Foreword. August 2008. Volume 3 Issue 2.
It is my pleasure to present the Summer edition of the Linguistics Journal. The purpose of the journal is to provide a medium for the dissemination of original and high quality research in theoretical as well as applied Linguistics. I believe the journal has been very successful in meeting this aim and it is gratifying to see how much we have grown in recent times both in terms of readership and of the quality of publications. The high quality of the articles is the main reason why the journal is attracting a bigger readership and why it is gaining wider recognition as an international scholarly journal of Linguistics. An indication of this wider recognition is in our recent inclusion in the Blackwell Publishing Linguistics index. These high standards have been possible due to the many authors who submit their research to us, and to our great team of editors and proofreaders who make sure all published articles are of the high standards our readers expect.
This year we are also proud to announce the launch of a special edition of our journal. Due to be published in the Summer of 2009, this edition will focus on the sociolinguistic exploration of Asian languages, cultures and identities. For those interested in submitting an article to this edition, please see our home page for more information and the submission criteria.
In this Summer edition of the Linguistics Journal we are pleased to present five articles which are further evidence of the continued progress our journal has made in recent times. Two articles focus on two important issues in English teaching: Focus on Form Episodes and English pragmatics. The next two articles are fascinating explorations of Swedish compound words and Malay prosody. The former through a detailed semantic analysis of Swedish compounds that contain the term huvud (Eng. ‘head’) and the second breaks new ground in the phonological analysis of Malay syllables and stress. The last paper is a very exciting experimental study on whether word perception in auditory or visual modalities is influenced by the degree of exposure to each modality.
The first article by Farahman Farrokhi, Ali Akbar Ansarin and Zhila Mohammadnia investigates the type and frequency of teacher-initiated preemptive Focus on Form Episodes (FFEs) in ten EFL classes and of two different levels of proficiency. The spontaneity of the FFEs initiation was also explored. The authors found that the proficiency of the learners did not affect the type or quantity of FFEs produced by their teachers. They also found that between vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation, vocabulary had the highest rate of preemptive FFES in both proficiency levels and grammar and pronunciation had higher reactive FFEs. Their findings seem to agree with research that says that learners at lower proficiency levels do not focus on form frequently as at their early stages of acquisition their attention is directed in processing meaning. Learners can only begin to pay attention to form when they become more proficient. It may also imply that focus on form is not adequate in drawing learners’ attention to grammar and pronunciation as it is for vocabulary. The authors suggest that deliberately focusing on grammar and pronunciation could be a fruitful thing to do in EFL classes.
The next article on EFL is by Caroline C. Hwang. In this study, the author recalls the tragic death of a young Japanese man in the USA due to the misunderstanding caused by his lack of pragmatic knowledge of the English language. Hwang stresses the fact that there is a real gap between what is taught in classrooms and the real-world English. Through the discussion of several types of pragmatic conventions and their use in socio-cultural contexts the author argues that learners of English need to be exposed to more authentic texts and speakers so as to develop more native-like linguistic awareness.
Ylva Olausson has contributed our third article on a semantic analysis of Swedish compound nouns. The main focus of her paper is to describe how the Swedish simplex word huvud (Eng. ‘head’) is used in its different meanings in 223 compound words. The author succinctly eases the readers through her discussion by comparing Spanish and English. Her analysis shows that there is a difference when huvud is used as the first or last element in a compound word. When huvud is the last element, the meaning extension is more varied and all subgroups are productive. When huvud is the first element only three of the six subgroups are productive. The most conspicuous difference between Swedish and Spanish and English is when huvud is used in its “prefix function” and means ‘the most important part of something’. Both English and Spanish do not use the corresponding words for ‘head’ in these cases and instead use the word ‘principal’ to express this meaning.
The next article from Zuraidah Mohd Don, Gerry Knowles and Janet Yong focuses on Malay prosody. Their findings are very interesting as they seem to contradict the accepted views of Malay prosody. While their initial work seemed agree with previous research and pointed towards Malay having penultimate stress, their analysis leads them to conclude that Malay does not have any stress at all. The authors state “… in spoken Malay corresponding to what phonologists call stress, and that the whole notion of stress is completely irrelevant in the description of Malay. The pitch may go up and down, loudness and tempo may increase or decrease, and on occasion the effect may be superficially similar to that produced by stress in a language like English; but these phenomena are all accounted for independently of stress.” (Conclusion, para. 1). Their findings indicate that syllables may not be relevant in Malay prosody and according to their data there is no high level prosodic patterns in Malay that require reference to the syllable.
The last article is by Raphiq Ibrahim. The study’s aim was to compare performance differences of Native Arabic speakers in identifying spoken words and written words in the Arabic (L1) and Hebrew (L2) languages, and to examine whether such difference in performance patterns are related to factors like type of language and frequency of exposure to each modality (visual, auditory). Two lexical decision experiments were performed, in which the response times and error rates were compared. The results showed a frequency effect for each language- Arabic and Hebrew and within the presentation form (spoken or written), with longer reaction times in lexical decision tasks when the stimuli was presented orally in comparison to the visual presentation. A significant interaction was found between perceptual modalities and the language in which the stimuli were presented. Reaction times to Hebrew words were faster when the words were presented visually, while reaction time times for the Literary Arabic words were faster when they were presented orally. The results of the language exposure questionnaire revealed that in both languages, students whose exposure to a particular modality was greater performed faster and more accurate in that modality.
Finally I would like to thank the authors, the editors and the proofreaders for their efforts in putting this Summer edition of the Linguistics Journal together. I hope you enjoy reading these articles and I look forward to your continued support.
Francesco Cavallaro, Ph.D.
The Linguistics Journal
Volume 3. Issue 2. August 2008
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Table of Contents:
Foreword by Francesco Cavallaro
1. Farahman Farrokhi, Ali Akbar Ansarin and Zhila Mohammadnia. . Preemptive Focus on Form: Teachers’ Practices across Proficiencies
2. Caroline C. Hwang. Pragmatic Conventions and Intercultural Competence
3. Ylva Olausson. The Head as an Element in Swedish Compound Words
4. Zuraidah Mohd Don, Gerry Knowles and Janet Yong. How Words can be Misleading: A Study of Syllable Timing and ‘Stress’ in Malay