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Language and its Effects

Proceedings from the 31st International Conference of the Croatian Applied Linguistics Society

by Marija Brala Vukanović (Volume editor) Anita Memišević (Volume editor)
Conference proceedings 246 Pages

Summary

The effects of language are numerous. Some are known and have been described, other effects are intuitive and are still waiting to be understood, explained and predicted, while – possibly – there might be more effects that we are still unaware of. The book brings together 16 contributions organized into two main sections: The first one relates to the issue of the effects of language in the FL classroom. The second one can, broadly speaking, be subsumed under the heading of sociolinguistics, given that it brings together a number of papers exploring the effects of language on society and/or on the individual. The answers to the questions have been provided by linguists – theoreticians and practitioners - from multiple perspectives. Thus, the conclusions and invitations for further research put forth in the papers collected in this book, should be of use to anyone with an interest in the effects of language, from cognitive scientists to FL teachers.

Table Of Content

  • 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)
  • Am I bilingual? Factors affecting Croatian pre-service and in-service teachers’ self-assessment of bilingualism (Siniša Smiljanić / Ana Bratulić)
  • (Micro)teaching through the medium of English: University content teachers’ practice and learning (Branka Drljača Margić / Irena Vodopija-Krstanović)
  • Cohesive devices as indicators of test washback (Ninočka Truck-Biljan)
  • Reading diary as a tool for EFL reading from the self-monitoring perspective (Alenka Mikulec / Renata Šamo)
  • English-language informal exposure and students’ EFL classroom motivation and preferences (Sara Brodarić Šegvić)
  • Oral interaction in the teaching of the Serbian and Croatian languages as FL to Italian speakers (Olja Perišić Arsić)
  • Italian speakers learning Croatian as L2: Accents (Ivančica Banković-Mandić / Vesna Deželjin)
  • Factors involved in the acquisition of prefixed verbs in Croatian as L2 (Darko Matovac / Sanda Lucija Udier)
  • In search of a new linguistic identity: A sociolinguistic analysis of the private correspondence of supporters of the Illyrian Movement (Snježana Husinec)
  • The analysis of the social network from the quantitative sociolinguistic research of the local vernacular of Crikvenica (Martina Bašić)
  • Parental attitudes towards Croatian as the heritage language in Australia (Jasna Novak-Milic)
  • The impact of heritage language proficiency and attitudes on the identity of Slovene Canadians (Nada Šabec)
  • Pragmatics and semantics of the verb misliti (Mihaela Matešić / Anita Memišević / Marija Brala-Vukanović)
  • Emotionen in der politischen Manipulation (Marija Perić / Nikolina Miletić / Anita Pavić Pintarić)
  • Phraseme aus dem Bereich Intellekt im Deutschen und Englischen (Marija Perić)
  • Somatismen mit dem Lexem Kopf als Ausdruck von Emotionen (Nikolina Miletić)

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Marija Brala-Vukanović & Anita Memišević

Preface

It has become more than a tradition: the May yearly meeting of the Croatian Applied Linguistics Society (CALS). The idea to bring together researchers, teachers, translators and other members who have been trying to understand the essence of human language has, over the past three decades, grown and matured and is today a platform for fruitful scholarly discussion, professional and human bonds, and, last but not least, dreams and hopes for an even brighter future. We meet to present our work, share our ideas, be it beliefs or doubts, and to build strong bridges that will takes us into tomorrow.

Following last year’s, jubilar 30th meeting, the 2017 CALS conference was held in Rijeka. The title of the conference was Language and its effects. Such a broad topic has been intended to bring together sociolinguistic research – investigating the effects of language on society, as well as psycholinguistic i.e. cognitive linguistic research – exploring the effects of language on cognition (as well as vice versa). Of course, the effects of language on human society and individuals are countless and the broad topic has been intended to offer a possible thematic opening to a wide array of scholars investigating language, or working with language – such as linguists (theoretical and applied), teachers and translators. The call for the conference papers was organized around three broad topics: 1. Language and its impact on society; 2. Language and its effects on human cognition, and 3) The influence of language on individuals.

The proceedings follow a similar organizational structure so the book is organized into two main sections: the first one relates to the issue of the effects of language in the FL classroom. The second one can, broadly speaking, be subsumed under the heading of sociolinguistics, given that it brings together a number of papers exploring the effects of language on society and/or on the individual, i.e. the individual’s mind. Before looking at the contents of each section in more detail, we need to point out that – if not otherwise specified – all the graphs and tables in the papers are original contributions by the authors.

