Volume 6 (2015) Issue 2

Journal of Linguistics and Language Teaching

Volume 6 (2015) Issue 2 (PDF)

Table of Contents

Foreword to the Issue

I. Articles

Istvan Jerry Thekes (Szeged, Hungary):


The goal of this study was to validate an integrated diagnostic vocabulary test for young learners of English as a foreign language. The research questions were: 1) How difficult was each task type? 2) Which items were inappropriate in the test battery? 3) Which word class proved to be the easiest and the most difficult one? 4) How did the different task types correlate? The vocabulary test battery was administered to 103 students in Hungary in November 2013. The reliability of the test battery proved to be acceptable (Cronbach's alpha = 0.763). Students scored highest in the recognition of nouns. The two listening tasks had the strongest correlations.

Key words: Vocabulary, diagnostic assessment, validation

Asmaa Shehata (Calgary, Canada):


The purpose of this study was to investigate how training with varying talkers could affect native English speakers’ acquisition of the Arabic pharyngeal-glottal consonant contrast that is not contrastive in English. Learners’ performance on two discrimination tasks, following a word-learning phase was analyzed in terms of training type (multiple talkers vs. single talker) and task type (non-lexical vs. lexical). Findings of the two experiments revealed the significant effect of training type. That is, the multiple-talker groups in the two experiments performed more accurately on the two AXB tasks than did the single-talker groups. This finding suggests that variability in talkers may be a significant factor that affects learners’ ability to distinguish words on the basis of L2 consonant contrasts. Additionally, the results exhibited differences in the scores of subjects on the two discrimination tasks among the different groups, which were found to be insignificant, suggesting that the distinct demands of the two tasks did not have a significant beneficial effect on learning the nonnative contrastive sounds.

Key words: Lexical representations, second language, talker variability, task type, word recognition

Matthew Michaud (Kobe, Japan):


Numerous researchers have explored verbal communication within English as a Foreign Language (EFL). Nonetheless, research regarding oral communication in high schools in Japan, together with what can be found in EFL textbooks, needs to be deepened. This study aims to investigate communicative language teaching and communicative competence. It will highlight problems in areas pertaining to Japanese students’ learning methods and their application of oral communication, focusing on communicative competence and textbooks used in Japanese high schools.

Keywords: Communicative language teaching, Communicative Competence, oral communication, textbook analysis

Andrew Szanajda (Taichung, Taiwan, ROC) / Wei-Yu Chang (Durham, United Kingdom):


This paper examines how to improve EFL/ESL students learning engagement, especially in writing classes. Many other such works have dealt with related issues, but they fail to give a series of recommendations to solve this common problem because students, especially Asian students, usually are in lack of learning motivation and engagement. In order to help students overcome barriers that block confidence and motivation, some recommended methods are addressed, including providing a menu of options, having students write about their experiences, providing context with writing sample, making critique a part of the process, making connections with the real world, and celebrating writing success. Firstly, giving a menu of options is a way to allow students to choose their preferable genres to write, so they might find that writing is interesting. Secondly, having students write about their experiences helps them connect their own lives with learning, which makes learning meaningful and purposeful. Thirdly, by providing context with sample pieces, students might have clearer ideas about what to write and how to write it, especially for less competent writers, because they could have a model to simulate. Fourthly, students are expected to learn a lot by giving feedback to others after reading. Through making critiques, students could understand the differences between well-written and poorly-written texts. It is suggested that connecting students’ writing with the real world (e.g. business life) that they are going to face is important, and it will help them understand the world outside the classroom and realize how to deal with problems in the future. Finally, adequate praise cannot be underemphasised when students complete writing tasks effectively so that they may be motivated to engage in further such tasks. The primary purpose of this work is thus to bring forth effective teaching and learning methods for both instructors and learners in EFL/ESL writing classrooms, and to help students find some different perspectives in writing in order to cultivate their writing competence.

Key words: EFL/ESL students, writing classes, writing competence, learning motivation and engagement

Inez De Florio-Hansen (Kassel, Germany):

Abstract (English)

After a decade of standards-based teaching and learning of foreign languages in German schools, it is legitimate and useful to draw up the balance between the intentions of education policies and the needs and interests of teachers and students. The following questions are basic ones in this context: What do PISA and other international and national student assessments have to do with the introduction of performance standards into the foreign language classroom? To what extent can we measure the outcome of foreign language teaching and learning on the basis of well-designed and research-proven standards? Why are concepts to be considered insufficient that focus uniquely on performance without corresponding content and opportunity-to-learn standards? What about value-oriented goals of foreign language education such as language awareness, intercultural and transcultural attitudes as well as literary esthetics, in the context of standards-based approaches?

