Language in Research and Teaching

Proceedings from the CALS Conference 2016

by Marija Brala Vukanović (Volume editor) Anita Memišević (Volume editor)
©2018 Conference proceedings 176 Pages


This book aims at bridging language research and language teaching and contains four sections. It opens with two papers which relate language to literature: one exploring childlike language, the second investigating the distinction between literary and non-literary text categorization principles. Next are the papers on multicultural and sociolinguistic topics, including a paper on English as an international language, and two papers on the perception of bilingualism in education. The third thematic section explores semantics, with two papers on prefixes and one on metaphor. The final thematic section is dedicated to syntax, with one paper on complex predicates, one on syntactic complexity in spontaneous spoken language and one of Croatian null and overt subject pronouns.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Preface (Marija Brala-Vukanović / Anita Memišević)
  • Childlike language: What it is and how it conquered the world (Željka Flegar)
  • Fachsprache im literarischen Kontext am Beispiel der kroatischen Übersetzung des Romans Die Vermessung der Welt von Daniel Kehlmann (Sanja Cimer)
  • Intercultural communication and the English language classroom: global needs vs. local realities (Irena Vodopija-Krstanović / Valerija Smrekar)
  • What do we talk about when we talk about bilingualism? Exploring Croatian pre-service teachers’ beliefs (Siniša Smiljanić / Ana Bratulić)
  • Teaching staff’s critical perspectives on English-medium instruction: The case of a Croatian higher education context (Branka Drljača Margić / Ivana Tulić)
  • Efficiency of teaching verbal prefixation in Croatian as L2 by means of the cognitive linguistic approach (Darko Matovac / Sanda Lucija Udier)
  • A cognitive semantico-syntactic analysis of the Croatian verbal prefix nad- (Marija Brala Vukanović / Anita Memišević)
  • The use of metaphors in marine engineering texts in English (Sandra Tominac Coslovich / Josip Luzer)
  • Struktur- und Motivationsmuster der Funktionsverbgefüge in der deutschen Konzernsprache (Tanja Gradečak-Erdeljić / Borislav Marušić)
  • Syntactic complexity of spontaneous spoken language of adult Croatian speakers (Ana Matić / Gordana Hržica / Jelena Kuvač Kraljević / Marina Olujić)
  • Interpretation of Croatian subject pronouns in inter-sentential contexts: An experimental study (Tihana Kraš / Igor Šopar)
  • About the contributors

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Marija Brala-Vukanović & Anita Memišević


The Croatian Applied Linguistics Society (CALS) has been bringing together researchers, teachers, translators and other members who have been trying to understand the essence of human language. Three decades ago, the Society began to organise scholarly meetings where CALS members gathered to present their research, their conclusions, but also their queries, and to discuss these in an academic environment. The title of the first CALS conference proceedings dating back to 1987 was ‘Language varieties and language teaching’. The 2016 CALS conference – of which we are proud to introduce the Proceedings – addressed similar topics. One of the motives behind the idea to organize a conference on similar topics had been to see just how much has the perspective on the issues under scrutiny changed in three decades. Indeed, the technological development of recent years has considerably impacted the possibilities of the fast and global circulation of information, thus opening new communicative opportunities and needs. In turn, this has given rise to a number of questions related to language research and language teaching, such as a) How much has all the above impacted our attitude toward language? b) How much of the traditional approach remains? c) What are the new directions in which communicative strategies are developing? d) To what extent have new technologies helped translation? e) How have language teaching and language research been developing in the past decades?

These, and related issues, have been at the core of the scholarly investigations presented at the 30th CALS conference, held in Rijeka, Croatia, in May 2016. Given the curricular reform currently underway, and the desire of Croatian scholars to become actively involved in this reform, the Croatian Applied Linguistics Society has decided to focus the 2016 conference on issues related to language research at all levels, based on different methodologies, as well as considering the possible practical outcomes of language research. Work was presented in three main fields of applied linguistics: 1) Language research; 2) Language teaching, and 3) The links between language research and language teaching.

The book opens with two papers which relate language to literature. The first one is by Željka Flegar and focuses on childlike language which is a type of literary discourse that is used by popular adult authors of children’s fiction to communicate with their young readers. It is marked by linguistic deviations, permeates the new media, and points to the globalised juvenilization of culture. This research ← 7 | 8 → focuses on the examples of Disney, Dr. Seuss and J. K. Rowling to demonstrate the appeal of the childlike expression today. Sanja Cimer, in a paper titled Fachsprache im literarischen Kontext, focuses on questioning the principle of categorising texts into literary and non-literary or technical ones on the example of Daniel Kehlmann’s novel Die Vermessung der Welt (Measuring the world), which leaves the impression of a historical novel, although large parts of it are unscientific or fictitious. She concludes that specialised language in Die Vermessung der Welt supports the credibility of the story and the scientific tone and is therefore important in the translation as well. Her analysis shows that there are different trends in terminology building in German and Croatian which lead to a decrease in the perception of the scientific tone of the text and require occasional compensation as a translation strategy. This paper represents a transition from literary to linguistic topics, but also from monolingual to multilingual topics which are the focus of the papers that follow in the remainder of the book.

