ReCALL Special Issue on Researching New Uses of Corpora for Language Teaching and Learning

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Editors Pascual Pérez-Paredes and Alex Boulton discuss…

The use of language data in the analysis of language and communication has become commonplace, due in part to the increasing range of software tools and functions, as well as to the fact that linguists today are more sensitive to data-driven research methods that have become standard in other disciplines. In particular, corpus linguistics has revolutionised different fields of language study by bringing in data (aka corpora) to language description. Although the 1980s introduced large corpora designed to be representative of the ‘standard’ language written and spoken at the time, applied linguists and language teachers were quick to recognize the huge pedagogic potential behind them. This special issue of ReCALL promotes research into . . . → Read More: ReCALL Special Issue on Researching New Uses of Corpora for Language Teaching and Learning

Research in foreign language education in Portugal (2006–2011): its transformative potential

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Post written by Flávia Vieira, Maria Alfredo Moreira and Helena Peralta based on a research review article recently published in Language Teaching, vol. 47(2).

A lot of research is produced and published at a national level, which limits its visibility and may distort our understanding of the state of the art within any area of knowledge. In this respect, the Language Teaching journal renders an excellent service to the foreign language education (FLE) community through the rubric A Country in Focus, where reviews of national research with no international circulation are published. Our study analyses a selective corpus of empirical and theoretical texts on foreign language pedagogy and teacher education, produced in Portugal between 2006 and 2011.

One of the . . . → Read More: Research in foreign language education in Portugal (2006–2011): its transformative potential

Bilingual Language Acquisition

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Introduction

Bingual language acquisition

The terms bilingual and bilingualism have received diverse definitions. In this book, bilingual (the person), and bilingualism (the condition or state of affairs) refer to the use of two (or more) languages in everyday life. Two major patterns of language acquisition have been identified in studies of early bilingualism: simultaneous bilingualism and sequential bilingualism, but no agreement exists with respect to the age at which bilingual development would be considered to be sequential. In simultaneous bilingualism, the child acquires two languages at the same time from birth or, as some researchers propose, before 3 years of age. Here, I use the term Bilingual First Language Acquisition (BFLA, or 2L1) to refer to situations . . . → Read More: Bilingual Language Acquisition

The evolution of language – A special issue from Language and Cognition

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Post written by David Kemmerer, General Editor of Language and Cognition

As part of the continuing growth and diversification of Language and Cognition, a special double issue in 2013 focuses on the evolution of language.

Although this controversial topic has been discussed for centuries from different perspectives, it is probably safe to say that genuine progress has only begun to take place during the past 25 years or so, as increasing numbers of researchers have started pooling a broad array of relevant ideas and discoveries from a tremendous range of disciplines, including, in alphabetical order, anthropology, archeology, artificial life, biology, cognitive science, genetics, linguistics, modeling, neuroscience, paleontology, primatology, and psychology.

The aim of the special double issue is to . . . → Read More: The evolution of language – A special issue from Language and Cognition

English and multilingualism in China’s universities

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Post written by Werner Botha, based on an article published in the latest issue of English Today.

With such a large number of English language learners, as well as an increasing use of English as a medium (or additional medium) of instruction in China’s universities, one wonders how this is impacting the ordinary lives of university students in China. This issue is of particular interest because very little is currently known about the impact of globalization on the spread and use of English in Chinese university students’ linguistic repertoires. A large number of these students are not only acquiring English at school and university, but increasingly outside of their formal education, through the Internet, music, computer games, movies, and television . . . → Read More: English and multilingualism in China’s universities

‘The Mummy Returns’ – or what did the prince say to his monarch?

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Blog post written by Suzanne Hinton based on an article in the latest issue of English Today

Who cares what the Prince of Wales calls his mother? Well actually, as he is a well-educated English speaker, he might be a good role model for many people who are learning English, teaching it or who are simply curious about the way English is used. “Everyday” language is often the most difficult to use correctly if you do not live in the relevant country. I speak fluent French, but live in England. My friends (and it is the sign of a true friend if he or she will comment on your use their language) say my style is correct “but rather . . . → Read More: ‘The Mummy Returns’ – or what did the prince say to his monarch?

Verbo-pictorial metaphor in French advertising

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Blog post written by Isabel Negro based on a recent article in Journal of French Language Studies

In the last decades metaphor has been vastly researched within the cognitive framework. The study of linguistic metaphor was followed by a body of work into visual and multimodal metaphor (i.e. metaphor occurring in diverse modes). Multimodal metaphor is manifested in specialized language, including economics, political cartooning, winespeak and advertising.

This new paper explores the use of verbo-pictorial metaphors in advertising through a corpus of French print ads. We show the persuasive role of metaphor, which works as an advertising strategy.

Starting from the claim that adverts serve a persuasive purpose, it will be argued that multimodal metaphor contributes to that purpose.

