School of Languages and Linguistics - Research Publications

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    Acoustic analysis of the effects of sustained wakefulness on speech
    Vogel, AP ; Fletcher, J ; Maruff, P (ACOUSTICAL SOC AMER AMER INST PHYSICS, 2010-12)
    Exposing healthy adults to extended periods of wakefulness is known to induce changes in psychomotor functioning [Maruff et al. (2005). J. Sleep Res. 14, 21-27]. The effect of fatigue on speech is less well understood. To date, no studies have examined the pitch and timing of neurologically healthy individuals over 24 h of sustained wakefulness. Therefore, speech samples were systematically acquired (e.g., every 4 h) from 18 healthy adults over 24 h. Stimuli included automated and extemporaneous speech tasks, sustained vowel, and a read passage. Measures of timing, frequency and spectral energy were derived acoustically using PRAAT and significant changes were observed on all tasks. The effect of fatigue on speech was found to be strongest just before dawn (after 22 h). Specifically, total speech time, mean pause length, and total signal time all increased as a function of increasing levels of fatigue on the reading tasks; percentage pause and mean pause length decreased on the counting task; F4 variation decreased on the sustained vowel tasks /a:/; and alpha ratio increased on the extemporaneous speech tasks. These findings suggest that acoustic methodologies provide objective data on central nervous system functioning and that changes in speech production occur in healthy adults after just 24 h of sustained wakefulness.
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    LEARNERS' PROCESSING, UPTAKE, AND RETENTION OF CORRECTIVE FEEDBACK ON WRITING Case Studies
    Storch, N ; Wigglesworth, G (CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2010-06)
    The literature on corrective feedback (CF) that second language writers receive in response to their grammatical and lexical errors is plagued by controversies and conflicting findings about the merits of feedback. Although more recent studies suggest that CF is valuable (e.g., Bitchener, 2008; Sheen, 2007), it is still not clear whether direct or indirect feedback is the most effective, or why. This study explored the efficacy of two different forms of CF. The investigation focused on the nature of the learners’ engagement with the feedback received to gain a better understanding of why some feedback is taken up and retained and some is not. The study was composed of three sessions. In session 1, learners worked in pairs to compose a text based on a graphic prompt. Feedback was provided either in the form of reformulations (direct feedback) or editing symbols (indirect feedback). In session 2 (day 5), the learners reviewed the feedback they received and rewrote their text. All pair talk was audio-recorded. In session 3 (day 28), each of the learners composed a text individually using the same prompt as in session 1. The texts produced by the pairs after feedback were analyzed for evidence of uptake of the feedback given and texts produced individually in session 3 for evidence of retention. The learners’ transcribed pair talk proved a very rich source of data that showed not only how learners processed the feedback received but also their attitudes toward the feedback and their beliefs about language conventions and use. Closer analysis of four case study pairs suggests that uptake and retention may be affected by a host of linguistic and affective factors, including the type of errors the learners make in their writing and, more importantly, learners’ attitudes, beliefs, and goals. The findings suggest that, although often ignored in research on CF, these affective factors play an important role in uptake and retention of feedback.
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    Creativity in the use of gender agreement in Mawng How the discourse functions of a gender system can approach those of a classifier system
    Singer, R (JOHN BENJAMINS PUBLISHING CO, 2010)
    The two main types of nominal classification systems in Australian languages — classifiers and genders — are usually easy to distinguish both formally and functionally. However, in the Australian language Mawng, gender agreement carries much of the burden of reference, varies depending on how an entity is construed, and contributes elements of compositional meaning to discourse, with properties usually associated with classifiers rather than genders. The way that semantically-based genders are used in Mawng suggests that we need to add how classification is used to our typologies of nominal classification systems; existing typologies consider mainly morphosyntactic and semantic properties.
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    Learners' use of first language (Arabic) in pair work in an EFL class
    Storch, N ; Aldosari, A (SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2010-10)
    One of the concerns foreign language teachers may have about using small group (and pair) work is that students will use their shared first language (L1) instead of the target language. This study investigated the effect of learner proficiency pairing and task type on the amount of L1 used by learners of English as a foreign language (EFL) in pair work and the functions that the L1 served. Learners in this study ( n = 15 pairs) formed three proficiency groupings based on the teacher’s assessment of their second language proficiency: high—high (H—H), high—low (H—L), and low—low (L—L). All pairs completed three tasks — jigsaw, composition and text-editing — and their talk was audio-recorded. The transcribed pair talk was analysed for the quantity of L1 used (L1 words and L1 turns), and the functions the L1 served. The study found that overall, there was a modest use of L1 in pair work activity and that task type had a greater impact on the amount of L1 used than proficiency pairing. L1 was mainly used for the purpose of task management and to facilitate deliberations over vocabulary. When used for task management, L1 tended to reflect the kind of relationship the learners formed. When used for vocabulary deliberations, L1 was used not only to provide explanations to peers but also for private speech.
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    Individual Variation in the Frication of Voiceless Plosives in Australian English: A Study of Twins' Speech
    Loakes, D ; McDougall, K (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2010)
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    Nominal juxtaposition in Australian languages: An LFG analysis
    Sadler, L ; NORDLINGER, R (Cambridge University Press, 2010)
    It is well known that Australian languages make heavy use of nominal juxtaposition in a wide variety of functions, but there is little discussion in the theoretical literature of how such juxtapositions should be analysed. We discuss a range of data from Australian languages illustrating how multiple nominals share a single grammatical function within the clause. We argue that such constructions should be treated syntactically as set-valued grammatical functions in Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG). Sets as values for functions are well-established in LFG and are used in the representation of adjuncts, and also in the representation of coordination. In many Australian languages, coordination is expressed asyndetically, that is, by nominal juxtaposition with no overt coordinator at all. We argue that the syntactic similarity of all juxtaposed constructions (ranging from coordination through a number of more appositional relations) motivates an analysis in which they are treated similarly in the syntax, but suitably distinguished in the semantics. We show how this can be achieved within LFG, providing a unified treatment of the syntax of juxtaposition in Australian languages and showing how the interface to the semantics can be quite straightforwardly defined in the modular LFG approach.
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    The acoustic characteristics of diphthongs in Indian English
    Maxwell, O ; Fletcher, J (Wiley, 2010-01-01)
    This paper presents the results of an acoustic analysis of English diphthongs produced by three L1 speakers of Hindi and four L1 speakers of Punjabi. Formant trajectories of rising and falling diphthongs (i.e., vowels where there is a clear rising or falling trajectory through the F1/F2 vowel space) were analysed in a corpus of citation-form words. In line with previous research, the diphthong inventory included six different diphthongs and a long monophthongal vowel [OI] in place of/partial derivative U/in GOAT; however, none of the speakers produced a full set of diphthong vowels. In addition, the/eI/diphthong, as in FACE, and the/U partial derivative/diphthong, as in TOUR, had both monophthongal and diphthongal realizations depending on the speaker. Overall, there was a great deal of variation in diphthong realization across the corpus but L1 appeared to be a relevant factor. Punjabi speakers showed a wider range of phonetic realizations for some of the vowels, and were more likely to produce long monophthongs rather than diphthongs. The results also highlight differences in the phonetic characteristics of several diphthongs between the speakers of two language backgrounds. The results of this study therefore contribute to the debate on the phonemic representation of IE vowels by taking into account different L1 influence (i.e., Hindi or Punjabi).
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