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Open access

Enikő Öveges

Summary

Hungary has witnessed several major attempts to improve the foreign language proficiency of students in primary and secondary school education since the political changes of the 1990s, as both international and national surveys reflect a dramatically low ratio of Hungarian population that self-reports to communicate in any foreign language at any level. Among other initiatives, a major one to boost students’ foreign language competence has been the Year of Intensive Language Learning (YILL), introduced in 2004, which allows secondary schools to integrate an extra school year when the majority of the contact hours are devoted to foreign languages. The major objectives of YILL are as follows: 1) to offer a state-financed and school-based alternative to the widely spread profit-oriented private language tuition; thus 2) granting access to intensive language learning and 3) enhancing equal opportunities; and as a result of the supporting measures, 4) to improve school language education in general. YILL is exemplary in its being monitored from the launch of the first classes to the end of their five-year studies, involving three large-scale, mixed-method surveys and numerous smaller studies. Despite all the measures to assist the planning and the implementation, however, the program does not appear to be an obvious success. The paper introduces the background, reviews and synthesizes the related studies and surveys in order to evaluate the program, and argues that with more considerate planning, the YILL ‘hungaricum’ would yield significantly more benefits.

Open access

Beatrice Sylvie Boufoy-Bastick

Summary

The scientific literature is replete with caustic criticism of teacher development programs. Many programs offer little evidence of success, which in turn has prompted educators towards an international appeal calling for fundamental structural change. A momentous catalyst for this change is the ubiquitous emergence of research on the development of teachers' professional identities. This article speaks to these criticisms through the research on teachers’ professional identity development by using an evidenced-based model which structures teacher professional identity development and applying it to the restructuring of existing teacher development programmes. This article presents the Culturometric Committed Communication (CCC) model as a structural framework for teacher identity development that can be used to systematize the revision of the contents of existing pre-service and in-service professional development programs for the purpose of developing teachers’ professional identities. CCC endorses a dual mission of respectfully regarding teachers’ professional identity and dutifully affirming learners’ cultural identity. This is an intentionally humanistic culturometric application centred on the recognition and valuing of each individual, teacher and learner, for facilitating the success of the pedagogic interaction. CCC is an evidenced-based model that supports the educational mission of teachers, both in adapting pedagogical practices to the learning context and in developing teacher’s professional identity through structurally embedded and empirically evidenced processes of reflection, collaboration and culturally responsive classroom management. Thus the success of these processes is evidenced through the programme. Functionally, its central focus is on (re)negotiating current programme content towards context-relevant cultural identity. Philosophically it is anchored in Culturometrics’ three tenets, viz: an operational definition of Cultural Identity as ‘Values in context’, an assumption that the purpose of all chosen behaviours is to affirm one’s cultural identity and the belief that Culturometrics is a Humanist philosophy. The Culturometric Committed Communication model is derived from these three tenets and used to ensure success in teaching and learning in different educational contexts.

Open access

Christina von Post, Patrik Wikström, Helge Räihä and Vilmantė Liubinienė

Summary

Issues in minority education in relation to citizenship have received more attention lately, because of new requirements for language testing in several countries (Bevelander, Fernandez & Hellström, 2011, p. 101). The acquisition of citizenship is more decisive for immigrant participation in society than the duration of stay in the country (Bevelander, Fernandez & Hellström, 2011). The second language is crucial for active citizenship and integration in this perspective. Most countries in the EU (except Ireland and Sweden) have language requirements for citizenship and the use of language testing becomes increasingly common among the countries that receive migrants. The rapid development highlights the need for new international studies on the relationship between citizenship and conditions for second language learning. The goal of the recent study is to compare premises, perspectives and scales of values of Danish, Norwegian and Swedish language educators, related to the requirements for immigrant citizenship. Previous studies (Björklund & Liubiniené, 2004) indicate that there are major differences in value systems even between the neighbouring countries. To reach the objective of the present study, interviews were conducted with language educators in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The results have revealed two opposing patterns. The values of Swedish informants show a wide-ranging variation, while the Danish and Norwegian data on values are consistently similar. The results raise further questions about the effects caused by differences in values among language educators when comparing the countries and call for a further verification of the data in a more extended study, including Lithuania and other Baltic states.

