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Department of English
TESOL/Applied Linguistics Graduate Students Conference

Bate Building


2010 Conference

February 20, 2010
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Elaine E. Tarone
Director of CARLA,
Distinguished University Teaching Professor at the University of Minnesota

Elaine E. Tarone is the Director of the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA), and Distinguished Teaching Professor in English as a Second Language at the University of Minnesota, where she has provided preparatory coursework for MA ESL students since 1979.  Professor Tarone's research publications since 1972 have focused on the impact of social context and literacy level on oral second language processing, production, and acquisition.  CARLA has been a Title VI Language Resource Center since 1993, and is known for its large web-site of resources for language teachers, its intensive summer institutes and conferences, its working papers and electronic newsletters. For more information about Dr. Elaine Tarone, visit her webpage at ILES.

Research on second language (L2) acquisition has focused on oral skills, but neglected a variable that characterizes large numbers of second language learners: alphabetic print literacy.  This omission greatly limits our understanding of the human capacity for language learning.  The presenter reports on a collaborative research project that documents a significant impact of low alphabetic literacy level on the processing of oral L2 input.  She relates those findings to prior research in cognitive psychology showing significant differences in the native language phonological awareness of literate and illiterate adults. This line of research needs to be pursued further, and pedagogical approaches for ESL instruction of adults and adolescents developed.

2010 TALGS Plenary Session Part 1

2010 TALGS Plenary Session Part 2

2010 TALGS Plenary Session Part 3

Invited Discussion: Exploring Learner Language for Teachers

This discussion session will focus on a new approach to second language acquisition for language teachers, one which provides teachers with opportunities for hands-on experience to develop skills in analyzing learner language in their own classrooms.  The approach is used in Exploring Learner Language (2009, OUP), with videos of language learners involved in task-based communication. Using exercises set in a framework of Exploratory Practice, teachers develop their own perspectives on learner language, and relate these to pedagogical decision-making.

The workbook is now available from the Oxford University Press.

Christina Michaud with Marnie Reed (Boston University)

Teacher Roles and Goals: Goal-Driven Lesson Planning in TESOL

Teachers are naturally focused on themselves, their role in the classroom, etc. One study found that ESL teachers have by and large rejected the image of themselves as the “delivery teacher” and now alternate between images of themselves as “contracted professionals and supportive parents” (Block, 1992). Another study found that ESL teachers typically use the following self-descriptors: “co-operative leader, provider of knowledge, challenger/agent of change, nurturer, innovator, provider of tools, artist, repairer, gym instructor [i.e., coach]” (Guerrero & Villamil, 2000). Using the literature on ESL teachers' self-defined roles as a starting point, we argue that teacher roles inevitably shape our views of lesson planning. Within the teacher-training literature in TESOL, teacher roles are primarily described as choosing varied and interesting activities, encouraging students to use the language, and creating a positive classroom atmosphere. All these actions—which teachers commonly think of as “lesson-planning”—are indeed necessary but not sufficient: the choice of activities and the creation of a positive learning environment must be in service of specific language goals. We advocate a stronger, goal-driven approach to lesson planning, consistent with some of the most frequently reported images of teacher roles yet also creating opportunities for measurable and observable student progress.

Melissa Maynard  (University of Albany)

The Acquisition of Rudeness in the Study Abroad Context

It is widely accepted that a study abroad sojourn is an ideal situation for L2 learners to experience real-life situations in the target language (TL) environment and to develop necessary socio-pragmatic competence in the TL. This study, therefore, considers the correlation between language proficiency and cultural sensitivity in the acquisition one such competence: responding to rudeness. By using Discourse Completion Tasks (DCTs), this study compares the responses of native English (L1) speakers and Intermediate and Advanced non-native English (L2) speakers participating in a study abroad program to see if language proficiency predicts the ability to respond appropriately to rudeness. Nine Advanced and nine Intermediate L2 speakers provided written responses to six DCTs that contained rude situations. Eight L1 English speakers were asked to rate the appropriateness of the responses using a six-point Likert scale ranging from “Highly Agree” to “Highly Disagree”. Using Beebe’s (1997) list of pragmatic strategies employed by native speakers in response to rudeness, the data was analyzed to compare the responses of the Advanced L2 speakers and the Intermediate L2 speakers. Preliminary findings indicate that while the Advanced speakers had more native-like responses, the Intermediate speakers used a wider range of pragmatic strategies in response to rudeness.

