November 2006. Volume 1 Issue 3
In the November edition of the Linguistics Journal we are pleased to present six articles from various areas of the world. Congratulations are extended to all the authors in this edition who have successfully negotiated the review procedure.
The first, by Camilla Vizconde from the Center for Educational Research and Development and the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines, investigates student teacher attitudes towards English as the language of instruction in science and mathematics as classes. Through the qualitative analysis of interview data with teacher trainees in two teacher training institutions, Vizconde reveals that there are difficulties in following the government policy of bilingualism. Most respondents show preference for the “alternate use of both Filipino and English inside their classrooms” which runs contrary to government stipulation that English should be the only medium of instruction in such classes. Vizconde concludes that whilst student teachers recognize the importance of English, Filipino should be viewed as a valuable “support language.” This small-scale study has far-reaching implications for the current bilingual policy in science and mathematics programmes in the Philippines.
The second paper comes from Dr. Francesco Cavallaro at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His paper puts forward the proposal for a methodological triangulation in investigating the language dynamics of the Italian community in Australia. This highly reflective account of research into an ethnic minority illustrates the necessity to choose methods of enquiry which suit the context of the study. Cavallaro shows how the combination of diary keeping, participant observation, questionnaire and tape-recording can successfully help the researcher gain better insights into language dynamics in settings where different levels of formality exist.
The next paper is by Dr. Raphiq Ibrahim, a cognitive and neuropsychologist at Haifa University and Rambam Medical Center in Israel. His research investigates languages with cognate relationships, Arabic and Hebrew, and asks whether there are advantages of this knowledge for Arabic Hebrew bilinguals in second language acquisition. Ibrahim’s study is based upon lexical connections between translation equivalents and suggests that “cognate words that have phonological overlap can influence the recognition of translation equivalents.” The study makes use of the comparison between repetition priming effects (reaction times and accuracy measures) and translation equivalents in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Hebrew. It concludes that the “strength of the lexical associations between translation equivalents is influenced not only by the frequency of concomitant use but rather by their cognate status.”
Dr. Mina Rastegar from the University of Kerman in Iran looks at “causal modeling – path analysis”, a new statistical trend in applied linguistics. This fascinating paper critically analyses this method of enquiry and argues that it is “the best statistical option to use when the effects of a multitude of L2 learners’ variables on language achievement are investigated in one study” since the causal models can effectively explain the hypothesized variables. Rastegar puts forward the case for the replacement of traditional linear correlation with that of the new causal modeling – path analysis technique.
Dr. F. Sadighi and Mr. S. Zare from Shiraz University in Iran present a case study of Iranian EFL learners and ask whether background knowledge influences listening comprehension in TOEFL. In this paper, the researchers activated the pre-listening topic knowledge of an experimental group. In their statistical analysis of the ensuing data from the experimental and control groups, findings shows that background knowledge did actually improve listening scores. This study is a highly reflective account of a research process which can be effectively replicated in different settings.
The final article by Ms. Jing Liu, Dr. Tindall and Dr. Nisbet from Regent University in the U.S.A. looks at the use of English plural forms by Chinese learners. This study outlines some of the difficulties commonly experienced by Chinese students taking EFL courses, providing the reader with useful insights into their linguistic origins in the Chinese language. The authors provide a number of practical teaching recommendations to address this problem.
We hope you enjoy the diversity presented in this end of the year edition of The Linguistics Journal and look forward to your own contributions.
John Adamson, Ed.D.
Senior Associate Editor
The Linguistics Journal
Volume 1. Issue 3. November 2006
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Foreword by Dr. John Adamson.
1. Camilla Vizconde. Attitudes of Student Teachers towards the use of English as Language of Instruction for Science and Mathematics in the Philippines
2. Francesco Cavallaro. Language Dynamics of an Ethnic Minority Group: Some Methodological Concerns on Data Collection
3. Raphiq Ibrahim. Do Languages with Cognate Relationships have Advantages in Second Language Acquisition?
4. Mina Rastegar. Causal Modeling – Path Analysis: A New Trend in Research in Applied Linguistics
5. F. Sadighi and S. Zare. Is Listening Comprehension Influenced by the Background Knowledge of the Learners? A Case Study of Iranian EFL learners
6. Liu Jing, Evie Tindall and Deanna Nisbet. Chinese Learners and English Plural Forms