The . . . → Read More: Verbo-pictorial metaphor in French advertising

The Study of Language by George Yule | 5th Edition

The Study of Language

The Study of Language has proven itself to be the student and instructor choice for first courses in language and linguistics because of its accessible approach to, what is often, a complicated subject. In every edition, readers have praised the book for being easy to follow, simple to understand, and fun to read, with its quirky anecdotes and examples of languages from around the world. Now in its fifth edition, it is further strengthened by the addition of new student ‘tasks’ (guiding readers to connect theory to real-world scenarios), including examples from even more foreign languages, and updating the text to reflect the most current linguistic theory. We will also be offering an enriched learning experience with our new enhanced . . . → Read More: The Study of Language by George Yule | 5th Edition

The emergence of English reflexive verbs: an analysis based on the Oxford English Dictionary

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Post written by Peter Siemund based on an article in the latest issue of English Language and Linguistics

If we are to believe standard grammatical descriptions, English possesses only very few reflexive verbs, i.e. verbs that obligatorily occur with the reflexive marker myself, yourself, himself, etc. Quirk et al. (1985: 357–8), for example, treat the verbs pride, absent, avail, demean, ingratiate, perjure as ‘reflexive verbs’, as these obligatorily take the reflexive pronoun. Besides these, they distinguish ‘semi-reflexive verbs’ (e.g. behave, feel, adjust, prepare) “where the reflexive pronoun may be omitted with little or no change of meaning” (Quirk et al. 1985: 358). A similar list of “verbs that select mandatory reflexives” is discussed in Huddleston & Pullum (2002: 1487–8). Both . . . → Read More: The emergence of English reflexive verbs: an analysis based on the Oxford English Dictionary

Is English a ‘killer language’ or one at threat?

Is English a killer language?

Post written by Clive Upton based on his Editorial in the recent issue of English Today

Our editorial in English Today issue 29.3 raised the subject of English as a ‘killer language’.

We pointed to a speech given on 22nd February 2013 in which the German President Joachim Gauck called for English to be seen as the common language of Europe, and especially of the European Union.

This speech resulted in a response published in The Times from the British Council’s Director of Strategy. John Worne was quick to try to forestall any suggestion that such an idea supported the notion, sometimes put forward, that English is a ‘killer language’ that grows at the expense of other languages.

In the . . . → Read More: Is English a ‘killer language’ or one at threat?

2010 Language Teaching Christopher Brumfit Award winner Dr Susy Macqueen discusses her award winning dissertation

When we become highly proficient in a language, we tend to use it in chunks or patterns. For a native language especially, we learn and become adept at manipulating masses of word patterns such as absolutely not, as it were, in light of the fact that, curry favour, I think that, scattered showers, it’s worth –ing, just a sec, etc. Language patterns like these make communication efficient – we don’t need to spend time piecing together the smallest bits of language. Rather, we work with larger bits that are easily accessed in the memories of both the user and the receiver. However, the pervasiveness of patterning makes it quite a challenge to sound ‘natural’ in second languages. Grammatical rules themselves . . . → Read More: 2010 Language Teaching Christopher Brumfit Award winner Dr Susy Macqueen discusses her award winning dissertation

2011 Brumfit Award prize runner up Rebecca Sachs provides an overview of her thesis

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2011 Brumfit Award prize runner up Rebecca Sachs provides an overview of her thesis, which was praised for the high quality of its content and presentation

Individual differences and the effectiveness of visual feedback on reflexive binding in L2 Japanese

In the field of second language acquisition, one of the ultimate goals of research into aptitude-treatment interactions is for language educators (and software developers) to be better able to tailor instruction to the needs and abilities of language learners. This thesis attempted to take a step in that direction.

In a computer-mediated experiment, 80 English-speaking university students learning Japanese were randomly assigned into three conditions which provided different types of information about a complicated area of grammar: the interpretation of . . . → Read More: 2011 Brumfit Award prize runner up Rebecca Sachs provides an overview of her thesis

Access free articles to celebrate 15 years of CJO

15 Years of CJO Cake

 

Cambridge Journals Online launched in 1997, and one and a half decades later continues to evolve. At Cambridge Journals, we’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved over the past fifteen years. CJO is arguably as close to a tailor-made resource as you’ll find in academic publishing. Developed, built and maintained by a crack team of software developers based in Manila. Nurtured and specified by in-house editors, marketers and production staff. Informed by consultation with journal editors, societies, academics and librarians. CJO is loaded with fresh new features three times a year, available on all platforms (including mobile), twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

For the next fifteen days (until the 3rd October) we’ve decided . . . → Read More: Access free articles to celebrate 15 years of CJO

The great China English puzzle

The most recent issue of English Today (28/3) is a special issue on the topic of ‘English in China today’. It includes ten articles dealing with different aspects of the spread of English and the uses of English in contemporary China, with contributions from leading Chinese academics as well as commentators from outside the country.