The next group of papers focuses on multicultural and sociolinguistic topics. This section opens with Irena Vodopija Krstanović and Valerija Smrekar’s paper Intercultural communication and the English language classroom: global needs vs. local realities in which they stress that English is an international language primarily used by non-native English speakers for communication in multicultural societies. They depart from the position that English language education should follow suit, and make a contribution in the development of intercultural communicative competence (ICC) and examine students’ perceptions of (their) ICC, and the role of culture and intercultural communication in the EFL classroom. In the next paper, Siniša Smiljanić and Ana Bratulić deal with Croatian pre-service teachers’ beliefs about bilingualism. The paper describes a questionnaire-based study conducted on a sample of 158 Croatian pre-service teachers with the aim of exploring their beliefs about bilingualism, namely how they define bilingualism, what advantages of bilingualism they perceive and whether they subscribe to some of the most common misconceptions about bilingualism. The last paper in this thematic section is Teaching staff’s critical perspectives on English-medium instruction: The case of a Croatian higher education context by Branka Drljača Margić and Ivana Tulić. The aim of their study, conducted at the Faculty of Medicine in Rijeka, was to investigate teachers’ perceptions and needs concerning the implementation of an English-taught programme. The results show that a number of challenges are associated with EMI adoption, such as work overload and inadequate language proficiency, which requires taking certain measures.

The third thematic section focuses primarily on semantics. Darko Matovac and Sanda Udier deal with Efficiency of Teaching Verbal Prefixation in Croatian as L2 ← 8 | 9 → by Means of Cognitive Linguistic Approach. They present a study that tests the presumption that the teaching of verbal prefixation by means of a cognitive linguistic approach is more effective than by means of other existing approaches. This is the first empirical research on the effectiveness of the cognitive linguistics based approach in teaching Croatian as a second language. Marija Brala Vukanović and Anita Memišević deal with A cognitive semantico-syntactic analysis of the Croatian verbal prefix nad-.They offer a detailed and systematic analysis of the semantic components and the syntactic requirements of all the Croatian nad- prefixed verbs and present a semantic network of the senses of this prefix and relate their findings to the feature of +/-ATTACHMENT, previously recognized as centrally differentiating the meaning of the Croatian prepositions (iz)nad and preko. They also compare the semantics of this prefix in Croatian with the semantics of the corresponding prefixes in Bulgarian and Macedonian. The paper that closes this section is the one by Sandra Tominac Koslovich and Josip Luzer, titled The use of metaphors in marine engineering texts in English. The paper aims to contribute to the further development of research devoted to metaphors that make up specialized technical disciplines by exploring the use of metaphor in marine engineering. A cognitive linguistic analysis of the metaphorical expressions extracted from a collection of marine engineering texts reveals that the most common conceptual mapping found in marine engineering texts is MARINE ENGINE IS A LIVING ORGANISM.

The last thematic section is dedicated to syntax. It opens with Tanja Gradečak-Erdeljić and Borislav Marušić’s paper Struktur- und Motivationsmuster der Funktionsverbgefüge in der deutschen Konzernsprache. The authors provide an analysis of the cognitive linguistic motivation for the complex predicates with so called function verbs in the German language. Their corpus was based on texts written in the German corporate language and is an excellent example of how linguistic phenomena from one language system are transferred into another. This is followed by a paper titled Syntactic complexity of spontaneous spoken language of adult Croatian speakers by Ana Matić, Gordana Hržica, Jelena Kuvač Kraljević and Marina Olujić. The aim of their study was to explore syntactic complexity (SC) in spontaneous spoken language of adult Croatian speakers and to examine the interrelation between two SC measures: length of the production unit and syntactic sophistication. Their data reveal that two measures significantly and positively correlate, which confirms that speakers who produce longer utterances also produce more rare syntactic structures. The closing chapter of this book is a paper by Tihana Kraš and Igor Šopar – Interpretation of Croatian subject pronouns in inter-sentential contexts: An experimental study. It reports the results of ← 9 | 10 → an experiment testing the interpretation of Croatian null and overt subject pronouns in inter-sentential contexts (i.e. contexts across sentences) by two groups of monolingual native speakers, adults aged 21–25 (mean age 23.1) and typically developing children aged 13–15 (mean age 13.8) by means of a plausibility judgement task.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2018 (May)
Childlike langauge English as a medium of instruction (EMI) Prefixal semantics Intercultual communication Syntactic complexity Null and overt subject pronouns
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien. 2018. 176 p. 16 b/w tab., 12 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Marija Brala Vukanović (Volume editor) Anita Memišević (Volume editor)

Marija Bala-Vukanović is Full Professor at the English Department of the University of Rijeka, Croatia. She obtained her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Cambridge, U.K. Her research interests include cognitive semantics and intercultural pragmatics. Anita Memišević is Assistant Professor at the English Department, University of Rijeka, Croatia. She holds a PhD in cognitive neuroscience of language (University of Zagreb). Her research interests include semantics, bilingualism, psycholinguistics and translation.


Title: Language in Research and Teaching
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178 pages