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  • Author: Mirosław Pawlak x
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Grammar Learning Strategies and Language Attainment: Seeking a Relationship

Despite major advances in research on language learning strategies, there are still areas that have received only scant attention, and one of them is undoubtedly learning grammar. The paper contributes to the paucity of empirical investigations in this domain by presenting the findings of a study which sought to investigate the relationship between the use of grammar learning strategies (GLS) reported by 142 English Department students and target language attainment, operationalized as their performance in a practical grammar course and the end-of-the-year examination. Information about GLS use was obtained by means of a tool that was designed on the basis of a theoretical scheme proposed by Oxford, Rang Lee and Park (2007) in which GLS are divided into three categories depending on whether they represent implicit learning with focus on form, explicit inductive learning and explicit deductive learning. The analysis failed to find a strong positive relationship between the use of GLS and achievement, irrespective of the level of the BA program, or statistically significant differences in this respect between lower-level and higher-level participants. The highest, albeit very weak, correlation was identified between the use of GLS associated with explicit deductive learning and grammar course grades, which testifies to the traditional nature of instruction the subjects receive. The findings serve as a basis for putting forward a handful of recommendations for learning, teaching and testing grammar as well as directions for future studies into grammar learning strategies.

M-Ary Phase Modulation for Digital Watermarking

In spread spectrum based watermarking schemes, it is a challenging task to embed multiple bits of information into the host signal. M-ary modulation has been proposed as an effective approach to multibit watermarking. It has been proved that an M-ary modulation based watermarking system outperforms significantly a binary modulation based watermarking system. However, in the existing M-ary modulation based algorithms, the value of M is restricted to be less than 256, because as M increases, the computation workload for data extraction advances exponentially. In this paper, we propose an efficient M-ary modulation scheme, i.e., M-ary phase modulation, which reduces the computation in data extraction to a very low level. With this scheme, it is practical to implement an M-ary modulation based algorithm with a high value of M, e.g., M = 220. This is significant for a watermarking system, because it can either greatly increase the data capacity of a watermark given the necessary watermark robustness, or considerably improve the watermark robustness given the amount of information of the watermark. The superiority of the proposed scheme is verified by simulation results.

Abstract

Since the arrival of the Internet and its tools, computer technology has become of considerable significance to both teachers and students, and it is an obvious resource for foreign language teaching and learning. The paper presents the results of a study which aimed to determine the effect of the application of Internet resources on the development of learner autonomy as well as the impact of greater learner independence on attainment in English as a foreign language. The participants were 46 Polish senior high school students divided into the experimental group (N = 28) and the control (N = 18) group. The students in the experimental group were subjected to innovative instruction with the use of the Internet and the learners in the control group were taught in a traditional way with the help of the coursebook. The data were obtained by means questionnaires, interviews, learners’ logs, an Internet forum, observations as well as language tests, and they were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. The results show that the experimental students manifested greater independence after the intervention and they also outperformed the controls on language tests.

Nonlinear Image Processing and Filtering: A Unified Approach Based on Vertically Weighted Regression

A class of nonparametric smoothing kernel methods for image processing and filtering that possess edge-preserving properties is examined. The proposed approach is a nonlinearly modified version of the classical nonparametric regression estimates utilizing the concept of vertical weighting. The method unifies a number of known nonlinear image filtering and denoising algorithms such as bilateral and steering kernel filters. It is shown that vertically weighted filters can be realized by a structure of three interconnected radial basis function (RBF) networks. We also assess the performance of the algorithm by studying industrial images.

Abstract

A person’s willingness to communicate (WTC), believed to stem from a combination of proximal and distal variables comprising psychological, linguistic, educational and communicative dimensions of language, appears to be a significant predictor of success in language learning. The ability to communicate is both a means and end of language education, since, on the one hand, being able to express the intended meanings in the target language is generally perceived as the main purpose of any language course and, on the other, linguistic development proceeds in the course of language use. However, MacIntyre (2007, p. 564) observes that some learners, despite extensive study, may never become successful L2 speakers. The inability or unwillingness to sustain contacts with more competent language users may influence the way learners are evaluated in various social contexts. Establishing social networks as a result of frequent communication with target language users is believed to foster linguistic development. WTC, initially considered a stable personality trait and then a result of context-dependent influences, has recently been viewed as a dynamic phenomenon changing its intensity within one communicative event (MacIntyre and Legatto, 2011; MacIntyre et al., 2011). The study whose results are reported here attempts to tap into factors that shape one’s willingness to speak during a communicative task. The measures employed to collect the data - selfratings and surveys - allow looking at the issue from a number of perspectives.