have been considered: (i) Order is a property defined by the noun; (ii) it is a property defined by the adjective; (iii) it is a property governed by the carrier phrase. The studies that have investigated the issue all assume that the class of adjectives is homogeneous, but in fact, there exist several sub-classes of adjectives which in many languages, including Spanish, exhibit distinct ordering properties. We propose to add the variable ‘adjective type’ to our study and use code-switching of English/Spanish, two languages that differ in the position of adjectives, as our database. A total of thirty English/Spanish heritage speakers took part in an experiment. Our results show that both the language of the adjective and the carrier phrase are significant factors of word order in the noun phrase; on the other hand, the noun itself does not seem to play a role.
The verb forms ending in -ra and -se in modern Spanish both correspond to the imperfect subjunctive, but their use is far from equal throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Rojo (1996) documents that the -se form is all but obsolete in the majority of American nations, and Kempas (2011) records rates of use in Spain ranging from 11% to 44%. The highest rate corresponds to usage patterns in Galicia, where contact with the regional language, Galician, may provide a conservative influence with respect to the shift from -se to -ra. The present study considers the effects of age, sex, and primary language, as well as linguistic factors such as possibility of the event (i.e., Lavandera (1975)) on the acceptability and choice of -se or -ra in the protasis of conditional statements in Galician Spanish. To accomplish this, 29 speakers completed an online acceptability rating task of 24 statements with varying combinations of verb forms in the protasis and apodosis. They were asked to correct those statements that they rejected as incorrect and unused in their own speech, and their produced corrections were compared to their acceptance or rejection of forms in the models. Results indicated that neither social factors nor possibility significantly affect the acceptance of phrases in -ra or -se. However, individual idiosyncrasies do affect the production of these verb forms, in line with results from Kempas (2011) and Rojo and Vázquez Rozas (2014).
Language maintenance efforts aim to bolster attitudes towards endangered languages by providing them with a standard variety as a means to raise their status and prestige. However, the introduced variety can vary in its degrees of standardisation. This paper investigates whether varying degrees of standardisation surface in explicit attitudes towards standard varieties in endangered vernacular speech communities. Following sociolinguistic models of standardisation, we suggest that explicit attitudes towards the standard variety indicate its acceptance in vernacular speech communities, reflecting its overall degree of standardisation. We use the standardised Attitudes towards Language (AtoL) questionnaire to investigate explicit attitudes towards the respective standard varieties in two related vernacular speech communities—the Belgische Eifel in Belgium and the Éislek in Luxembourg. The vernacular of these speech communities, Moselle Franconian, is considered generally vulnerable (UNESCO), and the two speech communities have opted to introduce different standard varieties: Standard Luxembourgish in Luxembourg shows lower degrees of standardisation and is only partially implemented. In contrast, Standard German in the Belgian speech community is highly standardised and completely implemented. Results show that degrees of standardisation surface in speakers’ explicit attitudes. Our findings have important implications for the role of standardisation in language maintenance efforts.
A conversational implicature arises when there is a gap between the syntactically and semantically encoded meaning of a sentence and the pragmatic meaning that is inferred in an actual communicative situation. Several experimental studies have approached the processing of implicatures and examined the extent to which the derivation of the pragmatic meaning is effortful, especially in the case of generalized implicatures, where the inferred meaning seems to be the most frequent one. In this study, we present two experiments that explore the processing of scalar implicatures with algunos ‘some’ in adjacency pair contexts through an acceptability judgment task and a self-paced reading task. Our results support the claim that the access to the meaning of some as only some is context sensitive. Moreover, they also indicate that adjacency pair structure contributes to making that meaning rapidly available.
Languages are an integral part of everyday life; they define our interactions with other people as well as the physical and mental spaces we inhabit over time. Since ancient times, languages have fascinated humans. [...]
