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Department of English
TESOL/Applied Linguistics Graduate Students Conference

Bate Building


2011 Conference

February 19, 2011
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC

Dr. Ofelia García

Dr. Ofelia García
Professor of Urban Education, Graduate Center, The City University of New York

Plenary session: Negotiating Bilingualism in Education: Deconstructing structures and pedagogies
This presentation first reviews the different language education policies that support the development of additional languages. It differentiates between language education policies to develop the bilingualism of language majorities and of language minorities, and of approaches that we have come to label as foreign language education, second language education, "heritage" language education or bilingual education. The presentation also looks at the language prescription of the policy for each of these programs, and at the pedagogies that are usually attached to each of the approaches. But the presentation raises the question of what truly happens in classrooms where students are becoming bilingual, and how it is that teachers and students negotiate the language education policy as imposed by the educational system. We use examples from classrooms in the United States where immigrant students are in transitional bilingual education programs, developmental or two-way bilingual education programs (so called "dual language"), or ESL programs to learn English. By following the language use in the classrooms, we provide evidence that these language education policies and curricula are often transgressed by teachers and students, as they make sense of the lesson.
Invited Workshop: Misconstructions of bilingualism & language minority students in the United States

This workshop will engage participants in thinking about the many misconstructions of bilingualism and teaching language minority students that surround bilingual students in the United States. The case of U.S. Latino students will be used to contextualize these misconstructions. Pedagogical principles and practices for emergent bilingual and bilingual students will then be considered, in dialogue with participants.

For more information, check out Dr. Ofelia García's publications and NALDIC lecture.

Invited lunch-bag presentation:

Dr. Constance Kampf (Aarhus School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark)

Rhetoric, genre and authentic communication in written, oral and visual communication for ESL/EFL speakers

How do we balance the teaching of English language with communication skills? Non-native speakers of English need not only a strong linguistic background in understanding and using English, but they also need to be able to communicate effectively in authentic contexts. Introducing rhetoric into the teaching of Written, Oral and Visual communication enables students to take a structured approach to learning how to produce particular genres (i.e. proposals) and create appropriate texts for real clients. Taking a point of departure in genre and language for strategic action, I will discuss techniques for integrating meaning and context through the creation of authentic texts for real clients such as community programs, entrepreneurs, NGOs, and even the students themselves. Examples are drawn from a Written, Oral and Visual Communication course at the University of Aarhus Business School in Aarhus, Denmark, and workshops for Engineering Communication at an Engineering School in Barcelona, Spain.


Maria Volynsky (Temple University)

Where and how we go: Bidirectional transfer in motion talk of Russian-English bilinguals

Nowadays it is widely accepted that bilinguals' languages do not exist in their mind as completely separate entities. On the contrary, a considerable amount of positive and negative transfer between them happens all the time. The present study attempted to examine the cognitive processes in bilingual speakers, to establish the cross-linguistic influence of the two languages used by them and to understand how motion meanings and events are processed and represented in respective languages of consecutive and sequential Russian-English bilinguals. Specifically, I analyzed conceptualization of motion events, lexical diversity of motion vocabulary, encoding of manner, path and directionality of motion and cross-linguistic influence in narratives elicited with the same nonverbal stimuli from 31 native speakers of Russian in Russia, 38 native speakers of English in the U.S. and 30 Russian-English bilinguals in the U.S. in their L1 Russian and L2 English. The findings show that lexicalization of motion is a subject to L2 influence in these bilinguals; however, very little L1 effect on L2 was uncovered in how the bilingual participants encode motion. Qualitative analysis provides further insights into the nature of lexical preferences of encoding manner of motion as well as the nature of differences and similarities.

James Garner (University of Alabama)

Does data-driven learning lead to better academic writing?

Over the past several decades, the TESOL community in general has seen an increase in the interest in the use of data-driven learning approaches. Most of these have focused on the acquisition of vocabulary items, including a wide range of information necessary for their correct usage. One type of vocabulary investigated has been that used mostly in academic writing, such as "academic words" and linking adverbials/reporting verbs common in academic writing. In those studies, it has often been assumed that acquisition of this vocabulary will automatically lead to better academic writing. However, there have been no studies which have confirmed these assumptions. This presentation will report on the findings of an ongoing study that attempts to fill this gap in the literature. It investigates the acquisition of linking adverbials and reporting verbs, two sets of vocabulary that are difficult for ESL writers to master, with the use of data-driven learning techniques. In addition to looking at the acquisition of this vocabulary specifically, the study investigates whether these approaches also contribute to students' progress in their academic writing. The discussion of the results will also include specific pedagogical implications and indicate directions for future research.

