Scholarly Research Excellence

Digital Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 144

Cognitive and Language Sciences

Developmental Differences in the Construction of Concepts by Children from 3 to 14-Year-Olds: Perception, Language and Instruction

This study was designed to investigate the relationship between language and children’s construction of the concept of objects, actions, and states. Participants of this study are 120 children whose ages range from 3 to 14 years. Ten children participated from each age group and 10 adults participated as normative group. Data were collected using 28 words which were identified and grouped according to the purpose of this study. Participants were asked the question “What is x?’ for each word in a reserved room. The audio recorded data were transcribed and coded. The data were analyzed primarily qualitatively but quantitatively as well to support qualitative findings. The findings reveal that younger children rely more on their perceptual experience and linguistic input while 7-year-olds and older ones rely more on instructional language in the construction of the concepts related to objects, actions and states. Adults differ from all age groups with their usage of metaphors to refer to objects. It has been noted that linguistic, perceptual and instructional experiences work in an interwoven way but each one seems to be dominant at certain ages.

Crossover Memories and Code-Switching in the Narratives of Arabic-Hebrew and Hebrew-English Bilingual Adults in Israel

This study examines two bilingual phenomena in the narratives of Arabic Hebrew and Hebrew-English bilingual adults in Israel: CO memories and code-switching (CS). The study examined these phenomena in the context of autobiographical memory, using a cue word technique. Student experimenters held two sessions in the homes of the participants. In separate language sessions, the participant was asked to look first at each of 16 cue words and then to state a concrete memory. After stating the memory, participants reported whether their memories were in the same language of the experiment session or different. Memories were classified as ‘Crossovers’ (CO) or ‘Same Language’ (SL) according to participants' self-reports. Participants were also required to elaborate about the setting, interlocutors and other languages involved in the specific memory. Beyond replicating the procedure of cuing technique, one memory from a specific lifespan period was chosen per participant, and the participant was required to provide further details about it. For the more detailed memories, CS count was conducted. Both bilingual groups confirmed the Reminiscence Bump phenomenon, retrieving more memories in the 10-30 age period. CO memories prevailed in second language sessions (L2). Same language memories were more abundant in first language sessions (L1). Higher CS frequency was found in L2 sessions. Finally, as predicted, 'individual' CS was prevalent in L2 sessions, but 'community-based' CS was not higher in L1 sessions. The two bilingual measures in this study, crossovers, and CS came from different research traditions, the former from an experimental paradigm in the psychology of autobiographical memory based on self-reported judgments, the latter a behavioral measure from linguistics. This merger of approaches offers new insight into the field of bilingual autobiographical memory. In addition, the study attempted to shed light on the investigation of motivations for CS, beginning with Walters’ SPPL Model and concluding with a distinction between ‘community-based’ and individual motivations.

The Use of Software and Internet Search Engines to Develop the Encoding and Decoding Skills of a Dyslexic Learner: A Case Study

This case study explores the impact of two major computer software programs Learn to Speak English and Learn English Spelling and Pronunciation, and some Internet search engines such as Google on mending the decoding and spelling deficiency of Simon X, a dyslexic student. The improvement in decoding and spelling may result in better reading comprehension and composition writing. Some computer programs and Internet materials can help regain the missing awareness and consequently restore his self-confidence and self-esteem. In addition, this study provides a systematic plan comprising a set of activities (four computer programs and Internet materials) which address the problem from the lowest to the highest levels of phoneme and phonological awareness. Four methods of data collection (accounts, observations, published tests, and interviews) create the triangulation to validly and reliably collect data before the plan, during the plan, and after the plan. The data collected are analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. Sometimes the analysis is either quantitative or qualitative, and some other times a combination of both. Tables and figures are utilized to provide a clear and uncomplicated illustration of some data. The improvement in the decoding, spelling, reading comprehension, and composition writing skills that occurred is proved through the use of authentic materials performed by the student under study. Such materials are a comparison between two sample passages written by the learner before and after the plan, a genuine computer chat conversation, and the scores of the academic year that followed the execution of the plan. Based on these results, the researcher recommends further studies on other Lebanese dyslexic learners using the computer to mend their language problem in order to design and make a most reliable software program that can address this disability more efficiently and successfully.

