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Foreign-language teaching and studying in Chilean and Finnish classrooms as seen by teachers

Abstract

This article reports Chilean and Finnish foreign-language (FL) teachers’ perceptions of teaching and study realities in their own FL classrooms. Communicative language teaching (CLT) is used as the teaching–studying–learning methodological framework of an international KIELO project (= the acronym for Finnish “kieltenopetus” meaning “language teaching”), whose online survey was used to collect data for this article. We aim at answering the following research question: What are the FL teachers’ main approaches to teaching and studying in Chilean and Finnish FL classrooms and what is the FL classroom teaching and study reality like in these two countries? The data were collected from 83 Chilean and 147 Finnish FL teachers through an online survey covering 15 key themes of CLT and including 115 Likert-scale statements and 8 open-ended questions. In the descriptive data analysis, both Chilean and Finnish FL teachers claim that they encourage their students to use the target language considerably and that they use communicative oral tasks. For both groups of participants, however, teacher-centeredness and use of textbook score relatively high. The two-cluster analysis revealed a context-dependent cluster and a context-independent cluster. Context-dependent teachers tended to favor communicative oral tasks, real-life tasks and their own language tasks, whereas context-independent teachers favored more non-communicative tasks. Context-dependent teachers proved more student-centered than context-independent teachers. For Chilean and Finnish research participants, the use of mother tongue in foreign language classrooms appears to be an issue despite the growing need of foreign language communication.

Open access
Politeness strategies in written communications: the issue of Iranian EFL learners

Abstract

The approximation of the pragmatic knowledge of English language learners to native speakers has been a realm of concern for the scholars and researchers in applied linguistics. Thus, this research was an endeavor to figure out the association between the proficiency level and politeness strategies and external/internal modifications in written communication skills in the speech act of requests in Iranian English language learners. To this end, a written Discourse Completion Test (DCT), adapted from Rose (1994), including 8 situations was administered to elicit data from Iran Language Institute120 female and male EFL learners, 60 upper-intermediate and 60 intermediate. The data were sorted out using Brown and Levinson’s politeness strategies taxonomy (Brown and Levinson 1987) and external/internal modifications developed by Faerch and Kasper (1989). The written request utterances provided by each participant were analyzed in terms of frequency and types of politeness strategies, namely, positive, negative, bald on record, and off-record as well as external/internal modifications utilized in requests. The Pearson Chi-Square test results revealed that there was a statistically significant difference between upper-intermediate and intermediate learners’ type of politeness strategies and external/internal modifications.

Open access
Predictors of the Czech learners’ acquisition of selected English phonemes

Abstract

The study investigates predictors of the acquisition of selected English phonemes in a foreign language context. Czech students’ pronunciation was diagnosed by two tests; their ability to produce seven selected phonemes was assessed. Furthermore, data regarding the students’ learning histories was obtained through a questionnaire. Then a multiple regression analysis was conducted in order to identify predictors of the acquisition of the selected phonemes. The analysis uncovered several factors, the most significant being pre - school exposure to English and positive attitudes to English in adolescence, which appeared to influence the subjects’ pronunciation positively. Interestingly, several factors which relate to learning English at school appeared to exert a negative influence on the acquisition of the selected phonemes. Furthermore, besides the importance of long-term exposure to English starting before the age of six, the study also underscored the importance of metacognition in relation to autonomous learning.

Open access
Redundancy in the verbal communication of teachers in primary education

Abstract

On a theoretical level with the support of literature, we offer some definitions of the concept of redundancy, point to the similarities and differences in the perception of this phenomenon in technical, social and pedagogical communication. We point out the positive and negative aspects of redundancy in the teacher's language. The research part is aimed at mapping the presence of redundancy in the language of primary education teachers. We were interested in which grade in the subject of mathematics is redundancy the most represented and whether it may be considered positive or unnecessary. The research was conducted at five primary schools on a sample of twenty teachers. The method of the research was the direct observation of lessons. The accuracy of the observation was ensured by audio recording and its analysis. We have found that redundancy is most often present in the third grade.

Open access
Teaching English pronunciation by non-native teachers as seen by Slovak teachers

Abstract

The English language has become the so called “world wide language” due to the fact that it is used globally in many spheres of everyday life - education, business, labour market, technology, tourism, travel and others. In Slovakia, the educational system supports schools in the acquisition of the language by granting more English classes per week, by financing textbook materials, by bridging teaching practice with research as well as making English a mandatory subject of school leaving exams.

One of the crucial components in the English language education of Slovak learners appears to be the pronunciation. This language feature has its specificities and therefore it must be approached carefully. Although many researchers in Slovakia have focused on various aspects of English pronunciation, this article aims at the English teachers and their perception of this important issue. The survey focuses on Slovak teachers’ opinions about teaching English pronunciation to non-native learners, more specifically, about teaching techniques, error corrections, textbook materials and university teacher training.

