Volume 4, Number 2, December 2007

Editorial

Articles

  • Fred Jyun-Gwang Chen
    The L2 Acquisition of Information Sequencing in Chinese: The Case of English CSL Learners in Taiwan
    show Abstract
    Research has indicated that L1 transfer appears at early stages of L2 acquisition and decreases as L2 proficiency increases. Additionally, it has been shown that learners exhibit different linguistic behavior according to distinct task types. This study employs a cross-linguistic learner performance comparison, encompassing 30 English CSL learners as the experimental group, 30 Korean CSL learners as the control group, and 35 Chinese native speakers as the baseline group. The English and Korean CSL learners are further divided into three L2 proficiency levels. All participants completed sentence and discourse tasks. There are three major findings. First, L1 transfer is found to occur in the English learners’ Chinese interlanguage. Second, L1 transfer is mitigated by the English learners’ Chinese L2 proficiency. Third, the discourse function of correlative markers yinwei/suoyi ("because/so") employed by Chinese native speakers to signal guidepost-echo relationship has not been acquired by the two CSL groups, irrespective of their Chinese L2 proficiency.
  • Jeng-yih Hsu
    Lexical Collocations and their Relation to the Online Writing of Taiwanese College English Majors and Non-English Majors
    show Abstract
    The present study investigates the use of English lexical collocations and their relation to the online writing of Taiwanese college English majors and non-English majors. Data for the study were collected from 41 English majors and 21 non-English majors at a national university of science and technology in southern Taiwan. Each student was asked to take a 45-minute online English writing test, administered by the web-based writing program, Criterion Version 7.1 (Educational Testing Service) to examine the subjects’ use of lexical collocations (i.e. frequency and variety). The test was also used to measure writing scores of the two student groups. Test results were examined to answer two major questions for correlation (1) between the subjects’ frequency of lexical collocations and their writing scores and (2) between the subjects’ variety of lexical collocations and their writing scores. The study findings indicate that: (1) there seems to be a significant correlation between Taiwanese college EFL learners’ frequency of lexical collocations and their online writing scores; and (2) there also seems to be a significant correlation between the subjects’ variety of lexical collocations and their online writing scores. This present study further reports on a pattern of lexical collocation development observed among writers of different scores, ranging from the lowest to the highest.
  • Bee Eng Wong & Soh Theng Quek
    Acquisition of the English Definite Article by Chinese and Malay ESL Learners
    show Abstract
    Chinese Mandarin and the Malay language have no functional equivalents of the English article system and it has been observed anecdotally that many Chinese and Malay ESL learners have difficulty using English articles accurately, particularly the definite article the. Based on Hawkins’ Location Theory (1978), Liu and Gleason (2002) suggest that the non-generic uses of the fall into four major categories: situation, cultural, structural, and textual. This study aims to determine whether the non-generic uses of the present different levels of difficulty for Chinese and Malay ESL learners, and whether or not these different uses are acquired at the same time. One hundred (50 Chinese and 50 Malay) upper secondary students of three levels of English proficiency (advanced, intermediate and low) participated in this study. The participants were instructed to complete a 91-item fill-in-the-article-the test by inserting the in the items wherever deemed necessary. The measures employed for data analysis were SOC (Supplied in Obligatory Contexts), TLU (Target-Like Use), and UOC (Used in Obligatory Contexts). The participants’ performance revealed that: (i) the four non-generic uses of the English article the pose different levels of difficulty; (ii) the acquisition order of the four non-generic uses of thefollows a natural order independent of the ESL learners’ first languages; and (iii) the par-ticipants’ accuracy rate on article usage also depends on their proficiency level. 
  • Walee Khanthuwan
    A Study of the Relationship between Knowledge of Thai Culture and Achievement in Studying Thai as a Foreign Language (in Thai)
    show Abstract
    This research examines the relationship between the knowledge of Thai Culture and achievement in Studying Thai as a Foreign Language. The sample was drawn from students in the Thai Language Programme, Centre for Language Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore, in the first semester of the academic year 2006-7 who volunteered to participate in the research. The study surveyed 130 respondents using questionnaires. These included 81 Thai 1 (Novice), 25 Thai 2 (Advanced Novice), 13 Thai 3 (Intermediate), 8 Thai 4 (High Intermediate) and 3 Thai 5 (Advanced) students. 

    In this research, culture refers to lifestyle, characteristics, attitudes and beliefs which reflect each society’s identity, have been learned by society members, and are different from other societies. The majority of people in a given society usually have similar patterns of life which are generally accepted as the culture of that given society.

    Thai culture refers to Thai identity, the Thai language, Thai arts, Thai lifestyle, Thai cuisine, Thai performance and music, government, morals, social manners and clothes which the Thai people have long been associated with and which have become Thai values. Academic achievement in studying Thai as a foreign language refers to the levels of language proficiency the students of Thai achieve after their language studies.

    The research instrument consisted of a questionnaire composed of multiple-choice questions that cover the level of the Thai courses students are taking, their personal data and knowledge of Thai culture. The data were analyzed with SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences). The results indicated that the majority of the respondents were female and the average age was 21.41 years. The sample with the Thai language proficiency at Levels 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 had the average Thai cultural knowledge score of 31.67, 33.64, 33.46, 30.38, and 35.00, respectively. The hypothesis testing (using ANOVA and correlational analysis at the 95% confidence level) reveals a positive relationship between the level of the students’ Thai language courses and their knowledge of Thai culture. The study results suggest that more Thai culture content can be included in courses to enhance students’ achievement in studying Thai as a foreign language.
  • Hồng Nhung Phạm
    Exploring the Concept of “Face” in Vietnamese: Evidence from Its Collocational Abilities (in Vietnamese)
    show Abstract
    Given the fundamental role of Face in communication in general and in language teaching in particular, the various controversies over the components of this concept and the availability of a great variety of common expressions associated with mặt (face) in Vietnamese, the present paper explores the components of the concept of Face in Vietnamese culture based on an analysis of its collocational expressions. The analysis result shows that positive qualities and the social role(s) that Vietnamese claim for themselves form part of Vietnamese Face, which closely correspond to Spencer-Oatey’s (2000) concept of “identity face” and “social role face” and which are associated with Brown and Levinson’s (1987) “positive face.” However, with evidence from common expressions associated with the term “mặt,” the paper argues that the aspect of negative face (i.e. the individual’s desire to be free from imposition), which is central to Brown and Levinson’s (1987) universal Face-centred model of politeness, is not found in the Vietnamese concept of Face. It is not that the Vietnamese are not concerned for autonomy in action or about others’ desire of freedom in action, but the desire for autonomy is not a constituent of Vietnamese Face. Furthermore, Face in Vietnamese culture also refers to the positive image of a collective with which the individual identifies him/herself and this aspect of Face is not represented in Brown and Levinson’s model. In other words, Face in Vietnamese culture as expressed in common expressions of “mặt” is both an individual and collective possession. If individual qualities & social role(s), and the unique characteristics of the community that a Vietnamese belongs to can be considered static constituents – necessary conditions for the establishment of Face, the existence of Face is also conditional on another sufficient condition: public judgment/evaluation, which is beyond the control of the individual. From its main findings, this paper also suggests some relevant implications regarding foreign language teaching involving the concept of Face.

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