AESLA 2016:Papers with Abstracts

Abstract. The purpose of this paper is to investigate some of the challenges and prospects connected with interdisciplinary cooperation in the analysis of specialized discourse. In the last few decades, the ESP literature has often underlined the importance of this type of collaboration, highlighting the usefulness of the integration of methodological diversity, the exploration of possible connections among procedures and knowledge in order to achieve more focused interpretation and purposeful action. This interdisciplinary process is considered fundamental to better understand how practitioners use language to achieve the objectives of their professions.
However, this collaborative experience may also present serious challenges both to the applied linguist and the expert professional, which can only be faced by means of a careful alignment of the specialist’s perspective with the analyst’s approach, and a continuous process of feedback and triangulation that guarantees inter-analytic reliability of the research project. This negotiation of the findings also avoids the insurgence of the practitioners’ skepticism towards the research results and therefore their limited impact on professional practice.
Abstract. Previous empirical research has yielded inconclusive findings on the effectiveness of textual enhancement in drawing learners’ attention to target forms and in facilitating their acquisition. The present study focuses on the role of textual enhancement in the recognition, comprehension, and production of Spanish L2 verb forms that differ in their perceptual saliency (communicative value). Spanish students read an enhanced or an unenhanced text containing regular and irregular present indicative and present subjunctive forms. Reading was immediately followed by recognition, comprehension, and production tasks. The resulting data were statistically analyzed in order to ascertain whether they supported or refuted three research hypotheses. Results showed no effect of TE in the three treatments employed.
Abstract. Idioms are non-compositional expressions where the meaning of the whole is different from the literal meaning of their constituent elements (Cooper, 1999). Because of this special nature, idioms can become a serious “bottleneck” for second language acquisition. In the traditional view, idioms can only be learned through blind memorization, since their meaning is considered arbitrary (e.g. Hamblin & Gibbs, 1999). By contrast, in cognitive linguistics (CL), idioms are considered to be motivated (Boers, 2004). It is further argued that such cognitive motivation could facilitate the learning of figurative idioms (Kovecses, 2002) and experimental evidence in this respect is gradually accumulating (Boers 2013, 2015).
In this connection, the situation of Chinese learners of English as an L2 has not yet been fully examined. This study aims to fill this research gap through the experimental exploration of the effects of classroom instruction based on cognitive linguistics (CL) on the learning of idioms by Chinese EFL learners. The specific purpose of this study is to verify three hypotheses that involve the short-term and long-term effects of this approach to idiom comprehension and retention and the different effects of metaphor and metonymy. In order to test their validity, an experiment was conducted with fifty Chinese freshmen, including one pre-test, the teaching activity, and two post-tests.
The experiment results provided support for CL-based instruction on English idioms. Both of the two classes perform better after teaching activities, but the experimental group has a higher score and actually acquires more knowledge within the same time limit. In the posttest 2, the experimental group memorized the idioms much better than the control group after two weeks and the difference between the two groups widened to a great extent. Comparing the accuracy rates reveals better short-term and long-term learning for metonymy-based than metaphor-based idioms.
Abstract. The aim of this paper is to examine secondary education learners’ performance in L2 writing production using the complexity, accuracy, and fluency constructs. Results show that the measures of fluency, accuracy, grammatical and lexical complexity progress in a significant way: fourth grade students outperform first graders in the aforementioned measures. Secondly, fewer correlations between the writing measures used and the general quality of the compositions are found among the older students than among the younger ones, indicating that the correlations change depending on learners’ age. Thirdly, 1st year students exhibit a higher ratio of errors, both in general and also by error category, although only two types decrease significantly in 4th year students: syntactic and spelling errors. Lastly, we find that errors tend to develop in a non-linear way.
Abstract. The interrelationship between language and culture has a direct bearing on language teaching. Our study focuses on the cultural analysis of textbooks. We have analysed 6 B1 and B2- level textbooks for teaching English to adults in Spain. To this aim, we have used a model of cultural learning analysis based on the earlier work of Paige and Lee. This functional framework gathers every category and aspect of culture needed to develop each of the competencies that are required to accomplish comprehensive culture learning.
Findings show that the invisible aspect of culture (small “c” target-culture learning), which is crucial to understanding the values and ways of thinking of a society, receives less coverage in textbooks. Regarding the comparison between B1 and B2 levels, the data indicate that the number of big “C” Culture occurrences is similar for both levels, although there are differences in other cultural aspects. Thus, despite some promising changes in the way of addressing culture learning in EFL textbooks, we are still far from developing intercultural speakers.
