School of Languages and Linguistics - Research Publications
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The Emergence of Second Language Categorisation of the English Article Construction
This study examines the emergent cognitive categorisation of the English article construction among second language (L2) learners. One hundred and fourteen Mandarin-L1 learners of English, divided into two L2 proficiency levels (low-to-intermediate and advanced), were measured by a computer-based cloze test for the accuracy and response time of appropriate use of English articles in sentential contexts. Results showed that when learners acquired the polysemous English article construction they demonstrated stronger competence in differentiating individual form-function mappings in the article construction. L2 learners’ patterns of article construction usage were shaped by semantic functions. Learners performed better on the definiteness category than on the non-definiteness categories, suggesting that learners were sensitive to the prototypicality of nominal grounding. Advanced learners demonstrated an increased sensitivity to semantic idiosyncrasy, but they lacked contextualised constructional knowledge. Competition among the functional categories and restructuring of functional categories are important ways of regularization that learners go through to acquire semantically complex systems such as articles. View Full-Text
Anredestrategien im Erwerb des Deutschen als Fremdsprache
(Erich Schmidt Verlag GmbH and Co. KG, 2020)
Correct usage of pronominal and nominal address forms is a fundamental requirement for well functioning communication. At the same time, it is a particularly difficult feature to learn in a second language. The article presents results of a study done with students of German at the University of Melbourne. It shows that students rely heavily on the system of their first language and that patterns of formality and informality in address, which vary substantially between different linguistic cultures, present the greatest problems to language learners.
Double agent, double cross?
Or how a suffix changes nature in an isolating language: dór in Tetun Dili
(Benjamins - John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2020-12-15)
This volume should be of interest not only to Austronesianists and historians of Insular Southeast Asia, but also to grammarians, typologists, historical linguists, creolists, and specialists in language contact.
Building knowledge in urban agriculture: the challenges of local food production in Sao Paulo and Melbourne
Urban environments face multiple burdens and significant challenges related to food safety and sustainable agriculture. Urban agriculture remains fragmented and incipient in many cities worldwide. In their efforts to ensure sustainable urban food systems and provide public access to affordable and quality food, city governments must identify and pursue emerging opportunities. This study analyzed how São Paulo and Melbourne are working to overcome the related challenges.
Community languages and LOTE provision in Victorian primary schools: Mix or match?
(John Benjamins Publishing, 2007)
Primary school languages education continues to be a challenging issue for all states in Australia. In Victoria, LOTE study is provided at the primary level to address the needs of linguistically diverse communities, as well as to provide an enriching learning experience for monolingual speakers of English. The challenge remains to ensure that programs that are run are effective, address the needs of the community and are embraced as a valuable and enriching component of the school curriculum. This study looks at the provision of LOTE in 2003 in Victorian primary schools and in particular, through an analysis of the geographical location of community groups and primary LOTE programs, how effectively community needs are being met. We also analyse the nature of LOTE programs through an examination of teachers’ qualifications, time allotment and program type. Factors identified by some schools as impinging on LOTE study at the primary level, such as literacy concerns and multilingual diversity, will also be examined.
Videoconferencing and the networked provision of language programs in regional and rural schools
(Cambridge Core, 2019-05-01)
The use of videoconferencing technology to support the delivery of language programs shows great potential in regional and rural settings where a lack of access to specialist teachers limits equitable access to education. In this article, we investigate the establishment of two regional and rural primary school networks in Australia for videoconferenced language learning. Adopting a perspective taken from the discipline of information systems called structuration theory, we examine how the technology they use both changes and is changed by its use in language learning, and how schools and teachers take control of technology and adapt their educational approaches. Case studies were carried out on the two networks using multiple data sources, including interviews and observation of language classes. The findings reveal that even with the same conceptual foundations and aims, divergent models of practice emerge as sustainable adaptations to localised factors. These differences are shaped by, among other things, an interplay between the quality of infrastructure, prior knowledge, and the "material properties" of the technology, including its functions, limits, and deployment in physical space. A closer look at these practices illustrates limitations and possibilities specifically for language education, but also more broadly illustrates how the success of these videoconferencing initiatives are influenced by a nuanced combination of social, educational, and technological factors.
