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Department of English
TESOL/Applied Linguistics Graduate Students Conference


Bate Building


 


 
2008 Conference

February 16, 2008
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC

 
Keynote Speaker

Dr. Walt Wolfram, Mary Kohn and Erin Callahan (North Carolina State University)

Southern Bred ESL: Hispanic English in the Mid-Atlantic South

How do dialects, particularly Southern dialects, affect the acquisition of English as a second language? Is it preferable-or even possible-to learn a dialect-neutral version of English? What factors influence the accommodation or resistance to local dialects? Is a unique variety of Hispanic English developing in the Mid-Atlantic South that might parallel Chicano/a English in the Southwest U.S.? The presentation considers the emerging English of Hispanics in the Mid-Atlantic South based on current sociolinguistic research in representative urban and rural contexts of North Carolina.




Discussion Forum

Serving English Learners: Perspectives across North Carolina School Districts
Organizer: Toby Brody (North Carolina State University)
Panelists: Sashi Rayasam (Durham County), Andrea Belletti (New Hanover County), and Denise Daniels (Wilkes County)

The panel discussion will bring together three North Carolina school district ESL coordinators, representing different regions of the state, for a presentation and discussion on the status of ESL in their communities. Panelists will address the implications of state and federal mandates on their local student populations and will field questions from the audience.



Workshops
Christopher Blake & Chandrika Rogers (Western Carolina University)

Using Corpus Linguistics in K-12 Language Teaching: A Pilot Project

The presenters will outline the process of corpus research and show how the data can be used to inform language teaching. The authors are in the early stages of compiling a corpus that consists of responses to writing assignments from students in the North Carolina public schools. The data will be used to determine patterns of grammatical errors in the writing of native and non-native K-12 students and will eventually be incorporated into a grammar textbook for pre-service English teachers. This workshop will provide participants with hands on experience in analyzing corpus data and will also demonstrate how the information can be applied in the language classroom.

Leona Mason (Pitt County Schools ESL Department)

Creative Uses for PowerPoint in the ESL Classroom

Powerpoint -- it's not just for slide shows. With a few extra tools -- a microphone and headphone set -- ESL teachers can create their own learning stations to assess listening and speaking. This workshop will show participants how to set up listening and speaking tasks and will provide examples of how to use these stations to support content and language instruction in the ESL classroom. The workshop will use examples from middle and high school ESL classes, but the information can be applied to elementary settings also.

Leona Mason, Amy Dill, Hannah Butler, Sara Boyd, Melanie Keeter (Pitt County Schools ESL Department)

Interactive Activities to Enhance ESL Instruction

This workshop will present a variety of practical, "tried-and-true" activities to increase interaction in the ESL classroom at the middle and high school level. It's directed towards ESL teachers who need a few more ideas on how to integrate content and language instruction while following the SIOP model for increasing interaction.



Papers
Pamela Hopkins (East Carolina University)

The Discourse of Sermons: Narrative Style

This paper examines the place of sermons in the field of discourse analysis and asks the question: Where do they fit? I review the literature that focuses on text analysis, critical discourse analysis and content analysis and conclude that sermons could fit into any of these categories. However, I, then, ask the question: Can religious sermons be classified as narratives? I look specifically at two sermons, one in the Episcopal denomination and one in the Baptist denomination, and contend that the two sermons I examined clearly fit William Labov's definition of a narrative. As I show, both sermons contain the elements that Labov used to define narratives: abstract, orientation, action, evaluation, resolution and coda. I break the sermons down and show how each part meets one of Labov's elements, and I include the full text of each sermon in the Appendix, clearly showing on the sermons where each element

 is. 
 