Abstract. Metaphor has been widely recognized as a central tool of our cognitive apparatus, motivating the widespread use of metaphorical words and expressions in language and discourse. Therefore, it is important for language learners to use metaphors in the target language appropriately. The influence of the mother tongue on the use of metaphors in essays written by Spanish learners of English was analysed. Three corpora were used for this study: the experimental corpus contained 100 essays of Spanish-speaking learners of English, 50 with B2 level and 50 with C1 level (CEFR). The other two corpora were used as reference corpora: the British National Corpus (BNC) and the Corpus de Referencia del Español Actual (CREA). MIPVU method (Steen et al., 2010) was used to identify metaphors in the experimental corpus. The quantitative analysis showed that the influence of Spanish on errors in metaphors is higher at B2 level than at C1 level. The results of the analysis are especially helpful for learners and teachers of English as a Foreign Language as well as for testing researchers.
Abstract. This paper will focus on one specific type of disfluency (speech less than fluent), that is, interruptions or cut-offs. The research on cut-offs has led to various hypotheses explaining how cut-offs are processed: Seyfeddinipur, Kita & Indefrey (2008) suggested that the cut-off is a controlled action and so on detecting the trouble the stop might be postponed, if necessary, to allow time for the resumption process; Tydgat, Stevens, Hartsuiker and Pickering (2011) added that the stopping and resumption processes are likely to occur concurrently and share the same resources. Therefore, the speaker has to decide whether it is more effective to stop and, if so, where.
In Second Language Acquisition (SLA) error has been the topic of much discussion. However, disfluencies have surprisingly aroused less interest. SLA usually takes the view that any repair following a disfluency is the consequence of linguistic difficulties (usually grammar or vocabulary). However, like among native speakers, there are more reasons for disfluency and repair than just linguistic difficulties.
A tool to aid disfluency analysis is that of the gesture performed together with speech. McNeill’s gesture theory holds that gesture and speech are two modalities of the same communicative process and that as such should be analysed together (2012). Therefore, the gesture might provide additional analytical information to the observer.
The objective of this study was to investigate the nature of cut-offs in speakers using their mother tongue and also a second language. As our specific interest is the acquisition of Spanish by English speakers, our results are based on data from 8 participants, 4 Spanish native speakers and 4 Hong Kong students of Spanish as a foreign language (L2). Our results, based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis, indicate that cut-offs, and the gestures associated with them, are used similarly by native speakers of both English and Spanish, including the relationship between the cut-off and the repair or its absence and the gesture. However, the L2 results are very different, showing a significant increase of within-word cut-offs in Hong Kong participants and a decrease among Spanish native speakers. We observed differences in the length and number of pauses after the cut-offs, as well as differences as to the point at which the cut-off occurred in the word. This paper will provide explanations as to the differences observed as well as providing evidence to support some of the existing hypotheses on cut-off production and gesture-speech relationships.
Abstract. Studies analysing the positive role of pragmatic instruction in formal settings have increased over the last decades. Within this area of interventional pragmatics, some studies have particularly examined whether the effectiveness of the instruction implemented is sustained over time. In order to shed more light on the long-term effects of instruction, this research investigates English as a Foreign Language learners’ use of complaining formulas not only after immediately receiving instruction, but also two months later. Results show that learners keep using a variety of appropriate complaining formulas two months after having participated in the instructional period. These findings are discussed and directions for future research suggested.
Abstract. Research on the effect of language proficiency on L2 pragmatics seems to provide somewhat mixed results (Xiao, 2015). On that account, this paper investigates the effect of English language proficiency on English language learner’s use of complaining strategies in contrasting situations which varied according to the sociopragmatic factors of social status, social distance and severity of offense. Results show that learners at two proficiency levels demonstrated similar patterns with regard their use of buffer and complaint super-strategies across situations. However, negotiation super-strategies were more frequent across situations in the higher proficiency group. These findings are discussed and pedagogical implications suggested.
Abstract. The goal of this paper is to analyze some of the issues related to task design in Russian on the basis of a pilot study carried out with 19 bilingual Catalan- and Spanish-speaking participants. They performed six form-focused tasks targeted at the use of case forms and verbs of movement in Russian. Although some problems in task design were detected, t-test showed that learners improved significantly in the use of the target forms.
Abstract. This paper explores how intercultural awareness is raised in Maritime English (henceforth, ME) higher education courses and, particularly, how the “intercultural dialogue” (Council of Europe, 2008) is fostered in ME materials. Interculturality and its impact upon the maritime profession is a major concern for the shipping industry as multilingual and multicultural crews prevail aboard ships. Four teaching/learning resources have been targeted: the latest ME textbook (Grice, 2012), a web-based ME learning tool (MarEng, 2007-2010), a recently launched online platform offering ME learning materials (SeaTALK, 2015), and the latest edition of a full Model Course programme on ME (IMO, 2015). The results obtained help to assess if, and to what extent ME language teaching materials serve as “mediators of intercultural communicative competence” (Rico Troncoso, 2012: 130), providers of intercultural awareness, facilitators for intercultural encounters and creators of “spaces for intercultural dialogue” (Council of Europe, 2008: 46). Conclusions are expected to further research into intercultural dialogicity and provide researchers in other languages and ESP fields with guidance for assessing the presence of intercultural-related features in their own course materials.
