Next TNS seminar: Transnational Religion: Textual Trails (Or how to domesticate the transnational)

TNSAnne O’Connor from NUI Galway will be speaking at the next Centre for Transnational Studies seminar, taking place on Wednesday 16th May 2018 from 5-6:30pm in Room 1177, Avenue Campus (Building 65). The seminar is entitled ‘Transnational Religion: Textual Trails (Or how to domesticate the transnational)’. All staff and students are welcome!

Here is the abstract for the seminar:
This talk will look at the transnationality of religion and how the spread of religion is supported by the printed word. It will use the example of global Catholicism and devotional reading to question how orthodoxies emanating from the Vatican reach the lives of Catholics in the Anglophone world. It will look at the intersection of translation, book history and religion to examine how each can work together and provide momentum for transnational influence. By focusing on the materiality of the transmitted words, the talk will discuss how popular printing allowed for the transnational to enter the domestic sphere.

Next CLLEAR seminar: Thinking ahead in a second language: On the role of prediction in L2 processing

CLLEARThe next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Wednesday 9th May 2018 at 4pm in Room 1177, Building 65, Avenue Campus. The talk is entitled “Thinking ahead in a second language: On the role of prediction in L2 processing” and will be delivered by Theres Gruter from Hawaii. All welcome!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
The role of prediction in native language (L1) processing has been investigated, and debated, extensively over the past couple of decades. Yet it is only in the last few years that prediction/anticipation in second language (L2) processing has become a topic of interest. In this talk, I will discuss how the investigation of prediction in L2 processing may help us move beyond the common but rather unsatisfying description of differences between L1 and L2 speakers as L2 learners having “a processing problem”. In recent and on-going research in our lab, we have used online (visual-world eye-tracking) and offline methods to probe to what extent L2 listeners engage in proactive ‘thinking ahead’ during sentence and discourse processing. Drawing on findings from studies targeting various linguistic cues that can give rise to anticipatory processing – including classifiers in Mandarin Chinese and grammatical aspect in English – I will argue that L2 speakers do not necessarily differ from L1 speakers in whether or not they engage in prediction, but in how and when they engage in prediction, and what information they use to generate expectations about upcoming information. Taken together, these findings suggest that prediction is a universal mechanism of human language processing (and behaviour more generally), and that L1 and L2 speakers make adaptive use of this mechanism depending on its utility given their knowledge and processing goals.

SIGLTA meeting on Thursday 10th May: Round table discussion: Integrated Language Testing

You are cordially invited to attend the Special Interest Group in Language Testing and Assessment (SIGLTA) meeting. This time, we are delighted to host a round table discussion with three specialists on language testing, Carolyn Westbrook from The British Council and Alex Thorp and Mark Griffiths from Trinity College, London. SIGLTA is supported postgraduate student-led reading/research group from the Faculty of Humanities. The meeting is at 18:00-19:30 on Thursday 10/05/2018 in Lecture Theatre A, Avenue Campus (building 65).

Abstract: Nowadays, there is an ever-increasing focus on integrated tests, because these are considered to ‘reflect authenticity of task and response’ (Pearson Language Tests, 2010). However, integrated testing is not without its issues. This Round Table on Integrated Assessment will investigate some of the issues around integrated skills testing and will look at practical ways in which skills can be tested in an integrated way. We will also consider how we can integrate language teaching with language testing and then we will open up the floor for discussion and contributions from the audience.

The speakers:
Carolyn Westbrook (Test Development Researcher | British Council): Considerations / issues in integrated testing; discrete vs integrated testing
Alex Thorp (Lead Academic-Language-Europe | Trinity College London): What does it mean to test in an integrated way?
Mark Griffiths (Academic Consultant | Trinity College London): Integrating language teaching with language testing.

CGE Research Seminar on 9th May: Tutor-student interaction in one-to-one academic writing tutorials


The next Centre for Global Englishes (CGE) seminar will take place on Wednesday 9th May 2018 from 5:00pm in Lecture Theatre C (room 1175), Building 65, Avenue Campus. The seminar will be presented by Professor Jane Setter from the University of Reading and is entitled “Suprasegmentals in South-East Asian Englishes”. All welcome!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
Intonation is one of the earliest acquired aspects of human speech, and is now thought to be acquired pre-birth in a child’s first language (L1). L1-specific patterns of speech rhythm emerge shortly before a child is school-age. This presentation looks at some suprasegmental aspects of speakers who have English as a second (L2) or additional language, focusing on research on the emergent variety, Hong Kong English (HKE), and L2 English learners from Malaysia, China and Vietnam. We will consider patterns in the different speaker varieties, and also issues of teaching and learning.

Next CLLEAR seminar: Theoretical linguistics and the scientific method in the language classroom

CLLEARThe next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Wednesday 2nd May 2018 at 4pm in Lecture Theatre C, Building 65, Avenue Campus. The talk is entitled “Theoretical linguistics and the scientific method in the language classroom” and will be delivered by Julio Villa-García from the University of Manchester. All welcome!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
In this talk, I pursue the view defended in recent work (Bosque 2018, i.a.) that the way we teach language has traditionally been based on labelling (“this is a noun”; “this is a predicate…”), rather than on actual analysis. This contrasts starkly with what happens in scientific disciplines, where students look at evidence, glean generalisations, formulate hypotheses/theories and then make predictions about what will happen. I contend that such a pattern-enchanted approach can be beneficial in the language classroom when it comes to the teaching of grammar, as in addition to finding generalisations about how the grammatical system works, students also develop a number of lifelong transferable skills.

In the second part of the talk, I argue that the findings of theoretical research can aid language teaching, since the quality of the input that we expose our learners to can improve significantly. This is because research on theoretical linguistics has come up with more precise generalisations than those typically found in pedagogical grammars (Rothman 2010, i.a.). In fact, there is no need for teachers or students to be trained in linguistics (i.e., there is no real need to overload students with metalanguage or with too many technicalities). To this end, I provide a number of practical examples suggesting that the gap between theoretical research and pedagogical practice in the language classroom can actually be bridged.