Open access

Arda Arikan, Ozan Varli and Eyüp Yaşar Kürüm

Summary

Being one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East, Assyrians have continued to live in various parts of Turkey for thousands of years. Today, the estimates related to the number of Assyrians living in Turkey vary between 4,000–25,000 while they cannot benefit from the rights put forward by the Lausanne Treaty among which schooling is the most important. Assyrian community can be said to be deteriorating in number. This decline in the number of Assyrians living in Turkey raises the question of whether they could maintain their ethnic identity while maintaining their language (Syriac). No studies so far have been carried out to find out the linguistic practices of Assyrian community living in Turkey, as well as their attitudes toward the languages they use. This study aims at shedding light on the present situation of Syriac used among the Assyrian community living in Turkey. The participants are limited to those living in Istanbul due to practical reasons. In this study, language attitudes and language use practices of Assyrian community living in Istanbul are found out through a language attitudes questionnaire. It is hoped that the results of the study will provide the current situation of the Syriac language in terms of its ethnolinguistic vitality as spoken among the community. It is also hoped that the results of the study will provide useful data for those who would like to help protect the ethnolinguistic identities of Assyrian minority in Turkey, as well as all those dispersed around the world, which seems to have become increasingly important for such a country at the gates of the European Union as Turkey.

Open access

Guillem Belmar

Summary

All literature reflects the existing discourse in a given community, and translation –as a process of rewriting texts– is a readily accessible tool which linguistic minorities can use to shift power dynamics in their society or, at least, suggest new paradigms and new discourses. In this paper we analyze the key role which translation plays in the cultural systems of minority languages and how translation helps revitalize these languages. The aim of the paper is to defend this key role of translation in the revitalization processes of all minority languages and, at the same time, to highlight the main obstacles one may come across and to try to establish some basic guidelines which may be applied throughout all these processes to maximize their results. Therefore, this paper deals with language standardization, language planning, choice of texts to translate, source languages of the translations, target audience of the translations, diglossia, actual bilingualism, language orientation in translations and the dichotomy between originals written in the language and translations. In order to do so, we will first picture the theoretical frame upon which this paper is based and we will go on to discuss translation into Basque. Finally, we will establish a set of guidelines for other minority languages.

Open access

Jūratė Matulionienė and Daiva Pundziuvienė

Summary

A considerable number of immigrants in the United Kingdom confront challenges as they acculturate into a new way of life, where language competence significantly influences their social, economic and cultural integration. Such immigrants are often at an educational and social disadvantage compared to the majority of population due to their different social and cultural backgrounds, prior educational experience and the lack of language competencies. The use of technologies for teaching / learning the host country language has been emphasized in European Strategy 2020 policy. Although learning of English usually takes place very naturally in an English-speaking informal environment, formal educational institutions in the UK and immigrants’ native countries tend to be very helpful as well. Assuming that such learners of English usually need more intensively-paced learning and knowing that professional commitments or other reasons can prevent them from coming to classes, blended learning can help them reach their goals faster and not lose connection with their native country. In order to develop insight into such English learners’ needs as well as to identify teaching forms that could help in meeting these needs, this study used a survey to explore the most important factors influencing the development of the UK immigrants’ English language competence and students’ general practice of using ICT for English learning and their attitudes towards ICT in foreign language learning. Furthermore, the research aimed to answer the question whether a blended strategy of language learning organized by their native countries institutions would be able to positively influence the learning outcomes while maintaining a connection with their native country and culture. The research sample was a group of English learners enrolled in an ESOL course. To explore the needs, experiences and attitudes of the participants, a quantitative research methodology was applied and short semi-structured interviews were conducted. The present research has demonstrated that the advancement of technologies has increased the use of ICT not only for personal purposes but also for work and studies. The students have indicated quite a frequent use of various on-line English study tools and programmes and have demonstrated a generally positive attitude towards blended English learning.

