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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

CGE Research Seminar on 7th February: Investigating implicit-explicit language attitude discrepancy (IED) to examine language attitude change in progress

CGE

The next Centre for Global Englishes (CGE) seminar will take place on Wednesday 7th February 2018 from 5:00pm in Lecture Theatre C (room 1175), Building 65, Avenue Campus. The seminar will be presented by Dr Robert McKenzie from the University of Northumbria. All welcome!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
This talk details the results of a recent study employing an Implicit Association Test (IAT) and self-report attitude scale, measuring the relationship between 90 Newcastle-based English nationals’ implicit and explicit ratings of Northern English and Southern English speech. Multivariate analysis demonstrated a significant implicit-explicit attitude discrepancy (IED), providing evidence of language attitude change in progress, led by younger females, with explicit attitudes changing more rapidly towards a greater tolerance of the English spoken in the north of England. The study findings are discussed in relation to the potential changing status of Northern and Southern English speech in the north of England. Suggestions for additional ways in which implicit and explicit attitude measures can be usefully employed by sociolinguists and applied linguists are also offered.

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 TNS seminar: ‘German and its Worlds: Situating the National and the Transnational in Teaching and Research’

TNS

Benedict Schofield from King’s College London will be speaking at the next Centre for Transnational Studies seminar taking place on Wednesday 13th December 2017 from 5-6:30pm in Room 1177, Avenue Campus. The seminar is entitled ‘German and its Worlds: Situating the National and the Transnational in Teaching and Research’. All staff and students are welcome! Here is the abstract:

Where does German Studies as a discipline sit in relation to the transnational, and what role can the transnational play in helping us do German Studies differently? This talk considers the ways in which the transnational can function as a positive force for generating new ideas, both in teaching and research, for the wide interdisciplinary field that is German Studies. It will look at recent transnational projects, such as Transnational German Studies (directed at undergraduates) and German in the World (directed at researchers), alongside case studies from my own research on Anglo-German relations, which pose questions about the many different meanings we project on the term ‘transnational’. Is the transnational more than a descriptive term, identifying particular forms or moments of cultural motion, transfer and translation? If so, how can it also function as a key mode of enquiry – a form of Modern Languages methodology – that underpins our work as scholars and teachers of German Studies? And how might this in turn help us express more clearly the value and impact of our discipline at a time of perceived crisis?

CGE Research Seminar on 6th December: Exploring Brazilian teachers’ attitudes to an ELF-oriented pedagogy

CGE

The next Centre for Global Englishes (CGE) seminar will take place on Wednesday 6th December 2017 from 5:00pm in Lecture Theatre C (room 1175), Building 65, Avenue Campus. The seminar will be presented by Dr Alessia Cogo from Goldsmiths, University of London. All welcome!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
Research into language teachers’ attitudes towards ELF generally, and an ELF-oriented pedagogy specifically, has been solidly advancing since Jenkins’ (2007) seminal publication in this area. However, relatively little research has focused on teachers at different stages of their professional development (in-service or pre-service), in relation to their previous educational experiences and to the context of their teaching. This study is an investigation with in-service and pre-service teachers in Brazil, which attempts to tackle such aspects. The work was conducted in 2015 with teachers from Salvador, Brazil. Findings suggest that regardless of the differences in experience, the background knowledge and educational upbringing of both groups are key for their understanding and development of ELF-oriented teaching in their own context and classes.