Tag Archives: seminar

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.

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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.

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

SIGLTA
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.

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

CGE

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.

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Next CLLEAR seminar: ‘I’ll have a burg[ə] and a fant[ʌ]’: acquiring variation in a new language

CLLEARThe next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Wednesday 25th April 2018 at 4pm in Room 1177, Building 65, Avenue Campus. The talk is entitled “‘I’ll have a burg[ə] and a fant[ʌ]’: acquiring variation in a new language” and will be delivered by Dr Gerry Howley from the University of Sheffield. All welcome!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
In this paper, I present results from a mixed methods study that combines quantitative analysis with ethnography. I examine the acquisition of vernacular dialect variation by Roma migrants in Manchester, England. While it is now widely recognised that migrants can acquire local dialect features in a new language, it is still unclear why some speakers acquire more features than others. I analyse variation across a range of vocalic variables to establish what social factors impact upon Roma migrants acquiring (or not) local patterns of variation. Results indicate that speakers with more open friendship networks produce more vernacular patterns of variation, providing further, fine-grained understanding of why some migrants may acquire more dialect features than others. Increasing (super)diversity in Europe’s cities brings issues of migration and integration to the top of political agendas. When a migrant acquires a dialect in a new language, this can be seen as an indicator of the way he is positioning himself within the local culture.

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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.

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Next CLLEAR seminar: Supporting Heritage Language Development

CLLEARThe next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Friday 9th March 2018 at 16:00 in Lecture Theatre B, Building 65, Avenue Campus. The talk is entitled “Supporting Heritage Language Development and will be delivered by Silvina Montrul from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. All welcome for the seminar and discussion!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
Defined by their transmission across a generation, heritage languages are spoken by the bilingual children of immigrant parents. There is little consensus in the U.S. today about the language education of English Language Learners (ELLs) who I refer to as heritage language speakers: while some call for the early teaching of English, others insist that this can have negative repercussions for the full development and maintenance of the heritage language. Similar concerns affect heritage speakers in other parts of the globe. In this talk, I challenge widely held ideas about native language proficiency: namely, that once acquired early in childhood, a language is stable, especially in adults. I argue instead that native language proficiency can be shaped by the environment, and this is particularly true for U.S. bilinguals. In contrast to monolingual native speakers, the language mastery of heritage speakers by early adulthood is often significantly different from that of both their immigrant parents and native speakers in the home country. Heritage speakers, like all speakers, are born with the ability to learn one or more languages fully and indeed retain native ability in selected grammatical areas due to their early exposure to the language, when compare to second language learners who start acquisition of the second language much later, for example. I will show how insufficient use of the language during late childhood and adolescence can profoundly affect specific aspects of their command of grammar, interrupting the full development of the language and turning their native language into a second language. I will conclude with suggestions for supporting heritage language development during the language learning period.

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Next CLLEAR seminar: Swearing in English L1 and LX: the effect of situational, psychological and sociobiographical variables

CLLEARThe next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Wednesday 21st February 2018 at 17:00 in Lecture Theatre C (Room 1175), Building 65, Avenue Campus. The talk is entitled “Swearing in English L1 and LX: the effect of situational, psychological and sociobiographical variables” and will be delivered by Jean-Marc Dewaele from Birkbeck, University of London. All welcome for the seminar and discussion!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
An analysis of data collected from 2347 users of English on their self-reported swearing behaviour in English revealed significant differences between the 1159 native English (L1) users and the 1165 English foreign language (LX) users. Parallel analyses on the data of the L1 and LX users revealed that swearing frequency was differentially linked to the type of interlocutor. Participants’ personality traits (Psychoticism, Extraversion, Neuroticism) and sociobiographical variables (education level, age group, gender) were also linked to swearing in English. Analysis of 30 mildly negative to extremely negative emotion-laden words showed that LX users overestimated the offensiveness of most words, with the exception of the most offensive one in the list. Variation among LX users was linked to having (or not) lived in English-speaking environments, to context of acquisition and to self-perceived level of proficiency in English LX.

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Next TNS seminar in conjunction with the Department of Film: ‘Transnational Cinema: Milestones in a New(ish) Field of Study’

TNSDeborah Shaw from the University of Portsmouth will be speaking at the next Centre for Transnational Studies seminar, taking place on Wednesday 21st February 2018 from 5-6:30pm in Room 1177, Avenue Campus (Building 65). The seminar is entitled ‘Transnational Cinema: Milestones in a New(ish) Field of Study’ and will be delivered in conjunction with the Department of Film. All staff and students are welcome! Here is the abstract:

This paper aims to present an overview of some key developments in ways of conceptualising the transnational in film studies. It considers the reasons for the late adoption of the transnational in film studies in relation to the social sciences. 2005 sees the beginning of a transnational momentum in our discipline with the following years seeing a number of conceptual and theoretical essays and edited volumes and the founding of a journal, Transnational Cinemas in 2010. The paper outlines the key areas of focus in what I am identifying as the first phase of transnational cinema studies and considers question of scales of value that have been applied to the transnational. Following this, the paper discusses approaches to transnational film theory through an analysis of a selection of definitional essays. The final section of the paper presents an overview of what I am characterising as the second phase of transnational film studies, and considers the expanded reach of the transnational to the many areas that make up the discipline.

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Next CLLEAR seminar: ‘I like to see a picture’: Tutor and student perspectives on the use of visuals in Chinese and British students’ writing

CLLEARThe next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Wednesday 14th February 2018 at 16:00 in Lecture Theatre C (Room 1175), Building 65, Avenue Campus. The talk is entitled “‘I like to see a picture’: Tutor and student perspectives on the use of visuals in Chinese and British students’ writing” and will be delivered by Maria Leedham from the Open University. All welcome for the seminar and discussion!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
The traditional focus within the teaching of academic writing is on language produced as linear prose in genres such as the essay, report or case study, and little research has been conducted on the extent to which additional semiotic modes are used and how these are perceived by discipline tutors and by students. This paper analyses the use and perceptions of resources such as graphs, diagrams, and images (henceforth ‘visuals’), in assessed writing from two student groups: L1 Chinese and L1 English undergraduates in three disciplines (Biological Sciences, Economics and Engineering). The paper explores a dataset of undergraduate assignments drawn from the 6.5 million word British Academic Written English corpus, using corpus linguistic procedures combined with textual analysis. This reveals that the L1 Chinese students make significantly greater use of visuals and also lists than L1 English students in the same disciplines. The presentation then reports on findings from interviews with tutors and students (n=30), exploring their views. It is suggested that academic writing tutors could provide more guidance to all undergraduate students as to the range of acceptable ways of meaning making within assessed undergraduate writing.

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