Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics (RCEAL)

Working Papers - Volume 12 (2008)

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  • Introduction (1-9)
    Henriëtte Hendriks and Teresa Parodi [Full text]
  • The L2 Listener: Type or Individual? (11-32)
    John Field [Summary] [Full text]
  • A Constraint-Based Approach to Pronoun Resolution (33-69)
    Stavroula-Thaleia Kousta [Summary] [Full text]
  • Knowing What You Mean: The Active Role of the Listener (71-96)
    Barry C Smith [Summary] [Full text]
  • Back to phonology: prosodic structure and the acquisition of definiteness (97-126)
    Danijela Trenkic [Summary] [Full text]
  • Subjectivity of Language Through Spatial Demonstratives (127-145)
    Yi'an Wu [Summary] [Full text]

John Field: The L2 Listener: Type or Individual?

This paper presents findings from research into decoding in second language listening, based upon a selective transcription method. Pauses are inserted at irregular intervals into a recording of authentic speech; and subjects are asked to transcribe the immediately preceding words. The data achieved by this method can be analysed in three different ways. The first treats the second language listener as a type, and attempts to trace patterns of decoding error across listeners who share the same level of L2 knowledge. A second approach groups listeners by first language and seeks evidence of the way in which the processing of a second language is constrained by the influence of the first. This line of attack illustrates the extent to which the recognition of phonemic segments in L2 is influenced by the perceptual categories of L1. A third approach treats each listener as an individual. It indicates that strategic behaviour operates in decoding as well as in constructing higher-level meaning; and demonstrates that the use of particular strategies varies considerably from listener to listener. [Full text]

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Stavroula-Thaleia Kousta: A Constraint-Based Approach to Pronoun Resolution

I present the results of three experiments which investigated the interaction between structural, semantic, and discourse-pragmatic constraints for the interpretation of weak object pronouns (clitics) in Greek. These experiments demonstrated that the effect of each of the constraints studied was dependent on the type and strength of the constraints with which it converged/competed, and that interactions between constraints can be non-linear. These results provide support to a constraint-based approach to the resolution of anaphora. [Full text]

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Barry C Smith: Knowing What You Mean: The Active Role of the Listener

It is great a privilege to be contributing to a volume in honour of Gillian Brown. For many years, while others were talking of the need for interdisciplinary research in the humanities, Gill Brown was active in creating genuine interdisciplinary work on language that spanned several disciplines. Her interests in the nature of communication led her to gather together teams of people with different talents and backgrounds who she thought could make a real contribution to the problems. In this way, she not only launched countless careers, but she was also a pioneer of what we now know as language-based cognitive science. We have much to thank her for and those of us fortunate enough to work her are better equipped than most to engage in meaningful interdisciplinary research. [Full text]

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Danijela Trenkic: Back to phonology: prosodic structure and the acquisition of definiteness

[Full text]

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Yi'an Wu: Subjectivity of Language Through Spatial Demonstratives

This paper explores subjectivity of language through the entity-referring spatial demonstratives in English and Chinese. The research methodology features an analysis of natural written language data from a parallel corpus and the analyst's modelling of the discourse participants' joint endeavour to access the realities of a projected world by means of the linguistic forms available in text and of their linguistic and non-linguistic knowledge. The analysis shows that subjectivity via the demonstratives manifests itself at three levels: in their semantic structure, in the structure of narrative discourse, and in face-to-face conversation involved in the narrative discourse. A cognitive-linguistic conceptual framework is proposed for explaining the connections between subjectivity found at the three levels. The analysis also shows that the English and Chinese entity-referring spatial demonstratives share the same semantic structure, but differ in their extended usages in expressing subjectivity. [Full text]

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