The articles in this special issue provide a fascinating insight into the uses of English in today’s China, with articles on the demographics of English learning, English in the academy, creative writing, English on the Internet, and much else. Nevertheless, in spite of the insights that these articles provide, my own feeling is that the current spread of the English language within the . . . → Read More: The great China English puzzle

The origin of language in gesture–speech unity

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Part 1: Language and Imagery

By Professor David McNeill

Why do we gesture? Many would say that it brings emphasis, energy, and ornamentation to speech (which is assumed to be the core of what is taking place); in short, as Adam Kendon says, also arguing against the view, gesture is an “add-on.” However, the evidence is against this. The reasons we gesture are more profound. Language is inseparable from imagery. The natural form of imagery with language is gesture, with the hands especially. While gestures can enhance communication, the core is gesture and speech together. They are bound more tightly than saying the gesture is an “add-on” or “ornament” implies. Even if for some reason a gesture is not made . . . → Read More: The origin of language in gesture–speech unity

A Layman’s Guide to “Roots of English”

Buy Roots of English by Cambridge University Press

by Professor Sali A. Tagliamonte University of Toronto

Have you ever wondered about the weird ways of speaking of someone you know? In 1995, I moved to England from Canada, taking up a position at the University of York in Yorkshire. My colleagues came from all over Britain, the south, the north, Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as other parts of Europe. The topic of dialect differences was in the air all the time as we compared our varieties of English. Surprisingly, despite the obvious phonological differences in my speech compared to all my colleagues, there were unexpected correspondences between myself and my Scots, Northern Irish and Northern English colleagues. In some cases, we had . . . → Read More: A Layman’s Guide to “Roots of English”

The origin of language in gesture–speech unity

click to buy how language began

Part 2: Gesture-first

By Professor David McNeill

This popular hypothesis says that the first steps of language phylogenetically were not speech, nor speech with gesture, but were gestures alone. In some versions, it was a sign language. In any case, it was a language of recurring gesture forms in place of spoken forms. Vocalizations in non-human primates, the presumed precursors of speech without gesture’s assistance, are too restricted in their functions to offer a plausible platform for language, but primate gestures appear to offer the desired flexibility. Thus, the argument goes, gesture could have been the linguistic launching pad (speech evolving later). The gestures in this theory are regarded as the mimicry of real actions, a kind of pantomime, hence . . . → Read More: The origin of language in gesture–speech unity

Publishing your work in an academic journal – three do’s and a don’t

There are ever-increasing demands on authors/researchers from both local and national authorities not only to publish widely but to do so in “reputable” journals. Indeed, in many countries this is even a requirement before a PhD is awarded. This obligation is often glossed by the need for journals to be indexed in such internationally recognized lists as the ISI.

Editors of journals are only too aware of this “pressure to publish” and it is for this scenario that I offer some personal advice based on my experience of dealing with submissions. Today I want to concentrate on adequate targeting of your work for publication. Specifically, I focus on two aspects which increase your chances of getting published: selecting . . . → Read More: Publishing your work in an academic journal – three do’s and a don’t

The origin of language in gesture–speech unity

How Language Began

Part 3: Mead’s Loop (1).

by Professor David McNeill

Part 1 of this series put forth the idea that language is inseparable from imagery, in particular the imagery of gesture, and that theories of language origin can be judged by how well they predict this gesture–speech unity. The second part applied the test to a widely held origin theory, gesture-first, and found it wanting – doubly so, in fact. This part applies the test to a new hypothesis, which I call “Mead’s Loop.”

Mead’s Loop holds that gesture was essential in the origin of language. In this it agrees with gesture-first, but differs in that, it says, gesture and speech had to be naturally selected together. Rather than gesture-first . . . → Read More: The origin of language in gesture–speech unity

The origin of language in gesture–speech unity

How Language Began

Part 4: Mead’s Loop (2). Wider consequences.

David McNeill, University of Chicago

As it evolved Mead’s Loop created “new actions,” as mentioned previously. New actions are one of the “wider consequences” of Mead’s Loop. Action itself was a target of natural selection, and the new actions emerged organically. They did not need a separate evolution. A second consequence is metaphoricity. A third is the emblem, a culturally established gesture with metaphoricity at the core. A fourth is how children acquire language – twice, the first of which goes through the equivalent of extinction. A fifth (many more can be identified) is what phenomenologist philosophy calls “being” – “inhabiting” gesture and speech, rather than only displaying them as elements of communication.

. . . → Read More: The origin of language in gesture–speech unity

The origin of language in gesture–speech unity

How Language Began

Part 5: The dynamic dimension, modes of consciousness.

David McNeill, University of Chicago

The dual semiosis of global-synthetic gesture, merging with analytic-combinatoric speech, synchronizing at points where they are co-expressive – namely, gesture–speech unity – led to other dynamic properties: the imagery–language dialectic, and three others, “psychological predicates,” “communicative dynamism,” and that GPs self-unpack by “calling” constructions to do it.

Collectively these properties comprise “the sentence” viewed dynamically. Dynamic properties arose organically out of Mead’s Loop. They would not have been separately selected. They are among the “new actions” mentioned in Part 4, are themselves linked and are inseparable from context. The context, dynamic in itself, penetrates GPs and leads ineluctably to dynamic properties.

We will also see that Wundt’s . . . → Read More: The origin of language in gesture–speech unity

The origin of language in gesture–speech unity

How Language Began

Part 6. Gumbo: The thought–language–hand link, social interactive growth points, the timeline of Mead’s Loop, and bionic language.