May George (University of Arizona)

The Role of Intentions in Learning Different Languages

While there are several studies about the relationship between intentions and second language acquisition, the goal of this research was to investigate the different types of intent that University of Arizona students have in learning non-traditional languages in three language courses: Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. The project began by exploring the different types of intention in Halliday's Theory of Emergence of Intentions, modifying some of the intents mentioned in the theory to fit the purpose of the study. Different views and models of intentions will be presented. The presenter will emphasize the recent views about intentions, which associate them with social interaction rather than mental acts. The present study used descriptive and qualitative approaches in order to provide a clear picture about the students' intents in learning non-traditional languages. One hundred University of Arizona students in three language courses completed a questionnaire; six of these respondents were interviewed. Different independent variables were identified in the questionnaire and the interviews, including age, gender, minor, and major. A categorical scheme of different types of intents was used in the study. The results showed that students expressed different types of intents in learning the language, which were mainly for personal interest.

Trisha Capanski (East Carolina University)

The Declaration of Independence: A Linguistic Contextualization of a Revolutionary Idea

As is known by most every American, the Declaration of Independence (DOI) is considered the most important document in U.S. history and is among the most heavily interpreted and fiercely discussed documents in modern history. Many scholars have been captivated by its political eloquence, but as Stephen Lucas points out, "there are surprisingly few sustained studies of the stylistic artistry of the Declaration." While Lucas explores the DOI's power by "probing the discourse microscopically" at the level of the sentence, phrase, word, and syllable in convincing a polis that it is justified in its desire to break from its mother country, this presentation will perform an exploratory analysis at the macroscopic level that will contextualize the setting leading up to the Lucas paper. Precisely, it will focus on how the overall language and style of the DOI were results of rhetorical and technical communicative influence. Many scholars have acknowledged the possibility of the DOI being an exercise in eighteenth-century logic, while others consider its language to be persuasive through rhetoric rather than by convincing through logical proof, but little has been done toward crossing the languages of rhetoric and technical writing as a possibility in the creation of its style and formation.

 

Kim Richey (Greensboro College)

Colloquial American English for International Medical Graduates: A Curriculum

International medical graduates (IMGs) are physicians who attended and graduated from medical school outside of the United States or Canada. IMGs account for almost 25% of all physicians practicing in the US, many of whom work in underserved areas (American Medical Association, 2006). Prior to working as physicians in the US, IMGs are rigorously tested to ensure competency in medical and English language knowledge. Colloquial language, however, is often missing from an IMG's linguistic repertoire, which can cause miscommunication between a physician and his or her patients, patient dissatisfaction, misdiagnosis, or implementation of an inappropriate treatment plan. A literature review of orientation programs and resources for IMGs is included. Proposed is an emergent curriculum for an English in the Workplace Program (EWP) to assist IMGs with collocations, phrasal verbs, translation of jargon to laymen's terms, and relevant cultural factors. In this paper, emphasis is placed on colloquial language as it pertains to women's health, pediatric anatomy, fever, and medication. Challenges of scheduling and national security are also explored.

 

Chia Ying Chang (Taiwan Normal University)

L1 (first language) Acquisition of Hakka Passives

In children's passives acquisition in Mandarin Chinese, four factors are crucial: verbal transitivity, reversibility, animacy of the argument, and truncation (Kuo 1995, Tseng 1997). However, none of the studies investigate if these factors are still important when children speak Hakka, a dialect of Chinese, as the first language. The present study examines the acquisition of Hakka passives in children aged 4 to 7. Five properties are considered: animacy of subject, reversibility, truncation, verbal transitivity, and bi-status pronoun in special construction; all of which are involved in two tasks: a puppet selection task and a picture-cue production task. The results show that the critical point for full comprehension of Hakka passives is at the age of 5, while correct production of the construction should be later. When delving into the properties, the results show that factors of animacy and reversibility are influential only on the youngest subjects. Subjects of all ages perform the lowest on experiential verbs, which suggests that this category of verbs is not typical. Subjects generally do not react to the ungrammaticality of truncation in Hakka passives as well as they do to full passives. With respect to the bi-status pronoun, the expletive in passives should be the default setting.