Kilala Devette-Chee (University of Canberra, Australia)

The use of Tok Pisin in Papua New Guinea schools

Pidgins are usually marginalized and are not commonly used in formal education because they are often viewed as 'hybrid languages' or 'broken forms of English'. However, in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Tok Pisin, an English-lexifier pidgin which was originally used as a lingua franca, is now used as a medium of instruction to teach English in schools alongside local vernaculars. This paper reports on a language attitude study conducted in 2009 on the use of Tok Pisin, compared to Tolai, a local vernacular, in PNG Primary Schools. I first provide a brief synthesis of the literature that emphasizes the need for pidgins, creoles and local vernaculars in schools in multilingual communities. Next, I discuss the significance of these languages in the transitional bilingual program under the current education reform in PNG, and then put forward an argument that there is a need to understand fully both the continuity and discontinuity of these mediums when bridging to English in lower primary schools in the country. Language attitudes shape language behaviour and this inevitably affects language proficiency and use in subsequent generations, particularly when attitudes to language in a multilingual nation like Papua New Guinea are shaped by political and social events and driven by economic need.

Stephen Kintz (East Carolina University)

Categorization: How the Mind Divides the World

Categorization is one of the most basic cognitive processes: is it alive or dead; human or nonhuman; plant or animal; pink or red? Throughout the day, people make countless categorical decisions. Understanding the differences and similarities between categories can help us understand how people perceive, divide, and understand the world. The purpose of this study is to examine the type of information produced when presented with concepts from two innate categories: superordinate and basic-level. In a timed association test, 15 East Carolina University students were prompted with 5 superordinate (e.g. furniture) and 5 basic-level (e.g. chair) concepts and asked to give semantic features for each. The features were coded into nine brain regions that store different types of knowledge and four knowledge classes. The coded features were analyzed for frequencies and type of information accessed and produced.  While the categories showed no difference in the amount of semantic information produced, they did elicit different types of semantic information. The differences in semantic information suggest that something about these two categories is represented, processed, or organized differently in the mind.

Brittany Polat (Georgia State University)

Listening to Southern American English in Georgia

This presentation reports on a replication of Deterding's (2005) study Listening to Estuary English in Singapore (TESOL Quarterly). Research was conducted in the Southern United States with the purpose of learning whether advanced ESL learners can accurately understand speakers of a Southern American dialect. Five highly proficient non-native English speakers were asked to listen to, transcribe, and react to speech samples. Results show that many of the learners faced significant challenges in understanding Southern accented speech. Sociocultural and pedagogical implications for universities in the South will be discussed, as well as implications for preparing students for non-standard speech in contexts around the world.

Forrest Caskey (Western Carolina University)

Gay Speak: Coming Out of the Linguistic Closet

For decades, much ado has been made about the binary categorization of male and female language.  Recently, researchers, under the banner of ‘queer linguistics,’ have been breaking that binary code with the examination of alternative gendered language communities. The majority of research in this burgeoning field has previously dealt with semantic and discourse deviations of the gay voice.  My research seeks to further break the male female dichotomy by identifying the phonological and prosodic properties of the gay male voice, a voice which appears to diverge from that of a standard male or female banner. The premise of this research began with the question: You hear a voice where you cannot see its owner…what about that voice designates it as that of a gay man? To answer this question, I have recorded and phonetically transcribed sentences spoken by both gay and straight men. By juxtaposing the results of the two groups I have determined that gay men, through phoneme variation and changes in pitch and intonation, play with language more than straight men do. My current research seeks to explore this toying with the language as well as devise appropriate pedagogical tools to encourage tolerance of alternative voices in the classroom.

Yi Sun (East Carolina University)

Motivation and Language Achievement in Adult Language Learners

In recent years, motivation has become an important topic arousing the interest of researchers within the domain of second language research. Many studies had confirmed that motivation plays a key role in language attainment. The purpose of the present studies was to examine the extent to which Gardner’s socio-educational model of second language acquisition affected language achievement in adult learners. A sample of 15 Chinese graduate students from different academic backgrounds enrolled at East Carolina University responded to items on a questionnaire based on the Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (Gardner, 1985a). Additionally, the group of Chinese students, aged 23-30, provided the standard test TOEFL scores that measured their language achievement. Results of descriptive analysis (standard deviation and mean) suggested that there existed a strong and significant relationship between motivation and English language achievement. Furthermore, the integrative motivation was the strongest predictor of learners’ motivation to second language studies. Overall, students with high motivation in English achieved higher TOEFL score than students with relatively low motivation.