David McNeill, University of Chicago

To end this series, I address four questions regarding Mead’s Loop: 1) what evidence is there for the thought-language-hand link that in theory it established; 2) how did it change face-to-face social interaction; 3) when did it emerge; and 4) how far can it be duplicated artificially? The questions, disparate as they are, are connected through the concept of the growth point, which is the linchpin of each.

The “IW case” reveals the thought–language–hand link

Natural selection of a thought-language-hand link, chiefly in Broca’s Area but also with links to the other “language areas” indicated in . . . → Read More: The origin of language in gesture–speech unity

Free access to all 2012 content on Cambridge Journals Online

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We’re giving away free access to our entire 2012 journal content for 6 weeks!

From 22nd January – 5th March, all Cambridge Journals content published in 2012 will be available for free on CJO. All you have to do is register.

There’s a lot you can do in 6 weeks; it’s long enough to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy 88 times, and for Usain Bolt to win 378,789 100m sprints. You could train to be a ski instructor, or take 117 trips to the moon on a NASA probe. Or, you could read the 100,000 articles that were published in Cambridge Journals in 2012…

To gain access to all this free content, you . . . → Read More: Free access to all 2012 content on Cambridge Journals Online

Journal of Child Language Special Issue on Atypical Language Development

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Based on the introduction to the JCL’s Special Issue on Atypical Language Development

Written by Letitia R. Naigles and Edith L. Bavin

The Journal of Child Language’s recent special issue on atypical language development includes 11 excellent papers on a range of disorders (Down syndrome (DS), Williams syndrome (WS), Fragile X syndrome (FXS), dyslexia, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Specific Language Impairment (SLI), Pre/perinatal brain injury (BI)) manifested by children learning a range of languages (English, British Sign Language (BSL), Dutch, German, Hebrew, Kuwaiti Arabic).

To the extent that child language acquisition relies on the neural substrate of the brain, then children with specific kinds of atypical neural substrates should . . . → Read More: Journal of Child Language Special Issue on Atypical Language Development

ReCALL special issue on digital games for language learning

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ReCALL special issue Editors Steven L. Thorne, Frederik Cornillie and Piet Desmet explore the use and value of digital games for language learning.

Extending back to the earliest days of computing and the advent of public access to the internet, and over the past decade in particular, there has been an ever steepening trajectory of interest in play environments that take the form of online digital games. Catalyzed by advances in hardware and networking technologies, the maturation of digital games has been accompanied by an exponential growth in the number and diversity of players, has spawned complex and heterogeneous online communities and cultural practices, and increasingly, the use of gaming features and mechanics have been leveraged for educational purposes . . . → Read More: ReCALL special issue on digital games for language learning

Englishes in a multilingual South Africa

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South Africa is well-known as a country that has undergone enormous political, social, educational and economic change since the days of apartheid. Independence and democracy can only be said to have arrived as late as 1994, with the negotiated settlement that led to a new non-racial constitution. The constitution recognises eleven of the country’s languages as official; and multilingualism remains a strong force in South African life. Yet while indigenous languages like Zulu, Xhosa and Sotho continue to grow as the majority languages of the country, so too has English, as a first language and – to a larger extent – a second language.

A special issue of English Today focuses on the sociolinguistics and linguistic characteristics of the main . . . → Read More: Englishes in a multilingual South Africa

Bilingualism Special Issue: Computational Modeling of Bilingualism

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Bilingualism: Language and Cognition’s 2013 Special Issue features computational modeling studies of bilingualism and second language acquisition. Seven research papers illustrate seven different but highly related computational models designed to understand the workings of the bilingual mind from a cognitive science perspective. This Special Issue fills a large gap in the literature, in that the specific, algorithmically implemented, models of bilingualism provide a good variety of computational architectures, cover a range of theoretical issues, and analyze both spoken and written languages across different bilingual populations. Moreover, they integrate theories and mechanisms of learning, representation, and development in order to account for a variety of phenomena, in bilingual aphasia, lexical memory, word translation, grammatical acquisition, speech perception, and reading development.

Readers . . . → Read More: Bilingualism Special Issue: Computational Modeling of Bilingualism

The Phonological Mind

The Phonological Mind

By Iris Berent Northeastern University, Boston

Humans weave phonological patterns instinctively. We contrast dogs and gods, favour blogs to lbogs; we begin forming patterns at birth; and like songbirds, we do so spontaneously, even in the absence of an adult model. In fact, we impose phonological design not only on our natural linguistic communication but also on invented cultural technologies—reading and writing. Why are humans compelled to generate phonological patterns? And why do different phonological systems—signed and spoken—share aspects of their design?

In The Phonological Mind, I outline a novel answer to these questions. The answer encompasses two claims. The first is that phonology is an algebraic system—it comprises powerful rules, akin to syntactic generalizations. For example, speakers whose language . . . → Read More: The Phonological Mind

Publishing Your First Journal Article: an Academic Publisher’s view – 1

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You’ve got an idea for a paper, but aren’t sure about how to get your scholarship to the right audience. Melissa Good, Commissioning Editor for Cambridge Journals, gives an overview. She manages a portfolio of linguistics and music journals.

This post is not about the intellectual content of your paper, which we as journal publishers leave largely to each journal’s academic editor, but about the mechanics of getting your scholarship to the right audience.