Abstract. The paper introduces the relevance of the Italian language in the discourses of Art History and Archaeology and its properties. Then it focuses on the Learner Needs (LN) of a specific target audience: students of Art History and Archaeology, under- and postgraduates aiming to achieve LSP competence in Italian already as beginners or quasi-beginners. Being these general LN, how far is it possible to satisfy them with an LSP course on discourse relevant aspects in the academy? – The paper gives an answer to this question discussing some outcomes of a PhD research: in this doing, it describes the course design, learners’ profiles and their performances. Finally it suggests a flexible course concept with a main focus on didactics and on refined specific LN.
Abstract. Teaching and learning content subjects through English requires a competence in academic language which Cummins (1984) labeled CALP (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency). Revisiting this concept could shed light on the academic language skills necessary for communication in bilingual classrooms. A first step in this long journey could be a deeper comprehension of the academic linguistic or cognitive discourse functions (Dalton-Puffer, 2013). This paper approaches the function of explaining.
To accomplish this aim, six lecturers teaching through English at Escuela de Ingeniería de Informática (Segovia, Spain) were videotaped. Lessons were transcribed to create a corpus. The main research questions followed Dalton-Puffer´s (2007) model for a secondary education context:
1. How many occurrences of the academic function of explanation are there in the corpus?
2. What is the linguistic form of these explanations?
3. Is there any signaling language or metalanguage around them?
The seventy explanation fragments found were classified in three categories following Brown´s taxonomy (2006).
• Interpretative explanations respond to the question ‘What?’ and are very close to definitions.
• Descriptive explanations respond to the question ‘How?’ and centre on processes, structures and procedure.
• Reason giving explanations respond to the question ‘Why?’ and provide reasons and causes.
The findings show a rich frequency of this academic function in contrast to the very limited comparable previous studies in bilingual classrooms (Dalton-Puffer, 2007). Bar graphs of frequencies and distribution of types per lecturer are presented. Regarding qualitative aspects, the samples found offer insights about how explaining is performed in bilingual content lectures. The form of these explanations and the metalanguage signaling them are analyzed and illustrated with numerous examples from the corpus.
Taking as starting point the description of the explanations present in lecturer discourse some reflections about their potential for the learning of content and language are provided. The conclusions section suggests some pedagogical implications for the linguistic education of both students and lecturers in English medium instruction environments.
Abstract. In the last decades metaphor has been a paramount research topic within the Cognitive Metaphor Theory. Although initially linguistic metaphor received most attention, in recent years the research focus has shifted from verbal metaphor to other types of monomodal and multimodal metaphor (Forceville 2009). One research line has been the study of visual metaphor, i.e. metaphor instantiated through image, in specialised language, including political cartooning (e.g. El Refaie 2003), winespeak (e.g. Caballero 2009) and advertising (Forceville 2008). In the present article I examine the evaluative role of visual metaphor in two visual genres – advertising and political cartooning – through a corpus of English, French and Spanish ads and cartoons. It will be argued that while in advertising metaphor enhances the product qualities or presents it as a necessity, thus working as a persuasive tool, in cartooning metaphor shows the author’s critical stance towards a news event.
Abstract. Writing is extremely challenging for engineering students. Navarro (2012) asserts that academic literacy in the mother tongue is similar to learning a foreign language as it involves immersion in a new culture. Food Engineering undergraduates (School of Food Science, University of Entre Ríos) face this difficulty when they have to write their Final Project. As a consequence, interdisciplinary actions were implemented by engineers and linguists (both in English and Spanish) in order to raise students´ awareness of this genre characteristics, to facilitate its production and to write relevant titles and abstracts. The importance of both title and abstract is paramount once the Final Projects are uploaded to the university website in order to attract readers. The objective of this study was to explore whether interdisciplinary actions could optimize undergraduates´ written production. All titles produced since the first Food Engineer graduated were collected. This corpus analysis revealed that titles were extremely short and provided very little information. Consequently, pedagogical activities were designed and implemented as from 2012. An exploration of antecedent or prior genre knowledge (Artemeva, N. & Fox., J., 2010) was carried out in different workshops. Generic structure, audience awareness, rhetorical functions and linguistic features studied in the English courses were activated. Writing seminars in Spanish were implemented in 5º year. In addition, undergraduates attended tutorials with the engineers and then and then interviews with the linguists. In several meetings students discussed titles and abstracts (in Spanish and English), designed their slides for the oral defense and rehearsed their oral presentations. The analysis of the corpus including all projects´ titles defended within the time window that included our actions indicated that students had activated their previous generic knowledge. Feedback from students, after graduation, demonstrated that interdisciplinary activities included language as an across the curriculum content and contributed to the adequate production of academic genres. Results may affect curricular design and decisions at the macro level since implementation of writing seminars along undergraduates´ trajectories has been positioned as a top priority.