Focusing on practice in German classrooms, the article aims at encouraging and enabling foreign language teachers to implement the standards in such a way that basic objectives of foreign language learning can be reached by possibly all students who are willing to benefit from their teacher’s lessons. Rejecting a standards-based approach that limits teachers and students and frequently leads to teaching to the test, we advocate, however, a standards-informed and, above all, value-based foreign language teaching and learning approach that corresponds to the overall aims of German education. Despite a certain homogenization of teaching goals and instructional design, the unique personalities of teachers and students have to be respected and strengthened for language learning to be enjoyable and effective.

Key words: standards-based education, learning progressions; performance standards, foreign language education in Germany.

Abstract (Deutsch)

Nachdem die KMK-Bildungsstandards in Verbindung mit der Kompetenzorientierung vor über zehn Jahren Einzug in den Fremdsprachenunterricht gehalten haben, wird in dem vorliegenden Beitrag eine Zwischenbilanz gezogen. Bei diesem „Rückblick nach vorn“ geht es um grundlegende Fragen wie beispielsweise die folgenden: Welche Rolle spielen PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) und DESI (Deutsch Englisch Schülerleistungen International) bei der Entwicklung der Bildungsstandards für die erste Fremdsprache Englisch bzw. Französisch? Was können durchdachte und wissenschaftlich überprüfte Standards bei dem Lehren und Lernen von Fremdsprachen überhaupt leisten? Warum ist die Konzeption der KMK-„Output“-Standards unzureichend? Warum greift die ausschließliche Fokussierung auf Wissen und Können zu kurz? Wie kann fremdsprachliche Bildung - vornehmlich Sprachbewusstheit, Inter- / Transkulturalität sowie ästhetisch-literarische Bildung - im Unterricht trotz Beachtung der KMK -Standards angebahnt und weiterentwickelt werden?

Im Rahmen dieses praxisbezogenen Überblicks soll Fremdsprachenlehrerinnen und -lehrern geholfen werden, die Orientierung an Standards und Kompetenzen so umzusetzen, dass grundlegende Ziele des Fremdsprachenunterrichts gut erreicht werden können, und zwar von möglichst vielen Schülerinnen und Schülern. In Überwindung eines standardbasierten Ansatzes, der den bildungspolitischen Vorgaben eng folgt und nicht über die Anforderungen der offiziellen Testungen hinausgeht, wird für einen standardorientierten und vor allem wertebasierten Ansatz unseres Bildungssystems plädiert. Trotz aller Vereinheitlichung geht es in jedem Unterricht auch um die Stärkung der Persönlichkeiten von Lehrenden und Lernenden, wenn das Lernen von Fremdsprachen wirksam sein und den Beteiligten Freude machen soll.

Schlüsselwörter: Bildungsstandards; Kompetenzorientierung; fremdsprachliche Bildung; Sprachbewusstheit, Inter-/Transkulturalität, ästhetisch-literarische Bildung

Frank Kostrzewa (Karlsruhe, Germany):

Abstract (English)

Aspect is a grammatical category allowing a speaker to individually refer to an action or event which can either be in progress or completed. Whereas the Slavonic languages have developed a morphologically structured system in order to denote aspect, the Germanic or Romance languages only possess rudimentary forms of aspect differentiation. In Korean, as an agglutinating language, aspect is expressed by adding suffixes to the verb or by forming a complex verb which contains an aspect verb. In some cases temporal adverbs are needed for the disambiguation of sentences with temporal aspectuality. Bhatt & Schmidt (1993, 71 ff.) claim the existence of a Rhenish progressive form for the German language, similar to the progressive forms in English. The category aspect should be considered in close connection with the categories of action, tense and eventuality.

Key words: Aspect, aspectuality, German, Korean, agglutinating languages, action, tense, eventuality

Abstract (Deutsch)

Der Aspekt ist eine grammatische Kategorie, die es einem Sprecher ermöglicht, individuell auf eine Handlung oder ein Ereignis zu referieren, das entweder bereits abgeschlossen oder aber im Verlauf befindlich ist. Während in den slawischen Sprachen ein morphologisch strukturiertes System zur Denotation des Aspekts besteht, sind die Formen der Aspektdifferenzierung in den germanischen und romanischen Sprachen eher rudimentär. Im Koreanischen als einer agglutinierenden Sprache wird der Aspekt durch das Anhängen von Suffixen an ein Verb oder durch die Bildung komplexer Verben, die Aspektverben beinhalten, markiert. In manchen Fällen werden zur Disambiguierung von Sätzen mit temporaler Aspektualität Temporaladverbien benötigt. Bhatt & Schmidt (1993: 71ff) gehen für das Deutsche von der Existenz einer rheinischen Verlaufsform aus, die den Progressivformen des Englischen ähnelt. Die Kategorie des Aspekts sollte in engem Zusammenhang zu den KategorienHandlung, Tempus und Eventualität betrachtet werden.

Schlüsselwörter: Aspekt, Aspektualität, Deutsch, Koreanisch, agglutinierende Sprachen, Handlung, Tempus, Eventualität

II. Book Review

Thomas Tinnefeld (Saarbrücken, Germany):