2007 – The Linguistics Journal https://www.linguistics-journal.com TESOL Linguistics Thu, 22 Jun 2017 07:43:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A Functional Study of the Final Particle mono in Japanese Conversational Discourse https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/a-functional-study-of-the-final-particle-mono-in-japanese-conversational-discourse/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 14:06:03 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/a-functional-study-of-the-final-particle-mono-in-japanese-conversational-discourse/ April 2007. Volume 2 Issue 1

A Functional Study of the Final Particle mono in
Japanese Conversational Discourse

Yan Wang

Bio Data:
In 2004, after obtaining her MA degree in Japanese linguistics, Yan Wang embarked upon her Ph.D degree at the department of East Asian Languages and Literature in University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. The major foci of her research are on discourse analysis and pragmatics, and she has presented papers on Japanese sentence-final particles and “fillers” on several linguistic conferences in the United States. The present study on the sentence-final particle “mono” is based on her MA thesis. She is currently working on her Ph.D. dissertation, which is a comparative study of Japanese and Chinese question forms.

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This study aims at investigating the discourse and pragmatic functions of the sentence-final particle (FP) mono in Japanese conversations. By employing discourse analysis as methodology, and upon analyzing the structure patterns of mono-utterances in natural conversations, I examined how the FP mono contributes to the cohesion of on-going talks by organizing the sequences, and how it shows speakers’ attitudes towards both propositions and addressees. In particular, the FP mono is divided into two types: 1) The “self-justification mono,” which serves to justify the speaker’s position that has been explicitly or implicitly challenged; and 2) The “other-justification mono,” which supports the position of others, primarily of the prior speaker, who tends to challenge a “third party” outside the conversation. By marking the logic as an inevitable and natural consequence, mono qualifies speakers’ reasoning as generally accepted knowledge located within common grounds. Hence, rather than neutrally providing supplementary information, mono conveys speakers’ subjectivity and thereby functions as a modality marker in conversational discourse.

Key words: sentence-final particle, causal logic, common ground, justification, challenge

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Does Exposure to Second Spoken Language Facilitate Word Reading Ability? https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/does-exposure-to-second-spoken-language-facilitate-word-reading-ability/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 14:04:34 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/does-exposure-to-second-spoken-language-facilitate-word-reading-ability/ April 2007. Volume 2 Issue 1

Does Exposure to Second Spoken Language
Facilitate Word Reading Ability?

Raphiq Ibrahim
University of Haifa and Cognitive Neurology Unit
Rambam Medical Center, Haifa

Bio Data:
Dr. Raphiq Ibrahim is a cognitive and neuropsychologist interested in visual and auditory word perception, language and bilingualism and hemispheric specialization for higher cognitive function. He lives in the Galilee region in Israel and works in research and teaching. He is a lecturer at the Learning Disabilities Department of Haifa University and, in addition, works as a Neuropsychologist in the Cognitive Neurology Unit at Ramba Medical Center in Haifa. Among the courses he teaches are: Integrative Introduction to Language Acquisition, Spoken Language, an Introduction to Developmental Neuropsychology, Psychological and Neuropsychological Assessment, and Verbal Information processing in Arabic: Processes and Disabilities.

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This study examines the relationship of reading skills to previous exposure to a second language. Its purpose is to provide direct evidence of a causal role for bilingualism in reading acquisition. Single word reading, connected text measures, and vocabulary measures are compared among three groups of first graders of monolingual Hebrew speakers, bilingual Russian-Hebrew speakers and monolingual Arab speakers. One-way ANOVA and correlations between the measure of reading speed and errors of text and measures of vocabulary are compared in Hebrew and Arabic groups. The results reveal that language experience affects reading, as Russian-Hebrew bilinguals are faster and more accurate in reading text than monolingual Hebrew children, and both are better than Arabic children. It was concluded that exposure to a second language in early childhood positively affects reading skills at the first-grade level. This finding concurs with other reports showing that bilingualism is a powerful predictor of the speed and effieciency of reading acquisition (Da Fontoura and Siegel, 1995).

Key words: Single word reading, connected text measures, vocabulary measure, Russian-Hebrew bilinguals, Hebrew monolinguals, Arab speakers

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“You will come when?”The pragmatics of certain questions in Cameroon English https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/you-will-come-when-the-pragmatics-of-certain-questions-in-cameroon-english/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 14:03:04 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/you-will-come-when-the-pragmatics-of-certain-questions-in-cameroon-english/ April 2007. Volume 2 Issue 1

“You will come when?”
The pragmatics of certain questions in Cameroon English

Daniel Nkemleke,
Technische Universität Chemnitz, Germany

Bio Data:
Daniel A. Nkemleke, Ph.D., is senior lecturer in English Language and Linguistics in the Department of English in Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) of the University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon. He has over 12 years of experience in ELT and has published in a number of refereed journals including World Englishes, English World-Wide, Nordic Journal for African Studies and Indian Journal of Applied Linguistics etc. He teaches the following courses in ENS: TEFL, academic writing and functional English syntax. His research interest includes text (corpus) linguistics and writing and since 1992 he has been involved in a project to build a written and spoken corpus of Cameroonian English. He is presently a guest researcher in the Department of English of the Technische Universität Chemnitz (Germany), having been awarded a 12-month research fellowship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to further develop his Cameroonian corpus.

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This contribution discusses how some Cameroonians perform the speech act of “asking” in informal contexts. Data used for the study is derived from transcripts of taped conversations and recordings from personal encounters. In all, 160 examples of “questions” (of the type “you will come when?”) that could not fit any of the categories of questions in native English as outlined in Quirk et al (1985) are analyzed. In a cross-linguistic perspective, I demonstrate that the “you will come when-type” questions reflect similarities found in Cameroonian home languages of the Bantu origin, spoken by all interlocutors from whom the data was obtained. Furthermore, the paper contends that interplay of the syntax of these home languages and English may be responsible for the questions of the type stated above. The paper concludes that speech act research of this nature may guide teachers to design teaching materials that specifically address the nature of spoken interaction in interpersonal communication.

Key Words: Pragmatics, questions, informal contexts, Cameroon English, pedagogic relevance

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A Contrastive Analysis of English and Persian Newspaper Headlines https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/a-contrastive-analysis-of-english-and-persian-newspaper-headlines/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 14:00:58 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/a-contrastive-analysis-of-english-and-persian-newspaper-headlines/ April 2007. Volume 2 Issue 1

A Contrastive Analysis of English and Persian Newspaper Headlines

Farzaneh Khodabandeh
Mobarakeh Payame Noor University, Iran

Bio Data:
Farzaneh Khodabadeh has been teaching English for 10 years at schools and 4 years at university. She has a Master’s in Teaching English from Isfahan University in Iran. She is currently teaching Discourse Analysis, Testing and Research Methods at Mobarakeh University. Her areas of research include Discourse Analysis. She has written 5 articles and published two books – Pre-intermediate College English and Intermediate College English

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Considering the absence of contrasting English and Persian newspaper headlines, the present study was an attempt to conduct a contrastive analysis between the newspaper headlines of English and Persian languages in order to find the major similarities and differences between them. The analysis was based on a one-week corpus of the headlines of English and Persian languages. Utilizing CA, the researcher analyzed the variability of syntactic and lexical features across and within the English and Persian newspaper headlines. It was concluded that the headlines of English and Persian languages were similar in using dynamic verbs, active voice, short words, declarative sentences, finite clauses, and simple sentences and different in the use of tense forms, headline types, modification, and omission of words. This study has pedagogical implications for teaching journalistic English and translation.

Keywords: Contrastive analysis, headlines, syntactic and lexical features.

