Multidisciplinary Approaches to Multilingualism

Proceedings from the CALS conference 2014

by Kristina Cergol Kovačević (Volume editor) Sanda Lucija Udier (Volume editor)
Conference proceedings 393 Pages

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Preface
  • Bilingual and multilingual studies: Foreign, second language and lingua franca
  • Classroom interaction in early EFL learning: An analysis of the learner’s interlanguage
  • Can the English language in music, on TV and the Internet improve formal EFL results of secondary school students?
  • Croatian and English in contact: Evribadi spiks ingliš, but do we understand Croatian?
  • French pronunciation difficulties of Croatian-speaking students in relation to English as a foreign language
  • The pronunciation of ELF: Internationally intelligible English with recognizable national features
  • Learner corpus of Croatian as a second and foreign language
  • Language policy and planning
  • The place-making activity of Russian in Hungary
  • The real relationship of language majorities and minorities
  • Sprache und Interesse oder warum der europäische Einigungsprozess am „Kampf der Sprachen“ scheitern kann
  • Implicit (English) language policy in higher education: Insights from three universities
  • Mehrsprachigkeit als Bildungsziel: Fragen der Curriculumentwicklung aus fremdsprachendidaktischer Perspektive
  • Mehrsprachigkeit und Lehrwerke für Deutsch als zweite Fremdsprache – am Beispiel der Grammatik
  • Translation studies, lexis and lexical relations
  • Bilingual abstracts of scholarly papers as a type of self-translation
  • A study of translation universals in a Croatian translation of a maritime institutional text
  • Simultaneous interpretation of numbers: Cognitive-linguistic approach or how to be on cloud nine
  • Corpus-based bilingual terminology extraction
  • From language system to language use: A constructional analysis of transitional antonymy in Croatian
  • Experimental research into language processing
  • Written sentence comprehension in L1 and L2
  • Subject pronoun interpretation in Croatian: Comparing monolinguals with simultaneous bilinguals
  • Paradoxical asymmetry in monolingual language sets

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Kristina Cergol Kovačević – Sanda Lucija Udier


It is our great pleasure to present this book of proceedings which encompasses a selection of twenty papers presented at the 28th international annual conference of the Croatian Applied Linguistics Society entitled Multidisciplinary Approaches to Multilingualism, held at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb from 25 to 27 April 2014. The proportions of the event confirmed the current importance and appeal of the topic of multilingualism to the scholars working in the field of applied linguistics. The conference hosted a great number of participants, near one hundred presentations, and produced two conference proceedings – one published in Croatia and comprising 35 papers, and this volume aimed at an international audience and placing a number of Croatian-based considerations into multilingualism onto the international scene. In this volume, the authors’ reflections on multilingual issues fall into four major areas of investigation: 1) bilingual and multilingual studies focusing on research in foreign, second language and lingua franca issues, 2) language policy and planning, 3) translation studies, lexis and lexical relations and 4) experimental research into language processing.

The first strand focuses on English, Croatian, and French as foreign languages as well as the repercussions the knowledge of the omnipresent English language has on the speakers’ other foreign languages and their mother tongues.

The first two papers in this section deal with the formal and informal exposure to the English language and the effect such exposure has on learners’ English language proficiency.

Katica Balenović deals with the development of early EFL learners’ interlanguage in classroom interaction and reports on the increase in the number of morphemes, length of utterances as well as lexical diversity and syntactic complexity in her participants’ oral production. The author presents L2 development by reporting on the decrease of L1 usage in L2 speech; however, she finds expected variability in the pupils’ usage of articles.

Sara Brodarić looks at high school EFL learners and the benefits of their informal exposure to the English language in the students’ environment which, she shows, aids them in achieving success in their formal English-language education at school.

On a similar note Višnja Pavičić Takač, Gabrijela Buljan and Romana Čačija look at the omnipresent replications of English-originating elements in Croatian ← 9 | 10 → public discourse, the extent to which native speakers of Croatian comprehend and use them and which aspect of their experience with the English language they find crucial for their understanding of the English language elements in Croatian environment. Interestingly, the authors’ results show that most of the English elements they study do not seem to have entered the participants’ lexica and are not readily recognized, especially if no context is provided.

Lidija Orešković Dvorski and Bogdanka Pavelin Lešić investigate the pronunciation difficulties Croatian students of French experience due to the prosodic filter of their Croatian-English interlanguage through which they perceive the elements of French as English is the participants’ first second language. Besides presenting the expected transfer of Croatian phonetic features, the authors warn of the unwanted influence of the English language phonetics on the pronunciation of French as a second language.

