Journal of Linguistics and Language Teaching
Volume 8 (2017) Issue 2 (PDF)
Foreword to the Issue
The present issue of JLLT comprises six articles and two book reviews, five articles being in English and one being in French. The research areas covered include phonetics, prosody, phraseology, syntax, and writing, the latter with respect to contrastive linguistics – most of them with implications for language teaching. One characteristic trait of this issue is that the majority of articles are about corpus linguistics.
The first article by Sara Quintero Ramírez (Guadalajara, Mexico), Andrea Maylette Leyva Moo (Tabasco, Mexico) and Miguel Ángel Fócil Salvador (Tabasco, Mexico) is on the structure of text titles that contain question words. The underlying corpus consisted of 100 titles of blogs and magazine articles published in English on the Internet. In the article, an overview of the most frequent structures is given and their main textual functions are identified. Unlike previous research that had predominantly focused on noun phrases in titles, the focus of this study is on titles that contain a question word. These titles were analysed according to three different criteria: question word, grammatical form, and syntactic configuration. The most important finding lies in the identification of three basic tendencies coming to fruition in text titles, which can be of great importance for the reception of blog and magazine articles both by native speakers and learners of English.
The article by Reyhan Ağçam (Kahramanmaras, Turkey) is also about writing and addresses the use of contrastive discourse markers in academic texts, the corpus consisting of doctoral dissertations written by native and non-native authors of English. The findings reveal a predominant use of paratactic discourse markers by all the three groups of academic authors examined, i.e. English-speaking, Spanish-speaking and Turkish-speaking authors. A far as hypotactic discourse markers are concerned, a quantitative divergence was found with respect to their usage by Spanish-speaking and Turkish-speaking authors as compared to native-English ones. On the basis of these results, practical recommendations for academic writing are given and suggestions for further research are made.
Focusing on phonetics, Heather Bliss (Victoria, Canada), Khia A. Johnson (Vancouver, Canada), Strang Burton (Vancouver, Canada), Noriko Yamane (Hiroshima, Japan) and Bryan Gick (Vancouver, Canada) present ultrasound visualisation as an effective tool for teaching and learning the pronunciation of speech sounds that are difficult to realise. In their article, a solution to the general problems of ultrasound, which is relatively expensive and apt for individuals and small groups rather than classroom settings, is presented in the form of ultrasound overlay videos provided in an online format. These overlay videos virtually permit an “insight” into the positioning of the tongue, thus visualising the articulation of isolated speech sounds. Such videos have been produced for the world languages as well as Japanese and Cantonese.
Jonathan Sieg (Tianjin, China) also addresses pronunciation, but with respect to prosody. The author compares the intonation of Chinese learners of English with that of native speakers from the US and the UK. Flaws in the intonation of Chinese natives in terms of pitch range and pitch fluctuation are identified. The findings showed that the Chinese learners’ pitch range was similar to that of British English, whereas their pitch fluctuation was similar to that of American English. In the article, methodological recommendations as to how to improve students’ intonation of English are given. The recommended strategies include five steps: sensitisation, explanation, imitation, practice activities, and communicative activities.
Yi-Ling Lillian Tinnefeld-Yeh (Saarbrücken, Germany) elaborates on the production of monosyllabic and dissyllabic tone errors by German learners of Chinese at the beginners’ level. The author identifies German students’ common pronunciation errors and provides them in their respective cotexts by means of a concordancing tool for corpus analysis. In the statistic study, the tones and their combinations which caused the biggest problems for students are presented. If these results can be confirmed in further studies, they will certainly be of value for the future teaching of Chinese pronunciation to German learners.
Last but not least, Günter Schmale (Lyon, France) examines the question of whether recent quantitative methods of automatic corpus analysis have the potential to nurture the study of formulaic language in conversational corpora, referring to well-defined interactive phenomena in German conversations and starting from conversation analysis. Taking a French telephone conversation and its original transcription as a basis, the author finds that, whereas automatic methods are of a high value for the analysis of segmental factors, they are not really suitable for analysing interactional – especially sequential – elements.
I hope that the articles published in the second issue of the eighth volume of JLLT will be of inspiration to our readers. I also hope that the French article in the present issue will incite more authors from the Romance world than before to submit articles in their mother tongues, be it French, Spanish or Italian.
Finally, it only remains for me to thank all the authors for their contributions to JLLT and to wish all readers inspiring hours spent with this issue.