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The Effect of Explicit Teaching of Concept Mapping in Expository Writing on EFL Students’ Self-regulation https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/the-effect-of-explicit-teaching-of-concept-mapping-in-expository-writing-on-efl-students-self-regulation/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 13:59:05 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/the-effect-of-explicit-teaching-of-concept-mapping-in-expository-writing-on-efl-students-self-regulation/ April 2007. Volume 2 Issue 1

The Effect of Explicit Teaching of Concept Mapping in Expository Writing on EFL Students’ Self-regulation

Mohammad Reza Talebinezhad,
Isfahan University, Iran

Bio Data:
Mohammad Reza Talebinezhad is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Foreign Languages, Isfahan University, Iran. He received his Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics (Sheffield, 1994, U. K.). His research interests are interlanguage development and second language acquisition; transfer in second language acquisition; conceptual fluency; and metaphorical competence.

Giti Mousapour Negari is an Assistant Professor at Sistan & Baluchestan University, Iran. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics (Isfahan University, 2006, Iran). Her research interests are learning strategies; second language acquisition; Cognition and Second language acquisition; and conceptual competence.

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This paper has investigated the effectiveness of concept mapping as a learning strategy on students’ self-regulation (metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment, effort regulation, peer learning, and help seeking). Sixty university students, who were randomly selected, participated in the study and were randomly assigned to one control group and one experimental group, each including thirty students. They were at the intermediate level of English proficiency and studying English either as Translation or Literature. Their language proficiency was determined by the Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency. The instrument to collect data on students’ self-regulation was Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (Printrich et al., 1991), the findings revealing that students gained higher self-regulation as the result of concept mapping strategy teaching. These findings have implications for pedagogy as well as for research.

Keywords: concept mapping, self-regulation, learning strategies, strategy teaching

1. Introduction
Writing is a very complex process in which numerous cognitive and metacognitive activities take place, for instance, brainstorming, planning, outlining, organizing, drafting, revising, and so on. Cognitive aspects have received particular attention, as investigators have attempted to understand the thought processes underlying the compositions of students (Flower & Hayes, 1981). Writing also involves composing, which implies the ability either to tell or retell pieces of information in the form of narratives or description, or to transform information into new texts, as in expository or argumentative writing. Perhaps it is best viewed as a continuum of activities that range from the more mechanical or formal aspects of writing down on the one end to the more complex act of composing on the other end (Omaggio Hadley, 1993 p.23).
Learning to write is difficult especially for those writing in a second or foreign language in academic contexts. As Bereiter and Scardamalia (1987, p.12) stated, by putting together concepts and solving problems, the writer engages in “a two-way interaction between continuously developing knowledge and continuously developing text”. Composing is an advanced academic task which may not be developed without instruction and teacher’s assistance. Instruction in strategy use is an effective means for promoting writing. There are a number of learning strategies which can help students become better learners. The strategies include meaningful learning, organizing, note taking, identifying important information, and summarizing (Pressley, 1982). Strategies such as concept mapping help students attend to task, focus on important textures, organize material, and maintain a productive psychological climate for learning (Weinstein & Mayer, 1986).
The aim of the present study is to investigate the effect of the use of concept mapping strategy in writing tasks on university students’ self-regulation.

1.1. Concept mapping
A concept map, as a learning strategy, is defined as a visual representation of an individual’s knowledge structure on a particular topic as constructed by the individual (Zimmaro & Cawley, 1998). Concept maps represent the relationships among concepts (Novak, 1981). With the visual representation of key words, students can identify main issues of a text and organize these key issues in a meaningful way. Learning strategies, according to Stern (1992, p.261), “are based on assumptions that learners consciously engage in activities to achieve certain goals, that they exercise a choice of procedure, and that they undertake some form of long-term planning”. It is assumed that concept mapping may have positive effects on students’ self-regulation, too.
Literature reports on the benefits of concept mapping for organizing information, assessing in learning, comprehension of particularly complex communications, refining literacy framework, and successful understanding of the text (Ruddell & Boyle, 1989).

1.2. Self-regulation
Self-regulation refers tothe degree to which individuals become metacognitively, motivationally, and behaviorally active participants in their own learning process (Zimmerman, 1986). It refers to students’ ability to control their learning. The students can become better learners if they become more aware of their learning and then choose to act on that awareness. As Livingston (1997, p.3) stated, “Although most individuals of normal intelligence engage in metacognitive regulation when confronted with an effortful cognitive task, some are better than others are. Those with greater metacognitive abilities tend to be more successful in their cognitive endeavors. The good news is that individuals can learn how to regulate their cognitive activities”. Self-regulation is neither a measure of mental intelligence that is unchangeable after a certain point in life nor a personal characteristic that is genetically based or formed early in life. Students learn self-regulation through experience (Pintrich, 1995). Teachers can teach in ways that help students become self-regulating learners (Coppola, 1995). Since self-regulation is not a personality trait, students can control their behaviors and affect in order to improve their academic learning and performance. In addition, self-regulated learning is particularly appropriate for college students, as they have great control over their own time schedule, and how they approach their studying and learning (Pintrich, 1995).

1.3. Strategy Teaching
An ex mination of the literature reveals a wide range of terminology associated with learner training, which is also referred to as strategy teaching (Richards et al, 1992) or strategies-based instruction (SBI) (Brown, 2000). Since the 1970s, there has been growing interest in the concept of the ‘good’ language learner and the importance of learning styles and learner preferences (Oxford, 1990). This has marked a continued investigation into learning processes and support for the communicative philosophy of teaching learners how to learn, and thus become independent and autonomous learners through the use of learning strategies (Wenden, 1991); together with increasing learners’ language awareness through inductive learning approaches and activities, such as consciousness-raising (Sharwood Smith, 1981).
Wenden (1991, p.163) offers a detailed definition of learner training: “ the learning activities organized to help language learners improve their skills as learners; includes learning to use strategies; knowledge about the language learning process; and attitude and development to support autonomous use of the strategies and knowledge; learner education”.
Comparably, Richards et al (1992, p. 355)present a specific definition of strategy training and outline three different approaches: “[It is] training in the use of learning strategies in order to improve a learner’s effectiveness. A number of approaches to strategy training are used, including: 1) Explicit or direct training: learners are given information about the value and purpose of particular strategies, taught how to use them and how to monitor their own use of the strategies. 2) Embedded strategy training: the strategies to be taught are not taught explicitly but are embedded in the regular content of an academic subject area, such as reading, math or science. 3) Combination strategy training: explicit strategy training is followed by embedded training.”
Brown (2000, p.130) acknowledges work on the effectiveness of learning strategies for various learners in a variety of contexts. He then states “…we probe its implications for your teaching methodology in the classroom, specifically, how your language classroom techniques can encourage, build, and sustain effective language-learning strategies in your students”.
Learner training can therefore be summarized as teaching learners how to learn, with a view to becoming independent and autonomous learners.

1.4. Cognitive aspects of writing skill
Historically, researchers in the field of composition have focused on the processes in which writers engage as they compose a text (Hairston, 1990). During the past decade, researchers have attempted to address this complexity by the affective factors that influence writing. Beach (1989) suggested that students’ self-perceptions of their own writing competence offer a particularly promising avenue of research for informing writing instruction.

