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CLIL: Conceptual differences in teaching “realia” to philological and non-philological students

Abstract

In Slovakia, modern Cultural Studies of English-speaking countries have been integrated into university curricula since the 1990s. However, there is a fundamental difference in the role CLIL plays in teaching “realia” (alternatively: cultural studies, country studies and area studies) for philological students and for business students of non-philological faculties. While philological students study realia with primary linguistic and cultural goals (i.e. to learn new words, terminology, context and comparative cultural aspects), non-philological students’ goals are business oriented (i.e. allow a successful graduate to function effectively in a new business environment). That affects the methodology, teaching procedure and assessment of both disciplines in debate.

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Contents, communicational needs and learner expectations: a study of SSL in Haitian immigrants

Abstract

This research aims to prove the effectiveness of Spanish as a Second Language lessons for Haitians designed by volunteers in Santiago de Chile. The methodology used through the study was based on the application of two questionnaires to Haitian students in order to compare results, and finally obtain an average that reflects the achievement of the communicative functions expected. Results indicate that neither the lessons planned, material giver nor the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages fulfilled such expectations. Findings are discussed in relation to previous studies on methodologies for Spanish as a Second Language for Haitian immigrants in Chile (Toledo, 2016)

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The devil inside that won’t be caged or fixed by words: Fluidity and ethics in Ian McGuire’s The North Water

Abstract

In Ian McGuire’s novel The North Water (2016), Patrick Sumner, a young medical doctor recently dismissedfrom the British Army with his reputation and professional prospects in ruins, accepts a poorly paid position as a surgeon on a whaling ship in his attempt to flee from his past and his troubled conscience. However, contrary to his expectations, in the Arctic Circle he faces an ordeal far more demanding than anything he has hitherto endured in the form of the harpooner Henry Drax, a dangerous psychopath who is ready to abuse and murder anyone who is an obstacle to the satisfaction of his brutish physical needs. Confronted with violence and cruelty beyond understanding, within the fluid framework of the distorted ethical norms and values of the heterogeneous crew, the embittered Sumner is gradually forced to abandon his protective shell of resigned indifference and reassess the moral stances and responsibilities of a civilized person when faced with human wickedness. Though McGuire acknowledges primarily the inspiration of Herman Melville and Cormac McCarthy, this paper argues that in ethical terms the novel responds to Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness, pushing the protagonist’s relationship to the other to an extreme by making the other an embodiment of pure evil.

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Doctor Who meets Loving Vincent Van Gogh (A case study of the “tortured artist” stock character in popular culture)

Abstract

Methodologically connecting at its core the experience-based and interpretation-based aesthetic approach to popular culture/popular art(s) on one hand and the basis-building views of what is called arch-textual thematology on the other, the paper seeks to examine, following its particular embodiment, one of the most stable, recurring and probably therefore one of the most iconic stock characters - the “tortured artist” stock character. This example of a “stereotyped character easily recognized by readers or audiences from recurrent appearances in literary or folk tradition” (Baldick, 2008, p. 317) can be - besides other principal and distinctive examples such as the “mad scientist”, the “lady/damsel in distress” or, let’s say, the “everyman” - witnessed all across culture, including the sub-sphere of popular culture, and the arts. The implied cultural significance and “omnipresence” of the “tortured artist” stock character can be aptly illustrated by Vincent Van Gogh and not only as a real-life tortured artist prototype or even archetype but also as a popular model for numerous and various cultural depictions - from poems by Charles Bukowski through the “moving pictures” of Loving Vincent to an episode of the well-recognized British TV show Doctor Who.

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Facets of translation in foreign language education: a tentative classification of forms and uses

Abstract

The paper provides an overview of the forms in which translation is used in foreign language education. A tentative classification is suggested which differentiates between facilitative translation as a supporting process that helps to overcome learning constraints, deliberate translation as an independent task with a predetermined objective that targets learners’ foreign language competence and skills, and simulated translation as an activity from which additional pedagogical benefits regarding learners’ foreign language proficiency can be derived. From the side of the learner, facilitative translation constitutes a complex learning strategy that can be applied for a variety of strategic purposes (memory-related, cognitive, compensatory, metacognitive, affective, and social), while from the side of the teacher it represents a scaffolding tool that can be consolidated into a fully-fledged teaching technique. Deliberate translation can further be differentiated according to the specifics of pedagogical focus. Language-focused translation, targeting learners’ grammatical accuracy or vocabulary range and control, and skill-focused translation, targeting one of the four basic communicative language skills, can be used for both instruction-related and diagnostic purposes. The focus on the holistic use of the available linguistic repertoire results in the two complex uses of translation as an incentive for communication and as a communicative activity aimed at developing the skill of cross-language mediation. A particular type of simulated translation which appears to be particularly suited for the purposes of foreign language education is audiovisual translation.

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The importance of intra-linguistic diversity in teaching Slovenian as the first language

Abstract

In recent decades, Slovenian sociolinguistic situation and within the functions of different language varieties have dramatically changed. In spite of this process, the standard language remains a language variety that enables an individual to participate equally in educational and public life. As the Slovenian schools are not successful enough in developing of the discursive flexibility and mastering of the standard language, in the article, the functions of Standard language in modern Slovenian-speaking society is described; the specific groups of primary Slovenian language speakers are defined, and some solutions for improving the first language learning are suggested.