Why publish a journal article?

You may have an idea for a paper. Your academic adviser may have encouraged you to get something published. Perhaps your idea is part of your finished, or unfinished, thesis. Perhaps you’re finding that researching and writing your PhD is lonely . . . → Read More: Publishing Your First Journal Article: an Academic Publisher’s view – 1

Publishing Your First Journal Article: an Academic Publisher’s view – 2

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You’ve got an idea for a paper, but aren’t sure about how to get your scholarship to the right audience. Melissa Good, Commissioning Editor for Cambridge Journals, completes her overview.

What happens after you have submitted your paper?

You should receive an email acknowledgement of your submission fairly quickly. Upon receipt of your paper, the journal’s editor will send it for peer review. Depending on the journal’s policy, two or more anonymous reviewers will read your paper and recommend that the editor accept, reject, or ask you to revise and resubmit it. Regardless of the decision, good reviewers will give you their view on your paper’s content, structure and style.

Even if your first paper isn’t accepted by the first . . . → Read More: Publishing Your First Journal Article: an Academic Publisher’s view – 2

Author Michael Billig asks: Do we ‘Learn to Write Badly’ in the Social Sciences?

Learn to Write Badly

Michael Billig has been Professor of Social Sciences at Loughborough University for more than 25 years. In 2011 he received the Distinguished Contribution to Social Psychology Award from the Social Section of the British Psychological Society.

 

1. What were the greatest challenges you faced in writing Learn to Write Badly?

The most obvious and difficult challenge was to write clearly. Anyone, who criticises the way that other academics write, inevitably sets themselves up as a potential target. So, I had to try to avoid the faults that I was identifying in others. I am criticising a style of writing, which is currently ingrained within the social sciences and which young postgraduates are being taught to use routinely. Therefore, . . . → Read More: Author Michael Billig asks: Do we ‘Learn to Write Badly’ in the Social Sciences?

An interview with the new Editor of English Today

Clive Upton, Editor of English Today

The new Editor of English Today, Emeritus Professor Clive Upton of Leeds University, answers a few questions about the future direction of the journal as it takes on a new editorial team and introduces new features.

Please tell us about editorial changes at English Today.

This year sees a new editorial team taking over the journal. In my role as Editor I’m supported by Associate Editors Nicholas Groom and Justyna Robinson. We are also now accepting book and multimedia reviews, which are handled by Reviews Editor Jonathan Robinson. In addition, while the look and ‘feel’ of the journal will remain essentially unaltered, new features are planned, and there will now be an additional option for external peer-review of articles, alongside . . . → Read More: An interview with the new Editor of English Today

Effect of foster care on language learning: Findings from the Bucharest Early Intervention program

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Post written by Jennifer Windsor, University of Minnesota, USA based on an article from the latest issue of Journal of Child Language

Many young children live in institutional and orphanage care across the world. Children’s language skills may be substantially affected if that care involves a very poor physical and social environment, although the adverse effects may be reduced when children move to a more enriched environment. One of the key questions has been how the age at which children are placed in a more nurturing environment after sub-optimal institutional care affects their short- and long-term language skills. The answer to this question has significant implications for understanding child development and also for framing early intervention services for young . . . → Read More: Effect of foster care on language learning: Findings from the Bucharest Early Intervention program

Taking the pulse of eye-movement research: Special issue of Studies in Second Language Acquisition.

Graduate student sitting in front of the Tobii (a desk-mounted eye-tracker) while she is completing a rating task.

Published on behalf of Aline Godfroid, Paula Winke and Susan Gass

Understanding how languages are learned involves investigating the cognitive processes that underlie acquisition. Many methodologies have been used over the years to comprehend these processes, but one of recent prominence is eye-movement recording, colloquially referred to as eye-tracking. Eye-tracking consists of the registration, in real time, of what an individual looks at and for how long. Thus, eye-trackers provide information about the duration and location of an individual’s eye movements on a computer screen as he or she reads text or listens to audio. Because eye-tracking is still a relatively novel technique in research on adult second language learning, we put together a thematic issue on this topic. The . . . → Read More: Taking the pulse of eye-movement research: Special issue of Studies in Second Language Acquisition.

A career in phonetics, applied linguistics and the public service: Talking with John Trim (part 1)

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Post written by David Little and Lid King, based on an article in Language Teaching

John Trim was born in 1924 and died in January 2013. His father was a docker and his mother the daughter of a printer; both were active in the local Workers’ Educational Association. John described the atmosphere of his home as ‘intellectual, internationalist and socialist’. He won a scholarship from his primary school to Leyton High School, where he learned French and German. For the first term – which John missed because he had pneumonia – his French teacher taught the language entirely in phonetic transcription in order to lay the foundations of accurate pronunciation. In his second year John had to choose between . . . → Read More: A career in phonetics, applied linguistics and the public service: Talking with John Trim (part 1)

A Language for all the World

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Written by John Edwards

Based on an article in the July 2013 issue of Language Teaching.

