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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
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
Human trafficking: Commercial sexual exploitation and forced domestic labour in African literature

Abstract

Just like social occurrences such as human sacrifice and slavery enhanced retardation of progress in Africa in the past, trafficking is another social occurrence addressed in contemporary African literature that impedes progress and tarnishes the image of the victims. Human trafficking is rampant in Africans and some part of the world in this 21st century. This paper examines how Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo’s Trafficked (2008) and Chika Unigwe’s On Black Sisters′ Street (2009) highlight social occurrences and how they contribute to the spread of girl trafficking in Africa. It also explores how both men and women are partners in trafficking, forming trafficking networks that lure girls from Nigeria to Europe and make huge profits from their misery. These pimps use ‘juju magic’ and rituals as a threat to exert complete control over the girls and also to ensure their compliance. The trafficked girls share their life experiences by telling their tales of woes exposing the shame that accompanies the sex trade and the stigmatization they suffer in the society. Their experiences are presented by the authors to highlight the trafficked girls′ pains, misery and struggle for freedom in order to appeal to everybody in the society to fight against human trafficking. The paper also examines how these exploited and depressed trafficked girls that have lost their self-esteem can still live fulfilled lives if government agencies and nongovernmental organizations come to their rescue.

Open access
Metadiscourse in persuasive essays by elementary students in South Korea and the US

Abstract

This study investigated metadiscourse in the persuasive essays of fourth graders from both urban and rural communities: 224 students in South Korea and 188 in the US. Each student was asked to write a persuasive essay in his or her native Korean or English in response to a story not previously read or discussed. Analysis with a taxonomy developed by Hyland (2004) indicated significant differences in the metadiscourse by country. In terms of interactive metadiscourse, South Korean students used more sentence-level transitions than U.S. students, who used more frame markers and endophoric markers. With regard to interactional metadiscourse, U.S. students used more hedges, boosters, engagement markers, and self-mentions in their essays. This study also compared the students′ essays by the type of community in which the writers lived. In the US the essays of students in rural communities contained more hedges, whereas those of students in urban areas included significantly more self-mentions. In South Korea, no significant difference was detected in the metadiscourse of students living in rural and urban areas.

Open access
National identity and language: students′ usage of English terminology within the Croatian language

Abstract

This article explores the issue of whether the strength of a country’s national identity can determine extensive use of English instead of Croatian equivalents among Croatian students of kinesiology, both in their professional (i.e. expressions related to sport) and everyday language usage. The study addresses the following issues: a) what does having stronger national identity mean; b) is there correlation between strength of national identity and gender differences in knowledge and preferences in using Croatian equivalents over English terms; c) in which context (everyday or sports) do students use more Croatian terms than English ones? A questionnaire was given to a sample of 100 students from the Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split, Croatia. The Spearman Rank Order Correlations were used in establishing a correlation between national identity and the usage of Croatian equivalents, while the Mann-Whitney U Test was used in testing gender differences. To conclude, the results show a negative correlation between strength of national identity and knowledge of Croatian equivalents (in 51% of cases, in sports terminology, students do not know the Croatian word, and 78% prefer using English sport terms). Furthermore, gender differences were only found on the scale regarding English grades in high school (women had better grades than men).

Open access