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Is there a correlation between form and function? A syntactic and functional investigation of the introductory it pattern in student writing

Abstract

The introductory it pattern, as in ‘It is important to note that information was added’, is a tool used by academic writers for a range of different rhetorical and information-structural purposes. It is thus an important pattern for students to learn. Since previous research on student writing has indicated that there seems to be a correlation between form and function of the pattern, the present study sets out to investigate this more systematically in non-native-speaker and nativespeaker student writing in two disciplines (linguistics and literature). In doing so, the study adds to and extends previous research looking into factors such as NS status and discipline. It uses data from three corpora: ALEC, BAWE and MICUSP. The results show that there is indeed a correlation between form and function, as the most common syntactic types of the pattern each display a preferred function and vice versa. While very few differences across NS status were found, there were certain discipline-specific disparities. The findings, which could be useful for teaching students about the use of the introductory it pattern, also have implications for the automatized functional tagging of parsed corpora.

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Linguistic complexity in high-school students’ EFL writing

Abstract

This study examined the syntactic and semantic complexity of L2 English writing in a Bosnian-Herzegovinian high school. Forty texts written by individual students, ten per grade, were quantitatively analyzed by applying methods established in previous research. The syntactic portion of the analysis, based on the t-unit analysis introduced by Hunt (1965), was done using the Web-based L2 Syntactic Complexity Analyzer (Lu, 2010), while the semantic portion, largely based on the theory laid out in systemic functional linguistics (Halliday & Matthiessen, 2014), was done using the Web-based Lexical Complexity Analyzer (Ai & Lu, 2010) as well as manual identification of grammatical metaphors. The statistical analysis included tests of variance, correlation, and effect size. It was found that the syntactic and semantic complexity of writing increases in later grades; however, this increase is not consistent across all grades.

Open access
in ExELL
Palatalisation in Dublin Irish, or How to Speak Irish with a Dublin Accent

Abstract

This paper focuses on palatalisation in Irish spoken by Dublin-based bilinguals with English as their first language. As opposed to previous researches in Irish phonetics and phonology, this study examines new speakers of Irish, whose speech was recorded in November 2014. All informants were born and raised in Dublin, lived either in the city or in the neighbouring counties and demonstrated sufficient fluency in Irish, i.e. had no problems with reading, could actively participate in conversation and give detailed answers without switching to English. Computer analysis of their data has shown that even though in traditional Irish dialects palatalisation is not position-bound, there is a correlation between palatalisation of a consonant and its neighbouring vowel quality in the speech of Dublin bilingualsdue to English influence andother factors.

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Successful Learners of Irish as an L2: Motivation, Identity and Linguistic Mudes

Abstract

This article presents the results of a small-scale research conducted for a master’s thesis on the motivation to learn Irish on the part of university students and members of the Gaelic society An Cumann Gaelach. In the light of questionnaires’ results and interviews, the emphasis is placed on the links between motivation, identity, and potential key moments in learners’ lives. Using an AMTB-type questionnaire (n=45), the author puts to the test Dörnyei’s Motivational Self System theory (2005) in the context of the learning of Irish by looking at the correlation between the motivational intensity of 45 students and six variables (Ideal L2 Self, Ought to Self, Ideal L2 Community, Instrumentality, Parental encouragement, and Role of teachers). The notion of Ideal L2 Self, or the capacity to picture oneself speaking an L2 in the future, clearly appears to be strongly correlated with the respondents’ motivational intensity (r=.75 p<.01), in accordance with Dörnyei’s model. However results concerning extrinsic factors differ from previous research, putting forward distinctive features of the learning of minority languages. The second phase of the research looks at the language learning narratives of three An Cumann Gaelach’s members through the qualitative analysis of three interview transcripts. The results clearly show that time spent in Irish summer colleges are linguistic mudes (Pujolar and Puigdevall 2015), or key-moments, which triggered the interest in the language for the three students interviewed.