Flower and Hayes (1980, p.40) conceptualized writing as a “strategic action where writers employ strategies to juggle with the constraints of composing”. They stated that composing strategies are decisions taken to cope with the problems (both linguistic and rhetorical) posed by the writing task as perceived by the writers. Hays and Flower (1980) presented a model of skilled writers. The model comprised three major components. The first component, task environment, included factors that were external to the writer, but influenced the writing task. These included both social and physical factors. The second component, cognitive processes, provided a description of the mental operations involved in writing. These included three basic processes: planning what to say and how to say it; translating plans into written text; and reviewing to improve existing text. Planning, in turn, was composed of three ingredients: setting goals, generating ideas, and organizing ideas into a writing plan; whereas reviewing included reading and editing text. The execution of these cognitive processes was thought to be under the writer’s direct control, and it was proposed that virtually any subprocess could interrupt or incorporate any other subprocess. The third component, writer’s long-term memory, included the author’s knowledge about the topic, the intended audience, and general plans or formulas for accomplishing various writing tasks. Concept mapping could be used as a learning tool. Smith (1987) found concept mapping a worthwhile heuristic for helping experts make their own understanding more evident to learners and for helping learners better understand the structure of knowledge.
Graham and Harris (2000) believed that writing required extensive self-regulation and attention control. Research showed that adolescents who used different types of self-regulatory processes wrote more effectively; they produced more information in their papers; they wrote more organized pieces; and they received higher grades in writing (Zimmerman & Risemberg, 1997).
Many teachers attempted to influence the course of this development in a relatively straightforward and direct fashion. They might model and explicitly teach the types of strategies and self-control procedures used by more skilled writers, or might establish predictable routines where writing processes such as planning and revising were expected and reinforced (Graham & Harris, 1996).
Strategy instruction is a teaching approach that assists students in developing strategies for all phases of the writing process and teaches self-regulation of performance of the strategies. Strategy instruction assists student writers by breaking down writing tasks and making the subprocesses and skills much more explicit (Sturm & Rankin- Erickson, 2002).

2. Methodology
2.1. Restatement of the problem
There has been growing interest in learning processes and support for teaching learners how to learn, and thus become independent and autonomous learners through the use of learning strategies. Some researchers as Hacker, Dunlosky, and Graesser (1998) suggested that instructional strategies that teach students to practice cognitive skills can increase learners’ performance in academic subjects. The principal aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of the strategy of concept mapping in students’ self-regulation in expository writing at the intermediate level of language proficiency.

2.2. Design
The study had a pretest-posttest control group design. Both control group and experimental group participated in pretest and posttest self-regulation questionnaire, but only the experimental group received the treatment.

2.3. Participants
Ninety university students volunteered to participate in the study. They were studying English either as translation or literature. They were mostly from six and seven semesters. All the students were administered Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency to determine their level of English proficiency. Sixty students at the intermediate level of language proficiency were randomly selected. Of the sixty students, thirty students were randomly assigned to control group and thirty students to experimental group. In the experimental group, twelve students were male and eighteen students were female. In the control group, ten students were male and twenty students were female.

2.4. Instructional Material
The treatment for the experimental group was instruction and practice in concept mapping. Students were provided with handouts that included definition of concept mapping, different uses and examples of concept maps. Students practiced the application of concept mapping in writing essays. They were required to draw concept maps of their own or to complete the incomplete maps. In the experimental group, the students practiced writing expository essays, using concept mapping strategy. The topics for the essays sequenced from easy and familiar topics (unnecessary to have specialized knowledge) to difficult and unfamiliar topics. They included: plants, time, weather, air pollution, the function of heart, and psychology. Familiarity/unfamiliarity and simplicity/difficulty of the topics were judged by three university teachers who were teaching writing courses. The control group wrote essays about the same topics without the use of concept mapping strategy. (See Appendix B).

2.5. Instruments
The instrument used to determine the level of the students’ English proficiency was Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency. Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (Printrich et al., 1991) was applied to measure the students’ self-regulation. First, the students were asked to participate in the test of language proficiency. From among ninety students, sixty students at the intermediate level of English proficiency were randomly selected. Then the students were asked to fill out the questionnaire. It was designed to assess college students’ motivational orientations and their use of different learning strategies in college courses. The learning strategies section had 50 items regarding students’ use of different cognitive and self-regulated learning strategies. Only five scales in the learning strategies section (metacognitive self-regulation, time and study environment, effort regulation, peer learning, and help seeking) were relevant to self-regulation and were used in this study. The scales were adapted to measure students’ self-regulation in writing tasks. Cronbach’s alpha for the scale was .76 (See Appendix A).

2.6. Procedure
The period of instruction was about twelve weeks and comprised of three phases:

2.6.1. Pre-testing
Before the students in experimental group received any instruction, all the students in two groups completed the self-regulation questionnaire.

2.6.2. Strategy instruction
Following pre-testing the students participated in twelve sixty-minute study sessions . The students in experimental group received the instruction for concept mapping strategy. The strategy was taught following Harris and Graham (1996): (1) Strategy description, (2) Discussion of goals and purposes, (3) Modeling of the strategy, (4) Student mastery of strategy steps, and (5) Guided practice and feedback.

  1. Strategy description. As an introduction to the first lesson, students were told that they were going to learn about the strategy of concept mapping. Concept mapping was described as a strategy that could be used to categorize information in a graphic form through drawing. It was also described as a strategy that could help them with vocabulary development, reading comprehension, study skills, and prewriting activities. Finally, the sequence of steps for creating a concept map was described.
  2. Discussion of goals and purposes. The teacher discussed the students about the significance and benefits of using the concept mapping strategy in writing. Students were asked two questions: (1) How do you think this strategy might help you write? and (2) How could this strategy help you with different types of writing? To reinforce student participation as collaborators in the learning process, goals and purposes that students generated were written on the white board.
  3. Modeling the strategy. The teacher modeled use of concept mapping strategy by creating a map while students were offered several topics to select from for the activity. Once the group agreed on a topic, the teacher wrote it on the white board. This topic was labeled as “main idea” of the concept map. Next possible subtopics were generated. The teacher demonstrated use of arrows to connect main ideas and subtopics. Finally, details were generated and added to each of the subtopics. Students participated in the process by brainstorming possible categories and details. Students were taught how to write subtopic information in telegraphic form. The teacher modeled use of telegraphic language forms and explained that this involves choosing the most important information. Students assisted by generating ideas to be placed on the map. Then, the teacher discussed how the categories and the details could be sequenced into paragraphs, and sentences within paragraphs, to compose an essay. The teacher explained that each subtopic may represent different paragraphs in the essay. Upon completion of the map , the teacher modeled the transfer of subtopic information from the map into written form- instruction followed the sequence of procedures for transferring concept maps into written paragraphs, starting with top-level structures i.e., topics and subtopics ) , the teacher reviewed the information on the map. Each category was reviewed, including the main ideas and supporting details. The teacher modeled how she would rewrite the information from the map into complete sentences. For each subtopic, a topic sentence was written, followed by supporting sentences. Finally, the concluding paragraph was explained and with the help of the students the teacher wrote a concluding paragraph.
  4. Student mastery of strategy steps. During this stage, students rehearsed and memorized the sequence of activities for concept map construction.
  5. Guided practice and Feedback. During these sessions, feedback was provided for students’ performance. Students chose a topic and created maps. Then, they used the concept maps to compose essays.

The first three sessions were devoted to training the technique. The other nine sessions were spent on practicing the strategy for the students to master the fundamental skills. One essay was composed every two weeks for a total of four essays for each student. During these sessions, other formal teaching techniques were not employed by the teacher. The teacher was a non-native English teacher who taught writing courses for many years at the university. Before starting the project, the teacher was trained how to teach concept mapping strategy (following Harris and Graham’s strategy teaching, 1996). During the instructional period the students in the control group wrote as many expository essays as the experimental group but without the use of concept mapping strategy.

2.6.3. Post-testing
After the instruction of the strategy of concept mapping (at the conclusion of the treatment period) all the students in two groups again completed the self-regulation questionnaire.