Open access

Jean Paul Kouega and Mildred Aseh

Summary

This study, which deals with code-switching and language choice in multilingual contexts, describes the use of Pidgin in creative works in English in Cameroon, with the focus on the forms that this language takes in the works, the types of characters who are made to speak this language, and the functions that this language plays in these works. The data comprise three plays and two novels, all published between 2000 and 2006 by experienced writers who have a good command of English and yet make their characters speak in Pidgin. The analysis shows that Pidgin in the corpus takes the form of individual lexemes like salaka (libation, sacrifice) and relatively short utterances like This sun fit kill man (This sun is so hot that it can kill someone.). The characters who speak Pidgin in these literary works are generally low-ranking and rural people, illiterates and other people who are hardly looked up to in the Cameroonian society. Finally, Pidgin helps writers to realise some stylistic effects such as variations on the scale of formality, with English being used when addressing a superior person and Pidgin when addressing an inferior person. Most importantly, creative writers reproduce in their works what is observed in the Cameroonian society and this can be regarded as a formal way of enhancing their readers’ plurilingual competence.

Open access

Vilma Mikašytė

Summary

Lithuanian linguists believe that dialects in Lithuania are under threat of extinction. Many scholars who strive for language maintenance around the world suggest that the Internet provides free and unlimited possibilities to promote and maintain endangered or lesser spoken linguistic varieties. One of the dialect speaker groups in Lithuania, Samogitians, explore the aforementioned possibilities as they have recently become very active on social media. They promote the dialect and numerous Samogitian items as well as discuss various issues about their dialect and identity. The article analyzes the elements of the Samogitian identity as it is portrayed on various Samogitian pages on Facebook. The study employs several approaches, including Language maintenance, Cybercultures, and Discourse Analysis. The results reveal that the essential element of the Samogitian identity is their dialect due to which, in spite of the increasing moral and financial support, the speakers of the variety still feel stigmatized. Nevertheless, people who speak Samogitian support each other in using the dialect and promoting it not only on the Internet but in ‘real’ life as well. Since many Samogitians are proud of speaking the dialect and being Samogitian, it is a positive sign for the future maintenance, and social media is one of the most effective means through which it can be achieved.

Open access

Elena Grigorievna Vyushkina

Summary

The EU consistent policy on languages promotes new language teaching methods and encourages pedagogical experiments at all levels of education, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) being one of language education innovations. Over the past twenty years CLIL proved to be an effective method in foreign language acquisition and there is considerable evidence of successful CLIL implementation in secondary schools in many European countries. Speaking about foreign languages in higher education, it is necessary to note that abbreviation EMI – English as a Medium of Instruction – is mentioned much more often than CLIL. One of the reasons for lower CLIL implementation at a tertiary level is the complexity of subject contents taught at universities. Furthermore, if a student’s major is law, the issue becomes more challenging because of the differences in common law and civil law systems. However, one of lawyer’s professional competences directly connected with language learning is a communicative competence. Such spheres of lawyer’s activity as client counseling, negotiation, and mediation rely heavily on listening, paraphrasing, reframing, summarising, and skills of question formation regardless of what legal system a lawyer belongs to. These so-called soft skills can be developed within a foreign language course but it seems more rational to master them through a professional medium. Therefore, law teachers should be engaged in designing a substantive part of course materials, while language teachers are to be in charge of communicative competence development. The present study aims at analyzing the practice and experience in designing and implementing an original optional course “Client Consultation in English”. This course can serve as an illustration of a CLIL Legal English course and its structure can be used as an example to follow while designing similar courses.

Open access

István Csernicskó and Réka Máté

Summary

Several analyses have summarized the linguistic situation of Ukraine, highlighting various aspects of the problematic issues of Ukraine’s language policy. The fundamental problems of the linguistic situation in Ukraine are the lack of consensus regarding the issue of what role the Ukrainian language has in constructing the new post-Soviet identity and in nation building, what status the Russian language should be given in Ukraine. According to the data from the 2001 census, 80% of the adult population of Ukraine speak (at least) one other language fluently in addition to their mother tongue. In the country it is clear that the reality in most of Ukraine is of bilingualism. Almost everyone in Ukraine is bilingual; to varying degrees, a fundamental characteristic of the language situation in Ukraine is bilingualism of society. In spite of this, due to negative historical experiences, bilingualism is stigmatized in Ukraine, and that makes codification of bilingualism impossible on the state level. The paper shows the attitude of the political elite that took power after the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych towards the issue of bilingualism. We present how the linguists and representatives of the intellectuals comment on the bilingualism in Ukraine. The primordial, national romantic view that makes the Ukrainian language and the (free and independent) Ukrainian nation the same nowadays strongly dominates in Ukraine.