Composite Kernels for Public Emotion Recognition from Twitter

The Internet has grown into a powerful medium for information dispersion and social interaction that leads to a rapid growth of social media which allows users to easily post their emotions and perspectives regarding certain topics online. Our research aims at using natural language processing and text mining techniques to explore the public emotions expressed on Twitter by analyzing the sentiment behind tweets. In this paper, we propose a composite kernel method that integrates tree kernel with the linear kernel to simultaneously exploit both the tree representation and the distributed emotion keyword representation to analyze the syntactic and content information in tweets. The experiment results demonstrate that our method can effectively detect public emotion of tweets while outperforming the other compared methods.

The Impact of Dialectal Differences on the Perception of Japanese Gemination: A Case Study of Cantonese Learners

This study investigates the perceptual features of Japanese obstruent geminates among Chinese learners of Japanese, focusing on the dialectal effect of the checked-tone, a syllable that ends in a stop consonant or a glottal stop, which is similar to Japanese obstruent geminates phonetically. In this study, 41 native speakers of Cantonese are divided into two groups based on their proficiency as well as learning period of Japanese. All stimuli employed in this study are made into C[p,k,s]+V[a,e,i] structure such as /apa/, /eke/, /isi/. Both original sounds and synthesized sounds are used in three different parts of this study. The results of the present study show that the checked-tone does have the positive effect on the perception of Japanese gemination. Furthermore, the proportion of closure duration in the entire word would be a more reliable and appropriate criterion in testing this kind of task.

The Phonology and Phonetics of Second Language Intonation in Case of “Downstep”

This study aims to investigate the acquisition process of intonation. It examines the intonation structure of Tokyo Japanese and its realization by Iranian learners of Japanese. Seven Iranian learners of Japanese, differing in fluency, and two Japanese speakers participated in the experiment. Two sentences were used to test the phonological and phonetic characteristics of lexical pitch-accent as well as the intonation patterns produced by the speakers. Both sentences consisted of similar words with the same number of syllables and lexical pitch-accents but different syntactic structure. Speakers were asked to read each sentence three times at normal speed, and the data were analyzed by Praat. The results show that lexical pitch-accent, Accentual Phrase (AP) and AP boundary tone realization vary depending on sentence type. For sentences of type XdeYwo, the lexical pitch-accent is realized properly. However, there is a rise in AP boundary tone regardless of speakers’ level of fluency. In contrast, in sentences of type XnoYwo, the lexical pitch-accent and AP boundary tone vary depending on the speakers’ fluency level. Advanced speakers are better at grouping words into phrases and produce more native-like intonation patterns, though they are not able to realize downstep properly. The non-native speakers tried to realize proper intonation patterns by making changes in lexical accent and boundary tone.

Weighted-Distance Sliding Windows and Cooccurrence Graphs for Supporting Entity-Relationship Discovery in Unstructured Text
The problem of Entity relation discovery in structured data, a well covered topic in literature, consists in searching within unstructured sources (typically, text) in order to find connections among entities. These can be a whole dictionary, or a specific collection of named items. In many cases machine learning and/or text mining techniques are used for this goal. These approaches might be unfeasible in computationally challenging problems, such as processing massive data streams. A faster approach consists in collecting the cooccurrences of any two words (entities) in order to create a graph of relations - a cooccurrence graph. Indeed each cooccurrence highlights some grade of semantic correlation between the words because it is more common to have related words close each other than having them in the opposite sides of the text. Some authors have used sliding windows for such problem: they count all the occurrences within a sliding windows running over the whole text. In this paper we generalise such technique, coming up to a Weighted-Distance Sliding Window, where each occurrence of two named items within the window is accounted with a weight depending on the distance between items: a closer distance implies a stronger evidence of a relationship. We develop an experiment in order to support this intuition, by applying this technique to a data set consisting in the text of the Bible, split into verses.
Teaching Turn-Taking Rules and Pragmatic Principles to Empower EFL Students and Enhance Their Learning in Speaking Modules