2.7. Scoring of the Data
The research applied Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) to assess students’ self regulation. Responses were scored using a 5 point Likert type scale: 1) Not at all true of myself 2) Slightly true of myself 3) About halfway true of myself 4) Mostly true of myself 5) True of myself. Scale scores were determined by summing the items and taking an average.

Table1. Means and standard deviations for pretest and posttest scores on self-regulation

Experimental group
Control group
Experimental group
Control group

To investigate the effect of concept mapping strategy on students’ self-regulation, an ANCOVA on Post self-regulation scores by group (experimental vs. control), using Pre self-regulation scores as a covariate was conducted. The results indicated there was a significant difference in posttest scores between groups (F= 10.57, df= 1; P= .002). The conclusion is that concept mapping strategy significantly influenced students’ self-regulation. In other words, it revealed that the implementation of concept mapping strategy in writing expository essays would positively affect students’ self-regulation in writing tasks. Table 2 displays the results.

Table2. ANCOVA on Post Self-regulation Scores by Group (experimental vs. control), using Pre Self-regulation as a Covariate

Source of variation

One possible explanation for the improvement of the students’ self-regulation might be a change in the students’ attitude toward writing skill. As Barnhardt (1997) stated there is a relationship between strategy use and confidence in language learning. For students who had not positive attitudes toward writing for a long time, a positive change in attitude due to their success in the application of the concept mapping strategy could be the initial step toward improved writing skill. It is also possible that when students were taught the mapping strategy to use with their writing, their positive attitudes toward writing increased. It meant that when the students had a better idea of how to go about a writing task, they were more positive about the task. In other words, concept mapping strategy helped students attend to writing tasks, and control their learning more effectively. It helped students facilitate their learning by organizing key concepts into visual representation. They simply represented visually their understanding of ideas and their relationships. This created a much more tangible evidence of the quality of both the learning process and concept understanding.
It seemed that the construction of concept maps might have helped students to build more complex cognitive structures in regard to information which was vital for writing. According to Pintrich (2000), the cognitive area of self-regulation begins with goal setting, prior knowledge activation and planning. Pintrich places the actual use of cognitive strategies in the phase of cognitive control and regulation. It has been suggested that strategy instruction should be integrated into a larger framework of self-regulation involving the helping of students to identify their goals in a learning task (Butler, 2002).Butler states that by strategy intervention it is easier to demonstrate the different types of knowledge which are essential for fostering students’ self-regulated strategy use.
The positive effect of concept mapping strategy on the students’ self-regulation is confirmed by McAleese (1998) in that individuals are affected by control mechanisms that are both external and internal. According to McAleese (1998), there is some interaction between the external representation (concept mapping) and the internal understanding (self-regulation). The factors that determine students’ behavior shift between the internal self-regulation and the external factor of concept mapping.

4. Conclusion and implications
The findings clearly demonstrate that concept mapping can benefit university students at the intermediate level of English proficiency. In fact, the benefits of concept mapping might extend beyond achievement gains to some variables such as self-regulation which is an achievement-related variable. This is consistent with the finding of Corno and Mandniach (1983) that instruction in strategy use is an effective means of promoting self-regulation. It seems that the use of concept mapping strategy in our courses of writing in the university has been personally rewarding as a means of constructing knowledge and promoting self-regulation. This has important implications for both students and teachers. Students maximize their learning by using concept mapping in their essay writing; hence they feel more independent and feel more responsibility for their own learning. Because concept mapping is easily adopted by the students, it doesn’t rely too much on teacher’s involvement. Teachers may enhance their students’ self-regulation in writing by familiarizing them with the concept mapping strategy.
Although the present study suggests that the strategy of concept mapping is beneficial to university students, there are areas that need to be studied further. In regard to university students, it needs to be investigated whether the benefits of concept mapping would be the same for the students at the elementary level of English proficiency. Furthermore, it needs to be studied whether the concept mapping strategy would have positive effects on students’ self-regulation in other courses such as reading comprehension.

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Appendix A and B (see PDF or SWF File)

Politeness Markers in Persian Requestives https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/politeness-markers-in-persian-requestives/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 13:52:47 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/politeness-markers-in-persian-requestives/ April 2007. Volume 2 Issue 1

Politeness Markers in Persian Requestives

Mohammad Ali Salmani-Nodoushan, University of Zanjan, Iran

Bio Data:
Dr Mohammad Ali Salmani-Nodoushan is Assistant Professor of TEFL at the University of Zanjan, Iran. He has been teaching BA and MA courses at different Iranian Universities for the past fifteen year and is a member of the editorial boards of Asian EFL Journal, The Linguistics Journal, and I-Manager’s Journal of Educational Technology. He is also editor-in-chief of Iranian Journal of Language Studies (IJLS). His areas of interest include language testing and English for Specific Purposes (ESP).

Full Edition


This study aims at finding out whether Arabic learners of English (Emarati Females in particular) produce target-like compliment responses in English and whether pragmatic transfer can occur. Discourse completion tests (DCTs) and interviews were used to study the strategies employed when responding to compliments by native speakers (NSs) and Arabic non-native speakers (NNSs) of English. Findings suggest that Arabic (L1) expressions and strategies were sometimes transferred to English (L2). This study also indicates that Emarati female learners of English transfer some of their L1 pragmatic norms to L2 because they perceive these norms to be universal among languages rather than being language specific. It also indicates that Arabic NNSs of English have some misconceptions about NSs that affect the way they respond to their compliments. Some important cultural and pedagogical implications are discussed at the end of the paper.

Key words: pragmatic transfer, compliment responses, raising cultural awareness in the EFL/ESL classroom.

See PDF or SWF file for full article

Just Say “Thank You”: A Study of Compliment Responses https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/just-say-thank-you-a-study-of-compliment-responses/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 13:51:19 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/just-say-thank-you-a-study-of-compliment-responses/ April 2007. Volume 2 Issue 1

Just Say “Thank You”: A Study of Compliment Responses

Hessa Al Falasi,
American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Bio Data:
Hessa Ghanem Al Falasi is in her third year of teaching. She is teaching Grade 6 and 7 in Fujairah School for Basic Education, a government school in Fujairah. She is also completing an MA in TESOL in the American University of Sharjah. She is interested in assessment and evaluation. Ms. Al Falasi is currently working on her thesis, which is a textbook evaluation of the new English national curriculum “UAE English Skills”.

Full Edition

This study aims at finding out whether Arabic learners of English (Emarati Females in particular) produce target-like compliment responses in English and whether pragmatic transfer can occur. Discourse completion tests (DCTs) and interviews were used to study the strategies employed when responding to compliments by native speakers (NSs) and Arabic non-native speakers (NNSs) of English. Findings suggest that Arabic (L1) expressions and strategies were sometimes transferred to English (L2). This study also indicates that Emarati female learners of English transfer some of their L1 pragmatic norms to L2 because they perceive these norms to be universal among languages rather than being language specific. It also indicates that Arabic NNSs of English have some misconceptions about NSs that affect the way they respond to their compliments. Some important cultural and pedagogical implications are discussed at the end of the paper.

Key words: pragmatic transfer, compliment responses, raising cultural awareness in the EFL/ESL classroom.

