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International Journal of Language Studies

A Quarterly Journal of Applied Linguistics

ISSN: 2157-4898 | eISSN: 2157-4901

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Editor: Mohammad A. Salmani Nodoushan

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Impact Factor (IF): NA

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This journal is peer reviewed and indexed in: ERA, LB, IBZ, LLBA & more


January 2013 - Volume 7 Number 1 - Pages 1-184

My twenty-five years of cloze testing research: So what?

James Dean BROWN, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, USA | Contact Author

International Journal of Language Studies, 7(1), 1-32. Add Print to Cart | Download PDF

This paper examines one strand of my research (a dozen or so studies on cloze testing) published between 1978 and 2002 in terms of: (a) the results of these studies, (b) the questions each raised that led to further studies, and (c) the answers I now have to the following questions: (1) How do score distributions generally affect cloze results? (2) How do score distributions affect cloze reliability and validity statistics? (3) Does tailoring cloze, using item analysis, lead to a more reliable and valid test? (4) Are cloze tests basically sentential or intersentential? (5) Why does K-R21 consistently underestimate cloze reliability? (6) Are there cloze items that are not contributing at all to test variance? (7) How do cloze tests administered to low and high proficiency groups differ overall? (8) How many items are not functioning well in cloze tests administered to low and high proficiency groups? (9) Are different items functioning well in cloze tests administered to low and high proficiency groups? The discussion summarizes answers to those nine questions, and the conclusion considers how (a) I learned from my mistakes, (b) I learned more than I set out to learn, and (c) the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Keywords: Cloze Testing; Cloze Reliability; Cloze Validity; Tailoring Cloze; Item Analysis; Language Testing; Malfunctioning Items; Clozentropy

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A contrastive study of determiner usage in EST research articles

Peter MASTER, San Jose State University, USA | Contact Author

International Journal of Language Studies, 7(1), 33-58. Add Print to Cart | Download PDF

This paper analyzes the use of determiners in the research article (RA) genre. Research articles representing eight fields within the domain of science and technology were selected from respected journals, two articles in each field, with a total of 65,729 words. Two research articles from TESOL, a field outside the realm of science and technology, were also selected for comparison. The determiners were identified and counted in each article. The total number of words per RA was determined by means of a computer word-count utility to guarantee accuracy and uniformity. The zero articles, which are not visible to the word-counting program, were added to the total word count for each article before the percentages of occurrence were calculated. The data obtained were analyzed not only in terms of the whole corpus but also with the life and physical sciences treated separately. It is concluded that, as far as determiner use is concerned, the research article as a genre appears to maintain its boundaries no matter what the topic while it differs in specific ways from fictional prose. The study also confirms that although the may appear to be the most frequent word, the zero article is the most frequent free morpheme in the English language.

Keywords: Determiners; Predeterminers; Central Determiners; Postdeterminers; Genre; Research Article; RA; EST; Zero Article

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You know Korean English? Lexical Priming in short strings of Korean Spoken English

Glenn HADIKIN, University of Portsmouth, UK | Contact Author

International Journal of Language Studies, 7(1), 59-78. Add Print to Cart | Download PDF

This paper introduces the emerging new variety of Korean English to what may be a relatively new audience. Shim (1999) suggested that Korean English was codified in the form of school textbooks by the end of the 1980s; now, more than 20 years later it would be reasonable to expect a number of Koreanised forms to be detectable in contemporary Korean spoken English but, to my knowledge, there has never been a corpus-driven study that explores this variety. With a theoretical backdrop based on a new theory of language: Hoey’s theory of Lexical Priming (Hoey, 2005) I explore three high frequency lexical strings, do you know, but you know and and you know and their variation in two corpora of Korean English and two of British English. The results suggest that Korean speakers use certain strings as extended connectives to ‘buy’ extra processing time and the study raises interesting questions about the relationship between string form and meaning.

Keywords: Lexical Priming; Spoken Englishes; Corpus Linguistics; Konglish; Self-Depreciation; Necessitation; Externalization

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The social semiotics of funerary rites in Iran

Mohammad Ali SALMANI NODOUSHAN, IECF, Iran | Contact Author

International Journal of Language Studies, 7(1), 79-102. Add Print to Cart | Download PDF

Speech acts find occasion in two different contexts: (a) interpersonal, and (b) social. While the aim of speech acts produced in the former context is to create a communicative effect, the speech acts produced in the latter context aim at creating a social effect. Drawing on social semiotics and language philosophy, this paper tackles the social process of meaning making by addressing funerary rites and rituals in the Shiite population of Iran, and by classifying the speech acts produced in such rites into three classes of speech: (a) language addressed to Allah, (b) language addressed to the deceased, and (c) language addressed to the grieved relatives of the deceased. Samples of speech from each of these situations are provided and analyzed within the framework of conventional speech acts and pragmemes. It is concluded that funerary rites function on two planes: (a) the psychological plane that aims at providing solace for the grieved relatives of the deceased, and (b) the social plane that aims at enhancing collective social intentionality; funerary speech aims at soothing the grieved and consolidating social aspects of humanity.