Mira Bekar (Purdue University)

Self-reported Problems of L1 and L2 College Writers

Understanding self-reported problems of L1 and L2 writers regarding the writing process holds important pedagogical implications for instructors to address their students’ specific writing needs (Leki 1992; Silva 1993, 1997). This presentation compares the self-reported writing difficulties of two groups: L1 (N=19) and L2 (N=19) freshman composition students from an American university. To analyze the group differences, a questionnaire (using 5-point Likert scale) about the perceptions of writing difficulties and approaches to the writing process was used. Findings from the descriptive statistical analysis suggest that despite self-reported common problems, such as keeping clarity by using appropriate syntax, the L1 and L2 students presented different views on the importance of visuals in a text. While L1s find visuals to be least important for the reader to understand the text, L2s find visuals to be most important. The unsatisfied Grice’s maxim of manner, adapted for writing, explains the reasons for the divergent message comprehension. The results reveal that although instructors focus on teaching essay organization, both L1 and L2 students need more instruction on creating better sentence structures. Also, encouraging L2 students to use visuals (pictures and graphs) in their persuasive essays would prove beneficial for them to overcome writing problems in English.

Maria Ortega (East Carolina University)

The Unspoken Truth:  Indigenous Languages Among Hispanics in Edgecombe County

This study shows the existence of indigenous languages among the Latin population of Edgecombe County.  The goal of the paper is to show the number of indigenous languages existing in this area, and the frequency of use by their native speakers. The language assessment used on this study was adapted from a previous document used by the Seminole nation to find out the current language situation in their community.   A total of sixteen adults from Mexico and Guatemala, aged between 19 and 50, were interviewed in person or by phone, in Spanish. The questionnaire consisted of sixteen questions regarding both demographic and linguistic data. The results show the existence of the following indigenous languages in the county: Akatek, Q’anjob’al and Popti (Q’anjobalan); Q’eqchi (Quichean), and Mixteco (Otomanguean).  These indigenous languages are spoken in Mexico and in Guatemala.  This study provides an avenue for further investigation into an under-researched area of indigenous language use among the Hispanic/Latino population of the state of North Carolina.  Also, it provides an opportunity for educators and community leaders to develop future resources available for Hispanic/Latino people whose mother tongue is an indigenous language.

Frank Hurley (East Carolina University)

Visual Rhetoric as a Mode of Invention for ESL Students

As visual rhetoric gains momentum in the traditional college composition classroom as a useful teaching tool, little work has been done regarding how ESL scholars might use the visual as a mode of invention. For many college freshmen, learning and applying the principles of rhetorical analysis is typically considered the most difficult writing task.    For that purpose, this presentation explores whether visual rhetoric helps NNES and NES students develop abilities to rhetorically analyze text and images.  This exploratory project examines the work of an international section of a freshman composition class at a large, comprehensive university in the southeast United States. The class has eight NES students and twelve NNES students.  All students were introduced to the principles of visual rhetoric and were asked to write reflective essays regarding their learning experiences following the rhetorical analysis project.  Based on these reflections, NNES students seem to have gained significant insights over their NES classmates on how to rhetorically analyze texts and images, suggesting that visual rhetoric can help NNES students develop rhetorical analysis skills in the college composition classroom.

Alexis Poe Davis (East Carolina Unversity)

Organizational Culture and Its Influence on Collaboratively Produced Documents

How can the culture of a workplace influence the collaborative production of a document? My presentation will begin with a brief overview of past studies (Kleimann, 1989; Cross, 1991; Bemski, 2001) which describe the role(s) organizational culture can play in the practice of collaborative writing and in the rhetorical effectiveness of the final document. I will then describe findings from my own research project focused on a state employees’ association and its production of a member newsletter. Part of the foundation of this research was a set of transcriptions of collaborative editing sessions. When the transcripts were coded and analyzed, data emerged which indicate this particular organization’s culture values individual expertise and operates on what Kleimann calls a “flattened hierarchy.” Other data drawn from an analysis of editorial comments made in the margins of drafts generally corroborate the existence of such hierarchy, with a few exceptions. (For instance, one editor made several direct changes to the text to reflect her own sense of Standard English, inserting the word “of” into the phrase “as yet,” although the original was rhetorically effective and concise.) The presentation will conclude with a discussion of how an understanding of an organization’s culture can help writers produce more effective documents.

Irina Presnyakova and Jonathan Platte (Marshall University, W.V.)

Using SFL to Identify the Main Points of a Text for Summarization

Our experiences as instructors of writing courses in a regular English composition course with native speakers of English and in a non-native ESL classroom have shown us that students, regardless of their English language proficiency, have difficulty with writing summaries. Textbooks instruct students to start their summary by picking out the main points of a text, but do not provide instruction in how to identify these points. The goal of our research is to analyze examples of summaries with their original texts from composition textbooks to see what elements of the original texts are preserved in these summaries and what aspects are left out. We use the tools of Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) and Discourse Analysis to compare the original text to the summary by examining the Theme/Rheme structures, process types, and conjunctions of the example texts. Understanding which elements are retained in the summary from the original text will enable instructors to help students identify the main points of a text so that they can write better summaries.