Open access
Teaching the grammar of questions and negations: an innovative approach

Abstract

This article presents an innovative approach to teaching English tenses, more precisely to teaching the grammar of questions and negative sentences. It describes, analyses and compares the innovative top-down approach with the traditional methods. It introduces the reader to the theoretical concept of the English predicate structure, on which the new approach is based. Consequently, the paper explains how the theoretical approach may be beneficial in practice, i.e. in English language teaching. Compared to the traditional methods, the paper shows that the grammar of questions and negatives of all tenses can be explained using three simple rules. Finally, the paper lists the advantages and disadvantages of the new method and suggests suitable target students.

Open access
Names, Varieties and Ideologies in Revived Cornish

Abstract

The attribution of names is a significant process that often highlights concerns over identity, ideology and ownership. Within the fields of minority languages and Celtic Studies, such concerns are especially pertinent given that the identities in question are frequently perceived as under threat from dominant cultures. The effect of concerns caused by this can be examined with reference to revived Cornish, which became divided into three major varieties in the later twentieth century; by examining the names of these varieties, we can draw conclusions about how they are perceived, or we are invited to perceive them. The motivations of those involved in the Cornish language revival are equally reflected in the names of the organisations and bodies they have formed, which equally contribute to the legitimation of revived Cornish. This paper examines both these categories of name, as well as the phenomenon of Kernowisation, a term coined by Harasta (2013) to refer to the adoption of Cornish personal names, and here extended to the use of Cornish names in otherwise English-language contexts. Examining the names that have been implemented during the Cornish language revival, and the ways in which they are used or indeed refused by those involved, gives us an insight into the various ideologies that steer the revival process. Within the context of the precarious nature of Cornish and Celtic identity, we can identify the concerns of those involved in the Cornish revival movement and highlight the role of naming as an activity of legitimation, showing how the diversity of names that occur reflects an equally diverse range of motivations and influences.

Open access
Scholarship and Language Revival: Language Ideologies in Corpus Development for Revived Manx

Abstract

In this article the role of different ideological viewpoints concerning corpus development within the Manx revival movement in the second half of the twentieth century is explored. In particular, the work of two prominent figures is examined: the Celtic scholar Robert L. Thomson, who published extensively especially on Manx language and literature, and also contributed to the revival, particularly as editor of several pedagogical resources and as a member of the translation committee Coonceil ny Gaelgey, and Douglas Fargher, a tireless activist and compiler of an English-Manx Dictionary (1979). Broadly speaking, Thomson was of a more preservationist bent, cautious in adapting the native resources of the language and wary of straying too far from attested usage of the traditional language, while Fargher was more radical and open especially to borrowing from Irish and Scottish sources. Both were concerned, in somewhat different ways, to remove perceived impurities or corruptions from the language, and were influenced by the assumptions of existing scholarship. A close reading of the work of these scholar-activists sheds light on the tensions within the revival movement regarding its response to the trauma of language death and the questions of legitimacy and authenticity in the revived variety. Particular space is devoted to an analysis of the preface of Fargher’s dictionary, as well as certain features of the body of the work itself, since this volume is probably the most widely consulted guide to the use of the language today. Finally, it is argued that the Manx language movement today would benefit from a reassessment and discussion of the ideological currents of the past and present, and a judicious evaluation of both the strengths and weaknesses of existing reference works.

Open access
Fluids, cages, and boisterous femininity: The grotesque transgression of patriarchal norms in Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus

Abstract

The article will show that in Nights at the Circus, Carter’s use of the themes of food consumption and excrement operate as both a grotesque means of emancipation from a feminine point-of-view, and a carnivalesque challenge to subversive patriarchal norms and deconstruction of arbitrary patriarchal hierarchies. By turning the simple act of eating into boisterous spectacle, and by handling a bottle of champagne and water hose in a disturbingly masculine manner, Fevvers transgresses the boundary between masculinity and femininity, sheds the patriarchal constraints imposed upon femininity, and thus achieves agency and emancipation. Since she is not able to acquire biological signifier of masculinity, she achieves the transgression of the binary entirely through the performative carnivalesque. The article will also discuss that the overflowing nature of grotesque femininity (both physical and behavioral) enables the female characters to speak and act at their own will, and thus performs as a means of critiquing Victorian patriarchal cultural norms.

Open access
Friend or foe? First language (L1) in second/foreign language (L2/FL) instruction & Vygotsky

Abstract

This theoretical review paper investigates the role of first language (L1) in the mainstream scholarship of second/foreign (L2/FL) language education in the context of language learning, teaching, and bilingual education. The term ‘mainstream’ refers here to the scholarship that is not informed by sociocultural theory in general and Vygotskian sociocultural theory in particular. The paper later explains a Vygotskian perspective on the use of L1 in L2/FL language education and discusses how the perspective may help content teachers in (a) employing L1 in teaching L2/FL content and (b) helping L2/FL students to become self-regulative users of the target language.

Open access