Foreword – December 2008

| January 7, 2014

Foreword. December 2008. Volume 3 Issue 3 .

Welcome to the last issue of The Linguistics Journal in 2008, in which I am pleased to welcome to the Editorial Board Anna Feldman and Julio C. Gimenez as Associate Editors. Sadly, we have had to say good-bye to Jeanette Sakel as Associate Editor, so I would like to thank her for her contribution to the Journal in this capacity. She will, however, continue to review submissions to The Linguistics Journal as Editor.

Thanks are due to all those who have submitted their work to the journal to be considered for publication this year, and congratulations to those who have been published. I also wish to register my appreciation of the work of all the Editors, Associate Editors, Senior Associate Editors, Journal Production Editor, Proofreaders, Advisors, and the Senior Advisors, who have toiled tirelessly throughout the year to make often little known areas of research available to the wider academic and teaching community.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind all our readers that the deadline for submissions for the forthcoming special issue of the Journal entitled Language, Culture and Identity in Asia is 31 December 2008. For detailed information please visit .

Our sister journal, The Asian EFL Journal, is holding an international conference on The Multiple Role of the EFL Teacher in Pusan, Korea on 10-11 April 2009. The conference will host a special section for papers on general and applied linguistics themes not necessarily connected with the theme of the conference, to which contributions are invited. For further details please go to .

This issue of the Journal brings together research on Chinese syntax, Hausa scene setting clauses, the prosodic chunking of discourse in Barcelona Spanish, lexical cohesion in native vs. non-native speakers’ dissertations abstracts, Thai learners’ difficulty in supplying English equivalents of Thai idioms, and the discursive construction of national identity in Gibraltar.

In her paper Niina Ning Zhang analyses the syntactic structure of existential coda constructions in Mandarin Chinese which contain post-nominal adnominal-like elements. She claims that the internal argument of the matrix verb contains an internally headed relative clause which is formed by the adnominal-like element and the modified nominal to its left. She further argues that the constituency that groups the adnominal-like elements with their preceding nominals is supported by coordination, binding, the proform ye shi ‘also be’ and the topic-comment adjacency relation. Zhang explains that certain properties of relative clause constructions – such as the absence of any definite and strong indefinite marker, the scope of modification, the distinction from non-restrictive relative clause constructions, and the head status of the left-edge element – are exhibited by existential coda constructions. She concludes her paper by making a proposition about the internal argument of existential coda constructions.

Mahamane L. Abdoulaye employs grammaticalisation theory to describe different types of scene setting clauses in Hausa which are introduced by the subordinating particle dà. Such clauses encode presupposed information which serves as background to the information asserted in the main clause. Abdoulaye argues that Hausa has complex copular scene setting clauses and focuses on the impersonal copular predicate ‘it be’ that follows the subordinator dà. He analyses four types of scene setting clauses and shows that certain TAMs in the complement clause may cause the copular scene setting clauses to have alternate, semantically equivalent versions – reduced scene setting clauses – which have a slightly modified structure. He concludes by explaining the discourse functions that the four logical types of scene setting sentences have.

The prosodic chunking of discourse is examined by Rajiv Rao in the elicited lab speech of Barcelona Spanish speakers. He analyses 90 sentences, in sets comprising different syntactic structures, produced by 18 speakers to locate phonological phrase boundaries, which he does by searching for phonetic cues which have been documented as indicators of phrase breaks. In his data, pitch raises, preboundary lengthening of stressed syllables, pitch reset and pauses are observed as the most common cues. Rao calculates the observed frequencies of the different phrasing patterns for each syntactic structure. His findings show that the ideal phonological phrase length is two phonological words, and that balanced length, symmetry and rightward increase in length, especially in sentences with complex syntactic structure, affect phrasing preferences. Rao concludes that his results contradict earlier findings which suggest that phrase boundaries are determined mainly by syntactic boundaries.

Jin Kai compares lexical cohesion patterns in dissertation abstracts written by native vs. non-native speakers of English. Using Halliday and Hasan’s 1976 theory of text cohesion and coherence and Hoey’s 1991 lexical cohesion patterns, she analyses 15 abstracts written by native speakers of English and 15 abstracts written by Chinese speakers of English to examine the similarities and differences. In particular, she focuses on the characteristics of lexical cohesion patterns in mature native English speaker abstract writing, and how the similarities and differences between these and non-native English speaker writing can be interpreted. Her findings show that native English speakers are inclined towards variety and tend to use more complex repetitions, whereas non-native English speakers compensate for their lack of vocabulary and limited ability to think in English by using a higher number of simple repetitions. Jin Kai concludes her paper by discussing the pedagogical implications of her findings for EFL (English as a Foreign Language) abstract writing.

Payun Cedar examines the extent to which Thai learners of English recognise pragmatic congruency between Thai and English idioms, and the extent to which Thai learners of English can produce English idioms that correspond to Thai idioms. Cedar’s data were collected from 31 Thai graduate students in the United States who are considered to be advanced learners of English. They were presented 14 Thai idioms which all have pragmatic equivalents in English and were asked whether there were English idioms that conveyed a meaning that corresponded to the meaning of each Thai idiom. Cedar concludes that her subjects showed uncertainty and were inable to decide whether the Thai idioms had pragmatically congruent counterparts in English. She concludes her paper with discussing implications for L2 pedagogy and acquisition and for further research.

The contribution of systemic-functional linguistics to critical discourse analysis is explored in Ángela Alameda-Hernández’s paper, which focuses on the representation of the discursive construction of national identity in the printed media in Gibraltar in the period around the last referendum on the future of this British colony in November 2002. Alameda-Hernández examines the construction of Gibraltarian identity in the Gibraltarian, Spanish and British press through analysing the transitivity system in the texts. She concludes that Gibraltar was most often represented as a passive entity whose agency was limited to the expression of its wishes and opinions – a community with little power to influence its present or manage its future.

Katalin Egri Ku-Mesu, PhD
Associate Editor
The Linguistics Journal


Volume 3. Issue 3. December 2008

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Table of Contents:

Foreword by Katalin Egri Ku-Mesu

1. Niina Ning Zhang – Existential Coda Constructions as Internally Headed Relative Clause Constructions

2. Mahamane L. Abdoulaye – Four Types of Scene Setting Clauses in Hausa

3. Rajiv Rao – Observations on the Roles of Prosody and Syntax in the Phonological Phrasing of Barcelona Spanish.

4. Jin Kai – Lexical Cohesion Pattersn in NS and NNS Dissertation Abstracts in Applied Linguistics: A Comparative Study

5. Payung Ceda – Learners’ Recognition of Thai-English Idiom Counterparts

6. Ángela Alameda-Hernández – SFL and CDA: Contributions of the Analysis of the Transitivity System in the Study of the Discursive Construction of National Identity (Case Study: Gibraltar)

Category: 2008