Eunha Hwang (University of Florida)

"To Accept or Not To Accept?" Korean ESL learners' compliment responses in two languages

This study investigates compliment responses by Korean ESL learners, examining whether L1, English proficiency, and the topic of compliment influence their response to compliments. Seventeen female Koreans' compliment responses (10 advanced and 7 non-advanced in English proficiency) were collected via one-on-one conversation each with a female American and a female Korean. After data collection, individual participants had a follow-up conversation in which they reflected on their compliment responses. Quantitative analysis of 61 English and 56 Korean compliment tokens indicated that participants, both proficiency groups, accepted compliments more when they were complimented in English than in Korean. The most frequently accepted topic of compliment was "possession", while the most rejected one was "ability". Qualitative analysis of the follow-up conversations showed that whether they agreed with the compliments or not affected their response in English. If they were not satisfied or did not agree with the utterance, they rejected or deflected compliments. Participants also reported that their compliment responses were influenced by whether the interlocutor was American or Korean, because they were aware of the fact that different speech communities have different norms.

Joan Marie MacCoy (East Carolina University)

Teaching for globalization

We have entered a new era of bilingual education, yet outdated methods are still in wide use, divorcing language from culture and creating a bottom-up process that results in a disconnect between student and culture. It is widely accepted that language is a reflection of culture and that literature and popular media shape culture and individual identity. In keeping with current second language acquisition methodology, I have developed a series of lesson plans that are both reflective of the culture of the Spanish-speaking world and culture-forming. My community-based service learning lessons are designed for university and accelerated high school students. These lessons are based on the seven core standards for North Carolina and involve a pre-school/grade school partnership. The university or high school students will engage in language learning based on the task of teaching pre-K through 5th grade students. This will involve creating books, songs and games based on a model that uses authentic materials. It is time to start encouraging language-learning at a younger age. If our state does not have the resources to provide our youngest citizens with the cognitively and culturally invaluable tool of bilingualism, we should create opportunities for our gifted students to spread their knowledge.

Orapat Pookkawes (University of Florida)

English loanword variation in Thai: A stylistic/phonological analysis of language users and learners

This study examines the differences of variants of English loanwords in Thai, specifically the final (l) consonant used between Thai news broadcasters and Thai L2 learners of English under Eckman's Markedness Differential Hypothesis. The purposes are: 1) to investigate the variation of the final (l) of loanwords in Thai; and 2) to compare Thai speakers in Thailand and Thai L2 learners of English in the US. The data from all participants was separated into the formal and informal situations. While data from sports news reports and at a casual interview from television programs were from the subjects in Thailand, conversational interviews and loanwords word-list reading data were from the subjects in the US. The similar and different directions of variant [l] usage and rates of occurrence were included. The results reveal changes in progress of loanwords in Thai. The final (l) consonant in loanwords is marked since phoneme /l/ is not permitted in the final position in Thai inventory. The participants replaced and/or removed the final (l) to facilitate the pronunciation. Four variants [l], [n], [w] and [Ø] of the final consonants were found. The length of residency in the US affects the variant [l] production of Thai L2 learners.

Mary-Lynn Chambers (East Carolina University)

The Transition and impact of the use of African American Vernacular English in literature from 1800

Gates explains that "The quest for selfhood through the medium of language is a signal theme in African-American literature" (Holton, 1984, p.169). This paper addresses the use of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) in literature from 1800-1970. Specifically, drawing on a linguistic analysis of multiple literary texts written between 1800 and 1970, I investigate how the changing role of the dialect in African American literature has reflected the changing self-perception of African Americans (AA), and I consider the implications for our 21st century composition classroom. Each cycle (Brasch, 1981) sees a shift in linguistic elements (Holton, 1984) from eye-dialect, to phonetics, to grammar, to rhythm. Each shift also reflects the changing view of the AA "self" from African American, to different, to "New Negro", and to a confident Black. This historical quest for selfhood is identified in AA writings through the reflective development of the vernacular. I will argue that those linguistic elements that reflect the AA "self" in the 21st century must be identified and addressed in the college composition classroom as we teach our AA students to write.

