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Language and its Effects

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

Edited By Marija Brala Vukanović and Anita Memišević

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.

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Cohesive devices as indicators of test washback (Ninočka Truck-Biljan)


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Ninočka Truck-Biljan

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. J.J. Strossmayer University of Osijek, Croatia

Cohesive devices as indicators of test washback

Abstract: This paper discusses the use of cohesive devices in texts written by foreign language learners. The aim of the study was to explore the quantitative and qualitative changes in the use of cohesive devices under the influence of newly introduced standardized language tests in Croatia. Differences in the number and type of cohesive devices were expected with regard to the foreign language and the generation of the examinees taking the language test at the higher A-level, which corresponds to the B2 level according to the CEFR. Quantitative and qualitative linguistic analyses were carried out on a corpus of 200 texts written by students from high schools in the region of Slavonia and Baranja. In addition to exam materials, the adapted classification of cohesive devices (according to e.g. Halliday and Hasan 1976) was used as an instrument of analysis. Changes were noted in the number and type of the cohesive devices, which indicated positive and negative washback effect. The paper contributes to the discussion on the importance of systematic teaching and practicing the correct use of appropriate cohesive devices. Furthermore, the paper highlights the need for assembling a corpus of texts written by students of foreign languages in order to investigate the washback effect of language testing, and to monitor the development of discourse competence.

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