Ahmet Okal (University of Arizona)

Global Simulation: Life in a Web-Built 'Turkish' Apartment Building

Turkish, a National Security Language Initiative (NSLI) designated critical language, suffers from lack of textbooks/materials geared towards cultural and communicative competence. The Turkish Global Simulation (TGS) project uses the successful examples of French and German, and ascends to a higher level by creating a virtual life in an apartment building in a CALL environment. TGS is based on Dupuy's French Apartment Building and exemplifies the relevant task-based instruction. I provide an outline of the web pages created in accordance with the ACTFL standards, rich with digital multimedia materials to teach a third semester university Turkish class which allows students to experience a virtual life in an apartment building in Istanbul as tenants with the use of the web applications (Facebook, Google earth, Google docs, emails, blogs, chats, text messages, podcasting, audio-video files, movie/music clips, and bookmarks). I also share the results of a pilot study from spring of 2008, and a case study conducted in spring of 2009. My presentation further examines how a semester-long simulated life promotes cultural and communicative competence while motivating students to be virtually connected to a new culture and become autonomous and life-long learners; otherwise the classroom is the one and only access to the language and culture.

Krystiane Evans (Greenville Technical College)

Hmong Refugees in WNC: Linguistic Assimilation and Resistance in Appalachia

This paper focuses on my work with Hmong refugees in McDowell County, NC. Many Hmong have settled in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina, a place where they can “recreate” the agrarian communities of their native countries. Settling in the Appalachian subculture has produced a unique set of challenges for both parties. Similarities between the two have made linguistic and cultural assimilation a bit easier for many Hmong. However, both resistance from the Hmong and non-acceptance from the Appalachians do exist. My presentation will outline the history of the Hmong in Western North Carolina; and include a linguistic and social analysis of both cultural groups, case studies of Hmong refugees (and their 2nd/3rd generation American descendants), who have healthily assimilated in to this subculture, and examples of community efforts which have successfully unified Hmong and Appalachians.

Hsun-Yu Chuang (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)

What do Undergraduates Think about ITAs’ Foreign Accents?

As the international student enrollment has increased at US universities since the late 1950s (Taylor & Angelis, 2008), international students at graduate levels have taught an increasing number of undergraduate courses, and as Bailey (1983) recognized early on, a “foreign TA problem” has developed due to various misunderstandings related to the accent and culture of International Teaching Assistants (ITAs). This so-called “problem” has led to numerous studies on the subject, often from the perspective of North American undergraduates, but few studies examine the perspective of international students. From this different perspective, the present study examines data from two groups of participants, native and nonnative English speaking undergraduates, to explore their perceptions of and attitudes to ITA’s foreign accents. The major focus of this study is to investigate the overall attitudes/perceptions in each group coupled with inter-group comparisons and correlations among participants’ overall attitudes/perceptions, self-awareness, and comprehensibility of ITAs’ accents. The data comes from survey questionnaires including statements presented in a five-point Likert scale and open-ended questions. The results insights for ITA training programs, specifically for evaluating ITAs’ competence in spoken English, serve as a reference for ITAs in preparation for teaching assignments.

Anna Lukyanchenko and Nan Jiang (University of Maryland)

Acquisition of English Past Tense: The Case of (Non)transferrable Explicit Knowledge

The almost thirty-year-old argument about dissociation of learning and acquisition has inspired many theoretical and empirical endeavors but still remains unresolved. Does explicit knowledge about a second language gradually transform into implicit one? Can explicit system modulate the activity of the implicit processes? In the present study, we investigate whether explicit knowledge of English past tense morphology affects performance of highly proficient English learners in an online psycholinguistic task. The results obtained through the implementation of the word-monitoring task (Peelle et al., 2007) demonstrated that whereas native speakers show a reliable difference in their reaction times between grammatical and ungrammatical sentences, proficient L2 learners are not sensitive to grammatical violations despite possessing explicit knowledge of the past tense morphology. Such findings suggest that knowledge integration between explicit and implicit systems has selective nature in a sense that linguistic structures differ in the likelihood of transferability from explicit to implicit domain. In particular, explicit knowledge of the past tense marking in English does not aid learners’ performance during the task that requires fast, automatic, non-conscious processing. Our finding is linked to the issue of acquirability and teachability of certain grammatical constructions and has important implications for understanding the nature of grammar acquisition.