Teaching and learning EFL speaking modules is one of the most challenging productive modules for both instructors and learners. In a student-centered interactive communicative language teaching approach, learners and instructors should be aware of the fact that the target language must be taught as/for communication. The student must be empowered by tools that will work on more than one level of their communicative competence. Communicative learning will need a teaching and learning methodology that will address the goal. Teaching turn-taking rules, pragmatic principles and speech acts will enhance students' sociolinguistic competence, strategic competence together with discourse competence. Sociolinguistic competence entails the mastering of speech act conventions and illocutionary acts of refusing, agreeing/disagreeing; emotive acts like, thanking, apologizing, inviting, offering; directives like, ordering, requesting, advising, and hinting, among others. Strategic competence includes enlightening students’ consciousness of the various particular turn-taking systemic rules of organizing techniques of opening and closing conversation, adjacency pairs, interrupting, back-channeling, asking for/giving opinion, agreeing/disagreeing, using natural fillers for pauses, gaps, speaker select, self-select, and silence among others. Students will have the tools to manage a conversation. Students are engaged in opportunities of experiencing the natural language not as a mere extra student talking time but rather an empowerment of knowing and using the strategies. They will have the component items they need to use as well as the opportunity to communicate in the target language using topics of their interest and choice. This enhances students' communicative abilities. Available websites and textbooks now use one or more of these tools of turn-taking or pragmatics. These will be students' support in self-study in their independent learning study hours. This will be their reinforcement practice on e-Learning interactive activities. The students' target is to be able to communicate the intended meaning to an addressee that is in turn able to infer that intended meaning. The combination of these tools will be assertive and encouraging to the student to beat the struggle with what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. Teaching the rules, principles and techniques is an act of awareness raising method engaging students in activities that will lead to their pragmatic discourse competence. The aim of the paper is to show how the suggested pragmatic model will empower students with tools and systems that would support their learning. Supporting students with turn taking rules, speech act theory, applying both to texts and practical analysis and using it in speaking classes empowers students’ pragmatic discourse competence and assists them to understand language and its context. They become more spontaneous and ready to learn the discourse pragmatic dimension of the speaking techniques and suitable content. Students showed a better performance and a good motivation to learn. The model is therefore suggested for speaking modules in EFL classes.

Online Multilingual Dictionary Using Hamburg Notation for Avatar-Based Indian Sign Language Generation System

Sign Language (SL) is used by deaf and other people who cannot speak but can hear or have a problem with spoken languages due to some disability. It is a visual gesture language that makes use of either one hand or both hands, arms, face, body to convey meanings and thoughts. SL automation system is an effective way which provides an interface to communicate with normal people using a computer. In this paper, an avatar based dictionary has been proposed for text to Indian Sign Language (ISL) generation system. This research work will also depict a literature review on SL corpus available for various SL s over the years. For ISL generation system, a written form of SL is required and there are certain techniques available for writing the SL. The system uses Hamburg sign language Notation System (HamNoSys) and Signing Gesture Mark-up Language (SiGML) for ISL generation. It is developed in PHP using Web Graphics Library (WebGL) technology for 3D avatar animation. A multilingual ISL dictionary is developed using HamNoSys for both English and Hindi Language. This dictionary will be used as a database to associate signs with words or phrases of a spoken language. It provides an interface for admin panel to manage the dictionary, i.e., modification, addition, or deletion of a word. Through this interface, HamNoSys can be developed and stored in a database and these notations can be converted into its corresponding SiGML file manually. The system takes natural language input sentence in English and Hindi language and generate 3D sign animation using an avatar. SL generation systems have potential applications in many domains such as healthcare sector, media, educational institutes, commercial sectors, transportation services etc. This research work will help the researchers to understand various techniques used for writing SL and generation of Sign Language systems.

The Effect of Computer-Mediated vs. Face-to-Face Instruction on L2 Pragmatics: A Meta-Analysis
This paper reports the results of a meta-analysis of studies on the effects of instruction mode on learning second language pragmatics during the last decade (from 2006 to 2016). After establishing related inclusion/ exclusion criteria, 39 published studies were retrieved and included in the present meta-analysis. Studies were later coded for face-to-face and computer-assisted mode of instruction. Statistical procedures were applied to obtain effect sizes. It was found that Computer-Assisted-Language-Learning studies generated larger effects than Face-to-Face instruction.
Use and Relationship of Shell Nouns as Cohesive Devices in the Quality of Second Language Writing

The current study is a comparative analysis of the use of shell nouns as a cohesive device (CD) in an English for Second Language (ESL) setting in order to identify their use and relationship in the quality of second language (L2) writing. As these nouns were established to anticipate the meaning within, across or outside the text, their use has fascinated writing researchers. The corpus of the study included published articles from reputable journals and graduate students’ papers in order to analyze the frequency of shell nouns using “highly prevalent” nouns in the academic community, to identify the different lexicogrammatical patterns where these nouns occur and to the functions connected with these patterns. The result of the study implies that published authors used more shell nouns in their paper than graduate students. However, the functions of the different lexicogrammatical patterns for the frequently occurring shell nouns are somewhat similar. These results could help students in enhancing the cohesion of their text and in comprehending it.