Amber Bone (East Carolina University)

Hablando English: Challenges in a community-based ESL project

This paper concerns a community-based project which aims to equip a group of Spanish speaking immigrants in Lenoir County with basic English communication skills. The non-traditional nature of the class presents unique challenges including: attendance, which varies between two to six people; varying age range from 20-55; and varying ability levels, from only basic word usage to comprehensible sentences. The goal is to help students acquire practical language skills they can use to communicate. Clearly, the needs of these students differ from those of traditional students. Strategies like differentiation, TPR, adaptable activities to address ability levels, and constant encouragement, help overcome various challenges. The students also focus on pronunciation, which benefits everyone regardless of ability and attendance. The use of English and constant practice help acquisition. Reflections and observations prepared after each class would be invaluable resources for similar projects because teachers could foresee and plan for possible problems. The observations also provide a selection of strategies which may help overcome challenges of a similar class. Finally, the class gives a previously unheard voice to the needs of related populations.

William Corbitt (East Carolina University)

The Preferred learning styles and strategies of students in modified foreign language programs

The differences in perceived strategy use and preferred learning style among "at-risk" students in a Modified Foreign Language Program and non at-risk students in a non Modified Foreign language Program of Spanish as a foreign language were investigated. Students completed the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (Oxford, 1989) and the Learning Style Survey: Assessing Your Learning Styles (Cohen, Oxford, & Chi, 2002, pp. 15-18). The data were subjected to statistical analyses (Statistical Package for Social Sciences 17.0) to determine mean differences between the two groups. All assumptions were met and several findings were statistically significant (p>.01). The results indicated that the two groups significantly diverged in terms of their perceived strategy use and preferred learning style. Additionally, the findings suggest that men, while behaving differently than women, are not more likely to register for a MFLP class than women, as one might hypothesize from previous research (Hallowell & Ratey, 1994; Heward, 2006; Shaywitz, 2003). Pedagogical implications and suggestions for future research will be discussed.

Yinjuan Mi (Ohio University)

First language influence on Chinese learners' acquisition of English passives

The current study examines the acquisition of English passive constructions by Chinese-speaking learners of English as a second language (L2) from the perspective of first language (L1) influence. It seeks to explore the differences between Chinese-speaking learners and native English speakers in the use of English passives, how these differences change with L2 proficiency, and the degree to which the learners' patterns reflect Chinese passive constructions. Previous investigations have shown that it is not so much the form but rather the appropriate use of the English passive that creates challenges for Chinese-speaking learners (e.g., Chen & Oller, 2008; Han, 2000; Wang, 2009; Yip, 1995). The primary data for the current study include oral narrative descriptions of the wordless picture book, Frog, Where Are You? (Mayer, 1969), produced by Chinese- and Spanish-speaking learners who are at intermediate and advanced levels of English proficiency. Additional data analyzed in this study include participants' grammaticality judgments of passive constructions. The results of the study will be discussed in relation to the effects of L1 influence and other factors that appear to affect the participants' acquisition and use of English passives.

Katrina Hinson (East Carolina University)

Detecting gender in Internet relay chat

Social networking sites have become popular past times for not just individuals but organizations as well. The majority of online communication still occurs through some form of text based chat program. Internet relay chat (IRC) is one of the earliest forms of online chatting and currently still maintains much of its popularity for individual users and researchers alike. In IRC, individual presence is created through the characteristics of the text entered rather than pictures or voice. For that reason, the aim of this study is to determine if the text characteristics of an IRC post may be used to detect the gender of the individual user. Using an ethnomethodological approach for the observation of and analysis of data, a corpus of texts created from chat conversations from three separate IRC channels, taken over a period of nine months, will be reviewed, analyzed and coded for length of utterance expressed, type of utterance (sentence, clause, or phrase) and the use of adjectivals. This study will highlight the particular linguistic and paralinguistic cues related to gender in order to show that contrary to the expectations of complete anonymity, gender is not invisible in anonymous platforms like IRC.

Jason Litzenberg (Georgia State University)

How much professionalization does TESOL need?"