Matthew Griffin (East Carolina University)

Production of English Word-Final Stops by Thai Speakers

A component of L2 learning is acquiring the ability to perceive and articulate phonemes not present in one’s L1. This preliminary study reports on Thai speakers’ use of English voiced stops in syllabic codas, something not found in native Thai. Four individuals in the Thai-American community of Eastern North Carolina were selected to participate in this study. Two elicitation methods were used to obtain a speech sample containing voiceless stops: (1) controlled production through a reading list of English words minimally contrasting in final stops, voiced or voiceless; and (2) individual interviews to elicit free speech to provide further examples of coda stops in English. Contrary to data from literature and studies on Thai transference (e.g., Higbie & Thinsan, 2003; Smyth, 2002; Swan & Smith, 2001), the data sample included consistent examples of voicing final stops. In total, the participants voiced 55% of the final voiced stops in the sample.  These results suggest the need for a follow-up study to better refine a hypothesis regarding the patterns of word-final voiced stop acquisition by Thai L2 learners of English. Importantly, these results have implications for the development of relevant ESL materials for culturally diverse classrooms including Thai L1 speakers.

Ümit Boz (State University of New York)

Diverging Pedagogies in the Language Classroom: A Comparative Case Study

An ongoing scholarly debate has developed over the years concerning a perceived dichotomy between native English speaking (NS) and non-native English speaking (NNS) teachers in the field of English language teaching. Supporting the necessity of making such a distinction, some scholars have argued that there is a significant relationship between being native or non-native English speaker and the way English language is taught (Gill & Rebrova, 2001; Medgyes, 2001; McNeill, 1994). Yet, much research on native/non-native dichotomy has focused primarily on teachers’ self-perceptions and stated beliefs in identifying the pedagogical divergences between NS and NNS teachers. Hence, this comparative case study, grounded in activity theory and culturally relevant pedagogy, examined NS and NNS teachers’ actual classroom practices as well as their self-perceptions as language teachers.  In-depth individual interviews with teachers and direct observation of their classroom practices produced the qualitative data for the study. Drawing on the methods of cross-case analysis and thematic coding, the potential differences between the two teacher groups in terms of their teaching behavior and self-perceptions are identified and discussed.

Celestine Davis (East Carolina University)

Outer Space: Changing the Performance Landscape of Freshman Writing

This paper explores how online learning spaces can meet the peopling aspect preferred by most students in freshman composition. Studies show that peopled learning strategies play a significant role in student learning in spite of the growth of online instruction. Measuring student engagement is a complex issue; therefore, how can the teaching practitioner read the silences and measure participation in online spaces? Online spaces are thought of as democratizing learning venues but the students are still themselves. Should democratizing be the goal of online teaching? Research suggests that online instruction can be designed to be more empathetic to students from diverse cultures, abilities, and learning styles. How can instructors perform effective ethnographic study based on student-centered writing on blogs and social networking sites that meet the writing goals of the composition classroom? How can instructors allow for divergent experiences that benefit some students and not devalue others? By necessity, the goal of freshman composition is to arm students with the tools needed to successfully navigate in a presumed “normal” society of the university. I will explore the normalizing aspects of online text production that can establish minimal standards yet encourage excellence.

Workshops\Discussion Sessions

Joe Riggs (Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools)

SIFE = Students Interrupted Formal Education: What It Is, And Not

SIFE is an acronym for (ESL) Students with Interrupted Formal Education, such as refugees who missed a year or two of schooling because they were unable to attend school in their home countries. SIFE is a relatively new term used by those of us engaged in the teaching of English to students who come to us speaking another language.  First, I will present my own criteria for identification of potential SIFE students, answering the question, “What criteria are used to identify potential SIFE students?”  Similarities and differences among SIFE students who arrive in our districts at various grade levels are an important issue, especially to the teachers who find these students in their classes. Other areas to be explored are the curriculum, methods, materials, and exit criteria that would answer the question, “At what point, if ever, does one exit from SIFE?”  Handouts with questions inviting audience’s participation will be distributed at the beginning of the discussion. Participants should leave the session with an increased level of confidence and competence to discuss SIFE students and the most appropriate programming for them.

April DeBord (Auburn University, A.L.)

Engendering a love for vocabulary in second language learning

Can words like “antidisestablishmentarianism” be relevant to your students’ lives? How can you get students to access prior vocabulary knowledge? How many times do you have to hear a word before you own it?  Together, let’s explore some vocabulary input learning strategies that will allow any level of language learner to thrive in your classroom (VanPatten, 1996, 2003b). You will find no magic formulas here.  However, you will find a tool set for students to make magic happen in their imaginations and in your classroom. These tools and your own imagination will allow you to rethink the language learning process (VanPatten, 1996, 2003b), make it relevant for you and your students (Krashen, 1989), and allow a love of lexicon to thrive even more in your classroom (VanPatten & Oikennon, 1996).  Two exemplars will be modeled: one lesson in English and another in Spanish to allow conference attendees the chance to learn a lesson. The more vocabulary your students know and experience, the more they will be able to use their classroom acquired circumlocution skills to arrive at a level of excellent communication in their classes and, most importantly, in their lives!