Scaling processes of clause chains in Pitjantjatjara
Clause chains are a syntactic strategy for combining multiple clauses into a single unit. They are reported in many languages, including Korean and Turkish. However, they have seen relatively little focused research. In particular, prosodic features are often mentioned in descriptions of clause chaining, however there have been vanishingly few investigations. Corpus-based studies of the prosody of clause chains in two unrelated languages of Papua New Guinea report that they are typically produced as a sequence of Intonation phrases united by pitch-scaling of the L% boundary tones in each clause with only the final, finite, clause descending to a full L%. The present study is the first experimental investigation of the prosody of clause chains in Pitjantjatjara. This paper focuses on one type of clause chain found in the Australian Indigenous language Pitjantjatjara. We examine a set of 120 clause chains read out by three native Pitjantjatjara speakers. Prosodic analysis reveals that these Pitjantjatjara clause chains are produced within a single Intonational Phrase. Speakers do not pause between the clauses in the chain, there is consistent linear downstep throughout the phrase and additionally phrase final lowering occurs at the end of the utterance. This differs from previous impressionistic studies of the prosody of clause chains.
Digging up the past: urban agriculture narratives in Melbourne and São Paulo
(Informa UK Limited, 2020)
As urban agriculture becomes increasingly recognised as a contributor to nutritional and civic wellbeing, real estate developers and community associations have promoted it to advance distinct agendas. The article analyses this phenomenon in Melbourne and São Paulo, where colonial and industrial legacies have set the stage for urban agriculture’s resurgence and resulting “internal contradictions.” Developers of upmarket condominiums in both cities advertise urban agriculture as a purchasable commodity capable of recovering customers’ lost connections with nature and each other. However, the gentrifying effects of these developments deepen rather than alleviate social and environmental ills. By contrast, community projects profiled in four case studies emphasised urban agriculture’s ability to confront the long-term neglect of land, employment, and environment. We conclude that the capacity of urban agriculture to improve food systems is enhanced when proponents develop historically informed narratives that engage and inform consumers and municipal governments.
Phonetic evidence for phonotactic change in Nafsan (South Efate)
(Pacini Editore SpA, 2020)
Nafsan, an Oceanic language of central Vanuatu, is notable for the complex phonotactic structures it exhibits compared to languages spoken further to the north, and compared to the general preference for CV syllables among Oceanic languages. Various types of heterorganic consonant clusters are found in syllable onsets, and are thought to have arisen from the loss of selected medial vowels. Medial vowel deletion is suggested to be a process of change which has been underway for some time in the language, but the details of how this process operates have not been fully clear. Unresolved questions relating to the status of length in the vowel system and the location of lexical prominence have posed a challenge to arriving at a detailed description of vowel deletion and its consequences. Drawing together recent phonetic analyses and previous work, this paper provides an overview of phonotactic structures in contemporary Nafsan and outlines the main factors which lead to the deletion of medial vowels and result in the complex syllable onsets observed today.
Acquisition of Pitjantjatjara clause chains
(Frontiers Media, 2020-03-06)
In Pitjantjatjara, a central Australian Indigenous language, speakers typically describe sequences of actions using clause chaining constructions. While similar constructions are common among the world’s languages, very little is known about how children acquire them. A notable exception are the converb constructions of Turkish, which have been relatively well-studied. The present paper examines the acquisition of Pitjantjatara clause chaining constructions and compares this with the acquisition of Turkish converb constructions. Data is drawn from a naturalistic corpus recorded between 2016 and 2019. The corpus contains over 4000 utterances from 23 children aged between 10 months and 10 years, five of whom are recorded at multiple ages...
A layered investigation of Chinese in the linguistic landscape: a case study of Box Hill, Melbourne
(John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2020-09-11)
Increased attention to urban diversity as a site of study has fostered the recent development of linguistic landscape studies. To date, however, much of the research in this area has concerned the use and spread of English to the exclusion of other global languages. In a case study situated in Box Hill, a large suburb of Melbourne, we adopted a layered approach to investigate the role of Chinese language in Australia. Our data set consisted of hundreds of photographs of street signage in one square block area of the shopping district. Results of our analyses show that signage portrays a variety of code preferences and semiotic choices that in turn reveal insights into the identities, ideologies, and strategies that help to structure the urban environment. As demonstrated in our study, such complexity requires a renewed and situated understanding of key principles of linguistic landscape research (Ben-Rafael & Ben-Rafael, 2015).