I speak English, so I can teach it." Most TESOL professionals will encounter this phrase throughout the course of their careers. The traditional English-speaking West has witnessed greater professionalization in the field of TESOL over the past quarter century, yet global standards vary immensely. The present study considers ethnographic interview data and Facebook postings of two novice African American TESOLers who are entering the field overseas but have no professional training. The study looks at the personal motivations of these TESOLers, the role of race, and the stereotyping of teachers by the public and from within the profession itself. It also addresses questions such as the need for professionalization, the limits of professionalization, possible stepping stones to professionalization, and local standards and expectations. While not dismissing the need for a professionalized field, the experiences of these participants point to possible benefits of on-the-job pre-professional training as often acquired through international teaching experience at educational institutions with less rigorous professional hiring practices. The data presented here are relevant for overall directions and goals of the continuing process of TESOL professionalization.

Christina Agostinelli (SUNY Buffalo)

The need for pronunciation instruction: An illustration from English-speaking students learning Spanish

This paper explores the current state of pronunciation instruction and argues against the communicative method which predicts that student pronunciation will approach that of a native-speaker through communicative activities. Phonological theory suggests that the way phonemes are psychologically classified within a native-speaker's mind varies depending on the language and that phonological processes affect languages differently. Therefore, native-speakers of any language cannot rely only on the transfer of phonological knowledge from their L1 to speak and understand their L2. Certain pronunciation problems will arise for students where phoneme classifications and phonological processes vary in L1 and L2. Two common pronunciation problems for native English-speakers learning Spanish, the rhotics and the process of denuclearization, will be utilized to illustrate that, in some cases, the development of native-like pronunciation cannot be achieved through communication alone. Students may not come to realize these phonological differences without specific pronunciation instruction. Therefore, while pronunciation instruction is not a priority in communicative classrooms, it is a necessity. The concepts discussed in support of pronunciation instruction are applicable not only to Spanish, but to all second/foreign language teaching situations.

Darya Kostina with Agnes Bolonyai (North Carolina State University)

Hungarian vowel harmony and its interaction with English in code switching: A case study

Hungarian vowel harmony is one of the instances of vowel harmony existing in languages like Turkic or Uralic. The present paper is a pilot study for a series of cross-sectional analyses of vowel harmony mutation in the speech of 2 generations of Hungarian immigrants in the Raleigh-Durham area. The argument around the definition of a code-switch and whether an intra-word switch constitutes a classic CS is open. Myers-Scotton (2006) classifies the intra-types of CS into intrasentential and intra-clause – since the classic definition of CS would be 'elements from 2 or more languages in the same clause', with only one language providing the 'morphosyntactic frame' (including all 'abstract grammatical requirements') (pp. 234-41). On the level of the word only, it is impossible to define 'grammatical requirements' applied to it, hence the problem in definitions. Following in the steps of McSwan (1999) and Schindler et al. (2009), I will examine what, in spite of the controversy, could be called micro- code-switching, i.e., the addition of Hungarian inflections onto English words in the speech of a 1st generation Hungarian immigrant living in the US. The study is a work in progress, aimed at analyzing the speech of 10 1st and 10 2nd generation immigrants.

Burcu Gökgöz-Kurt (University of South Carolina-Columbia)

The effects of different explicit teaching paradigms on ESL pragmatic development

Despite the wide array of previous research in the interventional pragmatics studies (Bardovi-Harlig, 2001; Lo Castro, 1997; Sullivan, 1979), the enigmatic question of whether instruction improves pragmatic development in interlanguage still needs to be investigated (Kasper & Rose, 2002). In this respect, while the primary role of instruction in L2 pragmatic development is unequivocally underscored (Bardovi-Harlig, 2001; Norris-Ortega, 2000), there are studies which found neither an effect of instruction nor the expected amount of improvement in the intended domain (Fukuya & Clark, 2001; Olshtain & Cohen, 1990). The present study seeks to identify and explain the efficacy of inductive and deductive instruction together with structured input activities on ESL learners' speech act behavior of complimenting and compliment responding. In an attempt to answer this, three intact classes consisting of 2 treatment groups and 1 control group were randomly assigned to (a) inductive instruction, (b) deductive instruction (90 min. each) and (c) control group. A Written Discourse Completion Task with a Self Assessment Test for complimenting and a Multiple Choice Metapragmatic Knowledge Test for compliment responding were administered as Pre, Post and Delayed-Post Test design. The preliminary findings reveal that the learners in the deductive instruction group benefited more from instruction.