Abstract. English is undoubtedly the Lingua Franca (ELF) in Europe, as it is used for academic and professional communication. However, it is also used to foster other European languages for specific purposes in different countries and contexts. In this paper we will refer to the role of ELF as a tool to promote multilingualism. In order to provide a pragmatic example, we will be using the Ready-Study-Go-Around-Europe! (RSGAE) project, which aims to produce online material for Vocational Education and Training, to demonstrate the role English plays within a European project, and its influence in the promotion of other European languages. It has been found that, on the one hand, ELF is crucial for interpersonal, administrative and academic communication within the project, and on the other hand, it foments the use of other EU languages for academic and professional purposes. Finally, it has been concluded that English in its role of lingua franca eases international communication and contributes to social, cultural and linguistic awareness in Europe.
Abstract. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (2000) forbids discrimination, and national legislations follow suit. Language is a symptom of and a contributor to an unequal status. Civil servants, and the police to a higher extent, must observe this in order to prevent secondary victimisation and contribute to attitudes of inclusion and equal opportunities. Therefore, training in non-discriminatory language is a must in any EFL course for law enforcers.
Different teaching methodologies are applied with trainee police officers (CEFR B1) in the Spanish Police Academy to obtain critical language awareness. These strategies allow trainee officers to produce discourse sensitive to difference, and have beneficial results in building up their linguistic proficiency addressed to their professional performance.
Abstract. In this study, we focus on clitic doubling with a human or animate referent. We attempt to determine whether or not bilingual Catalan-Spanish speakers (from Mallorca, Spain) employ the corresponding preposition (so-called personal a) in this type of clitic doubling structure in Spanish and in Catalan. In addition, we consider the use of third-person [± human] pronominal, non-reflexive clitics, both for direct and indirect object.
We present results from a study of forty bilingual speakers from Mallorca. The data we analyzed came from spontaneous oral production data from all the participants in the study. Each participant was recorded twice, once in Spanish and once in the Majorcan Catalan variety. Each recording consisted of interviews with the researcher involving a variety of topics and lasted approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
The preliminary results indicate that in Majorcan Spanish there are no substantial differences compared to Peninsular Spanish regarding the use of third person, non-reflexive clitics. Regarding the Majorcan Catalan uses, the results are also not so different in comparison to Peninsular Catalan, but we see a substantial increase in the rate of distinct uses of the neutral clitic ho. However, when third-person clitics are used in a clitic doubling structure in Spanish there is a difference between L1 speakers of Catalan and L1 speakers of Spanish. This is because the former tend to omit the preposition in the corresponding DP.
Abstract. This sociolinguistic paper analyzes the linguistic codes used in the Egyptian television series A Girl Called Zaat (Zaat), which was produced in 2013. This series is an adaptation of the novel Zaat or self by the leftist Egyptian novelist Son’a Allah Ibrahim. The series was chosen because it depicts the eras of several Egyptian presidents, and thus is abundant of important political and social events in Egypt, from the 1952 revolution to the 2011 revolution. These political and social incidents were very influential in the life of the heroine “Zaat”, who represents Egyptians. It would be useful to examine how language was used to express the changes that were taking place in the Egyptian society and hence in Egyptian people’s identities. This research attempts to answer these questions: What were the codes used in the series? What were the indexes of these codes? How was Code-switching (CS) related to identity? Language and identity have a strong relationship and a reciprocal influence. The Theory of indexicality was used in the analysis, particularly second and third order indexicality. The analysis revealed that there were three codes in the series: Egyptian Colloquial Arabic (ECA), English, and Standard Arabic (SA). Hopefully, by examining the indexes of these three codes, the analysis of this series would be of interest and benefit in highlighting the Egyptian social and linguistic situation.
Abstract. This research aims to contribute to our understanding of Spanglish, namely by examining Gerardo Piña Rosales’ short story “Don Quijote en Manhattan” (2006). Through a close analysis of this expressive modality, particularly the use of Spanglish by the character of Sancho in his encounters with the city’s other inhabitants, including tourists, homeless, small-time criminals and police, we are able to gain insight into the reality of modern-day language contact in a truly contemporary setting. The paper is organized as follows. First a brief review of the most recent Spanglish research is offered, then we describe the materials and method used for this study, and finally we propose a classification of Sancho’s Spanglish.