Keywords: Social Semiotics; Funerary Rites; Pragmemes; Institutional Facts; Societal Linguistics; Intentionality

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Power distance reduction and positive reinforcement: EFL learners’ confidence and linguistic identity

Noparat TANANURAKSAKUL, South-East Asia University, Thailand | Contact Author

International Journal of Language Studies, 7(1), 103-116. Add Print to Cart | Download PDF

This paper is based on a classroom research project undertaken at a small-sized private university situated in Bangkok. The study involves quantitative research approach. Its primary objectives are to examine confidence and attitude levels of Thai undergraduate students of EFL at three different stages, before and after interventions in a listening and speaking in English class with the notions of Hofstede’s power distance and Skinner’s positive reinforcement. Research results reveal positive impacts on students’ levels of confidence in oral English communication and attitudes towards teaching and learning of English to some degrees. The results also offer implications for EFL teachers in not only the Thai context but also in Japanese and Korean contexts.

Keywords: Power Distance; Power Distance Reduction; Confidence; Linguistic Identity; Positive Reinforcement

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Conflicts between prioritizing medical care and profit-making for a Thai hospital: A critical discourse analysis research

Jonathan Rante CARREON, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand | Contact Author

Richard WATSON TODD, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand | Contact Author

International Journal of Language Studies, 7(1), 117-138. Add Print to Cart | Download PDF

Private hospitals are caught between two conflicting purposes: providing medical care and profit-making. In this paper, Bumrungrad International Hospital (BIH) and its wellness center subsidiary, Vitallife is investigated from a critical perspective on how it prioritizes these two purposes through examining the homepages and overview pages from its websites using iterative thematic analysis and lexical analyses (keyword analysis, metaphor analysis, and lexical presuppositions). The iterative thematic analysis categorized website information into three key categories: medical issues, non-traditional health issues, and issues associated with profit making, with frequency of items in the categories taken as measures of emphasis. The keyword analysis involved identifying relatively frequent and salient lexical items as keywords with relative frequency measured through log-likelihood against benchmark corpus. The metaphor analysis identified key recurring metaphorical uses of lexis, which are taken as indicative of the conceptual systems of the hospital. The main presuppositions identified were existential presuppositions which assume the existence of the mentioned items. The results highlight how the hospital WebPages prioritize profit-making issues over medical issues to attract customers, while the Vitallife WebPages aim to expand the market of potential customers by redefining healthcare. These findings are considered in relation to the hospital’s stated goals, social expectations and Thai government policies.

Keywords: Critical Discourse Analysis; Hospital Priorities; Medical Tourism; Thailand; Websites

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A manifestation of the bilingual disadvantage in college-level writing

Eliza C. ANDERSON, Binghamton University, USA | Contact Author

Aaron M. VANDERHOFF, Binghamton University, USA | Contact Author

Peter J. DONOVICK, Binghamton University, USA | Contact Author

International Journal of Language Studies, 7(1), 139-150. Add Print to Cart | Download PDF

While bilingual ability can add richness to one’s life, bilingualism has been demonstrated to hamper lexical access, verbal fluency and vocabulary size of the targeted language. Although in higher education the quality of one’s writing is a great indicator of success, little research has explored how bilingual disadvantages translate into written expression. The current study utilized the written portion of the Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT) to compare performance between monolingual and bilingual college students, with the Raven Progressive Matrices providing baseline nonverbal intelligence and Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count software providing an objective analysis of the written samples. Bilingual students wrote fewer words and tended to receive a lower score on the PIAT than monolingual students, while showing a similar level of competency in other measures of quality of writing. Results suggest that bilinguals may be at a disadvantage on writing tasks that are time constrained.

Keywords: Bilingualism; Written Expression; Language Education; Language Assessment; Writing Skill; Lexical Access

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Phenomenology of speech in a cold place: The Polar Eskimo language as “lived experience”

Stephen Pax LEONARD, University of Cambridge, UK | Contact Author

International Journal of Language Studies, 7(1), 151-174. Add Print to Cart | Download PDF

The first-hand experience of learning an alien language is seldom the subject of a discussion on phenomenology, and yet the insights from fieldwork can be very rich in this regard. Immersed in a very different language culture where the pragmatics of silence, jokes and gestures have to be carefully interpreted to be understood, this article explores briefly a number of issues relevant to the phenomenology of speech such as the arbitrariness of the sign. In doing so, it engages with language, indigenous environmental philosophy as well as ‘ways of speaking and knowing’. These issues are discussed both from the perspective of fieldwork and from that of my informants – the Inugguit of north-west Greenland, a remote community of Arctic pseudo hunter-gatherers. It is shown that an intersubjective, non-Cartesian approach to language shared by this Arctic speaker community leads one to question some of the assumptions underpinning contemporary linguistic research. Further research is encouraged in order to develop a more complete and comprehensive phenomenology of speech whose basis should be the anthropology of experience and a healthy scepticism towards determinate systems of knowledge.

Keywords: Language; Polar Eskimo; Arbitrariness of the Sign; Philosophy of Nature; Semiotics; Linguistic Phenomenology; Semantic Transparency; Morphosemantics; Inugguit

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Book Review: Bublitz, W., & Norrick, N. R. (Eds.). (2011).Foundations of pragmatics. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. [710 pp: ISBN 978-3-11-021425-3 (hardcover)].

Azizeh CHALAK, Islamic Azad University, Khorasgan Branch (IAUKB), Iran | Contact Author

Hossein HEIDARI TABRIZI, Islamic Azad University, Khorasgan Branch (IAUKB), Iran | Contact Author

International Journal of Language Studies, 7(1), 175-184. Add Print to Cart | Download PDF

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