During language acquisition, sighted children have immediate and temporally stable access to the ‘gestalt’ of an object, including particular features that suggest its categorization as part of a class of objects. Blind children, however, must effectively and productively constitute the whole object from its constitutive parts in order to categorize them. While prior studies have suggested that varied experience and appropriate sensory access can contribute to this process, little attention has been given to how this is accomplished. The present study aims to address this issue by using conversation analysis to explore embodied understanding and categorization work between a 26-month-old congenitally blind child and her sighted mother as they play with various animal toys. Here we provide an analysis of a segment involving a particular toy (a cow plush), and ask two questions: (1) During play, how does Mother scaffold embodied routines for the identification of criterial information about a category, and (2) How is knowledge of varied exemplars, not directly accessible within the current activity, then made available to the child? Detailed examination of the linguistic and embodied practices employed by this mother–child dyad provides a concrete example of how non-visual modalities help scaffold the learning of categorization techniques, as well as illustrates the import that the examination of naturally occurring social interaction can have for theories of language and embodied cognition.
This paper presents results from two experiments on the L2 acquisition of wh-features and relevant constraints (Superiority and Subjacency) by L1 Sinhala–L2 English speakers. Our results from a Truth Value Judgment Task and a Grammaticality Judgment Task with 31 English native controls and 38 Sinhala/English bilinguals show that the advanced adult L2 speakers of English we tested have successfully acquired the uninterpretable wh-Q feature and relevant movement constraints in English, despite the lack of overt wh-movement in L1-Sinhala. These results raise questions for Representational Deficit Accounts of second language acquisition and offer evidence that (i) uninterpretable syntactic features are not necessarily subject to an early critical period and (ii) uninterpretable features not instantiated in learners’ L1 can be available for L2 syntactic computation. We take our results as evidence for full access by L2 learners to syntactic properties that are not instantiated in their L1, but that remain accessible due to a cognitive capacity for language (i.e., knowledge of Universal Grammar) independently of the L1.
Vocabulary plays a key role in speech production, affecting multiple stages of language processing. This pilot study investigates the relationships between second language (L2) learners’ lexical access and their speaking fluency, speaking accuracy, and speaking complexity. Fifteen L2 learners of Chinese participated in the experiment. A task-specific, native-referenced vocabulary test was used to measure learners’ vocabulary size and lexical retrieval speed. Learners’ speaking performance was measured by thirteen variables. The results showed that lexical access was significantly correlated with learners’ speech rate, lexical accuracy, syntactic accuracy, and lexical complexity. Vocabulary size and lexical retrieval speed were significant predictors of speech rate. However, vocabulary size and lexical retrieval speed each affected learners’ speaking performance differently. Learners’ speaking fluency, accuracy, and complexity were all affected by vocabulary size. No significant correlation was found between lexical retrieval speed and syntactic complexity. Findings in this study support the Model of Bilingual Speech Production, revealing the significant role lexical access plays in L2 speech production.
The present longitudinal study investigates the acquisition of determiners (articles) in two simultaneously bilingual French-Italian children aged 1;6,12 until 3;5,17, one of them being French-dominant and the other one being Italian-dominant. Although French and Italian determiners and determiner phrases share some syntactic aspects, they largely differ with respect to noun length and lexical stress in the nominal domain. Prosody is expected to be a decisive factor in the early prosodification of determiners by French-Italian bilinguals. The analysis of more than 4500 noun phrases yields different acquisition paths and cross-linguistic transfer, which can neither be explained by linguistic structure nor by language balance alone. The results are analyzed within the generative framework. The proposed account integrates language-internal and external factors for determiner acquisition in French by bilingual children.
Does bilingual language influence in the domain of phonetics impact the morphosyntactic domain? Spanish gender is encoded by word-final, unstressed vowels (/a e o/), which may diphthongize in word-boundary vowel sequences. English neutralizes unstressed final vowels and separates across-word vocalic sequences. The realization of gender vowels as schwa, due to cross-linguistic influence, may remain undetected if not directly analyzed. To explore the potential over-reporting of gender accuracy, we conducted parallel phonetic and morphosyntactic analyses of read and semi-spontaneous speech produced by 11 Monolingual speakers and 13 Early and 13 Late Spanish-English bilinguals. F1 and F2 values were extracted at five points for all word-final unstressed vowels and vowel sequences. All determiner phrases (DPs) from narratives were coded for morphological and contextual parameters. Early bilinguals exhibited clear patterns of vowel centralization and higher rates of hiatuses than the other groups. However, the morphological analysis yielded very few errors. A follow-up integrated analysis revealed that /a and o/ were realized as centralized vowels, particularly with [+Animate] nouns. We propose that bilinguals’ schwa-like realizations can be over-interpreted as target Spanish vowels. Such variable vowel realization may be a factor in the vulnerability to attrition in gender marking in Spanish as a heritage language.