Abstract. Children tend to accept weak Quantifiers (Q) in contexts where strong ones hold, failing to generate Scalar Implicatures (SI) (Noveck, 2001/2004). The interpretation of a negated sentence containing a Q requires: (i) pragmatic knowledge to derive the SI and (ii) syntactic knowledge to determine the scope of negation (Neg). Uttering any of the sentences in 1(a,b) in a context where zero students attended the talk is under-informative, because the stronger Q none should be employed in order to be as informative as possible (Grice, 1975/1989).
(1) a. NOT ALL the students attended the talk
b. ALL the students did NOT attend the talk
The fact that Neg occupies a different position in (1a) with respect to (1b) can have an influence on the interpretation of the sentence. While (1a) in English is interpreted by adults as ‘NOT ALL’=some, (1b) can be interpreted as ‘ALL NOT’=some or ‘ALL NOT’=none. Following the “Observation of isomorphism” (Musolino, 1998), children tend to obtain isomorphic-readings, so they are predicted to interpret ‘NOT ALL’=some and ‘ALL NOT’=none. Based on Katsos et al.’s (2012) materials, a Picture Selection Task (PST) was conducted with 5-year-old monolingual-L1Spanish (n=25) children, as well as with adult native speakers of Spanish (n=17), to test their interpretation of ‘all not’ for Spanish todos no (Q-Neg) and of ‘not all’ for no todos (Neg-Q). Participants had to select one of two pictures presented on a screen, after hearing an utterance containing Q-Neg or Neg-Q. The pictures represented a none-context (where zero of five items were in the boxes) and a some-context (where two of five items were in the boxes). Results from the PST showed that Spanish children chose the none-context for Q-Neg in 73% of cases (isomorphic-readings). For Neg-Q the results were not so homogeneous, since Spanish children chose the some-context in 55% of cases. Spanish adults chose the some-context for Neg-Q in 95% of cases, and for Q-Neg the none-context in 83% of cases. While Spanish children and adults prefer the none-reading in Q-Neg, adults’ preference for the some-reading in Neg-Q contrasts with children’s response in that condition. This response pattern raises new questions regarding children’s preference for isomorphic-readings and leads to interesting predictions for the acquisition of negated Qs in Spanish.
Abstract. Over the last few years, the study of cognitive operations from both a pragmatic and a cognitive angle (cf. Ruiz de Mendoza & Galera, 2014) has gradually received more and more attention. According to Ruiz de Mendoza & Galera (2014), parameterisation is based on world knowledge and is cued by the linguistic expression, resulting in the fixation of a generic value which is otherwise undefined to a greater or lesser extent, as in John drinks standing for ‘John usually drinks alcohol’ or Something has happened meaning ‘something bad has happened.’
Following Herrero (2009), in this paper we attempt to analyse how parameterisation applies in some tropes (overstatement, understatement, euphemism, and dysphemism) by placing constraints on how far the operations that underlie them, strengthening and mitigation, can go.
The examples have been extracted from a multi-faced corpus compiled from The British National Corpus, The Corpus of American English, and Google searches.
Abstract. This paper reports the findings from a study of the learning of English intonation by Spanish speakers within the discourse mode of L2 oral presentation. The purpose of this experiment is, firstly, to compare four prosodic parameters before and after an L2 discourse intonation training programme and, secondly, to confirm whether subjects, after the aforementioned L2 discourse intonation training, are able to match the form of these four prosodic parameters to the discourse-pragmatic function of dominance and control. The study designed the instructions and tasks to create the oral and written corpora and Brazil’s (1994) Pronunciation for Advanced Learners of English was adapted for the pedagogical aims of the present study. The learners’ pre- and post-tasks were acoustically analysed and a pre / post- questionnaire design was applied to interpret the acoustic analysis. Results indicate most of the subjects acquired a wider choice of the four prosodic parameters partly due to the prosodically-annotated transcripts that were developed throughout the L2 discourse intonation course. Conversely, qualitative and quantitative data reveal most subjects failed to match the forms to their appropriate pragmatic functions to express dominance and control in an L2 oral presentation.
Abstract. This study seeks to explore the wide range of strategies that online users employ to express their linguistic support in computer-mediated-communication environments. Based on a purely semantic definition of the term support, this research puts forward a taxonomy containing several strategies by means of which support can be discursively transmitted in digital contexts. This taxonomy is thus applied to data collected from two prototypical communicative practices taking place online: a Facebook group and an Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) forum, which amounts to a total of 12,327 and 26,452 words respectively. Findings show the most salient realisations for expressing support in these two online settings, drawing on the implications the use of a particular sort of strategy may have with regard to the communicative practices under investigation.