Debbie O'Neal (East Carolina University)

Deciphering Academic Language: Strategies for the Classroom

Academic language has unique characteristics and unique vocabulary which is foreign to all learners. It remains the biggest obstacle for both English language learners and struggling native English speakers. This workshop will introduce the participants to some of the research in academic language proficiency to provide some basic background information. The connections between learning a second language and learning academic language will be made so that the participants can apply L2 learning and teaching strategies to academic language teaching. A variety of classroom strategies will be demonstrated and hands-on participation will be encouraged. All of the strategies will be demonstrated with the intent that they be applied to all content areas of instruction. The presenter uses these strategies for K-12 professional development activities and in her university level classes. The key to using “activities and strategies” is that they be used as a means to process information and language as opposed to being the “game” at the end of the lesson. These strategies are the means to instruction, not the reward!

K. Chadwick Elliott (East Carolina University)

Using MMO Gaming in ESL Journal Assignments to Encourage Interactivity

Teachers often make connections through the use of electronic media in order to enable ESL students to interact with other native and non-native speakers. So far, teachers have not used Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) gaming as an instructional medium because many MMO games are awkward, prone to error, and often unsafe. However, this medium should not be discounted entirely. This demonstration outlines a course plan that uses the popular game Runescape as an alternative journal assignment encouraging safe and self-controlled interactivity outside the classroom. We will explore various elements of Runescape gameplay and safety, and we will analyze how teachers can use Runescape as a homework tool. More importantly, we will highlight social parallels between the Runescape virtual world and real life. Concepts such as banking, mapping, cooking, and negotiation are best explored with practice, and Runescape offers this practice in a controlled – but realistic – environment demonstrated through this session. We will also explore how the global interaction of Runescape simulates spontaneous conversation without the threat of being offended or intimidated in a native-English environment. Therefore, using this plan encourages students to engage in conversation in an unthreatening environment that still offers the unscripted atmosphere of public interaction.


Jennifer Jenkins (Western Carolina University)

Spanish Flavor within Hispanic Children's Literature

This paper examines Spanish code-switching within Hispanic children’s literature and its impact on the meaning of the text. Over time, there has been a push for more multicultural books within children’s literature.  The rise in Hispanic populations across the country has led more publishers to seek out books with which Hispanic children can identify.  This paper investigates the definition of Hispanic literature and recurrent grammatical and semantic patterns that occur within the texts.  The preliminary results indicate that most Hispanic authors choose to insert Spanish words and phrases, or code-switch, throughout the English text.  Fourteen books written by Hispanic authors were collected and analyzed.  Only the books written by Hispanic authors and including Spanish words and/or utterances used within the text were selected. The Spanish insertions were then classified according to their function and compared to the total number of Spanish insertions used within the text. The results of this study indicate that while Spanish insertions appear to have little impact on the context of the text, other commonalities, such as themes, characters, and translations, are used to appeal to the identity of Hispanic authors and readers.

Whitney Larrimore (East Carolina University)

Hegemony in the University: Discipline, Punishment, Resistance, and University Authority

Employing as its theoretical basis Louis Althusser’s notion of Ideological State Apparatuses(ISAs) and Antonio Gramsci’s concept of hegemony, “Hegemony’s Language: Discipline, Punishment, and Resistance in the University” is a mixed methods study that examines how the official language of one university’s academic catalogue, instructors’ syllabi for first-year composition (FYC) courses, and the University’s English and Writing department’s student guidebook create and reinforce hegemony while allowing students minimal opportunities to resist authority. The units of measurement in this study are individual sentences, several-page-long sections of documents, and contracts embedded in class syllabi; units’ common themes are praise for acceptable behavior, punishment for unacceptable behavior, and descriptions of actions students can take to resist authority. The study is largely archival; four FYC instructors provided copies of their FYC course syllabi. Findings indicate that official university documents focus almost entirely on disciplining and punishing students while severely limiting students’ opportunities for resistance. That universities espouse equality, freedom, and resistance on the one hand, and are themselves ISAs that limit students’ power within universities on the other, is ironic. The study implies that universities should embrace equality and freedom by becoming less rigid and authoritative and more flexible and cooperative in their relationships with students.

Jennifer Phillips (Florida State University)

Framing Interpretation and Implementation at the School Site

This study will examine what frames teachers and administrators construct as they interpret and implement the policies for English Language Learners and to determine how these framing mechanisms influence their pedagogical practices at the school site and in the classroom. A qualitative methods approach will be used to answer the research questions. I will be using a comparative case study analysis of three counties that range from high, medium to low Limited English Proficient (LEP) population density in the Florida K-12 school setting.  I will be able to answer my research questions by extensively collecting and analyzing data (documents, surveys, and interviews) regarding the multiple units of analysis. I will use purposeful sampling.  In this research, I will use school site teachers and administrators. All teachers and administrators within the districts will be surveyed. I will begin by going to the Florida Department of Education website and researching the 67 districts and delineating my search by demographics and LEP population density in the Florida K-12 school setting. From that information, I will choose three districts that will serve to fulfill my need of a high, medium, and low (one of each) LEP population in a K-12 school setting.