In late-insertion, realizational models of morphology such as Distributed Morphology (DM), the insertion of Vocabulary Items (VIs) is conditioned by cyclic operations in the syntax. This paper explores whether an isomorphic relationship can be established between cyclic operations such as phases and prosodic domains. In the spirit of D’Alessandro and Scheer’s (2015) proposal of a Modular Phase Impenetrability Condition (MPIC), we strive to provide an analysis in which prosodic boundaries in even smaller, word-level-like syntactic structures—the ‘lexical domain’—can be identified solely within the syntax. We propose a DM-account for the distribution of nominal plural exponency in German, which reveals a dominant trend for a trochaic-foot structure for all but -s-plural exponents (Wiese 2001, 2009). Inspired by Gouskova’s (2019) and Svenonius’ (2016) work concerning the prosody–morphology interface, we argue that the index of a Prosodic Word ω in non-s-plurals is associated with a specific feature configuration. We propose that only a n[+pl(ural)] configuration, in which the nominalizing head n hosts the SynSem-feature Num(ber)[+pl(ural)], rather than a general cyclic categorizing phase head such as n, indexes a Prosodic Word ω for nominal plural exponents in (Standard) German. Based on this empirical evidence from German plural exponency, we argue that (i) prosodic boundaries can be established directly by syntactic structures, (ii) these prosodic boundaries condition VI insertion during the initial stages of Spell-Out, and (iii) prosodic domains are based on individual languages’ syntactic structures and feature configurations, and are thus relativized and language-specific in nature.
The Radical Unacceptability Hypothesis (RUH) has been proposed as a way of explaining the unacceptability of extraction from islands and frozen structures. This hypothesis explicitly assumes a distinction between unacceptability due to violations of local well-formedness conditions—conditions on constituency, constituent order, and morphological form—and unacceptability due to extra-grammatical factors. We explore the RUH with respect to classical islands, and extend it to a broader range of phenomena, including freezing, A′ chain interactions, zero-relative clauses, topic islands, weak crossover, extraction from subjects and parasitic gaps, and sensitivity to information structure. The picture that emerges is consistent with the RUH, and suggests more generally that the unacceptability of extraction from otherwise well-formed configurations reflects non-syntactic factors, not principles of grammar.
On a Whatelian conception, a presumption is a “supposition … [that] must stand good until some sufficient reason is adduced against it.” This view may be understood as operationalizing a distinct quality of warrant for the acceptability of claims. Against this Whatelian conception, Kauffeld offers an account on which “ordinary presumptions are inferences based on suppositions regarding the risk of resentment persons face should they fail to live up to (often openly incurred) commitments.” On Kauffeld’s analysis, presumptions are distinguished according to a special kind of backing, or grounding, upon which presumed claims are based. This article contrasts these views according to the different accounts each provides of the normative mechanisms at work in, and underwriting, warranted presumption. Viable argumentative norms must be both objectively well-founded and effective in regulating the activity of argumentation. Whatelian conceptions seek to explain the effectiveness (specifically, the binding force) of presumptions in terms of an arguer’s recognition of their well-foundedness by providing an account of presumptions as particularly well-adapted to methodological features inherent in the activity of transacting reasons. By contrast, Kauffeld’s analysis reverses this order of explanation, explaining the well-foundedness (specifically, the validity) of presumption and presumptive inference in terms of its effectiveness (specifically its binding force) over agents. By identifying a class of presumptions that are inherently, and extra-argumentatively, binding upon agents in ways that can manifestly influence their behavioral calculations to make it the case that what is presumed is so, Kauffeld’s analysis of presumption normatively generates well-foundedness out of effectiveness. Thus, a distinctive and innovative feature of Kauffeld’s analysis of presumption is that it identifies a hitherto unrecognized dimension of normativity—namely, our extra-argumentative obligations and our reactive attitudes concerning them—as capable of underwriting warranted presumptive inference.
