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Jaroslav Kušnír

Abstract

In the context of Baudrillard’s theory of simulacra, this paper analyzes Robert Coover’s depiction of different versions of “reality” as manifested in his short story “Stick Man”. The paper argues that through the depiction of transworld characters oscillating between different ontological levels and modes of representation, Coover

  1. treats the relation between fiction and reality,

  2. deals, in the context of some post-structuralist theories, with a question of representation connected especially with the relation between language and reality,

  3. parodies celebrity culture, mass media manipulation of the audience and consumerism as important aspects of contemporary (American) culture, and points out the replacement of the representation by “simulation” in the contemporary technologically advanced world.

Open access

Monika Černá, Jaroslava Ivanová and Jaroslav Myslivec

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

Giti Karimkhanlooei and Narges Vaezi

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

Jozef Pecina

Abstract

Starting with Andrew Jackson, presidential candidates in the United States used campaign biographies as useful political tools, and since 1824 no presidential election year has passed without a campaign biography. Martin Van Buren, President Jackson’s successor in the White House, became a target of a vicious campaign intended to prevent his election. His Whig opponents used a number of literary genres to slander him, including a mock campaign biography and a novel. The article focuses on the portrayal of Martin Van Buren in The Life of Martin Van Buren, allegedly written by Davy Crockett in 1835, and a novel named The Partisan Leader; A Tale of the Future, written by Nathaniel Beverley Tucker in 1836. Though being of different genres, these curious and obscure works have certain things in common - they were written under pseudonyms, their main goal was to prevent the election of Martin Van Buren and both of them failed in their goal.

Open access

Chukwuka Ogbu Nwachukwu and Urama Evelyn Nwachukwu

Abstract

This paper entitled “Gender, the Nigerian Civil War and Hard Choices: Nihilism or Absurdism(?) in Isidore Okpewho’s The Last Duty” evinces an evaluative excursion into the author’s delineation of gender in war and its concomitants regarding actions, inactions, and the mindset of the actors and the acted-upon (victims) of the fratricidal Nigerian conflict within a designated theatre. We demonstrated that the quantum impact of the war engages some near-totally nihilistic imperatives of the war. Nevertheless, we surmised, at the final count, that the war results in high-wire tension rather than erode the indices for hope regarding the war victims and victimizers alike; and by dangerous extension, the Nigerian nation. Although we conceded the presence of dystopia which is life-threatening and socially destabilizing, our calculation in the final analysis, is that the tensions generated against both genders in the war are essentially absurdist, not nihilist. In this vein of analysis, we concluded that Okpewho’s delineation retains deliberately enough rays for reconstructive, rehabilitative, regenerative and cohesive engagements that will pave the way for societal survival and continuity.

Open access

Pirjo Harjanne, Claudio Díaz Larenas and Seppo Tella

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

Vilija Celiešienė, Virginija Stankevičienė and Daiva Zavistanavičienė

Abstract

The aim of this article is to analyse subject expression evaluation of the non-author language, i.e. the author whose thoughts, discoveries, research results or assumptions are relied on in scientific texts in Lithuanian and English languages, elucidate both universal properties of expression evaluation and the specific ones determined by a particular language and culture. Publication texts of education science field of social science area were selected for the research. Expression evaluation of a quoted author was analysed identifying neutral (surname / name and surname, nationality and residence, scientific and professional activity, time, scientific discoveries, activity achievements, family relations) and subjective (logic and emotional evaluation) attributes. It was determined that education science texts of both languages, Lithuanian and English, do not exhibit a variety of quoted author expression. No examples purveying all possible semantic meanings of attributes were found in both languages. Prevalence of neutral attributes of science subjects and similar aspects of usage of some attributes (surname / name and surname, nationality or residence) reveal general citation traditions determined by universal scientific text regularities rather than a particular language or culture. On the other hand, some tendencies were observed characteristic only to the texts of one or another language and reflecting specific evaluation features of science subject. In the articles of native English speakers, scientific discoveries, results of scientific activity of quoted authors are emphasised whereas Lithuanian authors are more liable to highlight scientific or professional activity and time. Moreover, it is essential to mention that every text represents its author‘s personality to some extent. Thus, the choice of the particular means of expression can be determined by personal qualities of an author.

Open access

Olga A. Krapivkina

Abstract

This study arises out of the intention to examine the features of expert-lay interaction in a jury trial. The paper studies closing arguments constructed by legal experts as possible worlds which would be attractive for jurors. Theory of possible worlds is employed to present discourse practices as versions of the real world which may overlap, supplement or contradict one another. Legal experts construe and present possible worlds to jury members who deliver verdicts on the case, i.e. possess decisional power. Efficient involvement of jurors into the possible world constructed by the legal expert signals formation of discourse of concord. In order to make their own possible world more credible than the world of the procedural opponents, legal experts employ different interaction tools: description of legal concepts, empathy, appeals to social values, imperative and question utterances, personalization.

Open access

Eleni Zotou

Abstract

This paper is going to argue that while early childhood teachers seem to have positive perceptions about intercultural education, the in-question students seem to be compelled to adopt different cultural habits. Data were gathered through a questionnaire distributed in 9 areas of Thessaloniki, completed by 161 teachers. The results showed that most teachers feel that they have enough knowledge about the curriculum regarding intercultural education, perform activities regarding interculturalism and diversity; they believe that students from different cultures feel welcomed and equally treated and participate in all class activities. Teachers suggest that students from different cultures build good relationships with all their peers and there is positive communication between students from different cultures as well as between their parents and teachers. However, the suggestion of most of the sample that students are compelled to adopt Greek cultural habits constrains this positive picture. It is possible that teachers feel that they are achieving positive results regarding intercultural education. It may be possible to recommend that the approaches that teachers report as part of their current practice should continue or that teachers’ own recommendations should be explored further to determine what sort of approach to intercultural education is being adopted.

Open access

Soňa Grofčíková and Monika Máčajová

Abstract

Phonological awareness is considered a key phenomenon having crucial position among abilities and processes which are important and responsible for the development of reading and writing (initial literacy). The paper deals with the significance and level of development of selected cognitive functions of a child in relation to the abilities of phonological awareness. The child’s current cognitive development is a predictor for certain level of phonological awareness. The paper is focused on a description of speech perception, language, oral vocabulary and phonological memory of children in preschool age. It is an output of the research project VEGA no. 1/0637/16 Development of a Diagnostic Tool to Assess the Level of Phonemic Awareness of Children in Preschool Age.