Abstract. This paper aims at describing from a multimodal discourse analysis perspective, the organizational metadiscourse elements (and previewing and reviewing instances in particular) employed in academic lectures in English and in Spanish in order to connect speech events and structure the discourse. We believe that a multimodal approach (Fortanet-Gómez & Ruiz-Madrid, 2014; Querol-Julián, 2010; Querol-Julián & Fortanet-Gómez, 2012) provides a deeper understanding of how meaning is conveyed not only through linguistic elements but also through non-verbal items like paralanguage and kinesics.
In order to carry out this study we selected two lectures in English from an African American Studies course which is part of Yale University’s collection of OpenCourseWare, and two lectures in Spanish from a Human Resources Studies course recorded at Universitat Jaume I. With the aim to describe possible recurrent patterns and relationships between verbal and non-verbal (paralinguistic and kinesic) elements, we will carry out a MDA in three phases: a linguistic transcription and identification of organizational metadiscourse using Ädel's (2006, 2010) model and taxonomy of metadiscourse for spoken academic English; a transcription of paralinguistic features (syllabic duration and loudness) and kinesic elements (hand-arm gestures); and an analysis of co-occurrences of modes to understand how meaning is conveyed.
The final objective of this study is twofold, i) to approach multimodal academic discourse from a contrastive perspective and ii) to use the results for EAP training courses for Spanish teachers and students, as it has been observed that verbal and non-verbal discourse needs awareness raising in order to facilitate transfer from mother tongue to another language.
Abstract. Genres tend to be studied from analytical and professional perspectives. However, the study of genres can also be used for pedagogical aims in language teaching (Bhatia, 2002). Writing for academic and professional purposes as well as for scholarly publication is often challenging. Some novice writers may find difficulties when they work on new genres and fail to recognize the communicative purpose, organization of the texts and linguistic rules. This paper focuses on a self-developed model of analysis of multi-genre structures (AMS) which aims at determining the common features within a corpus of documents of the same nature. The objective of this AMS model is to help researchers determine the form of any genre related to the users’ personal or professional fields; this involves the study of macro- and micro-structures. This paper begins with a general review of genre analysis theories and connects with the use of suitable corpus linguistics software. Then, our model of genre analysis to carry out is introduced. At last, results on previous analyses are presented with the aim of explaining how to apply the AMS model and discuss their use.
Abstract. The city of Venice is currently promoted through a wide range of channels, either traditional or innovative, using the Internet as their main ‘market place’. Besides Italian, the promotional message is conveyed in English as the main foreign language of communication, addressing not only perspective tourists from English-speaking countries but also tourists of other mother tongues who use English to communicate outside their country.
Considering the multifaceted nature of the language in the field of tourism that balances domain-specific and general terms, the present study investigates the language that is used to ‘sell’ the city of Venice, a complex tourist destination, to international perspective visitors.
By means of corpus linguistics methods of analysis, the study investigates the lexico-grammatical features present in a corpus of digital travel guidebooks, written in English, that are accessible on the Internet. The corpus, purposely collected and annotated, is examined in order to understand how the most peculiar aspects of Venice and its local culture are described to visitors, taking into particular consideration the strategies used by the authors to balance technical terms typical of the language of tourism with promotional terms that might contain specific connotations to attract the readers’ attention.
Abstract. This study provides a preliminary characterisation of asynchronous online discussions as a learning tool in higher education (Garrison 2003; Ho & Swan 2007). Our materials consist of the written record of 16 online discussions, totalling circa 165,000 words, from a one-semester course on general English-Spanish-English translation. The participants are second-year students from different nationalities, mostly Spanish, using Spanish and less frequently Galician as lingua francas. We start by describing the various situational factors surrounding the events (including the role of the discussions in the course, the variety of participants and the nature of their relationship), which may explain some highly recurrent language and organisational features encountered in the resulting texts. Secondly, using Antconc, we carry out an exploratory analysis of the lexical and collocational patterns of the exchanges. The findings reveal a very strong interactive component (Herring 1999, Condon & Čech 2010), with two dominant functions, the creation of affiliation and the prevention of conflict. The analysis shows a widespread use of praise, hedging and other forms of politeness in the posts, and, more generally, a clear concern for the interests of other participants in the discussion and an effort to acknowledge their voices. In the paper, we also look into the evolution of the exchanges over the time-span of the course by focusing on one case study. The analysis reveals the progressive crystallisation of the genre in the student’s interventions, a process which involves a clear evolution from a rather tentative kind of post, mostly monologic, informational and author-centred, to a progressively longer post with a more complex structure, and especially a heightened awareness of the dialogic and multi-party nature of the exchanges (Herring 1996). The results of the study may have considerable pedagogical interest. We believe that computer-mediated communication (CMC), including asynchronous online discussion forums, is bound to play an increasingly significant role in the future of higher education.