Reading and Teaching Poetry as Communicative Discourse: A Pragma-Linguistic Approach

Language is communication on several discourse levels. The target of teaching a language and the literature of a foreign language is to communicate a message. Reading, appreciating, analysing, and interpreting poetry as a sophisticated rhetorical expression of human thoughts, emotions, and philosophical messages is more feasible through the use of linguistic pragmatic tools from a communicative discourse perspective. The poet's intention, speech act, illocutionary act, and perlocutionary goal can be better understood when communicative situational context as well as linguistic discourse structure theories are employed. The use of linguistic theories in the teaching of poetry is, therefore, intrinsic to students' comprehension, interpretation, and appreciation of poetry of the different ages. It is the purpose of this study to show how both teachers as well as students can apply these linguistic theories and tools to dramatic poetic texts for an engaging, enlightening, and effective interpretation and appreciation of the language. Theories drawn from areas of pragmatics, discourse analysis, embedded discourse level, communicative situational context, and other linguistic approaches were applied to selected poetry texts from the different centuries. Further, in a simple statistical count of the number of poems with dialogic dramatic discourse with embedded two or three levels of discourse in different anthologies outweighs the number of descriptive poems with a one level of discourse, between the poet and the reader. Poetry is thus discourse on one, two, or three levels. It is, therefore, recommended that teachers and students in the area of ESL/EFL use the linguistics theories for a better understanding of poetry as communicative discourse. The practice of applying these linguistic theories in classrooms and in research will allow them to perceive the language and its linguistic, social, and cultural aspect. Texts will become live illocutionary acts with a perlocutionary acts goal rather than mere literary texts in anthologies.

A Prevalence of Phonological Disorder in Children with Specific Language Impairment

Phonological disorder is a serious and disturbing issue to many parents and teachers. Efforts towards resolving the problem have been undermined by other specific disabilities which were hidden to many regular and special education teachers. It is against this background that this study was motivated to provide data on the prevalence of phonological disorders in children with specific language impairment (CWSLI) as the first step towards critical intervention. The study was a survey of 15 CWSLI from St. Louise Inclusive schools, Ikot Ekpene in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. Phonological Processes Diagnostic Scale (PPDS) with 17 short sentences, which cut across the five phonological processes that were examined, were validated by experts in test measurement, phonology and special education. The respondents were made to read the sentences with emphasis on the targeted sounds. Their utterances were recorded and analyzed in the language laboratory using Praat Software. Data were also collected through friendly interactions at different times from the clients. The theory of generative phonology was adopted for the descriptive analysis of the phonological processes. Data collected were analyzed using simple percentage and composite bar chart for better understanding of the result. The study found out that CWSLI exhibited the five phonological processes under investigation. It was revealed that 66.7%, 80%, 73.3%, 80%, and 86.7% of the respondents have severe deficit in fricative stopping, velar fronting, liquid gliding, final consonant deletion and cluster reduction, respectively. It was therefore recommended that a nationwide survey should be carried out to have national statistics of CWSLI with phonological deficits and develop intervention strategies for effective therapy to remediate the disorder.

Analysis of Linguistic Disfluencies in Bilingual Children’s Discourse

Speech disfluencies are common in spontaneous speech. The primary purpose of this study was to distinguish linguistic disfluencies from stuttering disfluencies in bilingual Tamil–English (TE) speaking children. The secondary purpose was to determine whether their disfluencies are mediated by native language dominance and/or on an early onset of developmental stuttering at childhood. A detailed study was carried out to identify the prosodic and acoustic features that uniquely represent the disfluent regions of speech. This paper focuses on statistical modeling of repetitions, prolongations, pauses and interjections in the speech corpus encompassing bilingual spontaneous utterances from school going children – English and Tamil. Two classifiers including Hidden Markov Models (HMM) and the Multilayer Perceptron (MLP), which is a class of feed-forward artificial neural network, were compared in the classification of disfluencies. The results of the classifiers document the patterns of disfluency in spontaneous speech samples of school-aged children to distinguish between Children Who Stutter (CWS) and Children with Language Impairment CLI). The ability of the models in classifying the disfluencies was measured in terms of F-measure, Recall, and Precision.