European learners of English are increasingly using this language recreationally, which is referred to as Extramural English (henceforth EE). The level of EE use in a given country might be reflected in English Language Teaching (ELT) practices. Yet, no research so far has examined cross-nationally what potential for language learning teachers perceive in their learners’ EE engagement and how this relates to ELT practices. To address this gap, the present study draws on interview data from lower secondary English teachers from Austria, France, and Sweden (n = 20). They were enquired about (1) their students’ EE engagement and its effects on learning, (2) their accuracy and fluency teaching methods, and (3) the perceived link between EE and ELT. Swedish teachers seemed to have a more positive and fine-grained conceptualization of the impact of EE on learning than Austrian and French participants, especially in terms of grammar acquisition. The implicit learning environment that Swedish students encounter extramurally might extend to the classroom, where the use of explicit grammar rules occurs less dominantly than in the Austrian and French samples. The countries converged in the type of fluency-based instruction they reported. Gaps in language areas not (fully) developed through EE seem to be more intentionally addressed in ELT in Sweden.
Our study aims to determine whether formal similarity between two languages (operationalized via the Feature Reassembly Hypothesis) allows adult L2 learners of French (Spanish native speakers; NSs) to straightforwardly acquire third-person singular accusative clitics in their L2. Additionally, we examined the role of surface similarity, since French and Spanish overlap and diverge in several ways. In terms of formal similarity, third-person accusative clitic pronouns in Spanish are almost perfect analogues of their French counterparts. In terms of surface similarity, however, while the feminine accusative pronouns are identical (“la” [la]), the masculine ones differ in Spanish (“lo” [lo]) and French (“le” [lǝ]). Participants included French NSs (n = 26) and Spanish-speaking L2 French learners (n = 36). Results from an offline forced-choice picture selection task and an online self-paced reading task did not support the Feature Reassembly Hypothesis because learners showed considerable difficulty with the interpretation and processing of these pronouns, revealing that, unlike French NSs, their interpretations and processing are guided by the feature [±Human] and, to a lesser degree, by gender, which might be due to the surface-level similarity between feminine accusative clitic pronouns in both languages.
This paper uses facts about case allomorphy and possessive morphology in Balkar, a Turkic language spoken in southern Russia, to contribute to the examination of the internal structure of case. A number of recent findings in morpho-syntactic research indicate that case markers have a richer internal structure than their surface appearance typically suggests. Specifically, many works in this vein argue based on cross-linguistic facts about phenomena such as suppletion and syncretism that case features are organized into an implicational containment hierarchy. In this hierarchy, accusative case contains the features of the nominative, and the accusative is itself a sub-part of oblique cases. Many arguments for case containment have relied on diagnostics that are less direct than surface-level morpho-syntactic analysis. In this paper, I argue that there is a part of Balkar grammar that shows the containment of accusative case by obliques in a surface-evident way. While such containment is not normally evident in Balkar, I argue that in certain possessed oblique NPs we see an overt expression of the accusative, except when phonological factors interfere. I go on to discuss other related topics about Balkar and the case containment hypothesis more generally.
This paper focuses on the duration of stressed syllables in broad versus contrastive focus in Yucatecan Spanish and examines its connection with Spanish–Maya bilingualism. We examine the claim that phonemic vowel length in one language prevents the use of syllable duration as a post-lexical acoustic cue in another. We study the duration of stressed syllables of nouns in subject and object position in subject-verb-object (SVO) sentences (broad and contrastive focus) of a semi-spontaneous production task. One thousand one hundred and twenty-six target syllables of 34 mono- and bilingual speakers were measured and submitted to linear mixed-effects models. Although the target syllables were slightly longer in contrastive focus, duration was not significant, nor was the effect of bilingualism. The results point to duration not constituting a cue to focus marking in Yucatecan Spanish. Finally, it is discussed how this result relates to the strong influence of Yucatec Maya on Yucatecan Spanish prosody observed by both scholars and native speakers of Yucatecan Spanish and other Mexican varieties of Spanish.