Communicating with speakers of other languages is a complex behaviour that requires both linguistic and pragmatic competence. Whether we speak in a first or second language, we are influenced by sociocultural norms and constraints that affect the way we communicate. Rizk (2003) points out that what is considered appropriate in one language might not be so in another. Praising a girl of being fat, for instance in a Western African community is considered a compliment; while in an American context it is perceived as an insult.
Most of the problems that EFL learners face in intercultural communication are mainly pragmatic. Teachers of EFL often choose not to stress pragmatic knowledge in their classrooms, focusing instead on linguistic knowledge. Eslami-Rasekh (2004) warns that this might result in pragmatic failure when EFL learners actually communicate with native speakers (NSs), something that is attributed to some other cause, such as rudeness. The only way to minimize pragmatic failure between NSs and NNSs is by acquiring pragmatic competence, that is, “the ability to use language effectively in order to understand language in context” (El Samaty 2005, p. 341). Emarati EFL students are not exposed to the target community and culture and they find it extremely difficult to produce or sometimes understand a speech act.
Compliment responses are one type of speech acts that differs considerably from Arabic to English. Native speakers of English might consider the way Arabic speakers respond to compliments offending or bizarre, because they understood only the words without the cultural rules that govern them and vice versa. This study aims at finding out whether Arabic learners of English produce target-like compliment responses and whether pragmatic transfer can occur. It examines how compliment responses are used in the UAE culture and the differences between them and the ones used in the American culture. Despite the wealth of empirical studies conducted about speech acts in general, few data-based studies have ever focused on L1 transfer of compliment responses. More research is necessary in this area to better understand the relationship between L1 transfer and compliment responses in L2 use. The present study contributes to the limited collection of research done on compliment responses in Arabic. This will be achieved by: (1) reviewing studies on pragmatic transfer and compliment responses, (2) discussing the methodology and results of the present study, and finally (3) suggesting some classroom implications that could apply to EFL teaching in the UAE context.

Literature Review
Pragmatic Transfer
Intercultural miscommunication is often caused when learners fall back on their L1 sociocultural norms in realizing speech acts in a target language. This is referred to as pragmatic transfer. Rizk (2003) defines pragmatic transfer as “the influence of learners’ pragmatic knowledge of language and culture other than the target language on their comprehension, production, and acquisition of L2 pragmatic information” (p. 404). Pragmatic transfer can be either positive, which is considered an evidence of sociocultural and pragmatic universality among languages, or negative, which indicates inappropriate transfer of L1 sociolinguistic norms into L2. This often results in pragmatic failure, or being unable to understand the meaning of an utterance in the target language. (Liu, 1997). Negative pragmatic transfer, as Rizk (2003) explains, takes the form of translating some “formulaic expressions/ phrases” functioning to express different speech acts in (L1) to express the equivalent speech act in L2. (p.405). El Samaty (2005) mentions one factor that might influence pragmatic transfer and that is learners’ perception of “what constitutes a language specific or a universal issue” (p.342). Learners would not transfer an L1 pragmatic feature to L2 if they know that it is language specific.

Research on Pragmatic Transfer
Pragmatic studies dealing with different speech acts have been conducted since the early 1980s. These studies focused on L1 in most cases, but later, L2 and cross-cultural variations have been introduced. The L2 pragmatic transfer studies have shown that despite being linguistically competent in a second language, learners are likely to transfer L1 pragmatic rules in their L2 production (El Samaty, 2005). Takahashi and Beebe (1987) hypothesized that there is a positive correlation between L2 proficiency and pragmatic transfer. They argued that more proficient learners tend to transfer L1 socio-cultural norms more than less proficient learners because they have enough control over L2 to express L1 sentiments at the pragmatic level. Eslami-Rasekh (2004) supports this claim by stating that linguistically competent learners do not necessarily possess comparable pragmatic competence. “Even grammatically advanced learners may use language inappropriately and show differences from target-language pragmatic norms”.
In 1986, Blum-kulka and Olshtain used discourse completion tests to analyze the utterance length of requesting strategies in Hebrew. They collected the data from non-native speakers of Hebrew at three proficiency level, and they found out that high-intermediate learners produced utterances longer than the utterances of low-intermediate and advanced learners, which was considered by the researchers as pragmatic failure ( Ghawi 1993, p.39).

Compliments and compliment responses
A compliment is one form of speech acts and it can be defined as “an utterance containing a positive evaluation by the speaker to the addressee” (Liu,1997). There is an infinite number of words that could be chosen to compliment, but the set of lexical items and grammatical patterns we use in our daily interaction when complimenting and have high frequency in our daily discourse are very restricted. According to Wolfson (1986), two-thirds of English compliments use the adjectives “nice, good, beautiful, pretty, great”, and 90% make use of just two verbs “like and love” (p.116). The lack of creativity in the form and content of English compliments is related to their function in discourse. Herbert (1986) demonstrates that compliments are used to “negotiate solidarity with the addressee” (p.76). Their aim is to make the addressee feel good and their formulaic nature minimizes the chance that they will be misinterpreted by the addressee.
On the surface level, there is not much difference between Arabic and English cultures in the use of compliments. However, if we look at compliment responses, differences arise. When communicating with native speakers of English, Arabs may sometimes sound bizarre or offending. This is duo to some differences in the way the two cultures use compliment responses. In the Arab society, it is a deeply-rooted religious belief that humility is a virtue. Even when accepting a compliment, Arabs tend to return the compliment (which might sound insincere to NSs), or insist on offering the object of the compliment to the speaker (something that might be embarrassing to the NSs who did not expect this behavior). Therefore, differences may result in serious communicative interference in cross Arabic and English culture communication.

Research on Compliment Responses
The first researcher who discussed compliment responses from a pragmatic perspective was Pomerantz in 1978. She claimed that Americans face two dilemmas when responding to compliments: (A) they have to agree with the speaker, and (B) they have to avoid self-praise. Urano (1998), further explains this dilemma by stating that when a recipient of a compliment responds by agreeing with the speaker (Condition A), it violates Condition B as this response goes against the sociolinguistic expectations of the speaker. On the other hand, if the speaker doesn’t accept the compliment to avoid self-praise, the response will be face-threatening since it violates Condition A. To mediate this conflict, recipients of compliments resolve to a variety of solutions: (1) Acceptance, (2) Rejection, and (3) Self-praise avoidance.

Herbert (1986) revised Pomerantz’s taxonomy by analyzing American English speakers’ compliment responses. He collected more than a thousand samples of compliment responses from American college students in a three-years period project. Surprisingly, only 36.35% compliment responses were accounted for by acceptance. Herbert ended up with a three-category, twelve-type taxonomy of compliment responses.

(Table 1)

Response                                       Type Example
A. Agreement
I. Acceptances

  1. Appreciation Token              Thanks; thank you; (smile)
  2. Comment Acceptance           Thanks; it’s my favourite too.
  3. Praise Upgrade Really brings out the blue in my eyes, doesn’t it?

II. Comment History                      I bought it for the trip to Arizona.
III. Transfers

  1. Reassignment                      My brother gave it to me.
  2. Return                                 So’s yours.

B. Nonagreement
I. Scale Down                                It’s really quite old.
II. Question                                   Do you really think so?
III. Nonacceptances

  1. Disagreement                      I hate it.
  2. Qualification                         It’s alright, but Len’s is nicer.

IV. No Acknowledgment (silence)
C. Other                                        Interpretations
I. Request                                     You wanna borrow this one too?

Table 1. Herbert’s Taxonomy of Compliment responses (Herbert 1986, p. 79)

Since then, a number of contrastive studies have been conducted to compare compliment responses in different languages and language varieties. Arabic and South African English speakers were found to prefer accepting compliments rather than reject them. Speakers of Asian languages, on the other hand, were likely to reject compliments (Urano, 1998). In 1989, Wolfson collected observational data on compliments from authentic interaction between native and non-native speakers over a period of two years. She found out that L2 speakers did understand the function of compliments as “a social lubricant” in the American culture. They had difficulty in responding appropriately to compliments (Ghawi 1993, p.40). In another contrastive study of compliment responses between Chinese learners of English and American NSs of English, Chen (1993), found out that the majority of Chinese NNSs of English rejected compliments, compared to the American NSs who accepted and appreciated those compliments.