Višnja Josipović Smojver, Renata Geld, Mateusz-Milan Stanojević and Filip Klubička study the pronunciation of speakers of English as a Lingua Franca. The authors focus on university students of the English language analysing the English language pronunciation of five focus group members representing five different first languages. The authors report that their participants’ speech comprises core English as a Lingua Franca features necessary for complete international intelligibility, yet shows deviation from the native-like ideal in terms of non-core features, thus giving away non-native pronunciation.

Nives Mikelić Preradović, Monika Berać and Damir Boras describe the development methodology of the first learner corpus of Croatian as a second and foreign language. This corpus, the authors announce, will be used for producing new lexical resources aimed at non-native speakers of the Croatian language and as such will help establish formal instruction and research into Croatian as a second language in Croatia and abroad.

The second strand deals with language policy and planning within the countries of the European Union.

Szilvia Bátyi describes the linguistic landscape of Hévíz, a tourist-oriented town in monolingual Hungary, in which there is a constant flux of three languages found on public signs in German, Russian and English. The author shows that the monolingual majority welcomes the languages of the tourists due to the economic benefit involved.

On a different note Jagoda Granić looks into the real relationship between language majorities and minorities and warns against the solely document-based proclaimed protection of the language rights of the minorities. The author urges ← 10 | 11 → sincere and pragmatic concern for maintaining language diversity in order to prevent assimilation of minority languages.

Related concerns are voiced by Siegfried Gehrmann and Ivana Rončević who aim at disambiguating the proclaimed strive of the European Union to promote plurilingualism among its citizens and the fact that English used as a lingua franca is omnipresent as the language of communication. The authors work at uncovering the interests behind language policy strategies and their implications for the research and education policy in Europe.

Along those lines Irena Vodopija-Krstanović and Valentina Janjetić examine language policy implicitly provided in the strategic documents of three universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia. They find differences between the three universities in terms of voicing concern for the protection of the national language, and supporting the knowledge and usage of various foreign languages and English. The authors express surprise as they find that the three universities engage in international mobility schemes but have not yet developed strategic documents to explicitly state their orientation in terms of language policy.

Ana Petravić takes the issue further in investigating plurilingualism in language education planning and curriculum development. The author looks at two opposing paradigms: the traditional additive approach and the curricular/integrated one and finds discrepancies between the two approaches found in key curriculum documents in Croatia. Petravić finally advises common curriculum planning for all languages as well as revision of curricular documents aimed at horizontal and vertical coordination of language school subjects.

Leonard Pon points out that the recommended concept of multilingual education is only partially supported by the teaching materials recommended and used for teaching German as a second language. Prompted by a thorough analysis of German language teaching materials, the author provides advice on the desired contents of the teaching materials aimed at the promotion of multilingualism.

Papers focusing on translation, lexis and lexical relations presented in the third strand often strive to lay out new methodologies and models in the mentioned areas and announce further research prompted by their contributions in this publication.

Goran Schmidt examines the phenomenon of self-translation on a sample of scholarly paper abstracts, focusing on optional shifts between original abstracts and their translations and other strategies and procedures used in self-translation. The author believes that self-translation differs from ordinary translation by allowing more deviations from the source text and voices the need for further research on the topic. ← 11 | 12 →

Sandra Tominac Coslovich and Arijana Krišković attempt at spotting translation universals in a Croatian translation of a maritime institutional text originally written in English. The authors believe that they might have extracted certain universal patterns in the examined materials but express their uncertainty upon drawing conclusions. Their doubts are grounded, among other, in the lack of a clear definition of translation universals and the authors thus point at the need for one.

Alma Vančura and Goran Milić attempt to provide advice in terms of a cognitive approach to resolving some difficulties simultaneous interpreters experience in interpreting idiomatic elements containing numbers. They do so by proposing a typology of mistakes commonly made in the simultaneous interpretation of numbers and by identifying patterns of possible solutions on the matter.

Angelina Gašpar delivers a methodology for the extraction of bilingual terminology and building of Croatian-English legislative termbase. The author describes the presented methodology as a hybrid approach including both statistical and linguistic techniques and finds such an approach satisfactory for termbase structuring. The author announces some problems future studies should deal with to further investigate the issue.