Chadia Mansour (Old Dominion University, V.A.)

Second Language Use of Auxiliary Do in Interrogative Form

This study investigates the use of the auxiliary Do in yes/no and wh-questions in natural speech of a second language learner. It also examines whether Focus on Form during the conversations conducted with the participant facilitates his use of the auxiliary. Wh-questions in general and Do-support in particular are of complex nature, which makes them hard to acquire not only by L2 learners but also by children learning English natively. According to Brown (1973), wh-questions are acquired by L2 learners in the latest stages. In addition, both L1 speakers and L2 learners make errors when acquiring Do-support. The participant of this study is a twenty-year-old male from Saudi Arabia learning English as a second language. The data was collected by audio-recording my conversations with the participant during three separate meetings. The results show that the learner often avoided the use of the auxiliary Do and made numerous errors. What made this research interesting was not only the systematic pattern of errors but also the use of the correct form in chunks, which is very similar to the process of acquiring the auxiliary Do by an L1 child. In addition, it was found that Focus on Form seemed to fail in conversational setting.

Inmaculada Gomez Soler (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Tell Me What You Like: An Innovative Approach to the Teaching of Gustar-type Verbs

This project evaluates a different methodology for teaching gustar-type verbs. This grammar point is one of the biggest challenges for teachers and students alike. It is our role both as researchers and teachers to ask ourselves: “What is going wrong?” I believe that the methodology we use is not the most appropriate one. Thus, I created a new kind of explanation based on generative linguistics and its syntactic and semantic analysis of psych-verbs. I conducted a classroom study in which two groups of students (intermediate and advanced level) were presented with two different explanations of the gustar-type verbs: the traditional explanation (i.e., flip verbs) and the new explanation based on the generative analysis of psych-verbs. The students were given a questionnaire to evaluate the two kinds of methodologies. Eighty percent of the students showed a consistent preference for the new explanation. This study should be followed by an experiment designed to compare the performance of two groups of students: one following the new methodology and the other, the traditional approach. If the first group shows a better performance, we could conclude that an integrated approach, which encompasses linguistic tools and second language acquisition techniques, can yield more successful results than traditional methods.

Hee Sung Im (University of Florida)

Korean Refusals via Text Messages (Electronic Discourse)

This study focuses on the characteristics of Korean refusals via text messages, an under-researched area of investigation. To collect data, fifteen participants were solicited via text message requests. The refusals among them were then analyzed, in addition to subsequent refusals of their requests among family members, friends, and acquaintances. A total of 20 refusals were collected, five from each category (among family members, best friends, friends, and among acquaintances). The data were qualitatively analyzed for three social variables (social distance, social status, and gender), based on the taxonomy of Beebe et al. (1990). This study suggests that strategies of Korean refusals vary with social distance, rather than with social status. This finding contrasts with Kwon’s (2004) study, but can be explained by Wolfson’s (1988) Bulge Theory. In addition, the participants often used various emoticons such as “^.^” or “^.^;” or “^.^\” and “T.T”, and a series of dots (...) to mitigate their refusals. A tilde (~), as a symbol for tone and pitch, was also used for mitigation. As to the gender variable, females in the study used emoticons more frequently than males did. This study suggests that Korean refusals in electronic discourse should be studied in depth with a larger amount of data.

Thor Sawin (University of South Carolina)

Consequences of English Medium Education on Code Shift to English in Lithuanians

Since 1991, Lithuania has aimed to revitalize and establish Lithuanian as the sole prestige code.   To assess English’s perceived challenge to Lithuanian in an era of emigration and European integration, code-choices (English, Lithuanian, Russian) in over 1200 Facebook postings by 40 tri-lingual Lithuanians, all graduates of the country’s only English-medium university, were correlated with demographic (gender, residence, Russianness) and contextual factors (type of post, speech act).  Facebook, as a new, European-indexed medium, seems to both reflect and catalyze language innovation.  Code shift and a re-ordering of the indexical field (Eckert, 2008) for English, Lithuanian and Russian, similar to that observed by Gal (1978), appear underway. Lithuanian is more “masculine”, used for “private” storytelling, replying, and discussing Lithuanians as stance objects (DuBois, 2007).  Participants used English to initiate turns, present an “authoritative” face, stake out a “cosmopolitan” identity, and take evaluative or affective stances. While English-medium education does not in itself promote language shift among emigration-resisting Lithuanians, it catalyzes the abandonment of Lithuanian as the preferred visible, stance-taking code by facilitating “brain drain” to other EU countries, and by nurturing connections with linguistic innovators in this diaspora.