More recently, Cedar’s (2006) contrastive study of compliment responses used by Thai NNSs of English and American NSs of English revealed significant differences in responses to English compliments between the two groups. While Americans tended to accept compliments and elaborate positively in their responses, Thai NNSs of English refrained from elaborating and used formulaic expressions in their responses. Cedar explained this by stating that “the English conversational competence of Thai subjects was not developed enough to express their feelings of positive elaboration” (p.15).
Despite the above reviewed studies on compliments and compliment responses, the lack of studies on Arabic learners of English in this area is obvious.

Research questions
As mentioned earlier, the purpose of this study is to examine pragmatic transfer in compliment responses by Arabic learners of English. Three related research questions emerged:

  1. What are the similarities and differences in compliment responses between female NSs and Emarati female NNSs of English?
  2. When speaking in English, will Emarati females’ compliment responses be closer to Arabic or English?
  3. Does language proficiency play a role in their use of compliment responses?

In order to answer these questions, it is necessary to first examine the patterns of compliment responses by Americans and Emarati females in their L1, and second to observe compliment responses by Emarati females in their L2 (English).

For validity and reliability, I used triangulation by not concentrating on just one source of information. I approached the topic from different points of view by combining quantitative data from discourse completion tasks (DCTs) and qualitative data from interviews. I also used theories and background knowledge from books and journals articles that guided me to approach my topic in the right way.
The subjects of the study were all female participants divided into three main groups:

  1. Group1: American NSs of English = 10 ( HCT teaching staff)
  2. Group2: Emarati NNs + English majors = 10. All of them are English Teachers at the Fujairah Elementary School for Girls.
  3. Group3: Emarati NNs non-English majors = 6. 2 Housewives + 4 Math teachers at the Fujairah Elementary School for Girls.

The reason why females were chosen for this study is because they tend to use politeness strategies more than men do. According to Guodong & Jing (2005), many research studies support this claim. They explain that studies on the relation of gender and language have found out that women are more sensitive than men to being polite. Studies conducted by Liao & Breneham and Brown in1996 and 1998 also found that women are more status sensitive than men. Therefore, it is predictable that women will use more politeness strategies than men do. What is also important to note, as Liu (1997) explains, is that women are traditionally assumed in both cultures to be more concerned than men with personal topics such as physical appearance, clothing, food and diet.


1. Discourse Completion Test :

The Discourse Completion Test (DCT) consists of six scenarios, in which participants are expected to respond to compliments. These scenarios were designed to meet the purpose of this study and to elicit data on compliment responses from both NSs and NNSs of English. The final version in English was translated by the researcher to Arabic. Groups 1 and 2 took the English version, and group 3 took the Arabic version.

2. Interviews :

This tool was used to account for the reasons of the participants’ responses and minimize the researcher’s bias when interpreting the data.

The data collected from the three groups through the discourse completion test will be presently analyzed for the six scenarios. The analysis will be based on Herbert’s taxonomy of compliment responses to examine the similarities and differences between native and non-native speakers of English.

Scenario 1:
You have just finished presenting your research paper. At the end of the class (when you were just leaving the classroom), one of your classmates say: “You did an excellent job! I really enjoyed your presentation”. You answer: _____
Almost all of the NSs responses to this scenario were agreement. Their responses varied between appreciation token “oh, thank you!”, to comment acceptance “thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it”, and praise upgrade “you have no idea how hard I worked for that!”. Only one NS responded by disagreeing and questioning “Really? I thought it was just ok”. On the other hand, almost all of the native speakers of Arabic (NSAs), have responded by either transfer (returning the compliment) “oh, your presentation was much better”, or interpreting it as a request “do you want me to help you with your presentation?” Only one of the NSAs responded with a simple “thank you”. The responses of NNSs who took the English version of the DCT showed more use of the agreement responses like “thanks!” and “It’s nice of you to say so”. However, they also showed literal translation of Arabic formulaic expressions used as compliment responses. These translations included “I’m your pupil”, which is a scale down expression that means the speaker is much better than the addressee, and “I’m ashamed” which might strike a NS as extremely out of place, but is literally translated from the widely used Arabic formulaic expression (أخجلتم تواضعنا ) akhjaltom tawaado’na.

Scenario 2:
You have some friends and relatives over for coffee and cake that you baked. Someone says: “Tastes Yummy!”. You answer:_____
Eight of the ten NSs responded with “thanks” and then offering to give the speaker the recipe “would you like the recipe?”. The other two responded by giving information or history, “it’s a family recipe”. NNSs who answered in Arabic used questions “really? Did you really like it?”, disagreement “no it’s not, you’re just complimenting me!”, and reassignment “my mom gave me the recipe”. NSAs who answered in English did not use those two strategies in their responses. Instead, they resolved again to literally translating Arabic formulaic expressions like “Your taste is yummy”, and “I added my magic to it / that’s because I dipped my sweet finger in it”. Only one person responded with “thank you”.

Scenario 3:
You were shopping for a skirt and a stranger (male) approaches you and says: “This would look amazing on you!” You answer:____
NSs all responded with either no acknowledgment, or by not accepting the compliment “what’s it got to do with you?”. NNSs who answered in Arabic and English also responded with no acknowledgment, or by offending the man.

Scenario 4:
You were shopping for a skirt and a stranger (female) approaches you and says: “This would look amazing on you!” You answer:___
NSs responded with either a question “really?/ oh, so do you think I should buy it?” or an appreciation token “thanks / thank you”. NNSs who responded in Arabic used formulaic expressions like “May Allah bliss you” jazaaki allah khair, “May Allah make all your days beautiful” Allah yhalli ayyamek. NNSs who answered in English used tokens of appreciation “thanks/ how sweet of you to say so”, or returned the compliment by translating Arabic formulaic expressions “Your eyes are beautiful” oyoonech el helwa.

Scenario 5:
Some friends are over at your house. One of them looks at a clock hanging on the wall and says: “I love your clock. It looks great in your living room!”. You answer: _____
NSs responded with comment history “It was a present from my daughter/ I bought it in Harrods”, or acceptance “yes, I loved it when I bought it”. NNSs who answered in Arabic interpreted this compliment as a request and responded with offering the clock to the speaker and insisting that they take it. NNSs answering in English also insisted that the speaker take the watch “you must take it! I swear, you must!”. Only one NNS answered with an appreciation token “you like it! Thank you!”.

Scenario 6:
You’re wearing a new shirt and a colleague looks at you and says: “This shirt looks great on you! Blue is a great color for you.” You answer: _____
NSs responded with appreciation tokens “thanks/ you made my day!”, questions “is it really?/ do you think so?”, disagreement “I dunno, I prefer pink”, and comment acceptance “oh, it’s my favorite color. Thanks”. NNSs who answered in Arabic responded with returning the compliment “you’re more beautiful/ this is because you have a good taste”, disagreement “thanks, but I know this is only a compliment”, and questions “really? Swear!!”. NNSs who answered in English returned the compliment by translating Arabic formulaic expressions “your eyes are beautiful and they see everything beautiful”, disagreement “please don’t say that, you’re embarrassing me!”, scale down “oh, it’s so cheap! I bought it in the sales”, and comment acceptance “thanks, I like it too”.

