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 children.
The Bucharest Early Intervention Project is a randomized controlled study of the effects of high-quality foster care on the development of children who have experienced sub-optimal institutional care. The researchers previously have shown that children placed in foster care by age 2 years have substantially stronger preschool language outcomes than both children placed after age 2 and children who remain in institutional care. On the other hand, children placed in foster care by 15 months have language skills equivalent to children living in the same community who have never received institutional care.
This study reports on school-age language outcomes for the children, when they were 8 years of age and now living in a range of different care environments. One hundred and five children took part in the study, 54 originally assigned to foster care and 51 originally assigned to continued institutional care. Even though current placements varied, the effects of early institutional care were marked. Children originally in foster care had longer sentences and stronger sentence repetition and written word identification than the children who remained in institutional care during their early lives. Children placed in foster care by age 2 had significant advantages in vocabulary and word identification. As when they were preschoolers; children placed by 15 months had equivalent language skills to other typically developing children in their community. The study shows the continuing adverse effects of early poor institutional care on later language development. It also highlights the key importance of early placement in an enriched environment for robust language skills.
Read the full article ‘Effect of foster care on language learning at eight years: Findings from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project’ from Journal of Child Language here
Discover more about the Bucharest Early Intervention Project here
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 the normal editorial review.
How will the two-tier peer-review process work?
As signalled in the Notes for contributors, authors can now tell us whether they would like their submissions to go forward for external peer review, instead of the current system of editorial review. Peer-reviewed articles should be up to c.6,000 words long (as distinct from those up to c.4,000 words which has long been the norm for the journal), and should be the result of detailed research which will stand up to the highest levels of scrutiny.
Please tell us about the journal’s proposed new features.
As mentioned above, English Today is now publishing book and multimedia reviews. We are happy to have readers’ suggestions for items to be reviewed, and offers from colleagues willing to act as reviewers.
We are also keen to feature ‘English Language Initiatives’ (ELIs), which will give anyone who is promoting the English language in a new way (for example through an unusual educational or commercial activity) a chance, in around 2000 words, to inform a wide readership about their work.
Finally, with the ever-growing popularity of English Language studies as a university subject, ‘English Language Bachelor of Arts’ (ELBAs) will give colleagues worldwide an opportunity to outline a particular undergraduate degree programme with which they are involved, again in around 2000 words.
We invite suggestions from readers for bothELIsand ELBAs.
What content can be found in the most recent English Today?
In this issue, we feature articles with the usual wide global and subject spread. Contributions come fromColumbia,Hong Kong, Kenya, India, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, the USA, and the UK, and cover such diverse subjects as popular music lyrics, spelling pronunciation, attitudes to accents, and the language of cookery.
Stephen writes on how English is regarded in Malaysia, Zhang considers Hong Kong speakers’ views of accents, and Sung investigates who provides useful role models for pronunciation.
Readers interested in connections between spellings and pronunciation should find Huber’s argument on French loans telling, while Waitiki sets out evidence of spelling-speaking interaction fromKenya, and Shipley’s book review continues the spellings theme. Kazim speculates on the place of Tamil-English code mixing following its use in a spectacularly successful song, and Dunnett’s article also follows the thread of foreign influences on English with observations on the ever-interesting matter of food.
ELT issues also feature: Martinez focuses on English for Academic Purposes in Columbia; Abe presents the fruits of a specifically Japan-oriented investigation into Communicative language teaching; Kun considers the influence of different mediums of instruction in the acquisition of English.
Visit the English Today homepage here.
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 journal to which you submit, the feedback you get should be valuable and useful both for this paper and with your work more broadly. If you are asked to revise and resubmit, do so promptly. Regardless of the result, be sure to say thank you.
Once your paper is accepted, it will be copyedited and you’ll be asked to correct errors and answer questions on proofs. The copy editor and sometimes the journal editor will also review these proofs. Some journals have one round of proofs, and some have more. Once the final proofs are corrected, your article will go to print and will be published online, if the journal publishes in both formats.
In most cases, copyright in the article will be with the publisher, or with the society that owns the journal. You’ll probably be given a pdf of the article which you can post on a departmental web page or in an institutional repository. You may receive a print copy, but you might have to ask for it, as many publishers (including Cambridge) don’t usually provide a print copy as a matter of course.