Specialized Translation Teaching Strategies: A Corpus-Based Approach

This study presents a methodology of specialized translation with the objective of helping teachers to improve the strategies in teaching translation. In order to allow students to acquire skills to translate specialized texts, they need to become familiar with the semantic and syntactic features of source texts and target texts. The aim of our study is to use a corpus-based approach in the teaching of specialized translation between Chinese and Italian. This study proposes to construct a specialized Chinese - Italian comparable corpus that consists of 50 economic contracts from the domain of food. With the help of AntConc, we propose to compile a comparable corpus in for translation teaching purposes. This paper attempts to provide insight into how teachers could benefit from comparable corpus in the teaching of specialized translation from Italian into Chinese and through some examples of passive sentences how students could learn to apply different strategies for translating appropriately the voice.

Replicating Brain’s Resting State Functional Connectivity Network Using a Multi-Factor Hub-Based Model
The brain’s functional connectivity while temporally non-stationary does express consistency at a macro spatial level. The study of stable resting state connectivity patterns hence provides opportunities for identification of diseases if such stability is severely perturbed. A mathematical model replicating the brain’s spatial connections will be useful for understanding brain’s representative geometry and complements the empirical model where it falls short. Empirical computations tend to involve large matrices and become infeasible with fine parcellation. However, the proposed analytical model has no such computational problems. To improve replicability, 92 subject data are obtained from two open sources. The proposed methodology, inspired by financial theory, uses multivariate regression to find relationships of every cortical region of interest (ROI) with some pre-identified hubs. These hubs acted as representatives for the entire cortical surface. A variance-covariance framework of all ROIs is then built based on these relationships to link up all the ROIs. The result is a high level of match between model and empirical correlations in the range of 0.59 to 0.66 after adjusting for sample size; an increase of almost forty percent. More significantly, the model framework provides an intuitive way to delineate between systemic drivers and idiosyncratic noise while reducing dimensions by more than 30 folds, hence, providing a way to conduct attribution analysis. Due to its analytical nature and simple structure, the model is useful as a standalone toolkit for network dependency analysis or as a module for other mathematical models.
A Corpus-Based Analysis on Code-Mixing Features in Mandarin-English Bilingual Children in Singapore

This paper investigated the code-mixing features in Mandarin-English bilingual children in Singapore. First, it examined whether the code-mixing rate was different in Mandarin Chinese and English contexts. Second, it explored the syntactic categories of code-mixing in Singapore bilingual children. Moreover, this study investigated whether morphological information was preserved when inserting syntactic components into the matrix language. Data are derived from the Singapore Bilingual Corpus, in which the recordings and transcriptions of sixty English-Mandarin 5-to-6-year-old children were preserved for analysis. Results indicated that the rate of code-mixing was asymmetrical in the two language contexts, with the rate being significantly higher in the Mandarin context than that in the English context. The asymmetry is related to language dominance in that children are more likely to code-mix when using their nondominant language. Concerning the syntactic categories of code-mixing words in the Singaporean bilingual children, we found that noun-mixing, verb-mixing, and adjective-mixing are the three most frequently used categories in code-mixing in the Mandarin context. This pattern mirrors the syntactic categories of code-mixing in the Cantonese context in Cantonese-English bilingual children, and the general trend observed in lexical borrowing. Third, our results also indicated that English vocabularies that carry morphological information are embedded in bare forms in the Mandarin context. These findings shed light upon how bilingual children take advantage of the two languages in mixed utterances in a bilingual environment.

NewPerceptual Organization within Temporal Displacement
The psychological present has an actual extension. When a sequence of instantaneous stimuli falls in this short interval of time, observers perceive a compresence of events in succession and the temporal order depends on the qualitative relationships between the perceptual properties of the events. Two experiments were carried out to study the influence of perceptual grouping, with and without temporal displacement, on the duration of auditory sequences. The psychophysical method of adjustment was adopted. The first experiment investigated the effect of temporal displacement of a white noise on sequence duration. The second experiment investigated the effect of temporal displacement, along the pitch dimension, on temporal shortening of sequence. The results suggest that the temporal order of sounds, in the case of temporal displacement, is organized along the pitch dimension.
Corporate Cautionary Statement: A Genre of Professional Communication