It was clear from the above analysis that in most cases, female Emarati learners of English did not produce target-like compliment responses. They unconsciously brought about some L1 expressions and strategies which might result in communicative breakdown. For instance, they literally translated Arabic formulaic expressions used in compliment responses and these expressions were not always suitable for the compliment given in English. They intended their responses to be polite but they were not appropriate. For example, the expression “I’m ashamed” would be more appropriate when an offence is committed, rather than to show gratitude and appreciation. These strategies were used both by English and non-English majors, which means that communicating with NSs might slightly affect their use of compliment responses, but does not have changed it completely to a target-like response.

Another important issue that rises from the findings is that NNSs had some misconceptions about the way NSs responded to compliments. These misconceptions have affected the way NNSs would deal with NSs considering compliment responses. This was illustrated through scenario 3 (see above). In the UAE culture, compliments from men are generally not accepted unless the man is a member of the family. However, if they happen, the appropriate response from the female would be to simply ignore the man. Responses to other compliments are normally answered based on the real circumstance or position the addressee is in at the moment he/she is greeted.
Scenario 3 illustrates a situation that many females in the UAE are likely to find themselves in while shopping. The responses of the NNSs were analysed above and they ranged from no acknowledgement, to offending the male. After groups 2, and 3 finished their DCTs, I asked them the following question “how do you think a female NS would respond in this situation?” All of the NNSs answered that a NS would be happy to get this compliment, would highly appreciate it, and would thank the man. While, as obvious from the data analysis above, all but one NS answered that they would either ignore the man or tell him to mind his own business. When I asked the NNSs how this idea they have of NSs affected them, half of them stated that it does not affect them in any way; the other half, however, explained that an American male would expect the female to be happy when complimented while a local male would know that this female would be insulted. “If the man who complimented me was a foreigner, I would accept the compliment and thank him, if it was a local guy”, said one of the interviewee, “I would certainly ignore him”.

Another issue is the way NSs and NNSs view compliments. Compliments in the UAE had turned into a routine and they are perceived to be insincere most of the time. There are several factors that affect the use of compliments in the UAE, like social distance, age, gender, and social status. Some of the reasons why people in the UAE use compliments are, as Boyle (2005) explained, “1) to avoid hurting other people’s feelings; 2) to give people some hope and encouragement; 3) to protect one self from more powerful people; 4) because they want other people to compliment them too; 5) it’s encouraging” (p.356). For these reasons, many people use compliments even if they were insincere, as a means of making people feel good. That’s why it was found in NNSs responses expressions like “oh, this is not true, you’re only complimenting me!” and “Really? Or is it just a compliment?”

It was obvious also that language proficiency did not play a role in producing target-like compliment responses. Both English majors and non majors produced the same compliment responses. The only difference is that group 2 translated those responses literally to English.
Other deviations from the native norms are the following: (1) NNSs used longer compliment responses because there is a general understanding that the longer the response to compliments, the more sincere it is, (2) NNSs, sometimes, responded to compliments with a joke that might be misunderstood by speakers of other languages, (3) because of their strong ties with their religion, Emarati NNSs have their faith in (Allah) God deeply embedded within their speech acts. That’s why most of the compliment responses are in the form of a small prayer that the speaker be blessed from Allah, and he/she gets whatever they want with the help of Allah allah eykhaleech, allah ysallemch.

The present study explored pragmatic transfer of compliment responses in Arabic learners of English in comparison with the data from native speakers of American English. The findings of the study show that Arabic learners did not produce target-like responses to compliments. This suggests that it’s not enough to build learners’ linguistic competence and that it might be necessary to also develop their sociocultural, which will in turn develop their understanding of the frames of interaction and rules of politeness within the target culture. It is also important to provide learners with knowledge of the linguistic forms or stylistic strategies appropriate to convey the intended meaning in different contexts or situations.

The study offers two pedagogical implications, one for syllabus designers and the other for instruction. First, when designing textbooks, syllabus designers should examine learners’ needs considering the understanding and production of speech acts in the target language and which of these speech acts they are likely to come across. Learners should be made aware of NSs usage of the variety of expressions to realize a certain function, depending on the situation where they are used. This could be accomplished by eliciting compliment responses from their own culture, and presenting the target culture’s way of responding to compliments to raise their awareness.
Second, Emarati EFL learners have no contact with NSs of English, and that calls for more communication in the classroom, as it contributes to interlanguage development. This could be achieved through: (a) using authentic materials from the target language that will help learners understand as many native and non-native varieties and communicative styles as they can be expected to come across, (b) focusing on learner-centred activities like role plays and real discussions to develop efficient strategies of the target language, (c) team-teaching with NSs to give the students a chance to interact and learn English under the supervision of a NS.

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Urano, K. (1998). Negative pragmatic transfer in compliment responses by Japanese learners of English. Unpublished manuscript, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Honolulu. Retrieved May 1, 2006, from http://www2.hawaii.edu/~urano/research/esl660.html

Wolfson, N. (1986). Compliments in cross-cultural perspectives. In J. M. Valdes, Culture bound: Bridging the cultural gap in language teaching (pp. 112-120). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Beliefs about Language Learning: A Comparison between Novice and Interm ediate Level Students Learning Russian at a Malaysian University https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/beliefs-about-language-learning-a-comparison-between-novice-and-interm-ediate-level-students-learning-russian-at-a-malaysian-university/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 13:42:57 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/beliefs-about-language-learning-a-comparison-between-novice-and-interm-ediate-level-students-learning-russian-at-a-malaysian-university/ April 2007. Volume 2 Issue 1

Beliefs about Language Learning:
A Comparison between Novice and Intermediate Level Students Learning Russian at a Malaysian University

Larisa Nikitina and Fumitaka Furuoka
Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia

Bio Data:
Larisa Nikitina (B.A., M.A.) is a lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Sabah where she teaches the Russian language. Her current research interest focuses on the affective aspects of language learning and the study of language learning motivation.

Fumitaka Furuoka (Ph.D.) teaches Economics at Universiti Malaysia Sabah. He is the author of numerous publications that employ quantitative analysis in various social sciences fields. His most recent major publication is the book entitled New Challenges for Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) Policy: Human Rights, Democracy and Aid Sanctions (Universiti Malaysia Sabah Press, 2006). Fumitaka Furuoka’s research interests include the quantitative analysis and measurement of psychometric qualities of tools employed in the field of second language acquisition to assess learners’ characteristics.

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Elaine Horwitz’s influential research on the nature of students’ and teachers’ beliefs about language learning in the 1980s initiated a multitude of inquiries into the subject. Malaysia as a multi-cultural and multi-lingual country provides an interesting socio-linguistic setting to explore the nature of beliefs about language learning. However, research on this topic in the Malaysian context is lacking. This study aimed to address this gap and examined beliefs about learning a foreign language held by 107 Russian language students at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS). The present inquiry juxtaposed beliefs held by the beginners and intermediate learners in order to assess which areas of beliefs were commonly shared by the two groups of learners and which areas contained considerable differences in beliefs. This study employed a self-reported questionnaire based on Horwitz’s (1988) Beliefs About Language Learning Inventory (BALLI) as a research instrument, with some modifications done to suit the Malaysian context. Statistical analysis detected five items where opinions of two groups of students were significantly different. Although participants in this study were the Russian language students, there are no obstacles to viewing the findings of this research in a broader perspective of foreign language learning and teaching.

Key words: foreign language learning, foreign language teaching, language learning beliefs, Malaysia, the Russian language

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Foreword – April 2007 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/foreword-april-2007/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 13:40:28 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/foreword-april-2007/ April 2007. Volume 2 Issue 1


For this first edition of the Linguistics Journal for 2007 we are pleased to present eight articles. Congratulations to all the authors whose papers have been accepted. Interest in the journal has increased significantly from the end of 2006 and so the structure of the editorial board has been changed accordingly. Three new Associate Editors, Helmut Daller, Julian Good and Biljana Cubrovic have been appointed to supervise submissions and there are now more than thirty-five editors reviewing papers. Let us hope this healthy situation for the journal continues.