The first section opens with Siniša Smiljanić and Ana Bratulić’s paper titled ‘Am I bilingual? Factors affecting Croatian pre-service and in-service teachers’ self-assessment of bilingualism’ in which they, on the basis of a questionnaire administered to almost 200 participants, examine how gender, age, professional status, age and context of second language acquisition, L2 proficiency, and L2 use ← 7 | 8 → affect self-assessment of bilingualism. Their results revel that the teachers’ self-assessment of bilingualism is related to their professional status, self-perceived L2 proficiency, and L2 use. The next paper, ‘(Micro)teaching through the medium of English: University content teachers’ practice and learning’, by Branka Drljača Margić and Irena Vodopija-Krstanović investigates 40 university teachers’ use of English for teaching purposes in a lifelong English language support programme. They identify the most frequent language errors and show that the teachers tend to use transitions to enhance the clarity and comprehensibility of lectures.

After these two papers that focus on teachers and their attitudes towards and use of L2, the focus shifts to students. In ‘Cohesive devices as indicators of test washback’ Ninočka Truck-Biljan investigates the quantitative and qualitative changes in the use of cohesive devices under the influence of newly introduced standardized language tests in Croatia. She examined a corpus consisting of 200 texts written by high school students and found changes in the number and type of cohesive devices, which indicated positive and negative washback effect. Alenka Mikulec and Renata Šamo focus on reading diaries in their paper titled ‘Reading diary as a tool for EFL reading from the self-monitoring perspective’. They conducted a study in which 22 students, whose task was to read an expository text and keep a diary, participated. Their results indicate a fairly significant use of metacognitive strategies and they suggest that reading diaries should be used more frequently not only in reading research, but also in teaching practice. Sara Brodarić Šegvić deals with ‘English-language informal exposure and students’ EFL classroom motivation and preferences’. She analysed data collected from 78 high school students and examined their attitudes towards speaking, reading, listening, writing and grammar practice in class, and compared them to the frequency of their EFL exposure outside of school. Her results reveal that the students who report an above-average engagement in various out-of-school English-related activities also express greater inclination for EFL activities in the classroom.

While the previous three papers focus on EFL, the next three focus on Croatian as a second language. This part of the section opens with Olja Perišić Arsić’s paper titled ‘Oral interaction in the teaching of the Serbian and Croatian language as FL to Italian speakers’. She examines student-student and student-teacher interaction in a Serbian and Croatian language class for Master’s students and focuses on the method the teacher uses in order to be understood and on the oral production and interaction among students. She also attempts to identify most suitable methods for motivating and involving students which might help develop their interactive skills. Ivančica Banković Mandić and Vesna Deželjin deal with the influence of mother tongue in learning a foreign language in their paper titled ‘Italian speakers ← 8 | 9 → learning Croatian as L2: Accents’. They focus on deviations in the pronunciation of Croatian made by Italian-speaking students and find that the most frequent deviations from the standard pronunciation occur in polysyllabic words where the first syllable should be stressed, and in certain verbs where the stressed syllable changes according to the word’s form. The final paper in this section, ‘Factors involved in the acquisition of prefixed verbs in Croatian as L2’ by Darko Matovac and Sanda Lucija Udier, aims at testing the hypothesis presented in literature that the acquisition of prefixed verbs is influenced by whether a verbal prefix has a cognate preposition, and, if it has, by how often prefixed verbs formed by that verbal prefix are followed by their cognate prepositions.

The second part of the book, broadly grouped under the heading of ‘Sociolinguistics – from the collective to the individual and back’, opens with a paper authored by Snježana Husinec titled ‘In search of a new linguistic identity: A sociolinguistic analysis of the private correspondence of supporters of the Illyrian Movement’. By exploring the interaction between various languages and dialects in the multilingual Croatian of the 1830s and 1840s, the paper aims at exploring the macro-level sociolinguistic changes in Croatia in the first half of the 19th century, especially those related to the acquisition of Shtokavian. The issue is investigated by means of a quantitative and qualitative analysis of private correspondence of a well-known intellectual family of the time. The aim is to establish which idioms are used in the private communication. The findings are connected to wider sociolinguistic issues such as the question of which factors might affect private language choices.