Lance Burrows (Kinki University, Osaka, Japan)

Exploring How Online Tools Influence Vocabulary Acquisition in Second Language Reading

Learners in EFL situations are often faced with the problem of limited exposure to the L2. One way of providing supplemental input and therefore increased exposure to the L2 is through reading. However, limited exposure to the L2 is not the only obstacle that learners have to hurdle. They must also overcome the challenge caused by a limitation on time. This study is being conducted to investigate how the use of on-line tools such as online dictionaries and/or text-to-speech functions can help to expedite incidental vocabulary acquisition from reading. A counterbalance approach was applied to three separate groups of Japanese university students over the course of one semester to test whether reading on-line with the use of various on-line tools could help improve learners' rates of vocabulary acquisition. All three groups underwent three treatments; reading on-line passages with the use of a hand-held electronic dictionary (Treatment A), an on-line dictionary that allowed students to access definitions by clicking on the word they wished to look up (Treatment B), and the same on-line dictionary coupled with a text-to-speech function (Treatment C). Results will be compiled and presented at the conference.

Bryan Meadows (University of Arizona)

Identifying Self on the Margins of two Language Communities: Utilizing the Familiar Exotic

Due to language's fundamental role in identity management, learning a second language necessarily entails re-defining the borders between 'self' and 'other'. This study presents an analysis of discourse between second-language learners of Japanese as they attempt to collaboratively discern the borders of self (America) and the other (Japan), the very borders they find themselves straddling. Through their discourse, the language learners construct what I term, the familiar exotic, which is a collection of stereotypical images that index a foreign community but in terms already conventionalized within the home community. The result is a portrait of an 'other' which coincides, and in turn validates, the home American worldview. The familiar exotic, as an object of theoretical attention, holds promise for shedding further light on language learners' re-negotiation of 'self' and 'other' as they traverse international and cultural borders. Furthermore, in the realm of classroom language teaching, the familiar exotic calls into question comfortable notions of target culture authenticity. It forces educators to ask the question: "Authentic for whom?" The discourse analysis to be presented adopts qualitative methods and borrows from the theoretical concern for the co-construction of social order through discourse which is typified by the ethnomethodological tradition.

Elizabeth Craig (University of Georgia)

A Contrastive Error Analysis of Prepositions and Articles in Second Language Writing

In a corpus comparison of the frequency of word classes in use across various registers, Biber et al (1999) find that nouns and their colligates (determiners and prepositions) are most common in news and academic prose and least common in conversation, where more verbs and adverbs abound. So the building of complex noun phrases would seem a very practical skill to hone for students learning to write academically in English, yet most traditional grammars of English tend to focus on mastery of the entire verb system. Function words in English are particularly troublesome for non-native speakers (NNSs), even at advanced levels of academic writing, especially because they tend to be reduced in speech and neglected in grammar and vocabulary textbooks. This study seeks to identify the percentage and types of errors in NNSs' academic writing by speakers of vastly differing native languages with regard to articles and prepositions. The research questions are: Are English articles more difficult to master for native speakers of Asian languages? Are English prepositions more difficult to master for native speakers of Spanish? Are errors with regard to function words identifying of non-native speakers? How can we better address such deficiencies earlier in the ESL grammar curriculum?

Hannah Butler (Pitt County Schools)

Why can't we write the way we talk? Approaching Standard English in a Learner-Centered Classroom

ESL students have difficulty separating the language they learn in informal social contexts from the formal language they need to experience success in the classroom. Because they often speak with an accent and identify with minority students who speak nonstandard varieties of English, ESL students are often labeled as underachieving and unmotivated. The key to balancing the opposing realms of standard and non-standard English lies in understanding the dichotomy of written and spoken language. If students are made aware of the differences between what they say and write, they are affirmed in their social identities and empowered to participate in our SE-dominated classes. I suggest that when my students can differentiate between the written and spoken realms of language, they become more proficient writers. To measure a student's skill in differentiating between spoken and written language, I administered a 35-item YES/NO task that requires English language learners to indicate if a given phrase is allowed in written academic language. I made correlations between the survey results and writing proficiency levels, as determined by the IDEA (Individual Developmental English Activities) Proficiency Test (IPT).