School of Languages and Linguistics - Research Publications

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    Stop (de)gemination in Veneto Italian: The role of durational correlates.
    Dian, A ; Hajek, J ; Fletcher, J ; Billington, R (Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association, 2022-12-16)
    This preliminary study investigates a long-assumed but previously untested degemination of stops in the regional variety of Italian spoken in the Veneto, in North-East Italy. The durational parameters known to be affected by gemination in Italian – i.e., consonant duration, duration of the preceding vowel and the ratio between the two – are considered. The entire Italian stop series is investigated through an acoustic-phonetic production experiment involving six speakers reading a set of carrier sentences designed to elicit different prosodic patterns. Partial degemination is observed for most speakers in terms of (a) decreased geminate-singleton consonant duration differences compared to previous studies on other Italian varieties, and (b) considerable overlap between geminate and singleton consonant-to-vowel duration ratio categories. Possible sociophonetic effects are discussed.
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    From the periphery to centre stage: The mainstreaming of Italian in the Australian education system (1960s to 1990s)
    Hajek, J ; Aliani, R ; Slaughter, Y (Cambridge University Press, 2022-11-11)
    This article examines the complex drivers of change in language education that have resulted in Australia having the highest number of students learning Italian in the world. An analysis of academic and non-academic literature, policy documents, and quantitative data helps trace the trajectory of the Italian language in the Australian education system, from the 1960s to the 1990s, illustrating the interaction of different variables that facilitated the shift in Italian's status from a largely immigrant language to one of the most widely studied languages in Australia. This research documents the factors behind the successful mainstreaming of Italian into schools, which, in addition to the active support it received from the Italian community and the Italian government, also included, notably, the ability of different Australian governments to address societal transformation and to respond to the emerging practical challenges in scaling up new language education initiatives in a detailed and comprehensive manner.
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    Designing an App for Pregnancy Care for a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Community
    Smith, W ; Wadley, G ; Daly, JO ; Webb, M ; Hughson, J ; Hajek, J ; Parker, A ; Woodward-Kron, R ; Story, DA (The Association for Computing Machinery, 2017)
    We report a study to design and evaluate an app to support pregnancy information provided to women through an Australian health service. As part of a larger project to provide prenatal resources for culturally and linguistically diverse groups, this study focused on the design and reception of an app with the local Vietnamese community and health professionals of a particular hospital. Our study had three stages: an initial design workshop with the hospital; prototype design and development; prototype-based interviews with health professionals and focus groups with Vietnamese women. We explore how an app of this sort must be designed for a range of different use scenarios, considering its use by consumers with a multiplicity of differing viewpoints about its nature and purpose in relation to pregnancy care.
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    Understanding the experiences and communication needs of culturally and linguistically diverse communities during the COVID-19 pandemic
    Hajek, J ; Karidakis, M ; Amorati, R ; Sengupta, M ; Hao, Y ; Pym, A ; Woodward-Kron, R (Research Unit for Multilingualism and Cross-cultural Communication, 2022)
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    Enhancing COVID-19 public health communication for culturally and linguistically diverse communities: An Australian interview study with community representatives
    Karidakis, M ; Woodward-Kron, R ; Amorati, R ; Hu, B ; Pym, A ; Hajek, J (Det Kgl. Bibliotek/Royal Danish Library, 2022-01-25)
    Background: Public health crises present challenges for providing accessible, timely, and accurate health information to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. Aim: The aim of this qualitative project was to explore strategies used by CALD community organizations to improve communication about COVID-19 for their communities; we also aimed to identify gaps and challenges. Methods: We interviewed 16 representatives from Greek, Italian, and Chinese CALD organizations in Melbourne, Australia. The interviews were analyzed thematically. Results: Community leaders played a significant role in engaging their community members with accurate key health information. There were differences between language communities about preferred channels for receiving information. As the pandemic intensified, there was a shift from written communication to more interactive exchanges between authorities and community leaders. Discussion: The findings suggest effective public health communication is enhanced by the mediation and outreach strategies adopted by CALD community organizations; further, stakeholders need to be cognizant of heterogeneity of needs and preferences. This may optimize information dissemination to meet specific needs. Conclusions:The CALD organizations have developed communication strategies involving different kinds of mediation to reach specific sub-groups, especially the most vulnerable. These strategies can inform future public health engagement.