The first paper by Larisa Nikitina and Fumitaka Furuoka looks at beliefs about Russian language learning among novice and intermediate level students at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) in Malaysia. Using an adapted self-reported questionnaire based on Horwitz (1988), Nikitina and Furuoka explore the similarities and differences between the two sets of learners. Their quantitative analysis concludes that “the tenacity of learners’ beliefs depends on whether those beliefs were shaped by the micro-context (the learning situation) or macro-context”, the former of which is less stable. The most “malleable” beliefs concern language aptitude, perceptions of how difficult learning is, and how communication and learning strategies should be used.

The second paper comes from Hessa Al Falasi at the American University of Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates. Al Falasi’s study investigates compliment responses among mostly female Arabic learners of English, asking whether pragmatic transfer can occur. Using discourse completion tests (DCTs) and interviews to study the compliment response strategies by native speakers (NSs) and Arabic non-native speakers (NNSs) of English, findings suggest that some L1 pragmatic norms were in fact transferred over to English usage. It is revealed that these norms are sometimes perceived by Arabic speakers as being universal in nature. Al Falasi’s study stands in interesting contrast to a Thai-based study published in the Linguistics Journal June 2006 edition by Payung Cedar.

The next paper is by Mohammad Ali Salmani-Nodoushan from the University of Zanjan in Iran who investigates politeness markers in Persian requestives. This study very much complements an article published in the January 2006 edition by Hamid Allami on ‘griping’. In Nodoushan’s study, the effects of 465 complainers’ sex, age, perceived situational seriousness, and social class on the use of conversational strategies in their complaining behavior are observed. Two nonparametric tests were conducted, a Mann – Whitney U Test and Kruskal Wallis H Test, the results of which Nodoushan represents in a ‘cline of significance’ for each of the independent variables in question.

Mohammad Reza Talebinezhad and Giti Mousapour Negari, both from Isfahan University in Iran, look at the effect of explicit teaching of concept mapping in expository writing on Iranian EFL students’ self-regulation. This highly practical study employs Printrich et al’s (1991) questionnaire on motivation strategies for learning among sixty university students, divided into experimental and control groups. Findings reveal that concept mapping had a positive effect on the subjects under investigation.

Farzaneh Khodabandeh, from Mobarakeh Payameh Noor University in Iran, contrasts English and Persian newspaper headlines. Khodabandeh’s study employs Conversation Analysis to analyze the syntactic and lexical features in the headlines and reveals that there were similarities in the use of dynamic verbs, active voice, short words, declarative sentences, finite clauses, and simple sentences. Differences were seen in the use of tense forms, headline types, modification, and omission of words.

Daniel Nkemleke from the Technische Universität Chemnitz in Germany looks at the pragmatic use of questions in Cameroon English, particularly the speech act of ‘asking’ in informal contexts. 160 questions not conforming to native English categories of questions in Quirk et al (1985) were identified from recorded data of Cameroonian Bantu ‘home’ languages. The paper concludes that the ‘interplay’ of syntax between English and ‘home’ languages may result in the type of question forms found in the data.

Raphiq Ibrahim from the University of Haifa and Rambam Medical Center in Israel asks whether exposure to second spoken language facilitates word reading ability, the purpose of which is to provide direct evidence of a causal role for bilingualism in reading acquisition. Three groups of first graders of monolingual Hebrew speakers, bilingual Russian-Hebrew speakers and monolingual Arab speakers are observed in various reading skills, the data of which is analyzed with one-way ANOVA and correlations to compare the reading speed, errors of text and measures of vocabulary between Hebrew and Arabic groups. Among the conclusions drawn is that early exposure to L2 has a positive effect on reading ability showing that bilingualism is a “powerful predictor of the speed and effieciency of reading acquisition”.

The final article based on the MA dissertation by Yan Wang from the University of Wisconsin-Madison looks at a functional study of the final particle mono in Japanese conversational discourse. Using a discourse analytic approach, the employment of mono in sequence organization and how it shows attitudes towards propositions and addresses are both examined. This study illustrates how this particle reveals a speaker’s subjectivity and operates as a modality marker in conversational discourse.

We hope you enjoy reading these articles in the Spring edition of the Linguistics Journal and look forward to your own contributions in 2007.

John Adamson, Ed.D.
Senior Associate Editor
The Linguistics Journal


Volume 2. Issue 1. April 2007

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Foreword by Dr. John Adamson.

1. Larisa Nikitina and Fumitaka Furuoka. Beliefs about Language Learning: A Comparison between Novice and Interm ediate Level Students Learning Russian at a Malaysian University 
2. Hessa Al Falasi. Just Say “Thank You”: A Study of Compliment Responses
3. Mohammad Ali Salmani-Nodoushan. Politeness Markers in Persian Requestives
4. Mohammad Reza Talebinezhad and Giti Mousapour Negari. The Effect of Explicit Teaching of Concept Mapping in Expository Writing on EFL Students’ Self-regulation 
5. Farzaneh Khodabandeh. A Contrastive Analysis of English and Persian Newspaper Headlines
6. Daniel Nkemleke. “You will come when?”The pragmatics of certain questions in Cameroon English 
7. Raphiq Ibrahim. Does Exposure to Second Spoken Language Facilitate Word Reading Ability?
8. Yan Wang. A Functional Study of the Final Particle mono in Japanese Conversational Discourse

Farsi-speaking Learners’ Differential Command of Definite Types: A Cross-linguistic Study https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/farsi-speaking-learners-differential-command-of-definite-types-a-cross-linguistic-study/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 13:39:02 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/farsi-speaking-learners-differential-command-of-definite-types-a-cross-linguistic-study/ August 2007. Volume 2 Issue 1

Farsi-speaking Learners’ Differential Command of Definite Types:
A Cross-linguistic Study

Fariba Mobini
University of Isfahan, Iran

M.H. Tahririan
Sheikhbahaee University, Iran

Bio Data:
Fariba Mobini, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at the University of Zanjan in the Department of TEFL and Translation Studies. Dr. Mobini teaches Linguistics, Contrastive Analysis, Principles and Methodology of Translation, General English, and Persian Grammar and has research interests in the areas of the Syntax-Semantics Interface, Definiteness Contents, Interlanguage Issues, and Cognitive Facets of Approximative Systems.

M.H. Tahririan specializes in linguistics and language teaching and has taught courses and supervised dissertations at Shiraz and Isfahan Universities. His present research interests are contrastive linguistics and critical discourse analysis. He teaches at Sheikhbahaee University in Baharestan, Isfahan.

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Deficient use of the definite article has been recognized as a persistent problem in EFL situations. To investigate the matter, the present study focuses on learners’ conceptualization of definiteness and in this respect differentiates between two types of simple definite noun phrases, viz semantic and pragmatic definites. To appraise learners’ handling of the two definite types across L1 and L2, i.e. Farsi and English, a bilingual measurement on definiteness was conducted for sophomores of Zanjan University. The results were indicative of participants’ more control over English definites as compared to Farsi. No correspondence was observed between participants’ knowledge of definiteness in English and their General English Course grades. Students of different faculties manifested differential commands of English and Farsi definite types. Considering local language background, Turkish speaking students displayed superior performance on English definites, but there was no significant difference in this regard between students who were competent in a local language vs. those who were not. The findings were interpreted as substantiating the significant role of the meaning-based orientation to pedagogy of definiteness, the implication being that providing the learners with a utilitarian perception of definite types can promote their command of the definite article.

Keywords: definiteness, pragmatics, semantics

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