Abstract. The aim of this paper is to study the impact of Spaniards’ and Britons’ index of individualistic cultural values (Hofstede, 1991) on the type of engagement markers (Hyland and Tse, 2004) used in Peninsular-Spanish and British university websites along with the English translated version of the former. The cultural dimension of individualism is related to the way in which individuals from a particular culture define their own identity and their relationship with other people. As regards engagement markers, these are used to establish a social interaction in the online encounter held between universities and prospective students who may wish to study in these institutions. Following an observational and a quantitative analysis, the findings reveal important statistical differences in the three corpora analysed and show that culture and engagement markers may be considered intertwined concepts. The results obtained may be a valuable source of information for Peninsular-Spanish universities as they may help them not only to translate into English the Spanish version of their websites but also to adapt the appropriate engagement markers taking into account the British cultural framework.
Abstract. Abstract
From a Multimodal Discourse Analysis (MDA) perspective (Kress and Van Leuween, 2001; Kress, 2003; O’Halloran, 2004; Baldry&Thibault, 2006; Jewitt, 2009; Querol-Julián and Fortanet-Gómez, 2012) each semiotic resource (i.e., speech, image, writing, movement, gaze, sound, layout, among others) contributes to the meaning-making process. Linguistic and non-linguistic information is integrated in multimodal texts, and especially so in digital genres (Shepherd & Watters 1999; Crowston & Kwasnik 2004; Askehave & Nielsen 2005; Villanueva et al. 2008), where complex relationships are conveyed by the use of multiple resources.
One of these new digital genres is the webinar or web seminar. Webinars help to disseminate knowledge, facilitate collaboration and communication, and enhance performance among students and instructors, employers and employees and specialist in dispersed locations (Wolf, 2006; Forrester, 2009; Bandy, 2010; Kokoc, Ozlu, Cimer & Karal, 2011). Its main characteristic is that it is online and it often consists of a number of lectures streamlined and/or recorded to be watched off-line, and there are several participants located in several places, who can contribute online or offline through different communication modes (written or spoken with or without video). In this sense, it is clear that webinars include a wide array of multimodal resources, both verbal and non-verbal. But how do they work together? To what extent are they integrated? Are users responsive to these multimodal resources and to what extent?
In order to answer these and other questions, we analyse in this paper a dataset of several sessions of a research webinar organized by the Group for Research on Academic and Professional English in 2015 on the topic of Multimodal Discourse Analysis. Our interest is to study all the multimodal components in the discussion sessions in this seminar and the different strategies used by participants for online and face-to-face interaction.
Abstract. This article presents research carried out on a corpus of newspaper articles about the financial crisis in Spain (Corpus de la Crisis Financiera - CCF). The genesis and compilation of the CCF coincided with a growing body of publications about the financial situation in Spain, a severe economic downturn involving a banking crisis, a burst housing bubble, a dramatic increase in unemployment, and cuts in social services. In this paper, we are going to focus on the semantics and rhetorical functions in the different texts that make up the corpus. Our main objective is to explore the realizations of evaluative meaning in our corpus, either overtly expressed by the journalist or implicitly transmitted in texts by means of rhetorical devices such as metaphors.
We will provide examples from our corpus to show how the recurrence and coexistence of such linguistic features play a cohesive role providing texts consistency and texture. These linguistic resources persuade individual readers and even shape collective opinions and ideologies.
Abstract. Linguistic deviations from the standard use of English in computer-mediated communication have been described by the literature as distinctive Netspeak features. Using corpus linguistics and register theory, I examine those linguistic deviations in a corpus extracted from the microblogging platform Tumblr to describe how language use is shaped by the Internet medium. The sample of grammatical, discourse and style features analysed included the use of personal pronouns, idiomatic expressions, abbreviations, examples, quotations, repetitions, intensifiers, emotional and offensive language, as well as other features such as break and run-on-sentences, typography, punctuation, and multimodal elements. The corpus analysis reveals that these texts are characterised as being mainly short written messages combining typical features of the written mode of communication and features of extemporaneous, spoken discourse. Findings also show a non-standard use of punctuation and typography, the inclusion of multimedia elements that helps to overcome the lack of immediate feedback and the use of non-segmental phonology in the conversation. The results of the analysis suggest that Netspeak (non-standard) linguistic features are determined by context and are thus more likely to appear in digital spheres such as social networks, blogs and chats, among users who engage in one-to-one conversations or users who belong to the same in-group, and in communicative situations in which hobbies and personal experiences are the most frequently discussed topics.