In 1990’s, in opposite to the prevailing traditional structural language-stratification theory, the new classification of the primary sociolects, based on the English functional linguistics, by A. E. Skubic was represented. According to his theory, the sociolects are defined as non-hierarchically ordered cultivated or marginal language varieties that are used and identified with by different social groups. Based on Skubic’s classification, two main groups of primary-Slovenian language speakers can be described. The speakers of the cultivated primary sociolects are mostly self-confident users of language, identifying themselves with the main culture. In opposite, the speakers of the marginal sociolects could be de-privileged due to their linguistic deficit in standard language and micro-cultural discursive patterns, used in educational or public contexts.

As it is suggested, to improve students’ linguistic competence and diminish deficits, the discursive flexibility should be understood as a complex awareness, consisting of cognitive, emotional-evaluative and active dimensions. Therefore, the basic principle of first language teaching should become the extended holistic principle, emphasizing the inclusion of standard and different non-standard language varieties, observation of their different functions in specific communicative situations and reflection about the complex context, that can be implemented to first language teaching in all basic phases of learning.

Open access
An investigation into the effects of prompt selection on writing complexity, accuracy, and fluency: The case of Iranian learners at different proficiency levels

Abstract

Self-selecting of the material has been the arena of discussion by the researchers of L2 pedagogy. While some believe that it can be effective, others believe that it is detrimental to L2 learning. Hence, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of self-selected and teacher assigned writing prompts on the writing complexity, accuracy, and fluency of Iranian EFL learners at beginning, intermediate, and advanced proficiency levels. The theoretical aspects of the current research were founded based on Theory of Reasoned Action (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980) and Choice Theory (Glasser, 1998). Given that, 52 Iranian EFL learners (beginning N = 19, intermediate N = 16, advanced N = 17) participated in this study. Each student was asked to write about two writing prompts: one selected by the students and the other by the teacher. Using relevant indexes, we measured writing complexity, accuracy and fluency with regard to the two writing prompts. The results indicated that there was a statistically significant difference between the writing complexity, accuracy, and fluency of L2 learners when they wrote about their own self-selected prompts and when they wrote about the teacher assigned ones. The results also revealed that L2 learners’ writings were more complex, accurate, and fluent when they wrote about their self-selected prompts. The findings of this study can have some implications for L2 writing instructors and test designers.

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Lowland Slovak youth literature and its interpretational and educational aspects (within and outside the school)

Abstract

An integral part of the Slovak cultural context is also Lowland Slovak literature, which includes certain areas of Hungary, Romania and Serbia. The paper outlines the partial development of Slovak youth literature in these regions. It gradually characterizes the most important aspects of diachrony of this segment of writing (in a certain chronotope that is bound to selected prototexts). Based on objective-subjective interpretations of three emblematic works of this context, it highlights - as a certain typology - not only the general / universal, but also the specific / particular (that is particularly relevant to the context) in intra- and intercultural relations. It accentuates the literary tradition, which is still a useful source of realistic short stories and novels for child percipients in these diasporas. It also traditionally and innovatively points out the typical features of teaching in individual national-minority schools in the mentioned countries. Methodologically (but also practically) it is, of course, based, on thematic, motif related, etc. aspects of the analyzed (selected) works and their possible reflection in school education and learning environment. Finally, the use of language / features / motifs / aspects / procedures is concretized in specific conditions outside the physical boundaries of the homeland as a kind of perspective on the correlation of the difficult process of cultural education itself.

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Narrating the extremes: The language of suffering and survival in Laila Lalami’s The Moor's Account

Abstract

In the 16th century, the tragic Narvaez expedition to the New World ended with only four survivors: three Spaniard masters and a Moor slave who had never been given a chance to give his testimony as his companions had. In the fictional memoir The Moor’s Account (2014), Laila Lalami gives voice to Mustafa/Estebanico to narrate the hardships they went through from his perspective, which reflects his Arabic and Islamic identity. His story depicts several forms of human suffering: deprivation and poverty in his home country Morocco under the Portuguese occupation, slavery and torment while in Spain, and eight years of privation and wandering in the wilderness of North America. The paper will employ postcolonial poetics to reveal the literary devices used to recount these forms of human suffering as they are represented through the ethnicity of the narrator. This in-text analysis will link linguistic and aesthetic signs in the text to their interpretative functions in cultural reconciliation. Therefore, it will highlight the ideological and aesthetic aspects which classify the novel as postcolonial writing. Then, it will focus on the suffering-survival dichotomy and its representation in the narrative discourse.

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The Nativeness of Breton Speakers and Their Erasure

Abstract

I discuss the nativeness of heritage speakers of Breton in the twentieth century. I present a syntactic test designed for Breton that sets apart its native speakers from its late learners, for whom Breton is a second language. Nativeness is revealed by a better tolerance to syntactic overload when sufficient linguistic stress is applied. Both heritage speakers of inherited Breton and early bilinguals whose linguistic input comes exclusively from school answer this test alike, which I take as a sign they are cognitively natives. The syntactic nativeness of children deprived of familial Breton input suggests there is many more young Breton natives among contemporary speakers than previously assumed. Taking stock of these results, I discuss the cultural erasure of Breton native speakers. I compare their cultural treatment with the figure of the ghost. I end by a discussion of the term new speaker.

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