Cautionary statements or disclaimers in corporate annual reports need to be carefully designed because clear cautionary statements may protect a company in the case of legal disputes and may undermine positive impressions. This study compares the language of cautionary statements using two corpora, Sony’s cautionary statement corpus (S-corpus) and Panasonic’s cautionary statement corpus (P-corpus), illustrating the differences and similarities in relation to the use of meaningful cautionary statements and critically analyzing why practitioners use the way. The findings describe the distinct differences between the two companies in the presentation of the risk factors and the way how they make the statements. The word ability is used more for legal protection in S-corpus whereas the word possibility is used more to convey a better impression in P-corpus. The main similarities are identified in the use of lexical words and pronouns, and almost the same wordings for eight years. The findings show how they make the statements unique to the company in the presentation of risk factors, and the characteristics of specific genre of professional communication. Important implications of this study are that more comprehensive approach can be applied in other contexts, and be used by companies to reflect upon their cautionary statements.

Embodied Cognition as a Concept of Educational Neuroscience and Phenomenology

In this paper, we examine the connection between the human mind and body within the framework of Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology. We study the role of this connection in designing more efficient learning environments, alongside the findings in physical recognition and educational neuroscience. Our research shows the interplay between the mind and the body in the external world and discusses its implications. Based on these observations, we make suggestions as to how the educational system can benefit from taking into account the interaction between the mind and the body in educational affairs.

Investigating Medical Students’ Perspectives toward University Teachers’ Talking Features in an English as a Foreign Language Context in Urmia, Iran

This study aimed to investigate medical students’ attitudes toward some teachers’ talking features regarding their gender in the Iranian context. To do so, 60 male and 60 female medical students of Urmia University of Medical Sciences (UMSU) participated in the research. A researcher made Likert-type questionnaire which was initially piloted and was used to gather the data. Comparing the four different factors regarding the features of teacher talk, it was revealed that visual and extra-linguistic information factor, Lexical and syntactic familiarity, Speed of speech, and the use of Persian language had the highest to the lowest mean score, respectively. It was also indicated that female students rather than male students were significantly more in favor of speed of speech and lexical and syntactic familiarity.

Porul: Option Generation and Selection and Scoring Algorithms for a Tamil Flash Card Game
Games can be the excellent tools for teaching a language. There are few e-learning games in Indian languages like word scrabble, cross word, quiz games etc., which were developed mainly for educational purposes. This paper proposes a Tamil word game called, “Porul”, which focuses on education as well as on players’ thinking and decision-making skills. Porul is a multiple choice based quiz game, in which the players attempt to answer questions correctly from the given multiple options that are generated using a unique algorithm called the Option Selection algorithm which explores the semantics of the question in various dimensions namely, synonym, rhyme and Universal Networking Language semantic category. This kind of semantic exploration of the question not only increases the complexity of the game but also makes it more interesting. The paper also proposes a Scoring Algorithm which allots a score based on the popularity score of the question word. The proposed game has been tested using 20,000 Tamil words.
Dialect and Gender Variations in the Place and Manner of Articulation of the Korean Fricatives

This study examines dialect and gender variations in the place and manner of articulation between the two Korean fricatives, /s/ and /s’/, as produced by speakers of the Daegu and Jeju dialects. The acoustic parameters of center of gravity and skewness for the place of articulation, and the rise time and the amplitude rise slope for the manner of articulation were measured. The study results revealed a gender effect, but no dialect effect, for the center of gravity and the skewness. No main effect for either the gender or dialect was found for the rise time and the amplitude rise slope. These findings indicated that, with regard to the place of articulation, Korean fricative sound differences are a gender distinction, not a dialectal one.

Towards a Deconstructive Text: Beyond Language and the Politics of Absences in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot

