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.

Next TNS seminar: ‘On Cultural Transnationalisms: The case of World(-)literatures in Portuguese’

TNS

Dr Emanuelle Santos from the University of Birmingham will be speaking at the next Centre for Transnational Studies seminar taking place on Wednesday 22nd November 2017 from 5-6:30pm in Room 1177, Avenue Campus. The seminar is entitled ‘On Cultural Transnationalisms: The case of World(-)literatures in Portuguese’. Here is the abstract:

The resurface and resignification of the concept of World Literature in the beginning of the current century has certainly infused some new blood to the field of Comparative Literature. As the strong colours of the postcolonial critical paradigm lose appeal and prestige among funding agencies and academics, the paradigm of World Literature/World-Literature rises with its comforting image of a literature of the world as one, albeit uneven. As such, World(-)literature dislocates Comparative Literature’s focus from coloniality and hegemony, drawing attention to circulation and border-crossing, enabling potentially problematic frames of comparison. Drawing from the case study of the circulation of the literatures of Portuguese-speaking Africa within and beyond the Portuguese-speaking world, this paper aims at questioning the potential of World(-)Literature as a productive critical paradigm from which to reconsider the world as one.

CGE Research Seminar on 8th November: English as a Lingua Franca and language assessment: Challenges and opportunities

CGE

The next Centre for Global Englishes (CGE) seminar will take place on Wednesday 8th November 2017 from 5:00pm in Lecture Theatre C (room 1175), Building 65, Avenue Campus. The seminar will be presented by Dr Luke Harding from Lancaster University. All welcome!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) communication represents one of the most significant challenges to language testing and assessment since the advent of the communicative revolution. On one hand, ELF destabilises the place of the native speaker, and the notion of assessing against a “stable variety” (Jenkins & Leung, 2014, p.4). At the same time, however, research emerging from ELF studies suggests opportunities for reconceptualising and expanding language constructs. In this talk I will discuss the challenges and opportunities afforded by an English as a Lingua Franca perspective on language assessment. In the first part of the talk, I will describe the two fundamental challenges ELF presents for language assessment, and connect these with broader debates around the nature of communicative competence. I will then discuss how the language testing and assessment community has addressed the ELF challenge thus far, with examples from both scholarship and testing practice. Third, I will sketch an ELF construct for assessment purposes, and present two cases of small-scale studies which have attempted to operationalise this construct. Finally, I will discuss some new directions for research at the interface of ELF and language assessment.