Kandanai Worajittipol (Indiana University of Pennsylvania)

Synchronous Chat Interaction between Thai and English Speakers

This study examines the relationships that have formed between adult Thai EFL learners and their American peers over the course of a three-month chat exchange. Each Thai speaker was paired with a compatible American conversational partner. These dyads were required to synchronously chat on a weekly basis for twelve weeks on open topics through an instant messaging system, such as MSN or Skype. The data sources include text and voice-chat recordings, interviews, and the Thai speakers’ reflective notes written after each chat session. The findings revealed that the participants seemed to see the relationship as one of friendship and a language learning partnership. The Thai speakers whose American partners took an active language expert role reported that they had greatly benefited from the conversations. The dyads used several conversational devices to build rapport with each other. The two most popular devices included evaluative responses and agreement. The findings also suggested that the American speakers played a significant role in the length of the conversations, the Thai speakers’ level of confidence in their conversational ability, and the Thai speakers’ positive attitudes towards the chat exchange.

Lili Gai (University of Florida)

Perceptions of Contextual Offensiveness/Insults: Differences between L1/L2 Speakers of English

This ethnographic study examines L1/L2 speakers’ pragmatic perception of the context-based offensive/insulting commentary in TV reality shows. In particular, it explores the social-cultural and linguistic factors that matter in acquiring pragmatic competence. Previous research has studied ESL/EFL speakers’ acquisition of speech acts of request, apologies, and suggestions (Kitao, 1990; Koike, 1996; Olshtain & Blum-Kulka, 1985). However, little has been written about the acquisition of contextual offensiveness and insults outside the classroom. The data consist of L1/L2 speakers’ verbal/non-verbal reaction while watching selected shows; a questionnaire aimed to reveal their perceived degrees of offensiveness and recognition of potential insults; and individual interviews to uncover L1/L2 speakers’ definition of “contextual-insults” and socio-cultural factors that would influence their judgment. Findings reveal that language proficiency is not the key factor in acquisition of contextual insults. Sociolinguistic factors such as gender, native culture, and exposure to media discourse are found influential in promoting L2 learners’ pragmatic knowledge of offending/insulting within context. Even though the results indicate that speech acts of offensiveness/insults are mostly acquired outside the classroom, it is suggested that we incorporate into ESL/EFL classrooms authentic and “natural” reality-show discourses and include instruction that increases L2 learners’ pragmatic awareness of context-based speech acts.

James McKay and Oguzcan Cig with Rebecca Galeano & Ismail Hakki Mirici (Florida State University)

Sociocultural Adaptation of Turkish Immigrant Children to Life in USA

While many recent studies illustrate the sociocultural factors involved in successful adaptation to schooling of immigrant children, none of the literature examines the educational experiences of Turkish expatriates. Recent studies have reported that there are 400,000-450,000 Turkish immigrants in the US, and that second generation Turkish Americans are much more integrated, as linguistic proficiency and cultural adaptation are less significant barriers to their participation in larger American society (Akçadağ, 2009; Kaya, 2003). Our study aims to further elaborate these findings with reference to motivational theory for SLA and analysis of English language learning challenges for Turkish L1 speakers. At schools across the Southeast region, the viewpoints of the children themselves as well as of their teachers and parents will be examined, and the statistical data analyses will be conducted through an SPSS package program. A qualitative analysis based on participant interviews will also be included to collect impressions and identify code-switching aptitudes. This research should have implications both for the teaching of L1 Turkish students in the USA and for learning strategies for such students and their parents. This joint research project is currently in its early data collection stage, therefore hypotheses and preliminary findings will be presented.

Leigh Garrison-Fletcher (The Graduate Center of the City University of New York)

L2 Reading Comprehension among Adolescents with Low L1 Literacy

This study fills an important gap in the research, as there is very little research on how adolescents with low native language (L1) literacy acquire second language (L2) reading comprehension. The research questions include the following: What are the most important predictors of L2 reading among adolescents with low L1 literacy? Which of the following, (a) L1 reading comprehension, (b) L2 syntax, or (c) L2 vocabulary, are the strongest contributors to L2 reading comprehension? All of the predictor variables were significantly correlated with L2 reading comprehension. L1 reading comprehension was the most significant predictor of L2 reading. This study has different results from the majority of research on L2 reading among adolescents with typical levels of L1 literacy, which has suggested that the most significant contributor to L2 reading is L2 knowledge. I argue that this result could be an artifact of the data because the majority of previous studies have included students with high levels of L1 literacy. Also, the measurements of L2 knowledge (generally syntax and vocabulary) often include a significant amount of L2 reading. This confounding of constructs could add to why the L2 is seen to be the most significant contributor to L2 reading comprehension.