Daniela Katunar and Daša Berović explore transitional antonymy in Croatian focusing their research on antonymous prepositional pairs and their roles in terms of the source-goal directional opposition as well as the construction of idioms.

The last strand deals with experimental research in bilingual language processing.

Judit Navracsics and Gyula Sáry present the results of an acceptability judgement task involving Hungarian speakers of English as a second language. The authors investigate the role semantics and syntax play in sentence processing. Among other, they show that semantic processing takes longer than syntactic processing in both languages.

Tihana Kraš, Helena Rubčić and Tanja Stipeć investigate the interpretation of Croatian subject pronouns in ambiguous intra-sentential contexts by means of a picture-selection task. They compare Croatian monolingual and Croatian-Italian simultaneous bilinguals to show that they do not differ in their results, thus showing that the bilinguals do not lag behind the monolinguals in the interpretation of the subject pronoun in the investigated context.

Kristina Cergol Kovačević and Damir Horga carry out a picture-naming task in Croatian and English monolingual sets to find paradoxical asymmetry effect, i.e. unexpected faster reaction times to the second language than the first language in Croatian-English dominant bilinguals’ responses. The results are accounted for in ← 12 | 13 → terms of the speakers’ second language proficiency, the activation of the bilingual language mode and the involvement of the mother tongue activation.

We place this publication into the hands of the readers interested in various fields of applied linguistics, confident that they will find many a topic of their professional interest into the multilingual issues covered. We hope that the papers will arouse interest and yield further study questions into the matter.

We are grateful to the reviewers and contributors to this publication for their meticulous work. Each of the papers was anonymously reviewed by two reviewers, a Croatian and a foreign expert on the topic of the paper, thus helping the editors maintain preconditions for paper excellence. We would also like to express our gratitude to professors Vesna Mildner and Anita Peti-Stantić, who performed the general reviews of this book of proceedings and who were always happy to provide us with advice and guidance. Finally, we would like to thank the staff at Peter Lang for their help in the preparation of this volume.

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Bilingual and multilingual studies: Foreign, second language and lingua franca

← 15 | 16 →

← 16 | 17 →

Katica Balenović

Classroom interaction in early EFL learning: An analysis of the learner’s interlanguage


The paper deals with the development of the learner’s interlanguage in classroom interaction in early EFL learning. Recordings of spontaneous classroom interaction were analysed over three consecutive years when pupils were at the end of grades one, two and three. The research was conducted within the framework of a larger project entitled Early acquisition of English as a foreign language: an analysis of the learner’s interlanguage (project no. 130–1301001–0988). A total of 93 children from five Croatian primary schools were included in this research. Additional analysis of the learner’s interlanguage was conducted in groups of six focal learners from each of the five schools. The initial hypothesis is that the pupils’ oral production shows clear progress over the years of learning, i.e. there is an increase in the length of utterances and in linguistic and lexical diversity. We also assume that there is a decrease in the use of the mother tongue in the learners’ oral production in classroom interaction, as well as an interdependence of grammar and lexis seen in article use. Transcribed recordings of six focal learners in classroom interaction were coded according to a system including Codes for Human Analysis of Transcripts (CHAT). A quantitative analysis of transcripts (the number of morphemes, mean length of utterance (MLU), type/token ratio) was conducted using CLAN (MacWhinney 1995, 2008, 2010). A qualitative analysis was done using error analysis, i.e. proper/wrong article use before the singular/plural of nouns, first/later mentioned nouns, or article omission. The findings confirmed the initial hypotheses and indicated interlanguage variability in second language acquisition. The use of CHAT and CLAN tools enables the data from this research to be included in CHILDES (Child Language Data Exchange System – MacWhinney 2008, 2009).

1 Introduction

Interaction is related to communication, i.e. “interaction is, in fact, the heart of communication: it is what communication is all about (Brown 2001: 165). It has a similar meaning in the classroom as a two-way process between participants involved in communication. The term classroom interaction refers to the interaction between the teacher and learners, and amongst the learners, in the classroom. Interaction analysis studies (Nunan 1992) revealed that classroom processes are extremely complex and that teachers have the main role in the teaching-learning process, especially in the interaction analysis of spoken ← 17 | 18 → language. Cameron (2001) gives a general description of teaching. She emphasizes that “teaching is a process to construct opportunities for learning and to help learners take advantage of them. […] teaching can never guarantee learning; all it can do is to construct opportunities for learning and to help learners take the advantage” (Cameron 2001: 242). According to this quotation, it can be inferred that in a teaching-learning process, teachers should be able to help learners in constructing understanding of the lesson. In this study, we analyse the recordings of spontaneous classroom interaction in which teachers created and promoted genuine communicative interaction in the classroom. Since the aim of our research was the analysis of the learner’s interlanguage (Selinker 1972), teacher talk was excluded from the analysis.

