Journal of Linguistics and Language Teaching
Volume 6 (2015) Issue 1 (PDF)
Foreword to the Issue
In this issue, which marks the second half of the first decade of JLLT, six academic articles and two book review are presented. The articles incorporate contributions to linguistics, the teaching of syntactic structures, corpus studies, studies on learner perception, and methodological innovation from a cross--cultural point of view. In the subsequent paragraphs, a short overview of these contributions will be given.
The first article, a purely linguistic one, by Hasan Said Ghazala (Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Saudi Arabia) focuses on the latest contributions to the conceptual studies of metaphor from a cognitive, social, cultural and ideological perspective. Any metaphor - being conceptualised in relation to its target and its source domain - reflects the speaker’s attitude, mentality and ideology. The paper investigates failures of the cognitive stylistic model (CMT) in the description of basic functions of the metaphor. Targeting at a solution of the problems described, the author proposes a cognitive stylistic model of analysis of conceptual metaphor which, on the one hand, takes the latest developments into account and, on the other, offers great potential to broaden our horizon with respect to the general study of metaphor in language.
In a linguistic study on the teaching of German as a foreign language in Italy, Katrin Ziegler (Macerata, Italy) focuses on the forms and functions of German reflexive structures. The novelty of her article resides in the fact that - unlike traditional, structuralist viewpoints - it follows a functional, i.e. widely pragmatic, approach and delivers a comprehensive study of clauses that represent grammatical relation nexuses. On this basis, various types of German reflexive constructions are described, and the article procures a systematic overview of the complex domain this topic represents..
While the two previous articles represent those in which specific language features are closely examined, the following contributions highlight features that are more abstractly language-related. Following a corpus linguistic approach, Shelley Byrne (Preston (Lancashire), United Kingdom) reports on her findings on the vocabulary and language abilities shown by candidates in English oral exams at the C1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The article represents a contribution to research into spoken English grammar, student success, and the description of students’ language development within the framework of the CEFR. The author departs from the assumption that describing learner competence and learner abilities may not be meticulous enough to give reliable information to students as well as test designers and assessors. Bearing this assumption in mind, the author targets at the concrete language use and the abilities shown by students in English oral exams, using a learner corpus of selected C1 exam parameters. By means of these parameters - (among others) vocabulary profiles, word frequency, lexical chunks and can-do occurrences -, the lexico-grammar a student needs to master so as to obtain a handsome passing score is identified.
The two subsequent articles are survey-based studies. The first one is by Julia Davydova (Mannheim, Germany), who presents perceptions of German learners of English with regards to native and non-native Englishes. The study, situated in the domain of language attitudes, stretches out over standard British English, mainstream American English as native varieties, and Indian English (i.e. English as a second language in India) and German English (English as a foreign language in Germany) as non-native varieties. Using a methodological mix of survey, verbal guise test and sociolinguistic interviews, the author provides results according to which British English is most highly evaluated by students in terms of status and prestige. American English, in contrast. is positively judged for its high social attractiveness. These findings confirm those of previous research from a complementary standpoint. Moreover, it could be stated that the native varieties in question were more positively estimated than the non-native varieties. According to the author, these findings are due to an “inferiority complex” whereby non-native speakers evaluate their language much more negatively than native speakers normally do. The corrective measures suggested may of help to teachers and learners.
The second survey-related study is the present issue is contributed by José María Santos Rovira (Lisbon, Portugal), who targets at Spanish and the attitudes of Portuguese students towards this language. One of the questions examined is whether students’ attitudes towards Spanish language and culture change in the course of the learning process and lead from attitudes that can be classified as stereotypes, to more realistic estimations. One of the major results of the study was that students’ language attitudes and perceptions are closely related to their learning outcome and the proficiency level they obtain in the target language.
In a more regional approach, Dechen Zangmo (Paro, Bhutan), Rachel Burke, John Mitchell O’Toole and Heather Sharp (all Newcastle, Australia) present a study on new cross-cultural methodology in Bhutan, a country where English is a primary language. The authors report on first experiences gained after the adoption of the process-writing approach in Bhutan and provide a comparison of the outcome of this innovative approach with that of traditional education in the country.
The present issue is completed by three book reviews, two of which are contributed by Heinz-Helmut Lüger (Koblenz-Landau, Germany). One of these reviews is on Decimo (2014) and the question of how linguistics made its way to Paris, covering the period from Michel Bréal to Ferdinand de Saussure. The other book review is on Konecny, Hallsteinsdóttir & Kacjan (2013) on phraseology from a methodological perspective. The third book review by Thomas Tinnefeld is on Krause & Baerentzen (2010) and Krause & Doval (2011), featuring spatial relations in language from a contrastive point of view - German-Danish and German-Spanish, respectively.
As always, editor and editorial board wish our readers an informative reading and cordially thank the authors for their contributions.