The writing of Samuel Beckett is associated with meaning in the meaninglessness and the production of what he calls ‘literature of unword’. The casual escape from the world of words in the form of silences and pauses, in his play Waiting for Godot, urges to ask question of their existence and ultimately leads to investigate the theory behind their use in the play. This paper proposes that these absences (silence and pause) in Beckett’s play force to think ‘beyond’ language. This paper asks how silence and pause in Beckett’s text speak for the emergence of poststructuralist text. It aims to identify the significant features of the philosophy of deconstruction in the play of Beckett to demystify the hostile complicity between literature and philosophy. With the interpretive paradigm of poststructuralism this research focuses on the text as a research data. It attempts to delineate the relationship between poststructuralist theoretical concerns and text of Beckett. Keeping in view the theoretical concerns of Poststructuralist theorist Jacques Derrida, the main concern of the discussion is directed towards the notion of ‘beyond’ language into the absences that are aimed at silencing the existing discourse with the ‘radical irony’ of this anti-formal art that contains its own denial and thus represents the idea of ceaseless questioning and radical contradiction in art and any text. This article asks how text of Beckett vibrates with loud silence and has disrupted language to demonstrate the emptiness of words and thus exploring the limitless void of absences. Beckett’s text resonates with silence and pause that is neither negation nor affirmation rather a poststructuralist’s suspension of reality that is ever changing with the undecidablity of all meanings. Within the theoretical notion of Derrida’s Différance this study interprets silence and pause in Beckett’s art. The silence and pause behave like Derrida’s Différance and have questioned their own existence in the text to deconstruct any definiteness and finality of reality to extend an undecidable threshold of poststructuralists that aims to evade the ‘labyrinth of language’.

Sfard’s Commognitive Framework as a Method of Discourse Analysis in Mathematics

This paper discusses Sfard’s commognitive approach and provides an empirical study as an example to illustrate the theory as method. Traditionally, research in mathematics education focused on the acquisition of mathematical knowledge and the didactic process of knowledge transfer. Through attending to a distinctive form of language in mathematics, as well as mathematics as a discursive subject, alternative views of making meaning in mathematics have emerged; these views are therefore “critical,” as in critical discourse analysis. The commognitive discourse analysis method has the potential to bring more clarity to our understanding of students’ mathematical thinking and the process through which students are socialized into school mathematics.

Code-Switching in Facebook Chatting Among Maldivian Teenagers

This study examines the phenomenon of code switching among teenagers in the Maldives while they carry out conversations through Facebook in the form of “Facebook Chatting”. The current study aims at evaluating the frequency of code-switching and it investigates between what languages code-switching occurs. Besides the study identifies the types of words that are often codeswitched and the triggers for code switching. The methodology used in this study is mixed method of qualitative and quantitative approach. In this regard, the chat log of a group conversation between 10 teenagers was collected and analyzed. A questionnaire was also administered through online to 24 different teenagers from different corners of the Maldives. The age of teenagers ranged between 16 and 19 years. The findings of the current study revealed that while Maldivian teenagers chat in Facebook they very often code switch and these switches are most commonly between Dhivehi and English, but some other languages are also used to some extent. It also identified the different types of words that are being often code switched among the teenagers. Most importantly it explored different reasons behind code switching among the Maldivian teenagers in Facebook chatting.

The Role of Paraphrase in Interpreting Students’ Writing

To improve students’ skill, writing is the most challenging skill to be developed. The reason is that besides helping the students to develop their skill, this activity also helps them to express themselves. This paper depicts how paraphrasing is very helpful to interpret students’ writing. Syntactic units, used tenses and meanings will indeed change once the writings were paraphrased. The objectives of this research are to reveal the inappropriate structure of syntactic units, to show what types of sentences the students often make, and to show how paraphrasing can help to infer the message. The methodology of this research is descriptive qualitative research. In addition, theories of linguistics are also included. This includes theory of Syntax to describe syntactic units and tenses and theory of Semantics to describe theories of meaning and how paraphrasing works. The theories of general linguistics, grammar and writing are also provided to support the theories of Syntax and Semantics. The results of this research are concerned with how the message is received in the end. The message written in the students’ essay is not clear because of the improper structure of syntactic units and use of incorrect of tenses. The students tend to use simple sentences, compound sentences and complex sentences with a few mistakes in their writing. In addition, they tend to create unnecessary phrases. The last point is that this research shows how paraphrase works to attain complete meaning of a sentence.

