July 2014 - Volume 8 Number 3 - Pages 1-149
Reflections on supervising an in-service English language teacher’s undergraduate dissertation in Oman (on developing writing skills)
International Journal of Language Studies, 8(3), 1-26. Add Print to Cart
Supervising undergraduate dissertations has received relatively little attention in the literature, despite the pivotal nature of such activity in supporting knowledge growth. Drawing on qualitative case study research methodology, including classroom observations and interviews, this article offers a reflective account of the process of supervising an undergraduate thesis, that of an in-service English language teacher carrying out action research aimed at improving writing skills at lower secondary school level in Oman. The teacher was studying on a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) programme, conducted by a British university for the local Ministry of Education. Findings reveal the supervisory experience was not without challenges. These included balancing the twin roles of teacher educator and research supervisor, and managing communication, record-keeping and time. Conclusions that emerge from this study might interest transnational educators supervising undergraduate research in other contexts.
Keywords: Undergraduate Research Supervision; Language Teacher Education; Reflective Practice; Qualitative Research; The Middle East
Quantitative and qualitative aspects of advanced students’ mastery of L1 (Swedish) and L2 (English) free combinations of noun/verb + preposition as compared to multi-word verbs
International Journal of Language Studies, 8(3), 27-54. Add Print to Cart
In the present investigation, 15 first-term university students were asked to produce 100 idiomatically used prepositions of varying frequency in given contexts in Swedish (L1) and English (L2) respectively, 40 of which were used in free combinations of noun/verb + preposition as in ‘reason for’ and 60 of which were part of multi-word verbs such as ‘take off’ and ‘get down to (business)’. Native speaker results of English were used as a point of reference. One main research question was thus addressed: In quantitative and qualitative terms, what productive L1/L2 knowledge do advanced students have of on the one hand bound prepositions in free combinations and on the other hand of bound prepositions in combinations of verbs and particles categorized as phrasal verbs? The results show that, while the Swedish informants achieved almost the same L1 result as the native speaker of English did in his mother tongue, they displayed a poor L2 knowledge. More importantly, the results show that while particles used in L2 multi-word combinations appear to be stored as units together with the preceding verbs, this was not the case with prepositions used in free combinations where knowledge of the meaning of the preceding noun/verb was very often combined with an uncertainty as to what preposition to choose.
Keywords: Mastery of L1; Mastery of L2; Free Combinations; Multi-Word Verbs
The apology strategies of Turkish, Polish and Latvian prospective English teachers
International Journal of Language Studies, 8(3), 55-84. Add Print to Cart
The present study is a research into the apology strategy preference and appropriateness of the use of apology speech act of Turkish, Polish and Latvian final year English Language Teaching undergraduate learners in English. The main objective of the study is to find out whether the apology speech act productions of the three groups show difference or similarity. The total number of participants is 45, with 15 participants in each group. A Discourse Completion Test which included 4 apology situations and an appropriateness scale were used as the data gathering tools for this study. The apology strategies found in the responses of the participants were coded. Findings of the study indicated that all three groups use very similar apology strategies with some exceptions. However, Polish participants use a richer variety of strategies than Turkish and Latvian participants. Apart from these, no significant difference was observed among the groups in terms of appropriateness according to the evaluation of a native English speaker.
Keywords: Apology; Apology Strategy; Appropriateness; Discourse Completion Test; Speech Act
Introducing the Folk Linguistics of Language Policy
International Journal of Language Studies, 8(3), 85-106. Add Print to Cart
Even without professional linguistic training, individuals of a speech community engage in language policy. They interpret and apply folk knowledge and beliefs about language to give life to language policies, or even create policy to solve local language dilemmas. These individuals are, by default, folk linguists. Folk linguistics examines the many ways folk without linguistic training perform linguistics as a science, but in the case of language policy folk linguistics has been confined to investigating the sociocultural dynamics of polities. While this remains valuable, I propose positioning language policy more holistically within the folk linguistics research agenda. This offers an exciting paradigm to examine not only what the folk believe about language policy matters, but also what folk knowledge exists about language policies and how knowledge and beliefs are applied by folk linguists to perform language policy. To explore the salience of this repositioning, I reflect on instances where I observed folk linguists of language policy in the civil service and consider the contributions a folk linguistic approach may have made.
Keywords: Folk Linguistics; Language Policy; Local Language Dilemmas
The Bilingual Self or Selves?
International Journal of Language Studies, 8(3), 107-116. Add Print to Cart
A concise but strong review of the literature on bilinguals’ perception of ‘self’ led to the question of whether bilinguals perceive themselves as different or the same people when they function in different languages. 183 participants (N =183) randomly assigned to two half-groups took both the English and Persian versions of the Self Concept Scale (SCS) in two counter-balanced administration sessions with a time interval of 3 weeks. Results after analysis of the data using descriptive and inferential statistics indicated that Iranian-Americans have a more realistic self concept when they function in English than when they function in Persian. Their self concepts in English and Persian do not match. Moreover, the female Iranian-American shows a larger discrepancy in her English and Persian self concepts than her male counterpart. This indicates that females are more open to alienation than males are. The results of this study lend empirical support to claims made by previous researchers that bilinguals have a kind of split personality. It was concluded that a bilingual is not a unique person who assumes different identities when he functions in the different languages he knows, but that the bilingual possess two different guises or selves which are language-specific and are used in accordance with the language the bilingual speaks at any given point in time.
Keywords: Bilingualism; Mercenary Relativism; Split Personality; Linguistic Schizophrenia; Multilingualism
Avoiding the reaper: Notions of death in Sri Lankan obituaries
International Journal of Language Studies, 8(3), 117-144. Add Print to Cart
This paper presents findings from a study of the language of death in Sri Lankan obituaries. Obituaries were collected over two periods, from the Sri Lankan broadsheet The Sunday Observer spanning January to December 2003 and 2012 respectively, to answer the following research questions: (1) Does the language used in Sri Lankan obituaries attempt to evade the notion of death through features such as euphemisms and conceptual metaphors?; (2) What cultural/religious elements do the obituaries display through the language used? (3) How does the language that is used reflect the social and personal identity of the deceased and their families? (4) Does the language used to portray the identity of the deceased and their families reflect social values? The two sets of data were also used to compare whether there were any significant changes from 2003 to 2012 in the way that death was announced. Results indicated that the only change that appears to have taken place is in the formality of style in Sri Lankan obituaries, which seems to be decreasing.
Keywords: Language of Death; Rituals of Death; Sri Lankan English; Personal and Social Identity; Social Values; Religious and Cultural Identity
Book Review: Kumaravadivelu, B. (2011). Language teacher education for a global society: A modular model for knowing, analyzing, recognizing, doing, and seeing. London: Routledge. [168 pp; ISBN-10: 0415877385; ISBN-13: 978-0415877381]
International Journal of Language Studies, 8(3), 145-149. Add Print to Cart