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Preview: Applied Linguistics - current issue

Applied Linguistics Current Issue

Published: Sat, 07 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Sat, 07 Oct 2017 09:43:28 GMT


Notes On Contributors


Dana Gablasova received her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She is a Senior Research Associate at the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science, Lancaster University. Her primary research interests are learner corpora, use of corpora in SLA, and vocabulary acquisition. At present, she is involved in the development of the Trinity Lancaster Corpus, a large corpus of L2 spoken production that will contain language from speakers of three different L2 proficiency levels and will cover a variety of L1 backgrounds. She is a co-author of the New General Service List. <>

How to Produce Vocabulary Lists? Issues of Definition, Selection and Pedagogical Aims. A Response to Gabriele Stein


This short contribution is a response to Stein's critical review of the New General Service List; it reviews Stein's argument and replies to the main points raised in her paper. We identify and discuss three fundamental principles of wordlist creation. In particular, we focus on defining and operationalising the vocabulary construct and the pedagogical potential of wordlists. Our contribution seeks to open a broader discussion about the principles of building wordlists for applied linguistic research and pedagogical purposes. Finally, we offer simple guidelines for vocabulary list creation and use.

J.-U. Keßler, A. Lenzing, and M. Liebner (eds): Developing, Modelling, And Assessing Second Languages


KeßlerJ.-U., LenzingA., and LiebnerM. (Eds): DEVELOPING, MODELLING, AND ASSESSING SECOND LANGUAGES. Benjamins, 2016.

C. Coffin and J. Donohue: A Language as Social Semiotic-Based Approach to Teaching and Learning in Higher Education



Some Thoughts on the Issue of Core Vocabularies A Response to Vaclav Brezina and Dana Gablasova: ‘Is There a Core General Vocabulary?’ Introducing the New General Service List


Is it possible to identify within the vast vocabulary of any language a central part which would serve as a basis for learners to master general communication, for teachers to focus on, for textbook writers to use in the production of teaching material, and for examination boards to assess lexical achievement? The usefulness of such a basic or core vocabulary would consist in making it possible for language learners to paraphrase more complex lexical content (for which more specialized vocabulary is needed) in items of the core vocabulary and understand paraphrases expressed by core vocabulary items. Usefulness is closely linked to meaning: more specialized lexical items can be rendered by a combination of generic and less specific ones. Thus a learner who does not know the word sleeve can paraphrase using words such as arm, and clothes, coat, or shirt. Frequency of occurrence plays a certain part in determining what needs to be included, but it cannot substitute for semantic necessity. The adjective red, for instance, may not have a high frequency in text corpora because references to many natural objects, for example, blood, lips, do not specify what is latently understood, but it has to be a semantic element of the core vocabulary to allow for adequate paraphrases. The question of what should constitute such a lexical core has preoccupied linguists and educationalists for more than a century, and in our time, when we are witnessing the migration of whole populations who need quick help in acquiring foreign languages, answers are more pressing than ever.

The Use of English as ad hoc Institutional Standard in the Belgian Asylum Interview


In institutional settings of globalization, labelled languages are generally preferred over multilingual repertoires and mobile language resources. Drawing on linguistic-ethnographic analysis of the way English is treated as an invariable ‘ad hoc’ idiom in the Belgian asylum interview, this article demonstrates how institutional measures and routines relating to multilingualism fail to address the communicative needs and practices of the participants involved. I argue that by privileging the variety of the host institution as a means to monitor all incoming Englishes, the institution perpetuates traditional—though academically contested—centre-periphery categorizations of global Englishes. I proceed by discussing how the divergent potentialities of the speakers’ linguistic repertoires reflect a remarkable inversion of client-gatekeeper resources in the way the participants with the least linguistic resources in the interview process eventually have the power to act as arbiters of what is or is not institutionally relevant for the case.

The Use of Discourse Markers among Mandarin Chinese Teachers, and Chinese as a Second Language and Chinese as a Foreign Language Learners


This study investigates how the use of discourse markers reflects speaking fluency in Chinese learners. In this study, 220 min of online Chinese courses were transcribed, with 17 Chinese learners and 5 native Chinese teachers as participants. Half of the transcribed data were drawn from students living in Taipei, Taiwan, a Chinese-speaking environment, learning Chinese as a second language. The other portion of the data was collected from students living in non-Chinese-speaking countries, learning Chinese as a foreign language with little exposure to the language outside the classroom. Analysis of the transcripts supported the hypothesis that the frequency of discourse markers used by individual speakers reflects their fluency in the target language. Further analyses of the function of discourse markers produced by the three participant groups suggested that understanding the ability to use discourse markers can be a valuable tool to evaluate, assess, and gauge richness of spoken content, as well as to aid in the development of teaching methods.