Hyunsoon Min with Philip McCarthy (University of Memphis)

Identifying variation of English in the academic writings of American and Korean scientists: A corpus analysis using the gramulator

In this study, we identify systematic discourse characteristics in the academic writings of Korean and American scientists. Specifically, we use the Gramulator to extract "n-gram" features that frequently occur across texts. The results indicate that the two groups of scientists employ asynchronous linguistic features in their writings. For example, Korean scientists frequently employ the structure of was/were + [past participle of verbs of reporting], as in "was conducted to", "was carried out to", and "was aimed to". However, the Americans preferred the structure of we + [verbs of reporting], as in "we show", "we present", and "we identify". Other distinct features of the Korean scientists include the lesser use of personal pronouns and the greater use of past tense as compared to their American counterparts. We speculate that the differences may stem from many reasons including inter-language transfer, proficiency issues, and differences in register convention. We conclude that the Korean scientists' use of these variations may be a key factor in interpreting and evaluating their work as non-prototypical in terms of discourse style. Our findings bring to light language characteristics and a methodology that may be helpful to language learners as well as materials developers.

Workshops\Discussion Sessions

Lesley Newman (Pima Community College and the University of Arizona)

Successful techniques for creating critical thinking opportunities in diverse classrooms

Adequately preparing ESL students for future career and academic pursuits requires acculturating students to critical thinking in both speaking and writing. Students who enter intensive English programs, adult education programs, and community college programs require critical thinking production skills in order to prepare to be professionals in a US context. It is both a component of cultural adaptation and essential sophistication of their second language production. This workshop focuses on demonstration of effective, hands-on techniques to initiate critical topics in the classroom. The presenter will briefly discuss the motivating theories for the presentation and demonstrate activities to generate meaningful, productive classroom discussion, whatever the classroom context.

Ludovic Kovalik, Doina Kovalik, Jennifer Barney, Laura Neff, Manuelita Cardona, Kimara Parker, Josie Walker and Tiffany Waller
(Winston-Salem State University)

Language simulation: A learning environment for grade-level ESL classroom settings

There is widespread agreement in the literature that language simulation leads to learning by creating an environment that facilitates communication and cooperation. While the benefits of language simulation for college-level ESL students have long been acknowledged, little awareness of such benefits for ESL grade-level students seems to exist. Given the fact that the literature mentions no restrictions as to the age of simulation participants, there is no documented reason why K-12 ESL teachers should shy away from using language simulation in their classes on account of their students' potential linguistic immaturity. Our sequence of three ready-to-use simulations addresses immediate needs of primary-, middle-, and high-school students, respectively. The panel intends to promote the use of language simulation in the pre-college classroom by demonstrating that carefully-chosen and appropriately-run simulations lead to student learning regardless of the participants' age and/or level of linguistic maturity.

Kathryn Bove (North Carolina State University)

Using questions to encourage discourse complexity in the foreign language content classroom

While language and content courses are unquestionably intertwined within a language department, a program that enhances language skills while still teaching content assist students in becoming well-informed foreign language students. Using data transcribed from thirteen recordings of three professors, I found a contrast between the amount and level of discourse between teachers and students. The question remains: What can we do about this? This workshop will report findings and inform teachers on ways to encourage their students' involvement in the literature course through teacher questioning. Using the current study as a primary reference, I will discuss ideas for turning the traditional, teacher-fronted literature class into a student-centered, interactive literature class that requires student participation. During this workshop, we will look at several questioning techniques and discuss ways to improve questioning skills during teacher-fronted activities. Topics will include the new Bloom's Taxonomy, Socratic questioning techniques, and a discussion of the current research. I will discuss an eight-step approach to forming effective teacher questions that allows students to analyze literature while advancing their discursive and cognitive abilities.

Celestine Davis and Sarah Servie (East Carolina University)
Minimizing cultural bias in first-year writing
This forum will examine the role of composition instructors in minimizing cultural bias as it relates to race, gender, ethnicity, country of origin, and other areas of difference as a function of academic writing. As first-year writing instructors, we are concerned about student writing that demonstrates any bias that may hinder critical thinking and consequently, negatively affect student writing. Flower (2003) highlights issues caused by society's history of "marginaliz[ing]...the knowledge of the powerless and then...assimilat[ing] that experience into mainstream and middle class schemas" (39). Prejudice, bias and stereotypes arising from this history are problems that instructors must consider for the development of effective instructive practices. Fitts and France (1995) present Henry Giroux' argument for "pedagogy as a cultural practice" and rebuke instructors who avoid making the connection between "cultural production and pedagogical practice" (xiii). Drawing on current literature addressing issues of bias in student writing as an academic concern, we will discuss: How does bias affect students' critical thinking and writing? What types of responses are available to help students unpack the biases in their thinking and writing? How might instructors overcome their own biases in assessing student writing? Should we avoid the subject of "bias" in writing instruction?

