January 2016 - Volume 10 Number 1 - Pages *-**
Note: This is a provisional TOC and may be subject to change; please check back in late January 2016.
I begin this professional reflection on my forty years in applied linguistics with a bit of background information to help put my professional development into perspective. I then write, more or less chronologically, about my experiences with language testing research, quantitative research methods, curriculum and program evaluation, shifting interests in research methods, and expanding research topics. I end by reflecting on three lessons that I have learned over the years: first, people have played a very important role at all stages of my career (i.e., nobody succeeds without help); second, we all tend to stereotype and pigeonhole each other professionally, but it would be wiser to recognize that people in our field are multidimensional and likely to continue learning and changing throughout their careers; and third, the field of applied linguistics is constantly shifting, changing, and growing. Most importantly, I have enjoyed every minute of my ride through applied linguistics. Isn't that the point?
Keywords: Language Testing; Applied Linguistics; JD Brown; Professional Reflection
Citation: Brown, J. D. (2016). Professional reflection: Forty years in applied linguistics. International Journal of Language Studies, 10(1), 1-14.
Factors affecting multiple-choice cloze test score variance: A perspective from generalizability theory
A large number of studies were done on cloze tests in the field of language testing. Some studies invested linguistic and textual factors affecting cloze item difficulty. In Japan, multiple-choice (MC) cloze items are a widely used item format in entrance examinations and classroom tests. However, linguistic and textual factors affecting MC cloze items have not been fully investigated. Thus, this study was designed to examine linguistic and textual factors that affect a MC cloze test score. Two passages were selected and 50 MC cloze items (k = 50) were categorized into five groups: (a) content words, (b) function words, (c) low frequency words, (d) words highly used in a passage, and (e) phrasal words. The research questions were: (a) to what extent do the category and text factors contribute to the total MC cloze test score variance, and (b) to what extent is the MC cloze test reliable and dependable for making relative and absolute decisions. When a generalizability study was conducted, the largest amount of variance contributing to the total score variance was an interaction effect between items and texts facets. Reliability and dependability of the test were satisfactory. Implications drawn from this study were discussed.
Keywords: Multiple Choice Items; Cloze Tests; Generalizability Theory
Citation: Kumazawa, T. (2016). Factors affecting multiple-choice cloze test score variance: A perspective from generalizability theory. International Journal of Language Studies, 10(1), 15-30.
Modern Standard Arabic in Algeria: Problems and challenges
The work tackles the situation of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), the modern version of Classical Arabic, in present day Algerian society. Today, MSA represents the core of Arab Algerians' identity and the pride of their glorious origin and history, all related to the golden era of Arab- Muslims (the case for all Maghribis and Arabs). However, this satisfaction lingers undermined by a number of problems that compile serious challenges to the power and existence of MSA in society and country. In a globalised world of speedily shifting notions, philosophies, cultures and civilizations, Algerians (like Arabs) and their language suffer from cultural, technical and scientific dependence on the most powerful languages, namely English and French. Besides, and more importantly, social effects of MSA's diglossic situation with Algerian Arabic, in addition to the competing position of French, place the society in incessant problems of identity and linguistic insecurity. In relation to the already mentioned ideas, the work presents a study on the real situation of MSA in Algeria and targets problems and challenges it faces. The study suggests a number of solutions seen beneficial to the position and evolution of the MSA language.
Keywords: MSA; French; Algerian Arabic; Identity; Linguistic Insecurity; Language Policy; Diglossia; Globalisation
Citation: Dahou, F. N. E. H. (2016). Modern Standard Arabic in Algeria: Problems and challenges. International Journal of Language Studies, 10(1), 31-48.
Two approaches to the teaching of grammar and their implications
(Second affiliation: University Santiago de Compostela, Spain)
This study originated from the research work conducted at Azerbaijan University of Languages (AUL), and its purpose was to find out which of the grammar teaching methods could be applied when teaching it to university students. For this, the grammar teaching approaches were roughly divided into explicit grammar presentation based on old methods such as grammar translation, rules-learning, error correction methods, etc., and alternative, implicit ones of which the main target was to raise student's consciousness and their ability to study language and its grammar in a communicative way. The analyses of data obtained from the questionnaires showed that students see more value in traditional grammar presentation although they are in favor of such non-traditional activities as games, grammar through jokes exercises, and other alternative activities as well; however, the results of the final test carried after a six week classroom grammar teaching revealed inappropriateness of using pure traditional or pure alternative grammar teaching methods. Thus, the paper concludes by suggesting a combined approach to grammar teaching excluding pure explicit and implicit methods and techniques in classroom grammar presentation.
Keywords: Alternative Approach; Explicit Teaching; Implicit Teaching; Consciousness-Raising; Grammar Teaching
Citation: Mammadova, T. (2016). Two approaches to the teaching of grammar and their implications. International Journal of Language Studies, 10(1), 49-70.
Using learner corpora in language teaching
The proliferation of text in electronic form on iPads or computers offers language teachers and learners an enormous range of materials, which might be used for language teaching and learning purposes. As educational technology becomes more available, and as language teachers become more comfortable with using mobile devises in their teaching, the ways in which corpora can be used for language teaching through technology will continue to develop and update. The only aspect that will never change is the requirement to match learning objectives and teaching resources by using appropriate materials to meet teaching and learning goals. Learner corpora are one more tool toward that goal. In a paperless classroom, where paper and pen are totally out of use and students have mobile devices at hand, such as iPads, creating an electronic version or mini corpus of student papers can offer a selection of electronic activities for interacting with vocabulary. This study aims to discuss and look at different ways of using learner corpora in L2 students' vocabulary development and practice, particularly concentrating on the corpus analysis toolkit called AntConc.