In the popular mind, constructing a language has always been seen as an odd activity, one that seems to fly in the face of ‘natural’ language dynamics. After all, languages evolve; they do not emerge from some sacred forehead, much less from a mortal brain. And yet interest in a divine – and therefore immediately fully-formed – language was once important (and, even today, remains significant in some rather curious religious quarters). Attention to this, and to later and more mundane projects aimed at improving upon natural languages in some way, is a neglected but important aspect of linguistic history – and, indeed, of . . . → Read More: A Language for all the World

2012 Christopher Brumfit Award winner Jim Ranalli discusses his prize winning work

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Post written by Jim Ranalli

It’s a great honor to receive the 2012 Christopher Brumfit Award, especially as it commemorates a scholar whose books on communicative methodology were a tremendous source of guidance and inspiration to me when I first trained as an English teacher. I thank the panel of referees, the editor and editorial board of Language Teaching, and Cambridge University Press for this special recognition of my research and the opportunity to share it with a wider audience.

The focus of my thesis was a web-based, instructional resource called VVT (Virtual Vocabulary Trainer), which I developed to teach integrated vocabulary depth of knowledge and dictionary referencing skills to university-level learners of English as a Second Language (ESL). In . . . → Read More: 2012 Christopher Brumfit Award winner Jim Ranalli discusses his prize winning work

Brumfit Award runner-up Anke Lenzing discusses her prize winning work

Anke Lenzing

The development of the grammatical system in early second language acquisition

Post written by Anke Lenzing

A central issue in SLA research concerns the question of what kind of linguistic resources are available to the L2 learner at the very beginning of the L2 acquisition process. My thesis sets out to explore this question. It aims at providing an explanatory account of the initial mental grammatical system and its development in early L2 learners of English in a formal context.

When examining the oral performance data of early L2 learners, it can be observed that initially, their speech production is characterised by single words, formulaic sequences and ungrammatical structures. These structures do not only deviate syntactically from the target language . . . → Read More: Brumfit Award runner-up Anke Lenzing discusses her prize winning work

Romanian Words of Turkish Origin

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by Julie Tetel Andresen Duke University, North Carolina

My favorite words in Romanian are those of Turkish origin. Because parts of present-day Romania were under Ottoman rule for a long time, it’s natural that Romanian would have lexical borrowings from Turkish. One is the word for tulip. Now, tulips are not native to Holland. They are native to Central Asia, and in the eighteenth century there was a craze for tulips at the Ottoman court, and images of tulips could be found on clothing and furniture, while real tulips flourished in gardens and parks. Still today the tulip is a symbol for Turkey. The English word ‘tulip’ comes from the Turkish word tulbend ‘turban’ because the flower resembles the . . . → Read More: Romanian Words of Turkish Origin

Reduced auxiliaries in early child language: Converging observational and experimental evidence from French

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Post written by Dr. Cristina D. Dye based on an article in Journal of Linguistics

Since the early studies in language acquisition, scholars have noted that certain grammatical elements, among which auxiliaries and verb inflections, often appear to be missing in early child speech, with the result that child utterances sometimes exhibit verb forms with non-finite morphology in seemingly matrix clauses. This observation has led to a deprivationalist conception of child syntax.

In contrast with previous studies, this article explores the possibility that the child’s PHONOLOGY may considerably impact her overt realization of auxiliaries. Specifically, it examines the hypothesis that non-finite verbs in early speech are in fact attempted periphrastics (i.e., auxiliary/modal + non-finite verb) in which the auxiliaries . . . → Read More: Reduced auxiliaries in early child language: Converging observational and experimental evidence from French

Demystifying the article production process

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Congratulations, your paper has been accepted into a journal! What happens next? Peter Moorby, Production Editor for Cambridge Journals, helps demystify the article production process and explain what happens from submission to final publication.

Part of what makes journal publishing so interesting is that each journal has its own quirks and characteristics, but papers normally follow the same general process:

Receipt of files We receive your manuscript and source files from the journal’s editorial office. Increasingly this is via electronic peer-review and submission systems, which can connect directly to the tracking systems which help us manage the production process.

Copyediting Your manuscript is edited for journal style, consistency and grammatical errors. You might be contacted by the copyeditor at this . . . → Read More: Demystifying the article production process

Cambridge University Press announces launch of the Journal of Linguistic Geography

Posted on behalf of Editors William Labov and Dennis Preston

Introduction

Cambridge University Press is pleased to announce the launch of the new online-only Journal of Linguistic Geography (JLG). The journal’s goal is to open the flow of linguistic analysis using electronic formats (such as scalable maps and figures, searchable data sets, and embedded audio files) in a field that has long been blocked by technical factors. For all new subscribers, a comprehensive User Experience Guide provides an overview of the journal’s interactive capacities. Submissions to the journal are welcome and may be sent to linguisticgeography@okstate.edu. Queries are welcome, too.

The journal is an official publication of the International Conference on Methods in Dialectology. Editors Bill Labov (University of Pennsylvania) . . . → Read More: Cambridge University Press announces launch of the Journal of Linguistic Geography

Language contact outcomes as the result of bilingual optimization strategies

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Post written by Pieter Muysken based on an article in the latest issue of Bilingualism

I am very happy and proud that my paper ‘Language contact outcomes as the result of bilingual optimization strategies’ was published in the journal Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, with some very interesting and challenging commentaries. The paper was in the making for more than a decade, and went through numerous versions. I think the journal asked for revisions about six times (final acceptance is a consolation for other authors perhaps in despair about a firm but just journal editor and very skeptical reviewers). I hope it will point people in new directions, even if it does not convince them, and stimulate new discussions.

