Next CLLEAR seminar: Grammatical innovations in Multicultural London English

CLLEARThe next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Wednesday 24th October 2018 at 4:30pm in Lecture Theatre C, Building 65, Avenue Campus. The talk is entitled “Grammatical innovations in Multicultural London English” and will be delivered by David Thomas Hall from Queen Mary, University of London. All welcome!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
Recent years have seen growing interest in interdisciplinary research at the intersection of sociolinguistics and formal linguistic theory, sometimes called Sociosyntax (see e.g., Cornips and Corrigan 2005; Lingua special issue on formalising syntactic variation (2010), vol 120.5). Recent research into urban multiethnolects in the UK (e.g., Cheshire et al 2011) has revealed unexpected syntactic properties in emerging varieties of English, particularly Multicultural London English (MLE). Research on MLE has so far been carried out in a variationist sociolinguistic framework (Cheshire et al 2011 a.o), but here I report on my research into grammatical innovations in MLE in a broadly generative framework. I focus on the new pronoun man and preposition+definite article drop (P-D-drop). I will present analyses for the two phenomena, and discuss how the study of grammatical variation picked up through sociolinguistic research can inform our understanding of the limits of the language faculty from a minimalist perspective.

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.

Next CLLEAR seminar: Methodological considerations in measuring ambiguous relative clause attachment strategies in bilinguals

CLLEARThe next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Monday 16th April 2018 at 15:30 in Room 1011, Building 67, Highfield Campus. The talk is entitled “Methodological considerations in measuring ambiguous relative clause attachment strategies in bilinguals” and will be delivered by Elena Valenzuela from the University of Ottawa. All welcome!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
It has been argued that monolinguals and bilinguals differ in how they resolve ambiguities in relative clause attachment. Cuetos and Mitchell (1988) first noted that sentences as in (1) and (2), which contain a complex NP of the type “NP of NP” followed by a relative clause (RC), are parsed differently depending on the language:
(1) She kissed the brother(NP1) of the poet(NP2) that was on the balcony.
(2) Elle a embrassé le frère(NP1) du poète(NP2) qui était sur la balcon.
In English (1), the poet is on the balcony whereas in the same sentence in French (2), it is the brother who is on the balcony. Languages can be grouped according to the parsing strategy for monolinguals: high attachment (Spanish, French, Greek, Italian, Japanese, etc.) and low attachment (English, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Romanian, etc.).

Dussias and Sagarra (2007) found that language dominance was the Spanish-dominant bilinguals with limited exposure to English preferred high attachment in both languages, while bilinguals with extensive exposure to English preferred low attachment in both English and Spanish. Valenzuela et al. (2015) examined the parsing strategies of bilinguals in code-switched sentences and also found that language dominance and exposure played the greatest role for parsing. However, in these previous studies, participants were all living in an English environment at the time of testing which may have influenced so-called language dominance. In our study we test French/English bilinguals living their dominant language environment.
This research examines parsing strategies in monolingual and code-switched sentences to address the following research questions:
i. Does language dominance play a role in parsing strategies?
ii. Does direction of the language code-switch affect processing?
iii. Does the direction of the language code-switch affect processing differently based on individual’s language dominance?

Two groups of bilinguals: French/English living in English dominant environment (n=15) and French/English living in French dominant environment (n=14) were tested on their parsing strategies of French, English, and French/English code-switched ambiguous relative clauses. Participants were given two experimental tasks: Sentence Judgment Task and Sentence Completion Task. Results show that across the board low attachment was preferred regardless of the language environment and language dominance of the participant. This may suggest that, as in Dussias and Sagarra (2007), language exposure plays an important role. However, this may also be due to the prolonged language contact situation in Canada resulting in an emerging dialect. Results will be discussed in terms of language dominance, frequency of language usage, and appropriateness of the methodology used.

Centre for Global Englishes seminar: “Reconceptualising grammar for a pedagogy of Global Englishes”

CGE

The next Centre for Global Englishes (CGE) seminar will take place on Wednesday 29th April 2015 from 5:00 – 6:30pm in Lecture Theatre C, Building 65, Avenue Campus. The talk is entitled “Reconceptualising grammar for a pedagogy of Global Englishes” and will be delivered by Christopher J Hall from York St John University. All welcome! Read more…

CLLEAR seminar tomorrow – ‘Representational deficit or processing effect? An RT study of noun-noun compound processing by very advanced L2 speakers of English’

The next CLLEAR seminar of the semester will be taking place on Wednesday 19th March 2014 from 5.00-6.30pm in Lecture Theatre C, Avenue Campus, at the University of Southampton. The session is entitled ‘Representational deficit or processing effect? An RT study of noun-noun compound processing by very advanced L2 speakers of English’ and will be presented by Dr. Cecile De Cat from the University of Leeds. All welcome!

Are musicians better language learners?

The Guardian has reported on research that has found that children who learn music from a young age find it easier to learn languages. The study, undertaken by researchers at Harvard Medical School, found that children who study music before the age of seven develop bigger vocabularies, a better sense of grammar and a higher verbal IQ.

To read the article in full, visit the Guardian website.