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    Approaches to the study of address in pluricentric languages: methodological reflections
    Schüpbach, D ; Hajek, J ; Kretzenbacher, HL ; Norrby, C (Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2021-11-12)
    Abstract While research on pluricentricity has traditionally focused on phonological, lexical and grammatical variation across national varieties, pluricentric languages also provide a rich laboratory for the exploration of pragmatic variation, and potentially new insights into the complexities of both pragmatics and pluricentricity. Pluricentric pragmatics remains a developing field and determining appropriate methodologies and strategies for data collection remains open to evaluation and assessment. Methodological considerations pertaining to address research in pluricentric languages are made from a range of perspectives, which are typically interconnected and will depend on the intended research focus. In this contribution we present a critical reflection on methodological aspects of pragmatic research, based on our own experiences investigating address in several pluricentric languages (in particular German and English). After a brief overview of the pluricentric languages considered and their address systems we provide an outline of the research projects reviewed. We then discuss in detail issues regarding data types and data collection (in particular questionnaires, interviews, focus groups and various online data) and consider further methodological aspects such as the choice of research framework, context and type of address investigated, quantitative and/or qualitative approaches taken and whether the research focus is on actual use, reported use and/or perceptions. We conclude with some suggestions for further research directions.
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    Motivation for learning Chinese in a study abroad context: Vietnamese students in Taiwan
    Nguyen, TTT ; Hajek, J (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2021-03-16)
    This article examines Vietnamese students’ motivation for learning Mandarin Chinese during their study abroad in Taiwan and their construction of self in relation to this language learning motivation. A combination of several concepts of ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self, instrumental motive, integrative motive, linguistic capital, and multiple self-aspects is used as a theoretical lens to gain insights into the students’ Chinese learning motivation. The study employs a qualitative research approach in which semi-structured interviews with English-medium students from five Taiwanese universities were conducted. Findings reveal that the students’ motivation for learning Chinese contributed to portraying their ideal and ought-to Chinese selves, which subsume their different instrumental and integrative motives for language learning. The ideal Chinese self they would like to become possesses Chinese linguistic capital, which would confer on them advantages pertaining to their study, career development and social relations. The students’ ideal Chinese self also incorporates and reinforces their (desired) cultural, economic and social selves. Implications for supporting international students’ motivation for out-of-class language learning and their construction of self at the institutional level are then discussed.
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    Italian Language Learning and Student Motivation at Australian Universities
    D'Orazzi, G ; Hajek, J (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2021-06-11)
    Motivation in learning languages other than English has not being extensively explored. This appears to be particularly true for Italian at university level, for which few studies in the motivational literature can be found. It is particularly relevant then that, in this study, we focus on understanding the reasons why university students in Australia choose to learn Italian, and what motivates them over time once they have begun. In order to answer these questions, we collected qualitative data via two rounds of questionnaires. To facilitate our analysis, a three-level model (i.e. micro, meso, and macro) was adopted, following Gayton and the Douglas Fir Group. The levels were linked to three principal component factors with each one bringing together multiple motivational elements, which changed over time highlighting the dynamic nature of motivation for learners of Italian.
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    Fostering motivation and creativity through self-publishing as project-based learning in the Italian L2 classroom
    Amorati, R ; Hajek, J (WILEY, 2021-09-01)
    This article presents the results of a mixed-method study that investigated the impact of an innovative project-based learning module, entitled “I am an author,” on students' motivation and creativity, and also examined its positive and negative aspects emerging from students' evaluations. As part of this module, advanced learners of Italian are required to write and self-publish a short, fully illustrated children's story in Italian. The results suggest that while students encountered some problems during the activity, overall the project had a positive impact on their intrinsic motivation—linked to the opportunity to use the language to target a nonacademic audience and to their investment in a personally relevant and world relevant task—and also helped them develop their creative skills. This study adds to scholarship on the effectiveness of experiential learning through a targeted project-based activity and paves the way for future development of and research on the project.
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    Language Education in Australian Primary Schools: Policy, Practice, Perceptions
    Mason, S ; Hajek, J ; Lanvers, U ; Thompson, AS ; East, M (Springer International Publishing, 2021)
    Despite considerable policy attention to language education in schools over several decades, the rate of students who continue studying a language in Australia post any compulsory period has remained low in comparison with other nations. Most language programmes begin during students’ primary school years, and as this is often the first experience of language learning for many monolingual Australian students, it is an important sector for investigation, particularly as most attention is placed on the secondary sector. This chapter provides an illustration and analysis of the state and nature of language education in Australian primary schools from three interconnected perspectives. First, we provide a detailed overview of the policies and programmes that have impacted primary school education in Australia. Next, we discuss the implementation of language teaching and learning at the classroom level, also drawing on research in the field to elicit the main challenges faced by students and teachers in modern classrooms. Finally, we discuss the public perceptions of the role and state of language education in the sector, particularly drawing on our recent studies of the representation of the discipline in the Australian press.