Foreword to August 2007, Volume 2 Issue 2
For the second edition of the Linguistics Journal for 2007 we are pleased to present five articles. Congratulations to all the authors whose papers have been accepted. Interest in the journal has increased significantly and the structure of the editorial board has been changed accordingly. Three additional Associate Editors, Andrea Milde, Steve Walsh and Francesco Cavallaro have been appointed to supervise submissions. The number of editors reviewing papers has increased as well and a team of proofreaders has been established under the supervision of Marcus Otlowski. We would like to thank all reviewers, editors, proofreaders and authors for their valuable contributions. A special thank goes to the associate editor Julian Good who is moving on. Julian contributed substantially towards the success of the journal.
The first paper by Farood Sepassi from Azad University in Iran and by Seyed Vahid Aryadoust works within the framework of the Competition Model. This model explains the fact that the CM can suggest an explanation why a specific inflectional may be learned earlier. This may be in line with Krashen’s Natural Order Hypothesis which states that the specific order of L1 acquisition applies also to learning in a classroom setting, e.g. in foreign language learning the plural-s will be learned before the third person-s similar to the order of acquisition of these morphemes in L1. One of the research questions in this study is whether the Natural Order Hypothesis applies to an EFL context as well, and whether EFL learners pay more attention to rules that are acquired earlier by first language learners. The participants in this study were asked to repeat sentences with plural-s and/or third person-s and to correct these sentences if they were ungrammatical. The findings do not support the Natural Order Hypothesis. The subjects “did not show any significant importance attached to either of the morphemes” (page 23). The authors argue that Krashen’s data were probably collected in an ESL context where the learners had access to input outside the classroom, but that this hypothesis may not apply to an EFL context where access to the target language is restricted. I would like to add that the question of a natural order of second language learning/acquisition is an ongoing discussion (see for example Pienemann, 2005 and EuroSLA 2007) , and that there are no final conclusions in this research area.
The second paper comes from Shu-Chu Chen, Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Taiwan and from Shu-Hui Eileen Chen, National Taipei University of Education, Taiwan. The authors compare requestive speech acts of 40 Taiwanese EFL learners with those of 14 American native speakers. Discourse-Completion Tests were used with three different settings (speech acts between equals, speech acts to a speaker with a lower social status and to a speaker with a higher social status). The study shows that Taiwanese learners tend to use more direct requests, whereas the Americans requests have a “milder illocutionary intent” (page 41). The difference between the two groups is very large in the situation where a speaker with a higher status (professor) addresses a hearer with a lower status (student). In this setting the Taiwanese learners use more impositives and direct request, whereas the Americans tend to use more “hints”. The authors argue for more role plays and model dialogs to teach pragmatic competence in EFL. I would like to add that the findings of this study are in line with other studies (e.g. Daller 2006) on differences in politeness routines due to cultural differences in “power distance” (see also Hofstede 1997) .
I-Ping Wan from the National Chengchi University (Taiwan) and Harvard University investigates errors in aphasic speech in the third paper of this volume. She compares a corpus of 1,254 speech errors of aphasic speakers with a corpus of 3,632 speech errors from non-aphasic speakers of Mandarin. Her results show that there are clear differences between the two groups in the distribution of different error types. Most errors of aphasic speakers are phonological, whereas non-aphasic speakers have a tendency to lexical errors. The two groups also show clear differences between the number of contextual and non-contextual errors and between errors that can be classified as “anticipation” or “preservation”. The author comes to the conclusion that “aphasic speech in Mandarin reflects a disturbance of the phonological – rather than the phonetic – mechanisms of language” (page 81). Finally, the author asks for more research to investigate whether the error patterns in this study are universal for all tone languages.
The fourth contribution comes from Anastasia Khudyakova, Barnaul State Pedagogical University, Russia. She analyses the syntactic and semantic characteristics of a relatively rare form of metaphor, the “N of a N” metaphor (e.g. “a pearl of a song”). After a discussion of two theoretical frameworks, the conceptual metaphor theory and the conceptual blending theory, a detailed classification of this type of metaphor is presented. In addition there is an overview on the interaction between the two elements of the metaphor, the target and the source domain. The author discusses a selection of “N of a N” metaphors on the basis of the conceptual blend model. Finally, the author raises the question for further research whether the selection of concepts and the model developed in this paper can be applied to languages other than English.
The final paper is written by Fariba Mobini from the University of Zanjan, Iran. She investigates a notoriously problematic area for EFL learners, the definite article in English. Her study is based on a stratified sample of 276 students of Zanjan University. A test for definite articles in English and a test for definite noun phrases in Farsi were administered. Apart from one exception there was no significant correlation between the English test and the students’ grades of general English. This supports the hypothesis that article use remains a problem even at higher levels of proficiency. There were no significant correlations between the test scores in English and the scores in Farsi, indicating that article use in English is also a problem for highly competent L1 speakers. In summary, this study confirms that the use of the definite article remains a problematic area regardless of the proficiency level of the participants.
Helmut Daller, PhD
The Linguistics Journal
Pienemann, M. (2005). Cross-Linguistic Aspects of Processability Theory
See also EuroSLA 2007 (European Second Language Association Conference), 7th International Symposium on Processability, Bilingualism and Second Language Acquisition; http://www.ncl.ac.uk/niassh/eurosla17/
Daller H. and Yıldız, C. (2006). Globalisation, business communication and the persistence of local business cultures. The case of Turkey, Russia and Western Europe. Journal of Politeness Research, Vol 2,pp. 35 – 53.
Hofstede G. (1997) Culture and Organizations. Software of the Mind. McGraw Hill
Volume 2. Issue 2. August 2007.
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Foreword by Helmut Daller
1. Forood Sepassi and S. Aryadoust. Testing the Natural Order Hypothesis on the Framework of the Competition Model
2. Shu-Chu Chen and Shu-Hui Eileen Chen. Interlanguage Requests: A Cross-Cultural Study of English and Chinese
3. I-Ping Wan. On Correlating Aphasic Errors with Speech Errors in Mandarin
4. Anastasia Khudyakova. Metaphors Following the Model ‘N of a N’
5. Fariba Mobini. Farsi-speaking Learners’ Differential Command of Definite Types: A Cross-linguistic Study