If you . . . → Read More: Language contact outcomes as the result of bilingual optimization strategies

Communication Disorders in an Age of Impact

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by Louise Cummings

Nottingham Trent University, UK

As academic researchers, linguists are increasingly being asked to demonstrate the impact of their work on the lives of individuals and on the growth of national economies. There is one field within linguistics where impact is more readily demonstrated than in any other. This is the study of the many ways in which language and communication can break down or fail to develop normally in children and adults with communication disorders. These disorders are the focus of a recently published handbook, the Cambridge Handbook of Communication Disorders, which brings together 30 chapters on all aspects of the classification, assessment and treatment of communication disorders. The chapters in this volume will speak for themselves. . . . → Read More: Communication Disorders in an Age of Impact

A note on the Concept of Gender in French

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by Ronald Batchelor

To the English-speaking beginner, the notion of masculine and feminine gender for French nouns comes as a surprise. Perhaps it should not be so. For in most European languages of Indo-European origin, and this includes Arabic, Pashto, Hindi, among many others, but excludes Basque, Finnish, Hungarian or Turkish, gender distinction forms an integral part of grammatical discourse. But let’s play the devil’s advocate. For such a beginner, the concept of gender assigned to inanimate objects appears extraordinary, lacking all logic and convincing definition. So much for the logic of “Ce qui n’est pas logique n’est pas français.” It seems to make more sense that gender should find no place when applied to inanimate objects, as in English. . . . → Read More: A note on the Concept of Gender in French

A note on Register, or Level of Language, in Spanish

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By Ronald Batchelor

A most dominant factor in the use of language is register, or variety or level of language determined by the communicative situation in which the speaker/writer finds herself/ himself. In other words, the level of language we resort to depends, to a very large extent, on whether we are speaking with friends, which would attract a colloquial style, writing a letter, delivering a lecture involving a standard style, or writing a book frequently entailing a formal, elevated style of expression. Levels of language may therefore differ over a range from informal to formal, and are determined by four factors: sex, age, professional or social status, and intimacy. All these features affect, in varying degrees, the way we . . . → Read More: A note on Register, or Level of Language, in Spanish

Sapir, Whorf, and the hypothesis that wasn’t

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by Aneta Pavlenko, Temple University author of the upcoming book The Bilingual Mind and what it tells us about language and thought

One of the linchpins of human information-processing are the frames of expectation we apply to the constant flow of information. These frames allow us to impose meaning on the things we see, hear, or read and to position ourselves with regard to ideas and arguments. In the case of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (SWH), these frames require us to adopt one of the three recognizable positions: for (which may brand us as radicals), against (a marker of a skeptic or a rational thinker), or in-between (a sign of a temperate scholar willing to consider the . . . → Read More: Sapir, Whorf, and the hypothesis that wasn’t

Is the Second Language Acquisition discipline disintegrating?

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Post written by Jan H. Hulstijn, based on an article in Language Teaching

The second language acquisition (SLA) field is characterized by a wide variety of issues and theoretical perspectives. Is this a bad thing? Are there signs of disintegration?

In applied linguistics in general, and in particular in the field of SLA, it is not uncommon to distinguish between quantitative and qualitative approaches or between cognitive and socio-cultural approaches. In my view, what is potentially more threatening to the field than a split between quantitative and qualitative subfields is the proportion of nonempirical theories. If an academic discipline is characterized by too many nonempirical ideas and too few empirical ideas, it runs the risk of losing credit in the . . . → Read More: Is the Second Language Acquisition discipline disintegrating?

Language-specific noun bias: evidence from bilingual children

Mother and Toddler

Post written by Dr. Lei Xuan and Dr. Christine Dollaghan based on an article in Journal of Child Language

Our research addressed questions about the kinds of words that appear in the early vocabularies of bilingual children. Evidence from some languages, including English, has shown that young children acquire words for people and things before words that label actions and attributes or words that have grammatical functions. However, the hypothesis of a universal preference for nouns (i.e., a “noun bias”) in early lexical development has been challenged by studies suggesting that children acquiring languages such as Korean and Mandarin Chinese may show a weaker preference for nouns.

We used a unique research design to examine the extent of noun bias . . . → Read More: Language-specific noun bias: evidence from bilingual children

News from the journal Bilingualism: Language and Cognition

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Bilingualism: Language and Cognition (BLC) is now in its seventeenth year and has become the leading journal in its field enjoying a steady increase in readership and submissions. The 2012 Impact Factor mirrors this upsurge of interest. BLC’s 2012 Impact Factor is quoted as 2.229, which makes it the 5th ranked out of 160 journals in linguistics and the 27th out of 83 experimental psychology journals.