The term interlanguage was first introduced in a study of SLA by Larry Selinker (1972, 1992) to describe a language between two systems that exists and develops from L1 trying to approach the target language (TL). Since this term describes a language with elements of both languages, it is sometimes called a compromise system (Filipović 1972). Interlanguage is neither the system of L1 nor that of the target language, based of the best attempt of learners to provide order and structure of the target language. By a gradual process of trial and error, learners slowly succeed in getting closer and closer to the system and rules of the target language. In other words, it is the language produced by L2 learners “both as a system which can be described at any one point in time as resulting from systematic rules, and as series of interlocking systems that characterize learner progression” (Mitchell and Myles 1998: 31).

Features in the interlanguage of L2 learners have been examined with different theoretical orientations and practical methodologies. In this study we analysed the learner’s interlanguage using error analysis, and comparing the amount of L1/L2 utterances in pupils’ oral production. The early Contrastive Analysis (CA) focused on the comparison of L2 learners’ first language with the target language, and treated as errors any forms of L2 production that deviated from the target norm. Error Analysis, as the name suggests, focuses on the errors learners make in producing the target language. It is similar to the weak version of CA in that both start from learner production data. However, in contrastive analysis the comparison is made with the learner’s L1, whereas in error analysis it is made with the target language. Creative Construction Hypothesis suggests that there is not much difference between L1 and L2 acquisition. Both processes are guided by creative construction (Dulay and Burt 1974), i.e. every learner constantly creates hypotheses about the patterns of the language which s/he is learning. These hypotheses are based on input from the target ← 18 | 19 → language. In other words, L2 learners construct their interlanguage creatively, regardless of L1 influence. This hypothesis is questionable, since interlanguage has its own features, seen through its simplification, variability, dynamism and especially cross-linguistic influence, or language transfer (Jarvis and Pavlenko 2008), where we mostly deal with positive and negative language transfer. But language transfer can occur not only from L1 to L2 (forward transfer) but also vice versa, from L2 to L1 (backward or reverse transfer) or even from L2 to L3 (lateral transfer). Crucial components of the language acquisition process include input, intake, output and feedback. Input refers to what is available to the learner in the learning process, while intake refers to what is actually “taken in” by the learner. Feedback provides learners with information about their utterances and gives opportunities to focus on production or comprehension. In this study, we mostly deal with the notion of output which was introduced by Swain (1985) as “comprehensible” or “pushed” output in which learners are pushed in their oral production as a necessary part of the learning process.

In our research, we assume that there is an interdependence of lexis and grammar in article use. L2 learners of English often have difficulty in mastering the proper use of indefinite and definite articles, especially when their L1 lacks articles (Lightbown and Spada 2006), although the linguistic category of definiteness/indefiniteness is often seen as a linguistic universal (Chomsky 2000, Silić 2000, Eastwood 2000), i.e. an absolute universal that exists in every human language. Most of the work on the acquisition of English articles focuses on adult students/learners (Trenkić 2002, 2007, Zergollern-Miletić 2008). Since there has been no previous longitudinal research on the acquisition of English articles by Croatian primary school pupils in early EFL learning, we wanted to examine this process. The qualitative analysis of the transcribed recordings of spontaneous classroom interaction was carried out using error analysis, i.e. proper/wrong use of articles or their omission. In this study, we assume that we will obtain results which are very much in line with previous research findings and the so-called Fluctuation Hypothesis (Ionin 2008). Under this hypothesis, L2 learners are predicted to fluctuate between the two settings of the Article Choice Parameter until the input leads them to the right option. The recordings were taken when the learners were at the beginning of the EFL learning process, where the influence of the learners’ L1 has an important role in their oral production. In other words, we explored the development of the learner’s interlanguage (Selinker 1972) over three years of EFL learning to find out its characteristics expressed in the number of utterances produced in L1 and L2, where only L2 utterances were taken into consideration in further analysis ← 19 | 20 → (measurement of the number of morphemes, mean length of utterance – MLU, type/token ratio using CLAN tools – MacWhinney 2010). In this study, six focal learners from five different schools (classes) were followed during grades one, two and three. They are considered to be representative of the total learners involved in classroom interaction.