Keywords: EFL; Paperless Classroom; Activity Theory; Corpora; AntConc
Citation: Grigoryan, T. (2016). Using learner corpora in language teaching. International Journal of Language Studies, 10(1), 71-90.
Linguicism and nationalism: A post-colonial gaze on the promotion of Afrikaans as a national language in apartheid South Africa
This paper explores the processes by which nationalist movements help to create both ethnic and linguistic identities. The article begins with the social history, religious legitimization and institutional promotion of the Dutch-based language of Afrikaans as a national and official language of apartheid South Africa. After examining the historiography of the Afrikaans language, the paper offers a critique using existing theories of linguistic nationalism and its relationship to the politics of ethnic identity as possible explanations for the rise of the Afrikaner nation in South Africa. Socio-cultural factors involved in the rise of nationalistic movements identified by social theorists such as Smith (1986), Hobsbawm (1994), Gellner (1994), Edwards (1988), and Anderson (1994), will be applied to the Afrikaner case study. To conclude, I will elaborate on the challenges, implications, and issues for further research with regards to post-apartheid language policy in South Africa, especially with the influence of African nationalism, the promotion of the English language, and acceptance of Afrikaans dialects in post-apartheid South Africa.
Keywords: Afrikaans; South Africa; Creolisation; Linguicism; Nationalism; Post-Colonialism
Citation: Khalema, N. E. (2016). Linguicism and nationalism: A post-colonial gaze on the promotion of Afrikaans as a national language in apartheid South Africa. International Journal of Language Studies, 10(1), 91-110.
Improving English conversation skills through online conversation lessons and classroom interactions with English speakers
The purpose of this study was to improve the oral English performance of Thai lower-secondary students. The participants in this study were 50 Grade 8 students from Rajaprachanukroh Songkhla Province School in academic year 2014. They were purposively sampled and divided into two groups, one learning through online conversation lessons and the other via classroom interaction with an English speaker. They were individually interviewed to assess their oral English performance before the treatments and after completing the lessons. Students' interviews and conversations practices were video-recorded for close analysis following Conversation Analysis (CA) principles and rated on the following features: fluency, vocabulary, appropriacy, pronunciation, and grammar. The research instruments employed in this study were oral communication tasks for pre- and post-tests. The research findings based on statistical and CA analysis shows that the students' oral English performance considerably improved through the use of online lessons and classroom interaction with an English speaker. The learners engaged in classroom interaction, however, became significantly more fluent and had a wider range of vocabulary than those learning through online conversations, even though their performance in pronunciation were similar. Thus, it is recommended that teachers utilize online lessons not as the sole language learning activity but as a supplement to classroom interaction to strengthen particular speech features.
Keywords: Online Conversation Lessons; Classroom Interaction; Speech Features; Oral English Performance
Citation: Saniboo, H., & Sinwongsuwat, K. (2016). Improving English conversation skills through online conversation lessons and classroom interactions with English speakers. International Journal of Language Studies, 10(1), 111-124.
La bindi nga que tu know-la nyass jusqu'a le feu sort seulement: Examining strategies of intensification in Camfranglais
This paper examines the various strategies used to mark intensification in Camfranglais, a composite language developed by French-speaking Cameroonian secondary and high school students. The data for the study were collected through participant observation, questionnaires, and from the corpora gathered by Kouega (2003) and Ntobe, Biloa and Echu (2008). After analyzing the data using structural grammar (Quirk and Greenbaum 1973's model) as the theoretical framework, it is found that intensifiers in Camfranglais, from the stand point of discourse, can be classified into four main groups: (a) single-word intensifiers, (b) reduplicative intensifiers, (c) phrasal intensifiers, and (d) sentential intensifiers. Each of these modify specific items in the sentence. Single-word intensifiers, which are found to belong to the word classes of determiners, adjectives, verbs and adverbs can act either as premodifiers (when the modified elements are nouns) or as postmodifiers (in case the modified elements are adjectives and verbs) while reduplicative intensifiers, which are grouped into two categories, can function either as noun phrase modifiers and subject/object complement, on the one hand, and adjunct on the other hand. Phrasal intensifiers, like reduplicative ones have been grouped into two categories: the first consisting of intensifiers which function as adjective and verb modifiers while the second group includes those which function as noun modifiers. The range of modification of sentential intensifiers is found to be limited to adjectives and verbs. With regard to the semantics of these intensifiers, the findings reveal that they are almost all sense-oriented, the majority of them being amplifiers, and can be classified under the following spheres: visual, tactile, mental, gustatory and spacio-temporal.
Keywords: Intensification; Camfranglais; Reduplicative; Modifiers; Discourse; Sense-Oriented; semantics
Citation: Meutem Kamtchueng, L. M. (2016). La bindi nga que tu know-la nyass jusqu'a le feu sort seulement: Examining strategies of intensification in Camfranglais. International Journal of Language Studies, 10(1), 125-148.
Book Review: McKay, S., & Brown, J. D. (2015). Teaching and assessing locally defined EIL. New York: Routledge.
Citation: Patharakorn, P., & Ho, K. (2016). Book review. International Journal of Language Studies, 10(1), 149-155.