October 2014 - Volume 8 Number 4 - Pages 1-180
Speech acts or language micro- and macro-games?
In this paper, I will begin with a description of the origins of the speech act theory, and the classifications of speech acts. Then, I will review different camps of thought which had a bearing on our current understanding of speech acts, and specifically focus on Halliday’s metafunctions, Isaacs and Clark’s ostensible and genuine acts, Sperber and Wilson’s relevance theory, Mey’s conception of pragmemes, and Wittgenstein’s concept of language games. I will then put these together in my general discussion to present my own view of speech acts which I see as language micro- and macro-games. In my discussion of my own views, I will suggest that any act of language use (be it semiotic, kinesthetic, proxemic, verbal, orthographical, or otherwise) is essentially a language micro- or macro-game. Finally, I will describe my own model of ‘language game constellations’ which comprises language game sets, hierarchies, chains, and networks.
Keywords: Ostensible Speech Acts; Pragmemes; Metarepresentation; Staged Communicative Acts; Language Games
Rituals of death in Odisha: Hindu religious beliefs and socio-cultural practices
This article discusses the rituals of death followed by the Hindus in Odisha, an eastern state in India. It focuses on Hindu religious beliefs and socio-cultural practices regarding death. Hindus believe in the cyclical reincarnation of the soul. So, funeral rites are performed not only for the disposal of the body, but also to assist the departed soul in its transmigration to the next destination. The paper discusses how the responsibility of the immediate family members to perform the funeral rites and the rights to inheritance are inter-related. Funeral rites are not performed for the unmarried people and suicidal victims, although the body is disposed. Hence, the eligibility for funeral rites creates not only the necessity of a married life and progenitors, but also warns people not to commit suicide. The rites highlight the gender-bias in the society, the eldest son being the principal performer of the rites. Performing such rituals ensures comfort to the grieved family, and emphasizes community living and inter-personal relationship in the society. The language used for funeral rites does not have an interpersonal communicative function; rather, it has a socio-religious function.
Keywords: Hindu Funeral Rites; Social Speech Acts; Ancestor Worship; Suicidal Victims; Gender Bias; Inheritance Rights
Analysis of authentic legal negotiation: Implications for teaching contract negotiation to undergraduate law students
This paper reports a research study that analysed legal negotiation discourse in response to perceived deficiencies in using textbooks for teaching legal English writing to undergraduate law students in Turkey. As key collaborators, two commercial law firms in Istanbul each provided authentic negotiation data for two different commercial contracts, including emails, email attachments and different amended versions of the contracts under negotiation in English with European counterparts. Micro and macro text analysis was performed on the data sets and lawyers from the participating law firms were interviewed to discuss discursive features identified in the textual analysis. The duality of this analytical approach proves valuable in providing both description of the lexico-grammatical features and rhetorical structures of the negotiation discourse process and an understanding of the professional practices that influence and shape the negotiations. Findings from this study provide a comprehensive (intertextually and interdiscursively oriented) ontology of legal negotiation discourse. These findings also make a meaningful contribution to English for Legal Purposes (ELP) pedagogy and the development of teaching materials that better prepare undergraduate law students for realities and complexities of negotiating commercial contracts in English.
Keywords: English for Legal Purposes (ELP); Contract Negotiation; Legal Discourse Analysis; Genre Analysis; Intertextuality; Interdiscursivity
Politeness in Yoruba and French
The concept of politeness is a universal concept of which the operation or manifestation varies according to the variations in the cultures and beliefs of people all over the world. Interestingly, however, many languages that do not belong to the same language family, nor are situated in the same continent, are found to have something in common in the way they express politeness in their cultures. Such is the case with the Yoruba and French languages, which, in spite of their differences, manifest similarity in some aspects of their cultures, especially as it relates to politeness. This paper is an attempt at providing some insight into the similarities and differences that exist in the politeness cultures of the Yoruba and French languages.