Offer to review a book for a journal. Many journal editors tell us that they have difficulty finding reviewers for recent publications. Some are happy for PhD students to write book reviews, sometime with the oversight of an academic adviser. If you make clear that you have the necessary qualifications and knowledge of the field, this might be a good way to get your name in print for the first time, and will show the editorial team that you are eager and willing to be involved. Also, reviews are generally shorter and less time consuming to write than research articles.
Editors and publishers will recognize quality when they see it. They do not automatically assume that submissions from PhD students are of lesser quality than those from established academics. If your material is of high quality, you do have a real chance of getting your submission accepted.
Remember that editors and publishers are people, too
Whatever the result of your submission, be sure to thank those involved. They will be grateful, and will remember you positively the next time your paths cross.
Celebrate your success
Once your article is published, celebrate. The next day, update your resume / C.V.
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 work, and would like feedback from referees to help you focus.
Where to publish?
Ask for advice. Your academic adviser is an expert in your field, and will be able to make suggestions in the first instance.
Journals vary widely, from departmental publications (Penn Working Papers in Linguistics), to niche journals (Journal of French Language Studies), to well known general journals (Journal of Linguistics). Look at recent issues of relevant journals. Has anything similar already been published? What’s the tone of the articles in the journal? Does it publish new scholars as well as established ones? Do you know anyone on the editorial board? If you do, ask them for advice, too. You will probably find that they are more than happy to help.
Once you’ve decided which journal to try, study recent articles carefully to see what issues they address, what tone they adopt, what conventions they follow (in referencing, giving examples, using terminology, the structure of their articles) and what devices they use to present their data and arguments. For instance, English Today, publishes short, accessible articles for a wide range of both academic and general readers, while Phonology, publishes theoretical material of interest to phonologists and those working in related disciplines.
Be sure to look at, and follow, the journal’s instructions for contributors, which will be on the journal’s home page. These instructions will contain important information about length, style, format, type of file, and how to submit. As publishers who work with numerous academic editors, we regularly hear about their frustration with authors whose papers are not submitted in the correct journal style.
Do be aware that you, the author, are responsible for securing the necessary permissions for material used in the article, such as quotes, pictures, or music examples. Permissions is a complicated subject; for more advice see http://www.societyofauthors.org/faqs-about-writingor or http://authornet.cambridge.org/information/productionguide/hss/hssPermissions.asp.
Melissa continues her advice in a second post that will on Monday 20th May 2013.
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 of this Special Issue will be convinced that computational models have much to offer to the understanding of the bilingual mind, over and beyond what general verbal, hypothesis-driven, models can do. Implementation of computational models forces the researcher to be very explicit about their hypotheses, predictions, materials, and testing procedures, and at the same time, gives the flexibility of parameter selection and reliability of testing that are often not found in empirical studies. Indeed, the potential of a bilingual computational model lies in its ability to identify gaps in experimental designs, and in systematic manipulation of variables such as age of acquisition (early vs. late), proficiency (high vs. low), and memory resources (large vs. small), variables that may be naturally confounded in experimental or realistic learning situations.
The seven models presented in this Special Issue demonstrate the advantages and the need for developing more computational models of bilingualism, as they deepen our understanding of the complex interactive mechanisms involved in the acquisition and processing of multiple competing linguistic systems. For example, the effects of dynamic interactions in the competing languages at different times of learning can be clearly simulated, providing alternative accounts of the critical period effects from the perspectives of competition, entrenchment, and plasticity. These models examine the extent to which early learning impacts later learning and the extent later learning can soften or even reverse early-learned structures. In addition to simulating known patterns in the empirical data, the computational models presented here will also inform theories of bilingualism by making distinct predictions under different hypotheses or conditions. In so doing, they will provide a new forum for generating novel ideas, inspiring new experiments, and helping formulate new theories.
Blog post written by Ping Li, Pennsylvania State University, USA
Read the entire special issue without charge until the 30th April 2013
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 varieties of English in the country. The initial article discusses English as a first language offshoot of British English and the role played by the gold-mining city of Johannesburg in the development of a distinct South African English in the late 19th C. Subsequent articles focus on the spread of English and its characteristic features in different communities.
Black South African English is the variety that has prospered the most since 1994, being a major variety to be heard in the media, in parliament, at public gatherings and so forth. The major grammatical characteristics of this variety spoken as a second language are discussed from the vantage point of corpus linguistics in two of the articles.