As mentioned above, the categories of definiteness/indefiniteness are often seen as linguistic universals (Chomsky 2000, Silić 2000) and as pragmatic and logical categories (Lyons 1999), i.e. universal in human thinking expressed with different linguistic means in different languages. In standard English grammar, articles (e.g. Eastwood 2005), together with other determiners (indefinite pronouns, demonstratives, quantifiers…) are part of a closed system which expresses definiteness/indefiniteness. The definite article (the) indicates that a referent is already defined in a discourse set, shared between a speaker and a hearer (Robertson 2000). If there is no shared knowledge (Yule 1998) or shared previous discourse set (Hawkins 1978), the indefinite article (a) is used. It marks that new information is introduced in the discourse as the first time mentioned. Thus, article choice depends primarily on the notion of definiteness/ indefiniteness that Ionin (2004) describes as a discourse-related semantic feature depending on the knowledge state of the speaker and hearer. Definiteness and specificity are notions important for the Article Choice Parameter (Ionin 2004, 2007, 2008) by which the author explains variability in L2 learners’ production of articles that leads to the Fluctuation Hypothesis. Under this hypothesis, L2 learners are predicted to fluctuate between the two settings of the Article Choice Parameter until the input leads them to the right option. This hypothesis is important for the use of articles of those learners whose L1 does not contain an article system (e.g. Croatian), while language transfer is important and overrides fluctuation with learners whose L1 has articles (e.g. Spanish). In other words, learners whose L1 has articles transfer article semantics from their L1 to their L2.

Exposure to and use of English articles is very frequent in EFL learning in both naturalistic and instructed (classroom) settings. The development of the proficient use of articles in EFL learners’ interlanguage has been found to be a very long process with pronounced variability (Jarvis 2002, Ko et al. 2006, Zdorenko and Paradis 2008). This is even more true in learners whose L1 lacks an article system (Lightbown and Spada 2006, Trenkić 2002, Zergollern-Miletić 2008). According to a study by Zergollern-Miletić (2008), most speakers of Croatian do not seem to be aware of the existence of definiteness and indefiniteness in their language. The study was conducted on native speakers of Croatian who were advanced L2 learners ← 20 | 21 → of English. The research results show the wrong use of articles with abstract nouns and the omission of articles when the noun is defined by an adjective, as well as article substitution. Thus, the author stresses the importance of developing learners’ awareness of the existence of the concept of definiteness and indefiniteness in their first language, despite its lack of articles. In this way, learners would start supplying English articles correctly. Balenović (2012) conducted a study within the framework of a larger research project entitled Early acquisition of English as a foreign language: an analysis of the learner’s interlanguage (project no. 130–1301001–0988) based on the recordings of individual oral production tasks of 12 Croatian L1 learners of English (mean age 11–13). The present study is a continuation of this research work, taking into account of the development of learners’ interlanguage and the use of English articles in early EFL learning. The oral production in Balenović’s earlier study was analysed using the tools (CHAT, CLAN) that were chosen for the present study. The quantitative research results of the earlier study showed an increase in the overall number of morphemes participants produced in each year’s recording (MLU, type/token ratio) as well as the correct use of articles with higher accuracy of the use of the indefinite article over the years of EFL learning. Data from Balenović’s earlier research also showed inconsistency in the use of both types of articles, which indicates a long and variable process of their acquisition, which confirms the already mentioned Fluctuation Hypothesis.

2 Research aim

Our research aim was to analyse the development of the learner’s interlanguage in Croatian primary school EFL learning. Our three initial hypotheses were:


ISBN (Book)
Publication date
2015 (December)
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2015. 393 pp., 36 tables, 40 graphs

Biographical notes

Kristina Cergol Kovačević (Volume editor) Sanda Lucija Udier (Volume editor)

Kristina Cergol Kovačević works at the Faculty of Teacher Education, University of Zagreb (Croatia). Her research interests include experimental psycholinguistics, bilingual language processing, language acquisition and applied linguistic research methodology. Sanda Lucija Udier works at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb (Croatia). Her research interests include Croatian as a second language teaching, sociolinguistics, discourse analysis and standard language theory.


Title: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Multilingualism