Keywords: Politeness; Culture; Greetings; Yoruba; French
Conversation proficiency assessment: A comparative study of two-party peer interaction and interview interaction implemented with Thai EFL learners
This study investigated the differences between two types of oral English proficiency tests (i.e., interview interaction and two-party peer interaction) in assessing learners’ English speaking performance. It attempted to determine: (a) whether the two test types produce different results when used in assessing students’ oral performance with a traditional rubric; (b) whether they differ in terms of the interactional features produced by the students; and (c) how the differences in interactional features possibly contribute to the different score results and the conversation-assessing ability of each test task. The participants of the study were ten students in the M.3 English Program at Pimanpittayasan School, Satun. Two test tasks were used: a 5-minute interview interactions, and a 5-minute two-party peer interactions. The conversations obtained from both test tasks were videotaped, transcribed and analyzed according to the principles of Conversation Analysis (CA). The results revealed that the total scores obtained from both tests using the traditional rubric were not significantly different at the .05 alpha level. It was suggested that both interview and two-party peer interactions produced similar results when traditionally assessing the overall oral English performance of the learners. However, closer analysis of talks elicited from the two test tasks revealed different interactional features some of which were related to learners’ conversational problems, indicating that as far as conversational competencies are concerned, that interview interaction may be of more limited value than peer interaction.
Keywords: Oral Proficiency Assessment; Interview Interaction; Two-Party peer Interaction; Conversation Analysis (CA); Linguistic Competencies; Conversational Competencies; Thai EFL Learners
Prosodic analysis: An Italian case study
This study starts from the need to enhance the scientific knowledge on prosody features that characterise the human communication and in particular on the importance they have to attribute meaning to sentences. Starting from these considerations the focus of the paper is to distinguish the role that prosodic features have in distinguishing four different kinds of Italian sentences (statements, questions, exclamations and commands). The methodology used for the analysis is the case study. To perform the study 50 Italian users of the Institute of Research on Population and Social Policies (IRPPS) of the National Research Council of Rome have been involved. Results of the case study showed different associations between sentence types and tones types both for tonic and pre-tonic parts of the sentences.
Keywords: Prosody; Tonic; Pre-Tonic; Duration; Intensity; Fundamental Frequency; Tone Units; Pitch
The final goodbye: The linguistic features of gravestone epitaphs from the nineteenth century to the present
Graveyard epitaphs from the nineteenth century to the present are a rich linguistic resource for investigating attitudes towards death, ritual and identity from a diachronic perspective. Grave inscriptions regardless of whether they are ‘magnificent’ or ‘mundane’ serve as remembrances of the deceased and can be used to study processes of change. In this study, a corpus of 957 epitaphs from the nineteenth century to the present day were examined for evidence of diachronic changes in ritual, identity construction, use of euphemistic metaphors and sacred language. The corpus was categorised according to age and temporality. Corpus methodology was used to analyse data using AntConc and normalised frequency scores per 1000 words. In addition, Log likelihood (LL) scores were used to test results for significance. Findings from the analyses suggest that changes have occurred in linguistic style and attitudes towards death, especially in relation to child death. Coping with the death of a child, appears to pose bigger challenges for modern parents than it did in the nineteenth century. Religion still appears to be the source from which people draw comfort and solace although the influence of religion is now much less than in the past. These findings are discussed in light of the evolution of gravestone inscriptions over time and are indicative of the differing values of the day.
Keywords: Rituals; Language of Epitaphs; Gravestone Inscriptions; Epitaphs; Linguistic Style; Identity Construction; Euphemistic Metaphors; Sacred Language
Teacher- and peer-enhanced scaffolding: Self-regulated learning of collocations in CALL
The present study explored the impact of concordancing and teacher- and peer-enhanced scaffolding on self-regulated learning of receptive high communicative value (HCV) and low communicative value (LCV) L2 collocations. To this end, 120 intermediate Iranian learners of English were randomly divided into four groups. The three experimental groups were required to perform a story writing and a paraphrasing task in the context of concordancing for 10 sessions under three experimental conditions: the peer-enhanced scaffolding, the teacher-enhanced scaffolding, and the no-scaffolding. The control group, however, was engaged with the same tasks having no access to either concordancing or scaffolding. All the experimental groups showed a significant improvement in recognition of HCV and LCV collocations in the immediate and delayed posttests. However, no statistically significant difference was observed among the experimental groups in recognizing HCV and LCV collocations either in the immediate or in the delayed posttest.
Keywords: Teacher-enhanced scaffolding; Concordancing; HCV collocations; LCV collocations; Self-regulated learning; Peer-enhanced scaffolding