Social change evident in the deracialising schooling systems has brought about immense changes in young peoples’ speech repertoires. In this regard one article explores the attitudes of young Black students at high school in relation to cultural and linguistic diversity. Another documents a shift in dominance amongst young Coloured people in the Western Cape from a bilingualism that previously had English as a second language to one that plays down Afrikaans in favour of English.
Two studies focus on Asian migrants in South Africa. The first discusses lexicographical work pertaining to the country’s Indian community; the second discusses adaptations made by new Chinese migrants in South Africa, showing the importance of Xhosa as well as English in rural Eastern Cape settings. Other articles examine the nature of literary translation using South African English as a medium. Three short book notices on varieties of English in South Africa round off the issue.
Follow this link to read the entire special issue of English Today
Blog post written by Rajend Mesthrie.
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 in what has been termed the serious games movement. In part because some genres of digital games are language intensive, applied linguists and language educators have begun exploring the use of commercial off-the-shelf digital game genres (primarily multiplayer games) for the purpose of learning or teaching a second or foreign language (L2), broadly referred to as digital game-based language learning (DGBLL).
This special issue was designed to advance knowledge in the area of DGBLL, with particular attention to two issues: (1) the recent emergence of digital gaming as a substantive and diverse context for intercultural expression; (2) the pedagogical shift that most current games illustrate, from models of learning based on information presentation and toward theories of human development that emphasize engaged problem solving, collaboration, and social interaction. Each contribution to this special issue focuses on various of these themes, introduces empirical data and analyses, and in some cases proposes innovative theoretical frameworks novel to CALL and SLA, all of which push forward our understanding of game-enabled processes and phenomena that obtain relevance to the project of designed settings for language development.
This special issue features six empirical studies that push forward our understanding of game-enabled processes and communicative phenomena that relate to the project of designed settings for language development. In the first contribution to this ReCALL special issue, Cornillie, Clarebout, and Desmet emphasize the need to consider participants’ perceptions in games designed for language learning purposes, with particular attention to language-focused corrective feedback. The authors present evidence from a mixed-method study which shows that learners have generally favourable perceptions of corrective feedback as a design element in an immersive role playing game. The next article, by Thorne, Fischer, and Lu, provides detailed linguistic complexity analyses of the English language version of the commercial massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) World of Warcraft (WoW) and its attendant online discourse communities and strategy/informational websites. Their research illustrates that the complex semiotic ecology of this popular game constitutes a linguistically and cognitively rich environment for language learners. The following paper, by Sylvén and Sundqvist, presents evidence that recreational gaming by young EFL learners is positively related to their L2 proficiency levels. They note the need for additional research in order to explore whether game playing itself, rather than other factors, might explain this relationship.
The final three contributions explore, and critically analyze, discourse-based and action oriented participation in L2 MMOG settings. Rama, Black, van Es, and Warschauer contrast the experiences of an expert gamer but beginning learner of L2 Spanish with those of an advanced Spanish language learner who is a novice gamer. Through analyses of journal excerpts and chat logs, among other qualitative data, the authors show that players’ engagement in the collaborative space of WoW provides numerous affordances for L2 learning. The contribution by Zheng, Newgarden, and Young opens by introducing a distributed language and values-realizing framework as the theoretical foundation for a multimodal analysis of EFL learners’ game play in WoW. They document, among other things, communicative activities unlikely to be encountered in L2 classrooms, as well as a co-occurrence of killing actions and caring for other players that constitute quotidian forms of play in this setting. In the article that concludes this special issue, Peterson analyzes the discourse of Japanese learners of EFL in a manga-styled MMOG and documents interactional features that have been associated with the development of sociocultural competence.
This special issue will be of particular relevance to linguists, applied linguists, Internet Studies researchers, educational technologists, language educators aspiring to use games in instructed L2 contexts, and scholars with an interest in game studies.
Access the entire special issue here, without charge until 30th April 2013
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 show atypical processes and/or products of language development. Investigations of atypical language development in children, can help reveal which underlying (nonlinguistic) components are required and what they are required for, which processes are resilient or robust, and the degree to which language representations break down in graded or absolute fashion within a given disorder.