Leona Mason (Pitt County Schools)

Implementing an electronic Personal Education Plan for English language learners

For years, Pitt County's ESL Department has been challenged with creating a form for the Personal Education Plan (PEP) of English Language Learners. The form needed to 1) inform classroom teachers about the specific needs to their English Language Learner (ELL), in language that is meaningful to regular classroom teachers, and 2) allow teachers to select appropriate state-testing accommodations and classroom instructional modifications based on the student's language needs. However, mass-produced forms either did not provide enough information or were lengthy and tedious to read and complete. In response, one high school created an electronic form which, when given a particular student's English proficiency test scores, guides classroom teachers in selecting appropriate accommodations and modifications. It displays specific recommendations based on the student's scores and gives descriptions of that student's language ability. The electronic PEP (e-PEP) was debuted in January 2011. Teacher feedback on the new form was elicited. The results will be presented along with the e-PEP in the hope of generating discussion and ideas on how to implement the form elsewhere.

Cindy Lepore (University of Alabama)

Information gap activities for the 21st century language classroom

Information gap activities are popular in the foreign language classroom because they satisfy many of our learners' needs: learners are talking, participation is evenly distributed, and motivation is high because they have something to talk about. Information exchange tasks represent the core of communicative language teaching, which is the idea that students will participate in real-life life situations requiring communication (Lee & Van Patten, 2003). Traditional exercises are typically composed of handouts or worksheets that are partially completed with information, and then students interrogate their classmates to collect the missing information and subsequently share their own facts. Because our goal is to simulate current real-life situations, there is a need to update these traditional exercises. This workshop will explore emerging web-based technologies that facilitate the creation of information gap activities that are technologically appropriate for today's multi-media classrooms. If you would like to hear your students speaking more in class by comparing and contrasting a StoryBird, Animoto, or Pikistrip, please join this session.


Kathryn Bove (North Carolina State University)

Student floor control and its effect on classroom discourse: A look at discourse in the foreign language classroom

In the classroom, there is a positioned asymmetricality between students and teacher in which teachers possess power through exclusivity of knowledge that they must relay to students (Giddens, 1991). Because of this exclusivity, the teacher often controls discourse and access to the floor. In the foreign language classroom this can become problematic due to the emphasis placed on student production of language (ACTFL). This Conversation Analysis (CA) of a foreign language classroom looks at three common sequences: the use of traditional back-and-forth questioning in the IRE (initiate-respond-evaluate) sequences, teacher student co-creation of knowledge, and student-student co-creation of knowledge. Through the investigation of turn taking, student/teacher positioning, and the use of intertextuality, I consider varying levels of student discourse and identify commonalities and differences in student and teacher discourse, tracking access to the floor. The CA analysis has revealed that strong teacher control and very limited student access to the floor discouraged students from producing language. As the teacher shared the floor with students, student discourse increased, as did the co-creation of knowledge between students and teacher. Discussion of CA as well as pedagogical implications will be discussed.

Rai D'Honoré (East Carolina University Language Academy - ECULA)

Challenges associated with starting a language academy at a large public university

This presentation will examine known and hidden challenges that confront the implementation of a language academy. Drawing examples from personal experience, I will initially discuss start-ups in general and those at educational institutions in particular, focusing on public rather than private institutions; translating the feasibility of the concept to the reality of the proposal; and the train of process and procedure through academic institutional regulations and state regulations. Then we shall examine more in depth the development and implementation challenges, paying particular attention to such concerns as curriculum, scheduling, recruitment, testing, placement and engaging the community.

