January 2015 - Volume 9 Number 1 - Pages 1-165
Teacher-research and the art of the professional experiment: Reflective practice in the practical-knowledge tradition
Donald Schön’s (1987) seminal work, “Educating the Reflective Practitioner”, began a movement where reflective practice came to be understood as a hallmark of what it is to be a professional. Thinking-in-action is where the professional calls upon, experience, knowledge, skill and intuition to solve a problem of practice. Reflecting after the fact is called thinking-on-action and provides for a systematic review of the outcome and process arising from solving the problem. Schön then suggested a third iteration of reflection, and it is during this process that the author suggests that the professional may challenge, legitimise and augment practical-knowledge by accessing other sources of information. Less well known are Schön’s approaches to professional experimentation which include move-testing, exploratory experiments, and hypothesis testing where the variables are manipulated in order to bring about the desired result. The present paper uses reflective practice to mediate teacher research into solving a problem of practice around the teaching and learning of language conventions in the author’s own school. Comparisons with action research are made.
Keywords: Reflection; Teacher-Research; Practical Knowledge; Small School; Problem of Practice; Donald Schön
Overrunning speaking anxiety through audio journals
A lot of research stretching from the mid-1970s onward has consistently drawn attention to the close relationship between language learning and anxiety, underlying the fact that anxiety may negatively influence foreign language production and achievement. Motivated by observation, the authors noted that classroom anxiety has been a topic of continuous investigation. Coupled with students’ deprivation of practicing the language outside the classroom, the problem intensifies and sometimes causes insurmountable helplessness for students. Driven by this reality and in the hope of shedding some light on the issue, this study examined the impact of audio dialog journal on easing students’ speaking anxiety. The data of the study originated from Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS), which was administered to preparatory school students. The results indicated that audio dialog journal has a positive influence in overcoming speaking anxiety and serves a number of functions including cognitive, linguistic, pedagogical, psychological, and social ones.
Keywords: Audio Dialog Journal; Foreign Language Anxiety; FLCAS; Speaking Anxiety; Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale
Transitivity and object marking in Persian
Recently, transitivity has been viewed in light of the principles of functional typology and has been regarded as a prototypical phenomenon rather than a black and white category. It is agreed that in its realization, different syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic aspects play a role. Drawing on the prototypical approach, this paper aims at giving an explanatory account of the linguistic expression of transitivity in Persian. It investigates those properties of transitive prototype which are structurally relevant in Persian as well as their importance in the structural coding of transitivity in Persian clauses. To do this, sentences from every day conversation as well as films are extracted and investigated based on their structural coding and the parameters that are important in this coding. The results show that prototypical transitivity is mainly marked on direct object in this language and that object individuation, object affectedness as well as aspect are the most crucial factors, correlating with each other and affecting the morphosyntactic coding of transitive clauses, among which only object individuation has been the focus of Iranian linguists. It is concluded that among other parameters introduced in the literature (cf., Hopper & Thompson, 1980) and other prototypically based approaches to transitivity, volitionality does not play a significant role in this regard. Despite the previous works done on the distribution of ‘râ’ and the lack of agreement regarding this morpheme, this article indicates that its main function is to mark highly individuated and affected object in high transitive sentences, a conclusion that resounds claims made by Salmani Nodoushan and Mohiyedin Ghomshei (2014).
Keywords: Transitivity; Prototype; Transitivity Parameters; Morphosyntactic Coding; Transitive Clauses; Object Individuation; Object Affectedness; Aspect
English and French in Cameroon today: Revisiting a previous statement
This paper explores the recent trends regarding the maintenance and shift in the use/learning of French and English in Cameroon. While Ze Amvela’s study entitled “English and French in Cameroon: A study of language Maintenance and Shift” showed that the shift in language use/learning in Cameroon is towards the direction of the majority official language, French, recent trends show the reverse, that is, a movement towards English in the last fifteen years. This is an interesting scenario due to the fact that it contradicts the usual trend. The paper thus explores the motivations for and implications of this phenomenon to the learning and use of these two official languages in Cameroon in the near future.
Keywords: Language Shift; Language Maintenance; Language Use; Language Learning; Cameroon
Grammaticalization of Yæ'ni ('meaning') in Persian
Adopting a discourse-pragmatic approach, this study examines the process of grammaticalization of Persian discourse marker yæ'ni to develop a better understanding of the structural and semantic changes involved in the evolution of discourse/pragmatic markers as well as to help make some generalizations about the process of grammaticalization. It will investigate how yæ'ni, through the process of grammaticalization, exhibits different pragmatic functions to characterize changes involved in the evolution of a discourse/pragmatic marker. In a sense, its behavior in the ordinary Persian interactions reveals how desemanticization has taken place in favor of some new procedural-pragmatic meanings and functions relating to the discourse situation (i.e., metalinguistic, subjective, and intersubjective uses). The main argument of the paper will be that it is rather impossible to establish a single uni-linear course of semantic development, yet pragmatic meanings tend to arise through invited inferences. For the case of yæ'ni, it can be further argued that while its subjective meanings clearly precede its intersubjective uses, one cannot determine that its textual meanings precede its (inter)subjective meanings.
Keywords: Grammaticalization; Discourse Markers; Subjectivity; Intersubjectivity; Yæ'ni; Desemanticization; Procedural-Pragmatic Meanings
An OT approach on the two types of resultative constructions in Hakka
This paper aims at an investigation of two different kinds of resultative constructions in Hakka: (a) the mono-clausal construction involving the resultative verbal compounds, and (b) the bi-clausal construction expressed by a complementizer ‘do’ which brings in a subordinate clause indicating the resultative meaning. This paper further shows that, compared to Mandarin Chinese which allows a variety types of resultative verbal compounds, Hakka uses the same linguistic construction in relatively more restricted way, which is constrained by the limited patterns of argument realization of ‘causer’ and ‘causee’ in resultative constructions. If the formation of the resultative compound is cast out of grammaticality, as a repairing strategy, the causative meaning can be realized by a bi-clausal construction. Finally, this paper argues that the option of adopting a mono-clausal or a bi-clausal causative construction can be depicted as an Optimality Theoretic generalization. It is argued that the syntactic behaviors observed in Mandarin and Hakka are the results of assessment between the iconicity and economy motivated constraints, along with a set of ABUT constraints.
Keywords: Resultative; OT syntax; ABUT Constraints; Iconicity Motivated Constraints; Economy Motivated Constraints; Direct Object Restriction; Hakka
Book Review: Matsuda, A. (Ed.). (2012). Principles and practices of teaching English as an International Language. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.