Papers in this issue provide compelling evidence that grammar is impaired in both toddlers and school age children with DS or WS (both of whom display lower general cognitive functioning) compared with children with FXS or typical development (TD). Yet a phonological system is clearly available to children with DS even when their articulation is problematic. In other papers, the extent to which social abilities contribute to acquisition is investigated with children with ASD, who show marked restrictions in social interaction, and WS, who are highly social. The research reported shows that removing social engagement from the toolkit of children with ASD impacts on their word learning; however, the presence of social engagement in children with WS does not guarantee intact language development, neither within the pragmatics realm nor with respect to the timing of grammatical development.
Some aspects of language development seem to proceed typically in children with disorders: In the lexical domain, the content and organization of vocabularies encompassing the first 50 words were strikingly similar for children with ASD’s and children with TD; and for children acquiring BSL (TD and those with SLI), semantic clustering effects were found. In the grammatical realm, similarly to children with TD, children with BI produced gesture-speech combinations encompassing simple propositions several months before they produced those propositions entirely in speech; additionally, children with WS and DS learning Hebrew produced many grammatical elements in the same developmental order (i.e., synchronously) as children with TD, suggesting that these elements cohered as a system for these groups. But not all early language development processes show resilience: the research reported showed no evidence of learning non-adjacent dependencies in an artificial language for toddlers at familial risk for dyslexia and, hence, no evidence for sensitivity to regularities when processing such utterances. These findings suggest that language development that appears to be typical at specific points in time may be proceeding via different underlying routes/processes.
For a given disorder and/or across disorders systematic graded or partial impairments may be observed within a given area or subarea of language. Evidence of rule use in German- or Arabic-speaking preschoolers with SLI is reported: Children inflected novel verb or noun stimuli appropriately and produced overgeneralizations at levels comparable to children with TD matched on language-level. However, performance by children with SLI was consistently poorer. Such findings pose a theoretical challenge: how can a given area of language appear to be rule-governed to some extent but not in total?
Explore the entire Atypical Language Development special issue of Journal of Child Language without charge until the 31st March 2013
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 simply need to fill in the online registration form, using the following offer code:
And that’s it! Once you’ve registered, you’re free to use your 6 weeks to browse over 300 journals, peruse over 1000 issues and save innumerable searches and bookmarks. Once you’ve experienced what we have to offer from 2012, we hope you’ll come back and read the additional c.6 million pages of content on CJO. Although that might take a bit longer than 6 weeks …
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 your topic and target journal, and writing your paper in line with that journal’s needs.
Do your journal research as assiduously as your academic research. It is not good practice to blanket submit your carefully prepared, executed, and written-up study to all the applied linguistics (AL)/second language acquisition (SLA) journals out there. Firstly, set aside some time to think about where your paper might achieve the greatest impact as regards readers, both academically (in terms of the typical reader profile of that journal) and geographically (the countries and academic institutions where the journal has subscriptions). If this information is not readily available on the web site, contact the Editor and ask. Secondly, a journal usually expects you to be submitting the work to them alone and will assume they have the first option for rejection or acceptance. AL/SLA journal editors have a community forum where they regularly interact and are able to check on possible multiple submissions. Editors expect you to have targeted their journal for a reason. Therefore….
Do read typical content in that journal as well as the section in the submission guidelines indicating the kind of paper they are looking for. Failure to direct your research to a journal which might reasonably be interested in it will usually mean a rejection as a result. It will also involve you in needless delay during which time you could have found better outlets for your work.
Do learn about which topics are of interest to the readership. Reading a number of recent issues of the journal will soon reveal the hot topics as well as the questions being asked in the field. Ask yourself if your proposed research or completed study is likely to fit in with that agenda. Unlike many years ago, there are more and more “niche” or special interest journals in our field and if your interest or research corresponds to one of these, you would be better advised to submit to these first, rather than to those with a more general purview.
Finally, don’t expect to receive instant recognition and acceptance of your work in terms of an offer to publish. Unconditional acceptance of a paper is statistically rare, and most journals will require your paper to go through an arduous refereeing process of several months and revisions in which a number of experts will feed back a number of times on your work. Most referees do this in their own time and voluntarily. As a consequence, the process of submission through to revision and on to final acceptance of a paper can take many months, with a resultant accumulation of papers to be reviewed and published. Most journals in our field would then also need to assume a period of around a year to a year and a half from the date of submission to publication in print. If you are interested in getting your paper out there as fast as possible, you might want to consider whether the target journal provides an advanced publication online before the printed copy comes out.
Written by Dr Graeme Porte, Editor of Cambridge Journal Language Teaching and Cambridge book Replication Research in Applied Linguistics