Whitney Larrimore (East Carolina University)

Students' attitudes toward first-year composition courses

Understanding first-year students' attitudes toward first-year composition (FYC) classes might inform teaching and curricular changes that would improve student learning. However, studies typically address instructors' opinions on teaching methods and curricula neglecting students' attitudes and perspectives on the subjects. For that reason, the research questions for this study are: 1) What are the different attitudes among male and female first-year college students of different majors toward English 101, Composition, at Methodist University? And 2) What kind of relationship exists between the students' majors and their attitudes toward FYC? To answer these questions, a questionnaire was administered to 60 students in English 101 classes at Methodist University. The survey contained Likert-type items related to students' high school preparation, self-efficacy, and expectations of FYC, as well as students' perceived usefulness of FYC. The expected results will help give some insights into how composition instruction delivery and content can change to better meet students' needs and improve students' perceived usefulness of FYC courses.

Joanne Naylor with Heather Ramsdell (East Carolina University)

Utterance length as it relates to communicative variables in infant vocal development

This project is an exploratory study of utterance length as it relates to communicative variables in infant vocal development. Archived recordings from a longitudinal study of nine infants at 4, 7, and 11 months of age were analyzed. Each utterance the infant produced during a recording session was analyzed for length (in milliseconds), vocal type (e.g., vowels, squeals, growls, etc.), gaze direction (directed, not directed, and can't see), facial affect (positive, negative, neutral, and can't see), and illocution (e.g., no force, vocal play, object or person directed). The goal is to observe the relationship between utterance length and vocal type, gaze direction, facial affect, and illocution. Results of these analyses may provide insight into typical patterns of infant vocal development.

Greg Raver-Lampman (Old Dominion University)

Struggling with sibilants: Are there acceptable alternative ways to pronounce /s/ and /z/?

Textbooks on phonology and on teaching English as a Second Language often present the place of articulation of the sibilant /s/ and its voiced counterpart /z/ as a settled matter. The /s/ and /z/ are described and listed on phonological charts as a "alveolar fricatives," meaning that the tip of the tongue approaches the alveolar ridge. ESL teachers and speech therapists are often instructed to correct mispronunciation of the /s/ and /z/ by teaching a subject to curve the tongue's tip toward alveolar ridge. Many of these efforts fail, both in speech therapy and in efforts to teach speakers of some Asian languages the correct pronunciation of /s/ and /z/. A handful of linguists and instructors, however, have suggested that an acceptable /s/ and /z/ sound can be produced in English by other means. None of these studies has produced data to determine the prevalence of posited alternative placements. This study seeks to determine the prevalence of the acceptable alternative placement for the /s/ and /z/ sounds in a sample of 50 English-speaking university students. Implications for speech pathology and ESL instruction are discussed.

Gabriella Ruiz (Ohio University)

Cross-Language perceptual assimilation of German and French front vowels

The present study explores whether second language (L2) learners categorize phones in an additional language (L3) as a realization of similarity between their second language L2, or native language (L1).An examination of cross-language categorization of French and German high and mid front vowels by native-speakers of American English are investigated. Several studies have provided evidence for the highly influential nature that language listeners' L1 perception has over the realization of speech sounds in an additional language (cf. Flege, 1987; Strange, 2007; Strange, Levy & Law II, 2009). A theoretical tenet surrounding the nature of language perception maintains that phonetic similarities between a language learner's L1 and L2 affect the awareness of non-native phones due to perceived segmental correlations. Language learner perceptions of non-native phones are a significant component of additional language learning with respects to the role that L1 categorization plays for non-native auditory and articulatory accuracy (Ingram & Park, 1997). As several studies have investigated cross-language categorization between an L1 and L2, the results of this study intend to add valuable insights into the influence that a speaker's L1 or L2 has over the phonology of his or her third language.

Guy Douglas Solomon (East Carolina University)

Discourse of blood donation among the 18-25 age cohort

Blood donation, as an example of altruism, is an ongoing critical need in our society. There is considerable literature on blood donors, their numbers and demographics, their behavior and attitudes, and the ways they are perceived by society, but no direct examination of the discourse and language associated with blood donation. This study was conducted to examine the discourse and language associated with blood donation among young donors (aged 18 to 25), to insure that language used by blood supply professionals is appropriate and motivating for this age cohort. Personal interviews with college students were conducted immediately after each had donated blood. Blood drive staff was also interviewed. Respondents were encouraged to speak freely so that their language could be collected. Analysis was conducted to see how/if language frames blood donation as an altruistic act, and to see how the language positions the act, the need, and the donor. The study contributes a new direction for understanding how blood donation is understood and what it means for those involved. This understanding may also be useful in developing more effective messages to recruit initial donors and to interest new donors in becoming regular donors.