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.

Paper by Professor Roumyana Slabakova receives Albert Valdman award

Professor Roumyana SlabakovaProfessor Roumyana Slabakova from Modern Languages and Linguistics and her co-authors Tania Leal and Thomas Farmer, whose paper “The fine-tuning of linguistic expectations over the course of L2 learning” has been selected as one of two recipients of the Albert Valdman award, given for outstanding publication in Studies in Second Language Acquisition (CUP) for a publication appearing in 2017.

Here are the acceptance remarks of the authors:
The article addresses the fascinating topic of whether second language speakers are capable of making predictions as to what they can expect in the upstream linguistic string, based on what words they have already encountered. We know that monolingual native speakers are very good at such anticipation. It turns out that second language speakers are good at it, too, when they are sufficiently advanced in proficiency and language experience. This finding is one more blow to the argument that second language speakers’ competence and processing are fundamentally different from native speakers’. The article findings have an interesting real-world implication, too. We know that Clitic Left Dislocation, the property we investigate, is not taught explicitly in most Spanish classrooms. Naturalistic language experience, in the form of study-abroad, proves sufficient to overcome this lack of explicit teaching. We very much hope that future research will bring further insights on the effects of naturalistic input on SLA competence and performance.

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.

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: Beyond Borders, Beyond Words: Issues & Challenges in Developing An Open-Access Multimodal Corpus of L2 Academic English from A Sino-British University

CLLEAR

The next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Thursday 25th January 2018 at 16:00 in Room 1173, Building 65, Avenue Campus. The talk is entitled “Beyond Borders, Beyond Words: Issues & Challenges in Developing An Open-Access Multimodal Corpus of L2 Academic English from A Sino-British University” and will be delivered by Dr. Yu-Hua Chen from the University of Nottingham, Ningbo Campus. All welcome for the seminar and discussion!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:

The Corpus of UNNC Chinese Academic Written and Spoken English (UNNC CAWSE) is an ongoing project which aims to build a large collection of Chinese students’ English language samples from one of the few English-medium instruction (EMI) universities in China. The campus creates a unique environment for teaching and learning and also provides exciting opportunities for linguistic studies into Academic English from diverse theoretical and analytical perspectives. The project collects students’ language samples from a variety of assessment tasks (both written and spoken) and speech events (spoken and multi-modal) from the preliminary-year programme at UNNC. The final product of UNNC CAWSE will offer open-access electronic resources (including a multi-modal subcorpus) available for researchers and practitioners who are interested in a wide range of topics, including for example Second Language Acquisition (SLA), English for Academic Purposes (EAP), English as a Lingual Franca (ELF)/World Englishes, and many other aspects of the Written and Spoken English unique to this new corpus.

This talk will first introduce this unique UNNC CAWSE corpus including its design and construction process. Then various challenges and issues arising from using innovative approaches in constructing an L2 multimodal corpus will be described and discussed. Based on our current data transcription and annotation, some preliminary findings which share certain characteristics with ELF will also be presented.

Next CLLEAR seminar: The effects of structured-input and structured-output tasks on the acquisition of English causative

CLLEAR

The next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Wednesday 18th October 2017 at 16:00 in Lecture Theatre C, Building 65, Avenue Campus. The talk is entitled “The effects of structured-input and structured-output tasks on the acquisition of English causative” and will be delivered by Alessandro Benati from the University of Portsmouth. All welcome for the seminar and discussion!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:

The experimental study presented in this paper (Benati and Batziou, 2017, 2018) considered the effects of structured-input and structured-output tasks when delivered in isolation and in combination. The effects of three different treatments (structured-input only; structured-output only; and a combination of structured-input and structured-output practice) were measured on the acquisition of English causative forms (feature affected by The First Noun Principle). Chinese adults and Greek school-age learners learning English participated in the study. Interpretation and production tests (sentence and discourse) were used as pre-test, immediate post-test, and delayed post-test. Results show that learners benefit from structured-input practice and maintain their ability to interpret and produce the target feature after that practice.

Next CLLEAR seminar: “How the glottal stop starts: examining children’s use of a rapidly expanding variable”

CLLEAR

The next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Thursday 25th May 2017 at 16:00 in Lecture Theatre C, Building 65, Avenue Campus. The talk is entitled “How the glottal stop starts: examining children’s use of a rapidly expanding variable” and will be delivered by Jennifer Smith from the University of Glasgow and Sophie Holmes-Elliott the University of Southampton. All welcome for the seminar and discussion! Read more…

Top 10 position for Linguistics in 2018 Complete University Guide

Linguistics at Southampton has been ranked in the top ten (of 38 institutions) in the 2018 Complete University Guide. The breakdown of scores shows a successful balance between very high research quality with excellent student satisfaction.

For further information about the ranking, visit the Complete University Guide website.

Next CLLEAR seminar: “Once a native, always a native? Language attrition and constraints on bilingual development”

CLLEAR

The next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Wednesday 11th January 2017 from 4:00-5:30pm in Lecture Theatre C, Building 65, Avenue Campus. The talk is entitled “Once a native, always a native? Language attrition and constraints on bilingual development” and will be delivered by Professor Monika Schmid from the University of Essex. All welcome for the seminar and discussion!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
Bilinguals are not, as François Grosjean so famously pointed out, “two monolinguals in one person”. They use language differently from monolinguals, they differ from them in terms of processing, of acquisition, in their performance on controlled tasks and so on. We know this to be true, and yet it does not seem to have informed our research to the degree that it should: When we try to assess proficiency levels, probe underlying representations, investigate language production or processing, and so on, among L2 users – we still tend to compare them, as far as possible, to a monolingual reference group. Does it make sense to compare two groups that we know a priori to be different in order to find out that they are indeed different?

I will argue that in order to answer some of the most pressing questions in bilingualism research nowadays, such as whether language acquisition in childhood is qualitatively or merely quantitatively different from language acquisition later in life, we should invoke L1 attrition as part of the bilingual equation. We can thus put the populations that we compare on an equal footing with respect to their being bilinguals. In other words, we should not compare monolinguals and bilinguals, but dominant and non-dominant languages. In the case of L1 attriters, the non-dominant language is the one which was acquired as the first and only language in childhood (and was thus not subject to any maturational constraints). In the case of L2 learners, the non-dominant language (ie., the language that we are interested in) was acquired later in life, after the first language had been established.

Such a comparison has the potential of separating those linguistic factors that are vulnerable to cross-linguistic interference in both early- and late-learned languages (and on which both populations differ from monolingual controls) from those that might indeed have been affected by some kind of a Critical Period (which are stable in attriters but variable in L2 speakers).

I will illustrate this argument with data from a number of ongoing investigations, using behavioral measures, free speech data and evidence from neuroimaging studies.

Modern Languages disciplines in top 10 of latest Complete University Guide

French, German, Iberian Languages and Linguistics all feature in the top 10 for their section of the Complete University Guide, consolidating the University of Southampton’s overall position of 17th in the recently published table. French is attributed particular success with a rise this year by 8 places in the table to 5th position overall.

Prospective students for these disciplines in Modern Languages may wish to look at our online resource, Get Ready for Languages, to explore some of the reasons for our success!