Spacial Poetic Text throughout Samih al-Qasim's Poetry

For readers, space/place is one of the most significant references to reveal deep significances and indications in modern Arabic poetic texts. Generally, when poets evoke places and/or spaces, they do not mean to refer readers to detailed geographic or physical spaces, but to the symbolic significances and dimensions that those spaces have and through which poets encourage spacial awareness in their readers. Recently, as a result, there has been a great deal of interest in research addressing spacial poetic texts and dimensions in modern Arabic poetry in general and in Palestinian poetry in particular. Samih al-Qasim is one of the most recent prominent Palestinian revolutionary poets. Al-Qasim has published six series of poems that are well known in the Arab world. Although several researchers have studied al-Qasim's poetry, to our knowledge, yet no one has studied the aspect of spacial poetic text in his poetry. Therefore, this paper seeks to fill a gap in the scholarship that has not been addressed up to now. This article aims, not only to demonstrate the presence of spacial poetic text and dimensions throughout al-Qasim's poetry, but also to investigate the purpose for which the poet uses spacial poetic text. Our theory is that the poet, consciously and significantly, uses spacial poetic texts to magnify the Palestinian identity of the Palestinian readers.  Methodologically, we applied a descriptive analytic method, referencing al-Qasim's poetry, addressing spacial poetic texts practically but not theoretically or statistically.

Perceptual and Ultrasound Articulatory Training Effects on English L2 Vowels Production by Italian Learners
The American English contrast /ɑ-ʌ/ (cop-cup) is difficult to be produced by Italian learners since they realize L2-/ɑ-ʌ/ as L1-/ɔ-a/ respectively, due to differences in phonetic-phonological systems and also in grapheme-to-phoneme conversion rules. In this paper, we try to answer the following research questions: Can a short training improve the production of English /ɑ-ʌ/ by Italian learners? Is a perceptual training better than an articulatory (ultrasound - US) training? Thus, we compare a perceptual training with an US articulatory one to observe: 1) the effects of short trainings on L2-/ɑ-ʌ/ productions; 2) if the US articulatory training improves the pronunciation better than the perceptual training. In this pilot study, 9 Salento-Italian monolingual adults participated: 3 subjects performed a 1-hour perceptual training (ES-P); 3 subjects performed a 1-hour US training (ES-US); and 3 control subjects did not receive any training (CS). Verbal instructions about the phonetic properties of L2-/ɑ-ʌ/ and L1-/ɔ-a/ and their differences (representation on F1-F2 plane) were provided during both trainings. After these instructions, the ES-P group performed an identification training based on the High Variability Phonetic Training procedure, while the ES-US group performed the articulatory training, by means of US video of tongue gestures in L2-/ɑ-ʌ/ production and dynamic view of their own tongue movements and position using a probe under their chin. The acoustic data were analyzed and the first three formants were calculated. Independent t-tests were run to compare: 1) /ɑ-ʌ/ in pre- vs. post-test respectively; /ɑ-ʌ/ in pre- and post-test vs. L1-/a-ɔ/ respectively. Results show that in the pre-test all speakers realize L2-/ɑ-ʌ/ as L1-/ɔ-a/ respectively. Contrary to CS and ES-P groups, the ES-US group in the post-test differentiates the L2 vowels from those produced in the pre-test as well as from the L1 vowels, although only one ES-US subject produces both L2 vowels accurately. The articulatory training seems more effective than the perceptual one since it favors the production of vowels in the correct direction of L2 vowels and differently from the similar L1 vowels.
Language Politics and Identity in Translation: From a Monolingual Text to Multilingual Text in Chinese Translations

This paper focuses on how the government-led language policies and the political changes in Taiwan manipulate the languages choice in translations and what translation strategies are employed by the translator to show his or her language ideology behind the power struggles and decision-making. Therefore, framed by Lefevere’s theoretical concept of translating as rewriting, and carried out a diachronic and chronological study, this paper specifically sets out to investigate the language ideology and translator’s idiolect of Chinese language translations of Anglo-American novels. The examples drawn to explore these issues were taken from different versions of Chinese renditions of Mark Twain’s English-language novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in which there are several different dialogues originally written in the colloquial language and dialect used in the American state of Mississippi and reproduced in Mark Twain’s works. Also, adapted corpus methodology, many examples are extracted as instances from the translated texts and source text, to illuminate how the translators in Taiwan deal with the dialectal features encoded in Twain’s works, and how different versions of Chinese translations are employed by Taiwanese translators to confirm the language polices and to express their language identity textually in different periods of the past five decades, from the 1960s onward. The finding of this study suggests that the use of Taiwanese dialect and language patterns in translations does relate to the movement of the mother-tongue language and language ideology of the translator as well as to the issue of language identity raised in the island of Taiwan. Furthermore, this study confirms that the change of political power in Taiwan does bring significantly impact in language policy-- assimilationism, pluralism or multiculturalism, which also makes Taiwan from a monolingual to multilingual society, where the language ideology and identity can be revealed not only in people’s daily communication but also in written translations.

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