The focal question of the paper ‘The analysis of the social network from the quantitative sociolinguistic research of the local vernacular of Crikvenica’ by Martina Bašić relates to the question of how language innovations – including adapted and innovative usages of archaic words – appear, spread and survive in social networks. The issues are investigated by analysing the results of a quantitative sociolinguistic research of the local vernacular of Crikvenica. The results show that leaders and spreaders of language innovations and non-standard norm are the oldest members of the social network.

Next, we have two papers on language attitudes. The paper by Jasna Novak-Milić titled ‘Parental attitudes towards Croatian as the heritage language in Australia’ takes as its point of departure the fact that the number of Croatian classes offered in Australia has been on a clear decline for the past 20 years. Novak-Milić explored the role of parents – and their language attitudes – in the overall process of (heritage) language learning. The issue of language attitudes is also the focal question of the paper ‘The impact of heritage language proficiency and attitudes on ← 9 | 10 → the identity of Slovene Canadians’ authored by Nada Šabec. The author presents a case-study qualitative analysis of the data obtained in a participant observation, taped recorded personal narratives and follow-up semi-structured questionnaires. The results of the study help shed new light on the issue of the impact of heritage language on ethnic identity.

Talking us from the social realm of language effects, to that of the effects of language on the individual (i.e. its mind), is the paper by Mihaela Matešić, Anita Memišević and Marija Brala-Vukanović titled ‘Pragmatics and semantics of the verb misliti’. Basing their proposal of the semantico-pragmatic analysis of ‘misliti’ (to think) on a corpus analysis, the authors suggest that this verb serves as a cover term for a great number of activities related to cognitive processes. The most interesting finding is that ‘misliti’ tends to be used more frequently in pragmatic senses, than in its core sense of a ‘cognitive process’.

In the final three papers of this section, and the book, we turn to the question of the relation between language and emotions, and language and body parts. The paper ‘Emotionen in der politischen Manipulation’ by Marija Perić, Nikolina Miletić and Anita Pavić Pintarić explores how manipulation in political discourse is realized on the semantic, pragmatic, contextual and other levels, and looks at the various usages of the emotional denotation of the lexemes ‘us’ and ‘them’ in political discourse. Most interestingly, the paper explores the issue under investigation both in German as well as Croatian newspaper articles. This is followed by another paper analysing and describing the phrasemes belonging to the area of intellect in German and English – ‘Phraseme aus dem Bereich Intellekt im Deutschen und Englischen’ by Marija Perić. Rooting her research in a corpus consisting of German and English newspapers, the author examines the types of German and English phrasemes according to the type of idiomaticity, according to positive or negative value, and according to the points of attack. Finally, in the paper authored by Nikolina Miletić under the title ‘Somatismen mit dem Lexem Kopf als Ausdruck von Emotionen’ we take a different perspective on phrasemes, this time centrally considering their expressivity. More specifically the paper focuses on the connotative and pragmatic value of the phrasemes containing a body part (i.e. somatisms) – in the specific case those containing the lexeme head in the Croatian and German language. The analysis, performed by means of the evaluation theory and considering a corpus of Croatian and German newspaper texts, focuses on the relationship between the lexeme under scrutiny (head) and its potential to express emotion. The aim of the study is to show whether there are crosslinguistic differences in expressing emotions with somatisms containing the component head. ← 10 | 11 →

Prefaces usually end with a paragraph in which editors express their debt of gratitude to everyone who has – in one way or another – contributed to the making of the book. In our case we would like to begin this paragraph by thanking the contributors to this volume, as well as the reviewers of the papers. Your thoughts and knowledge have been a constant source of inspiration for us. We would also like to express gratitude to the Peter Lang staff, as well as to all those of you who are reading this book and will do so in the future. Hopefully the ideas put forth in it will have long lasting effects on the development of language studies in Croatia and beyond.

Biographical notes

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

Marija Brala-Vukanović is Full Professor at the English Department of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka. Her main research interests include cognitive semantics and intercultural pragmatics. She has published over 40 journal articles, and has authored two linguistics books. Anita Memišević is Assistant Professor at the Department of English, University of Rijeka, where she teaches core English courses, translation, Introduction to Psycholinguistics and Business Correspondence. She has published and presented a number of papers in Croatia and abroad. Her research interests include semantics of verbs and verbal prefixes, bilingualism, psycholinguistics and translation. In 2018 she took over the duty of the Secretary of the Croatian Applied Linguistics Society.

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Title: Language and its Effects