Starting from 2014, a new editorial team will officially be in charge of managing BLC. The new team consists of the two new editors-in-chief, Jubin Abutalebi and Harald Clahsen. The two new editors-in-chief have different academic backgrounds that reflect the breadth of research to be covered by BLC: Dr. Abutalebi mainly in (cognitive) neuroscience . . . → Read More: News from the journal Bilingualism: Language and Cognition

Acquisition of English grammatical morphology by internationally adopted children from China

JCL Cover

Blog post written by Lara Pierce based on an article published in Journal of Child Language

Internationally adopted (IA) children face a unique language learning situation in that they are exposed to one language from birth, but this language is discontinued at the point of adoption in favour of the language spoken by their adoptive family. IA children share similarities in their language environment with monolingual first language (L1) learners in that they receive the majority of their input in only one language. They functionally lose any abilities they had in their birth language quickly (within the first year or less) and typically become monolingual speakers of their adoptive language. However, their language experience also shares similarities with child second . . . → Read More: Acquisition of English grammatical morphology by internationally adopted children from China

Demise of the Subjunctive in French?

By Ronald Batchelor

Whereas the subjunctive mood is extremely rare in English and is by and large restricted to a literary, elevated style, sometimes verging in fact on the positively archaic (e.g. If I were you; Were you to come; So be it; Oh that it were so!), in French the subjunctive is still a mood to be reckoned with. What is often disconcerting to the student of the French subjunctive is that, in some cases, its use seems to conform to unmistakable and well defined rules, and in others, it seems to be a matter of choice. There are circumstances where the use of the subjunctive is obligatory, and those where a degree of choice or discretion is permissible. . . . → Read More: Demise of the Subjunctive in French?

Bilingualism. Memory, and Emotion

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by Hugh Knickerbocker and Jeanette Altarriba University at Albany, State University of New York

Several models of bilingual memory describe the interplay between lexical and semantic stores of memory in bilingual individuals attempting to comprehend and produce speech. However, while these models have emphasized the pattern of connections between general linguistic and semantic clusters across languages, only a small amount of work has investigated the perception of emotion across languages. Numerous lines of research have showcased emotion effects and have provided insight into the effects of emotion and language on semantic and autobiographical memory.

Multiple studies have investigated the automatic activation of emotion words across first (L1) and second (L2) languages. The findings of these studies are . . . → Read More: Bilingualism. Memory, and Emotion

Managing innovation in English language education

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Post written by Alan Waters based on a recent article in Language Teaching

In recent decades, language teaching has experienced an apparently unending stream of major innovations, such as (to name but a very few), the birth of the communicative approach in the 1980s, the promulgation of the ‘learner-centred approach’ in the 1990s, and, in the current age, the promotion of ‘task- based learning’, ‘e-learning’, ‘English as an international language’, and so on. The tide shows no signs of abating: it is as if something of a ‘pro-innovation bias’ has taken hold, i.e., a widespread consensus that new ideas should and can be adopted as widely as possible, that the changes they entail are inevitably beneficial, and that putting them . . . → Read More: Managing innovation in English language education

Dictionary use by English language learners

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Post written by Hilary Nesi based on a recent article in Language Teaching

Almost everyone uses dictionaries, and in order for them to function most effectively we need to learn how best to consult them, and dictionary-makers need to learn about our consultation needs.

These two topics are the foci of research into dictionary use, but are complicated by the fact that there are lots of different types of dictionary user, consulting dictionaries in many different contexts, for different purposes, and with differing levels of knowledge and expertise. Moreover although the research area is still relatively young (very few empirical studies were conducted before the 1980s) it spans a period of great technological change, and has experimented with a range . . . → Read More: Dictionary use by English language learners

Language-related computer use: Focus on young L2 English learners in Sweden

Language-related computer use

Post written by Pia Sundqvist, Karlstad University and Liss Kerstin Sylvén (University of Gothenburg) based on an article in the latest issue of ReCALL

Our research addresses young learners of English as a second language (L2) in Sweden and their spare time use of computers for various language-related activities in English, Swedish, and other languages. For instance, they socialize with friends online via Facebook, play various types of digital games, listen to music, watch clips on YouTube, and so on. We use the term “extramural English” in reference to all sorts of spare time activities in English.

The main purpose of our study was to examine language-related use of computers in general, and engagement in playing digital games in particular. . . . → Read More: Language-related computer use: Focus on young L2 English learners in Sweden

Barriers to the adoption of ICT in teaching Chinese as a foreign language in US universities

Computers - Classroom

Post written by Chun-Yu Lin, Chung-Kai Huang, and Chang-Hua Chen based on an article published in the latest issue of ReCALL

With the trend of globalization, the study of the Chinese language opens the way to different, important fields such as Chinese economy, history, politics, and archaeology. In the US’ higher education context, information and communication technology (ICT) is seen as a valuable add-on to the learning experience, and thereby many universities have developed Web-supported teaching and learning systems and technology-driven curriculum to address this issue. Emergent themes that serve as the driving force for integrating ICT into the Chinese language classroom are: increasing pedagogical flexibility and efficacy, improving learners’ core content knowledge and language skills, and preparing learners to . . . → Read More: Barriers to the adoption of ICT in teaching Chinese as a foreign language in US universities