Volume 2 (2011) Issue 1 - Foreword
JLLT Volume 2 (2011) Issue 1.pdf

Journal of Linguistics and Language Teaching

Volume 2 (2011) Issue 1 (PDF)

pp. 9 - 11

Foreword to the Issue

This first issue of the second volume of JLLT comprises articles of different linguistic and methodological backgrounds. Altogether, they represent a number of interesting views and perspectives which are worthwhile reflecting and possibly engender new research, inspiring our readers.

In the first article of the issue, Rebeca Bataller (Gettysburg (PA), USA) and Rachel L. Shively (Normal (IL), USA) contribute to pragmatics research in presenting a study on the significance of data retrieved from role plays as compared to real communication situations, taking service encounters of American students during their studies abroad in Spain as the data basis. The most important result described in this article certainly is the fact that data coming from the two sources – role plays and naturalistic – differed far less than might have been expected, rather showing multiple similarities.

Carolin Fuchs (New York, USA) investigates task negotiation between two groups of student teachers, one located in the U.S., the other one located in Germany. The platform used for negotiation was Moodle and the objective consisted in redesigning a given textbook unit via the Internet. The author’s results suggest the potential functionality of the tool used and computer-mediated communication in toto, although not all the groups analysed coped well with the device. Yet, this may be added here, Internet communication does prove to be successful whenever long distances have to be covered.

Abdullah Coskun (Bolu, Turkey) investigates into teachers’ attitudes concerning the implementation of Communicative Language Teaching and its actual application in Turkey. Do teachers’ attitudes and their concrete behaviour in the English language classroom match, are they consistent? These are the central questions dealt with by the author, and he finds some illuminating results which hint at a discrepancy between the two ends of the continuum. Our readers may wonder for themselves whether these results may be transferred to countries other than Turkey and, in some respects, be characteristic of teacher behaviour in general. The author points out to some problematic constellations which favour the discrepancy between teacher’s optimal ideas on the one hand and their real teaching on the other, implicitly suggesting that the modification of the latter might lead to an improvement of the overall situation.

In his article, Andrzej Cirocki (Gdansk, Poland) presents an empirical investigation as well, examining the implementation of the communicative approach in English language teaching in Poland. The author not only deals with what it means to communicate, but also reflects on how teachers should develop students’ communicative abilities in a foreign language. These reflexions may be of help to teachers of English to explore their ideas and reflect on their actual teaching practice. Again, the results presented may be of general interest, going beyond the Polish context examined.

In their article, published in German, Matthias Schoormann (Münster, Germany) and Torsten Schlak (Berlin, Germany) present and analyse Roy Lyster’s counterbalanced-instruction approach, which has remained relatively unnoticed in the German-speaking countries. The objective of this approach consists in offering some room for form-based language instruction in an otherwise rather communication-oriented second-language classroom. The authors conclude that not only communication-oriented, but even form-oriented instruction may well gain from the application of the counterbalanced approach.

Whereas the previous articles tackle English as the target language to be learnt, Thomas Tinnefeld (Saarbrücken, Germany) deals with Chinese, which represents an internationally more and more important foreign language to be learnt or acquired, his perspective being that of German as the first language. In his article, consequently published in German, the author describes three mnemonic methods – the keyword method, the lexeme-analysis method, and the collocation method – and points to their advantages for memorising Chinese words and sytagmas, recommending their use in the Chinese-language classroom as well as in the design of modern textbooks of Chinese.

In the last article presented in the present issue, a clearly defined lexical item is examined: Zahir Mumin (Albany (New York), USA) hints to a possible way through a confusion English-speaking learners of Spanish generally suffer from, i.e. the distinction to be made between the prepositions por and para. The author describes and evaluates his own surprisingly simple, but functional model by means of which it is possible to reliably differentiate these two prepositions so as to use them correctly. We may add in this respect that not only English-speaking learners of Spanish may benefit from this model, but also all those learners whose mother tongues do not provide the same or a similar distinction between two given prepositions. In this context, the author clearly shows the potential of linguistics to make language learning more accessible.

As has been the case for all the articles published in JLLT so far, our readers may get some inspiration studying and reflecting on them, which may lead to an improvement of their own teaching practice. If this effect were reached here and there, this already would represent an important raison d’être of JLLT.

Thomas Tinnefeld