The Impact of Out-of-School Factors on Motivation to Learn English: Self-discrepancies, Beliefs, and Experiences of Self-authenticity


English is today learnt in multitudes of settings worldwide, making it difficult to characterize relationships between motivation and context in generalized terms (Ushioda 2013). In settings where students have extensive encounters with English outside school, a reluctance to invest effort in formal learning has been observed. To investigate ways in which out-of-school encounters impact on motivation, questionnaire data was obtained from 116 upper secondary students in Sweden. Structural equation modelling was used to test a series of hypotheses generated from emerging research into language learners identities, beliefs and self-authenticity appraisals. Results revealed that, compared to reference studies from settings where English lacks similar prominence, the Ideal L2 Self accounted for substantially less of the explained variance on a criterion measure. This can be accounted for by the limited discrepancy between current and ideal L2 selves. Results also indicate that beliefs about the efficacy of learning in natural environments have a negative impact on motivation in school, and that appraisals of self-authenticity may have a similar effect, although methodological challenges make this contention difficult to substantiate.

When Safe Means ‘Dangerous’: A Corpus Investigation of Risk Communication in the Media


The mass media has an important role in informing the general public about emerging health risks. Content-based studies of risk communication in the media have revealed a tendency to exaggerate risks or simplify science, but linguistic studies in this area are still scarce. This paper outlines a corpus based investigation of media reporting on the discovery of minute amounts of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDCs) and Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) in drinking water. There is no concrete evidence that these residuals pose any threat to human health in such minute amounts, but the natural scientific uncertainty and professional risk language surrounding contaminants have sparked considerable media attention in both the US and the UK. In fact, these have lead to Congress-level discussions about changes to the way contaminants are regulated in the US. Comparing media reports that appeared in newspaper articles, magazines and web-based media in the UK and the US with those to appear on water company and public health organisation websites, our use of quantitative and qualitative corpus linguistic techniques revealed strikingly different patterns for the language used to represent contaminants and their risks. While water organisation reports demonstrated a clear tendency to downplay the probability and severity of the risk posed by contaminants, the linguistic and rhetorical features identified in media texts place the focus on the potentiality of contaminants as an unconfirmed threat to public and environmental health. We discuss the implications of these findings for the role of the media in the communication of health risks, and for communication about water contaminants.

A Longitudinal Study on the Impact of CLIL on Affective Factors


Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) programmes are burgeoning in European school contexts due to the widespread belief that they help to significantly improve foreign language learning while content learning is not negatively affected. However, some of its purported benefits still need to be empirically confirmed. Thus, while this approach is widely believed to positively influence students’ affective stance, research studies are scant, and hardly any are longitudinal in nature. In an attempt to fill this gap, the present longitudinal study aims to analyse the impact of CLIL on different affective components. The participants are 304 secondary education students who were enrolled in CLIL and non-CLIL programmes. Contrary to expectations and the reviewed literature, the downward motivational trend observed in non-CLIL students in previous studies was not found. The results also indicate that CLIL does not help to sustain students’ motivation over time, but motivation to learn the subject matter is maintained in CLIL classes.

Epistemic Stance in Spoken L2 English: The Effect of Task and Speaker Style


The article discusses epistemic stance in spoken L2 production. Using a subset of the Trinity Lancaster Corpus of spoken L2 production, we analysed the speech of 132 advanced L2 speakers from different L1 and cultural backgrounds taking part in four speaking tasks: one largely monologic presentation task and three interactive tasks. The study focused on three types of epistemic forms: adverbial, adjectival, and verbal expressions. The results showed a systematic variation in L2 speakers’ stance-taking choices across the four tasks. The largest difference was found between the monologic and the dialogic tasks, but differences were also found in the distribution of epistemic markers in the three interactive tasks. The variation was explained in terms of the interactional demands of individual tasks. The study also found evidence of considerable inter-speaker variation, indicating the existence of individual speaker style in the use of epistemic markers. By focusing on social use of language, this article seeks to contribute to our understanding of communicative competence of advanced L2 speakers. This research is of relevance to teachers, material developers, as well as language testers interested in second language pragmatic ability.