Journal of Linguistics and Language Teaching
Volume 2 (2011) Issue 2 (PDF)
Foreword to the Issue
The second issue of JLLT presents our readers with seven articles and one book review and completes the publications of this year. The articles of the present issue offer a relatively wide range of topics such as testing, reading comprehension, translation theory, writing and media-assisted vocabulary acquisition, which, however, are homogeneous enough to form an issue that may be of interest to the applied linguist and the methodologist.
In its chronology, the first article, published in English, represents an approach in the framework of testing. To a large extent, this approach can be identified as contrastive and thus responds to our call for papers published in the very first issue of the journal. Kay Cheng Soh (Singapore), continuing and deepening his reflexions made in his first article published in JLLT 1 (2010) 2 (pp. 271-296), deals with bilingual testing and focuses on the way how this should be done, i.e. bilingually. In this bilingual way, he establishes a close relationship between the object of testing – students’ command of two languages – and the manner in which the testing process should be performed. In Soh’s opinion, monolingual testing is not apt to logically respond to the requirements of bilingual competence because given monolingual tests often differ in form and content in each of the two languages involved. The error variance occasioned by monolingual testing is – logically and in practice - much bigger than that of bilingual testing. The empirical results the author produced in his study support this logical approach and thus open up new implications for reflexions on curriculum and actual teaching.
In the second article, also published in English, Lance R. Askildson (Notre Dame (IN) USA), dealing with reading comprehension in an approach rarely researched upon so far, presents the results of a study of his own on reading while listening with French being the target language. In the framework of this approach, the recording of a given reading comprehension text is presented to students at the same time when they are decoding the written text. That is, students are simultaneously confronted with the very same text in two different channels – the visual and the audio one -, both channels supporting each other and improving the text comprehension results achieved. In the study described, this reading-while-listening approach was found to be significantly better than the silent-reading way, which consequently entails pedagogical implications as well as those of future research.
In a novel and highly exceptional publication manner, the article by Bernd Spillner (Duisburg-Essen, Germany) is here published bilingually - in Farsi and English, with the latter language opening up wider chances of reception to the former, which represents the original version. The author describes relevant types of pragmatic equivalence and applies them to advertising texts used in product marketing. With reference to the text type offer as published in mail-delivery-house and holiday catalogues, Spillner points to the different cultural backgrounds and intercultural expectations which are attributed to the addressees of these texts and are explicitly or implicitly expressed in this text type. The findings elaborated show the necessity for professional translators to permanently raise their (inter)cultural awareness. The findings also comprise a considerable linguistic and methodological potential for language teachers.
In the first of two articles published in German, Shing-Ling Chen (Kaohsiung, Taiwan), presents a learner-friendly model for developing a target-language (German) oriented essay-writing system which helps students to write essays, to extend their vocabulary databank and to improve their ability to express themselves in the foreign language. Orienting herself towards the language level which students realistically need and not the one which is targeted to the native level of the language to be learnt, Chen fills a research gap and enlarges the chances of native speakers of Chinese to learn German adequately.
In a purely lexical approach, Hans W. Giessen (Saarbrücken, Germany) presents a study of his own in which he investigates the effects of computer-assisted vocabulary learning. In his study, students were requested to learn words - which were taken from Hungarian so as to feature a language not commonly learnt in Germany - in three different manners: from a paper word list, from a static word list presented on a computer screen, and on a computer screen in its typical, dynamic representation. The results elaborated may – if verified in further and even broader studies in the future – lead to rethinking the effects of the computer for language learning.
Two articles in the rubric university reports round off the scientific publications of this issue. Beate Lindemann (Tromsø, Norway) describes the distribution of German as a Foreign Language at Norwegian universities and analyses the given situation. As a whole, the number of students enrolled in this subject, has constantly been decreasing in the past few years, and most study programmes offered (partly) address future language teachers. Those (few) programmes which offer courses for other learners have been found to mainly consist of the same courses as those which represent genuine teacher-training programmes. In a situation of a constantly falling demand for German competence in Norway in general, but in which the free economy simultaneously has a high demand for employees mastering this language, Lindemann highlights that the existent programmes and courses of German urgently need to be rethought and restructured.
Thomas Tinnefeld (Saarbrücken, Germany) reports on the First Saarbrücken Conference on Foreign Language Teaching which took place at Saarland University of Applied Sciences (Germany) on November 4th and 5th, 2011. Featuring the theme University Language Teaching: Trends, Requirements, Characteristics, the conference hosted two keynote speeches and 52 talks in five different sections with around 130 university professors, lecturers and grammar-school teachers from 20 countries taking part in it. The conference represented the first one in a series of conferences which will be continued in 2013.
The present issue of JLLT is concluded by a book review by Zahir Mumin (Albany (NY) USA) who analyses and evaluates John Walker’s monograph Service, Satisfaction, and Climate (2010).
Altogether, our readers will find a selection of articles which represent an informative read. Last but not least, I would like to thank our authors for having submitted their manuscripts to JLLT and for having made the publication of this issue possible. Editor and Editorial Board are looking forward to receiving further contributions to JLLT from all parts of the world.