Abstract. This paper looks into the use of probability markers in oral texts as a strategy used to weaken the illocutionary force involved in the assertive act. To meet this objective, twenty-three probability markers in five thousand paragraphs were analyzed. The analysis allowed us to see the use of thirteen of these markers to mitigate assertions in informal spoken language, mainly in peer-to-peer interactions with interpersonal purposes. In such contexts, probability markers usually protect the positive face of the speaker and occasionally that of the addressee. Some patterns are perceived concerning the scalar position of the marker (expression of more or less certainty) and whose face (speaker’s or addressee’s) is threatened by the potentially negative effect of the assertive act.
Abstract. Spanish and Chinese are two very different languages in all language levels. Therefore, translation (both human and machine translation) from one to another and learning one of them as a foreign language are challenging tasks. Some automatic translation systems exist for this pair of languages, but there is enough room to improve the translation quality between Spanish and Chinese. In addition, the accessible sources, such as a parallel corpus for studying and understanding this language pair, are still few. In this paper, we present how we have created a Spanish-Chinese parallel corpus designed for language learning and translation tasks at the discourse level. This corpus has been enriched automatically with part-of-speech (POS) and several queries based on morpho-syntactic information can be realized. We have made available the parallel corpus to the academic community.
Abstract. This study explores verbal agreement variation with collective noun-headed subjects taking plural of-dependents in a set of data retrieved from a parsed version of the corpus of Global Web-based English (GloWbE). The results show how syntactic distance between the subject and the verb (and also the complexity of the modifier(s) of the of-PP) reduces the influence that these plural of-PPs exert on the verb, thus lowering the rate of plural agreement.
Abstract. The variety and profusion of verbless utterances drawn from the oral corpus CORLEC has allowed to present a detailed classification of them. Verbless utterances with clausal content can be classified as clausal (non-elliptic) or non-clausal (elliptic) structures, also called fragments. Among the former, predicative verbless clauses are composed by a predicative head and the argument they select. This paper exposes the properties and structures of both verbless clauses and fragments found in the corpus, and analyses the syntactic and informational status of the NP selected by the predicative head of predicative verbless clauses.
Abstract. This paper presents some of the findings from research carried out among language teachers on translation and interpreting (T&I) degree courses in Spain, who responded to a questionnaire aiming to obtain a clearer idea of how foreign language teaching in this field of studies differed from approaches in other areas. The main purpose was to compile data based on actual practice, rather than theoretical notions. While the questions posed tended to be framed in such a way as to draw conclusions more for translation than for interpreting, a number of them were conducive to eliciting responses relating to aural and oral performance. Our paper will set forth the ensuing findings that can be applied to the development of language- and culture-based competences for subsequent interpreting courses and practices, as well as exploring possible further areas of study in the area of the teaching of both foreign languages and the mother tongue based on the specific language competences required in the different modalities of interpreting. We are, of course, immensely grateful to all those teachers who took the time and trouble to answer our questions.
Abstract. From the early 16th century, Western European science systematically resorted to Latin and Greek, the two fundamental languages of its culture, to construct their terminology. The various Renaissance anatomical atlantes, the early 18th century zoological and botanical taxonomies, the neo-Hellenisms of the late Ancient Régime chemists … scientific nomenclature at large, systematically relied upon the premise of a shared cultural soil, regardless of nation of origin, mother tongue or field of knowledge. The neologism, the neo-Greek and/or neo-Latin construct shall, thus, be a common reference to all Western European languages and, consequently, the eventual linguistic mediator would not have to worry about transmission values except for lesser (spelling, phonetic, morphological, syntactical) adaptations and for fine, even subtle adjustments of the technical or the semi-technical terms. And yet, that confidence does not always turn out to be trustworthy and there are too many instances in which the source language etymon and the target language etymon do not match and the linguistic mediator, the translator or interpreter, is forced to rethink the inferred ‘univocal’ nature and the referential invariability of the terminology that is to be transferred.
Abstract. Modern Spanish is increasingly peppered with Anglicisms in all lexical fields, both professional and informal, and this tendency shows no signs of waning. On the contrary, all forms and registers of Spanish seem to be infused with numerous Anglicisms and not only such predictable spheres of influence such as business and technology. Many of these terms are loanwords which have occupied a genuine lexical gap in Spanish, are used appropriately and provide a genuinely useful service to speakers of the language. Nevertheless, there is also a great deal of misuse of these Anglicisms, both in terms of their meaning and their grammatical function and this inevitably leads to an undeniable source of potential confusion that needs to be addressed both by language teachers and translators in terms of the transmission and the transfer of these items of vocabulary between English and Spanish.