Open access
Proust - the Scientist

Abstract

Proust was not only a French writer, but - based on his incredible scientific knowledge and descriptions in his novel - to some extent, a neurologist and psychologist. Far ahead of his time, Proust illustrated in his masterpiece In Search of Lost Time a link between personal memories and sensory stimuli. In his novels, he explains the mechanism of memory retrieval after perceiving a sensation.

Without a doubt the most famous scene of In Search of Lost Time remains the moment when the taste of a French pastry, called “madeleine,” rekindles the childhood memories of the narrator Marcel in the first volume Swann’s Way. Similarly, listening to Vinteuil’s Sonata triggers and maintains Swann’s love for Odette and its expression in the second volume of the masterpiece In Search of Lost Time.

His descriptions reveal that human senses are not only linked to personal memories, but may also trigger them. Moreover, contemporary studies in the biological field have shown that there are correlations between stimuli and intangible feelings and states of mind, such as love, hatred, and sympathy, primarily located in the amygdala of the human brain.

Reading Proust’s masterpiece In Search of Lost Time through the lens of current neurological studies opens an interesting and innovative perspective on the subject of memory retrieval and shows that he was not “only” a writer, but also an observational scientist.

Open access
in CLEaR
The assessment of Bosnian EFL learners’ knowledge by two different measures: test and writing assignment

of L2 student writing. Paper presented at the AAAL Conference, Vancouver, BC. Chomsky, Noam (1965). Aspects of the Theory of Syntax . Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Institute Of Technology Press. Cohen, Jacob, Patricia Cohen, Stephen G. West, Leona S. Aiken (2004). Applied Multiple Regression/Correlation Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences . (3rd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Corder, Stephen P. (1967). The significance of learners' errors. IRAL 5: 161–170. DeKeyser, Robert (1997) Beyond explicit rule learning

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in ExELL
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
Assessment preferences and learning styles in ESP

Abstract

The article deals with the research on assessment preferences reflected in learning styles within English for Specific Purposes (ESP) instruction on the higher education level. The sample group consisted of 287 respondents of the Faculty of Informatics and Management, University of Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. The main objective of the research was to discover expected correlations between respondents’ learning styles and relating preferences in selected assessment formats. Two questionnaires were applied to reach the objective; however, the expectations did not prove. The discovered findings were discussed within the world context.

Open access
The relationship between language learning motivation and foreign language achievement as mediated by perfectionism: the case of high school EFL learners

Abstract

This study examined the mediating effect of perfectionism on the relationship between language learning and foreign language achievement of high school EFL learners. To this end, 400 eleventh grade high school students were recruited through cluster random sampling. They were selected from eight high schools in four cities of Iran (i.e., Tehran, Ahvaz, Semnan, and Kerman). Afterwards, two questionnaires were administered to the participants. The first questionnaire was the shortened form of Gardner’s Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB) for EFL learners, and the second one was Almost Perfect Scale-Revised (APS-R) measuring the level of perfectionism among respondents. Moreover, the participants’ scores on the English final exam held by Iran’s Ministry of Education was considered as the indicator of foreign language achievement. The obtained data were analyzed through Pearson correlations and bootstrap resampling statistical method. The results indicated a positive correlation between all variables. Furthermore, it was revealed that language achievement and language learning motivation were partially mediated by perfectionism.

Open access
Assessing the inter-coder reliability of the Body Type Dictionary (BTD)

Abstract

Computer-assisted content analysis has many advantages compared to a manual scoring system, provided that computerised dictionaries represent valid and reliable measures. This study aimed to assess the inter-coder reliability, alternate- form reliability and scoring consistency of the Body Type Dictionary (BTD) (Wilson 2006) based on Fisher and Cleveland’s (1956, 1958) manual body boundary scoring scheme. The results indicated an acceptable inter-coder agreement with barrier and penetration imagery in the sub-sample (N = 53) of manually coded Rorschach responses. Additionally manually coded scores showed an acceptable correlation with the computerised frequency counts, and thus indicating an alternate-form reliability. In the full data set (N = 526), barrier imagery in the Rorschach responses only correlated with the picture response test, showing low scoring consistency, which might disconfirm the notion of body boundary awareness representing a stable personality trait but instead it might be dependent on the level of cognitive dedifferentiation.

Open access