Previous studies based on English, Russian and Chinese corpora show that the average word length in texts grows steadily across centuries. These findings are in accordance with our results: the average word length in Arabic texts also grows during the analysed time span (8th century to the first half of the 20th century). Our paper shows the detailed statistics of the word length distribution century by century. The dynamics of the average word length correlates with the dynamics of the average word distribution entropy, which encourages an explanation of the phenomenon based on the Shannonian theory of communication.
Claudio J Rodríguez H
Metaphors constitute a relevant method for both building and making sense of theories. Semiotics is not exempt from their influence, and an important range of semiotic theories depends on metaphors to be meaningful. In this paper, we wish to examine the place of theory-constitutive metaphors considering the interaction view and the extent to which some areas of semiotics, particularly, the semiotics of culture and biosemiotics, are enriched by having metaphors dominate the way we think about them. The intention of the paper is not to document the different metaphors that have built semiotic theory, but rather to observe through a number of examples that semiotic research contains theory-building metaphors and that these are productive means of developing semiotic thinking further, with the caveat that theory change can be unexpected based on how we build metaphors for our theories.
Hana Owsianková, Dan Faltýnek and Ondřej Kučera
In this study, we aim to introduce the analytical method bag-of-words, which is mainly used as a tool for the analysis (document classification, authorship attribution and so on; e.g. [1, 2]) of natural languages. Quantitative linguistic methods similar to bag-of-words (e.g. Damerau–Levenshtein distance in the paper by Serva and Petroni ) have been used for the mapping of language evolution within the field of glottochronology. We attempt to apply this method in the field of biological taxonomy – on the Brassicaceae (Cruciferae) family. The subjects of our interest are well-known cultivated crops, which at first sight are morphologically very different and culturally perceived as objects of different interests (e.g. oil from oilseed rape, turnip as animal feed and cabbage as a side dish). Despite the phenotypic divergence of these crops, they are very closely related, which is not morphologically obvious at first sight. For this reason, we think that Brassicaceae crops are appropriate illustrative examples for introducing the method. For the analysis, we use genetic markers (internal transcribed spacer [ITS] and maturase K [matK]). Until now, the bag-of-words model has not been used for biological taxonomisation purposes; therefore, the results of the bag-of-words analysis are compared with the existing very well-developed Brassica taxonomy. Our goal is to present a method that is suitable for language development reconstruction as well as possibly being usable for biological taxonomy purposes.
This paper examines Harold Pinter’s late play Mountain Language as a depiction of political oppression specifically rooted in linguistic oppression. The play presents a “mountain people” who have been forbidden to use their “mountain language” by a coercive state authority. The play contrasts the brutality of the officers and guards with the humanity (represented through two still-life ‘tableau’ scenes) of the victims, the “mountain people.” The paper notes, however, that there is an unsettling linguistic twist to the play, in that the “mountain language” and the “language of the capital” are both English in performance. The paper suggests that this is partly motivated by Pinter’s expressed desire to make the play disturbingly recognizable to western audiences, thus removing the spectator’s or reader’s ability to judge such oppressions as being exotic, irrelevant, or encountered only in distant unstable countries. The paper argues that Pinter’s focus upon linguistic prohibition, linguistic discrimination, and linguistic denigration is rendered unexpectedly universal through the reliance of the text upon English as the medium for both the prohibited language and the language of authority.
Guillem Belmar, Cindy van Boven and Sara Pinho
This study focuses on the motivation of adults learning a minority language, based on a tripartite model: integrative and instrumental (Gardner & Lambert, 1959; 1972) and personal (see Benson, 1991) motivation. Adults learning a minority language are potential new speakers, a group that has been described as central to language revitalisation (see Pujolar & O’Rourke, 2018). Since the motivation to learn these languages does not seem to be linked to economic success or wider job opportunities, researchers have taken interest in knowing what drives people to learn a minority language (e.g., O’Rourke & DePalma, 2016). In this study, (potential) new speaker motivations were investigated by means of ten open-ended interviews with adult learners of West Frisian—a minority language spoken in the Netherlands—in two different settings: Afûk Frisian courses (a more traditional learning setting) and Bernlef Frisian courses (a student association that offers informal courses for their members). The results show a predominance of integrative and personal motivation (also found in O’Rourke & DePalma, 2016), but not exclusively (as suggested by Jaffe, 2015) since the language appears to be tightly linked to the province and it is deemed beneficial—to a certain extent—for socioeconomic success in the province.
Maria José Sá, Carlos Miguel Ferreira and Sandro Serpa
Academic conferences have always been privileged spaces and moments for the dissemination of new scientific knowledge, as well as for social interaction and for the establishment and development of social networks among scientists. However, the virtual dimension of conferences, in which individuals are not physically present in the same place, begins to emerge as an increasingly used possibility, which implies a different framing of these scientific events. This paper seeks to comparatively analyse several models of academic conferences, putting forth their advantages, limitations and potentials. Furthermore, it also seeks to reasonably envision the importance and challenges to be faced in the near future. The analysis allows concluding that virtual conferences tend to take on an increasingly central role in this type of scientific dissemination, but without totally relegating the conference mode with face-to-face interaction. Moreover, there may be conferences that emerge as a hybrid between these two types of conferences, in an attempt to provide their main benefits to the various participants. However, the insufficient literature on this topic calls for the need to develop and deepen studies in this area that allow understanding this academic and social, but also economic phenomenon, in its broader implications.
This paper is devoted to the analysis of the use of hedging in a corpus of articles from applied linguistics, and in this sense, it is complementary to the previous research of academic persuasion in research articles (Hinkel, 1997; Hyland, 1996, 2004). This study examined the types and frequency of hedges employed by the authors of academic research articles (RAs) in the field of applied linguistics. A corpus consists of 20 research articles, randomly selected from the Open Access Journals on Educational linguistics (5 RAs), Psycholinguistics (5 RAs), Sociolinguistics (5 RAs) and Pragmatics (5 RAs) The data were manually coded according to Hyland’s taxonomy of hedges and hedging devices (Hyland, 1996) and then formatted to calculate the frequency and type of hedges in RAs on Applied Linguistics. Results of the study indicate that reader-oriented hedges constitute the main pragmatic type of hedges in RAs in the field of applied linguistics, recognizing the need for reader’s ratification of the author’s claims and politeness conventions of academic discourse per se. Combination of qualitative and quantitative methods applied to computer readable data proved that hedges in RAs on Applied Linguistics are topic dependent, showing differences in typology, frequency and distribution even within one discipline.
Daiva Verikaitė-Gaigalienė and Loreta Andziulienė
CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), as an approach to bilingual education in which both content and a foreign language are taught together, started to be employed in secondary schools of Lithuania more than a decade ago; however, there still exists a diversity of opinions towards its benefits and flaws. The studies on CLIL in the European countries have shown that the success of CLIL very much depends on the existing policy documents on the national level regulating CLIL implementation and providing guidance to schools and teachers. It also depends on the amount of research conducted on CLIL in a particular country. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to analyse the current state of affairs of CLIL in Lithuania in terms of the existing policy documents, implemented projects and conducted research that would serve as a theoretical background highlighting the necessity for further analytical investigation. The results of the analysis have shown that no coherent national policies in terms of teaching CLIL have been developed or legal government regulations have been issued in Lithuania until today. The present study has revealed that systematic approach towards investigation of CLIL in Lithuania has not yet been adopted which resulted in the lack of comprehensive analyses on an overall situation of CLIL in Lithuania as well as on factors ensuring efficiency of CLIL implementation in particular. The findings of the study point towards the need for such analyses in the future.