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Department of Linguistics

2014 Research Seminars

 

Past events in Linguistics

Have you missed any of our exciting research seminars?  Many of our exciting events are available via webcast on the echoes website long after the actual event date.

Date
Research Event

14 October 2014

 

Linguistics Research Seminar Series:

The conventionalization of mouth actions in a signed language: evidence from the Auslan Corpus

Speaker: Trevor Johnston
1-2 pm, E6A 102

This seminar will be webcast via the echoes website
(No login/password required) and archived on the site for later access.

In this presentation we examine the distribution and characteristics of mouth actions in Auslan (Australian Sign Language) as found in the Auslan Corpus to gauge the degree of language-specific conventionalization mouth gestures and mouthings. All signs and all mouth actions are examined and the state of the mouth in each sign is assigned to one of three broad categories: (i) mouthings (silent articulations of English words), (ii) mouth gestures (mouth movements that are not mouthings), and (iii) no mouth action. Mouth gestures are divided into sub-categories and types broadly based on Crasborn et al. (2008), but modified to accommodate our experiences with the Auslan data and also the observations of Fontana (2008) and Sandler (2009). The data in this study has been drawn from the Auslan corpus of native or near-native signers (Johnston & Schembri 2006). Fifty video clips were selected from the corpus, representing 38 individuals, 3 text types (monologue, dialogue, and elicited) during 5 hours and 58 minutes of the corpus, representing c. 17,000 manual sign tokens. The signed texts ranged from 1:32 to 38:30 minutes in duration. The texts consisted of 25 monologues (narratives of which there were 25 retellings of two Aesop's fables); 10 dialogic texts (free conversation or responses to a series of interview questions); and 15 sessions of 40 elicited picture descriptions. Prior to mouthing annotations the texts had been given at minimum a basic annotation (i.e., they had been glossed and translated) according to the Auslan Corpus Annotation Guidelines (see also Johnston (2010) using ELAN multi-media annotation software. Mouth gestures are divided into sub-categories and types broadly based on Crasborn et al. (2008), but modified to accommodate our experiences with the Auslan data and also the observations of Fontana (2008) and Sandler (2009). We then use multivariate analysis to measure the strength of social factors (such as age, dialect, sex) and linguistic factors (such as grammatical class) associated with the use of mouth actions. Mouth actions that invariably occur while communicating in SLs have posed a number of questions for linguists: which are 'merely borrowings' from the relevant ambient spoken language? which are gestural and shared with all of the members of the wider community in which signers find themselves? and which are conventionalized aspects of the grammar of some or all signed languages? Preliminary results suggest that though some Auslan mouth actions do display some degree of conventionalization, none appear to be Auslan- or SL-specific and that there is a high degree of language contact and bilingualism in the deaf community.

9 October 2014

 

Human Sciences Perspectives Workshop in Language Teaching and Technology:

Language Teaching and Technology

This symposium will explore the role of technology in language learning in different social contexts. It will bring together researchers from across Australia and New Zealand.

Presenters will include: Prof. Cynthia White (Massey University) Prof. Martina Mollering (Macquarie University) Dr. Enza Tudini (Univeristy of South Australia) Dr. Caroline Steel (University of Queensland) Dr. Antonie Alm (University of Otago) Dr. Constanza Tolosa (University of Auckland) Dr. Phil Chappell and Thushara Gamage (Macquarie University) Dr. Matt Bower (Macquarie University) Dr. Karen Haines (UNITEC, Auckland) Si Jia Guo (Macquarie University) Olga Kozar (Macquarie University).

This is a free event.

Please register here by October 3rd, 2014.

Pleas contact Olga Kozar for any inquiries.

9 September 2014

 

Linguistics Research Seminar Series:

English Usage and Corpus Linguistics in the PostColonial Era

Speaker: Pam Peters
1-2 pm, E6A 102

This seminar will be webcast via the echoes website
(No login/password required) and archived on the site for later access.

English usage writing has long been prescriptive, whether you trace its origins from the C18 grammarians of the so-called "age of correctness", or from Fowler's magisterial Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1926), which prompted many imitators in the second half of the C20.  Their projection of the English language was almost always in terms of a single convergent standard, with scant recognition of register or regional differentiation, or of language change.  Usage guides can be seen as supporting the ideology of the standard (Milroy & Milroy 3rd ed, 1999) in English language education, and hyperstandardisation in the publishing industry (Cameron 1995). But the later C20 also saw the rise of research on regional Englishes in the post-colonial world, and the creation of regional corpora of English such as the ICE network (International Corpus of English), to which Macquarie University linguists contributed the ICE-AUS corpus. The ICE corpora were game-changing, providing empirical data by which to describe usage differences among the varieties of English in Kachru's (1985) "inner" and "outer circles".  A generation later, a much bigger array of regional corpora is available through the GloWbE corpus (a corpus of Global Web-based English), with 1.9 billion words from the internet (blogs and websites) in twenty varieties of English (Davies & Fuchs (forthcoming 2015).  C21 usage writers are resourced as never before to offer fully evidence-based accounts of regional and international English, as well as apparent-time indications of usage changing at different rates in different varieties of English.  This paper presents corpus evidence on the assimilation of the Latin loanword data in contemporary English.

28 August 2014

 

Australian Hearing Hub conversations on Hearing and Language in Early Childhood

Invited Speaker: Christine Kitamura, Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences and Psychology, University of Western Sydney
1.30pm to 4.30pm, Australian Hearing Hub, NAL seminar room (level 4)

Please RSVP via email to Louise Dodd by Friday 22 August 2014 to ensure we have the correct numbers for refreshments.

26 August 2014

 

TESOL FEST at Macquarie Linguistics:

A role for written corrective feedback (CF) in L2 development: what we know, what we need to know and why

Speaker: John Bitchner
1-2 pm, E6A 102

This seminar will be webcast via the echoes website
(No login/password required) and archived on the site for later access.

Whether or not the provision of written CF can play a role in L2 development is an issue that has been debated and empirically investigated on a number of fronts over the last 20 years. In the absence of a sufficiently developed theoretical case and limited empirical research, debate has flourished, but not always with well considered argumentation. The aim of this state-of-the-art talk is to (1) discuss what we know (both theoretically and empirically) and (2) suggest what we still need to know (both theoretically and empirically) and why. In considering what we know, the focus will be on (1) what various SLA theories say about the role of written CF in L2 learning, (2) the extent to which theoretical perspectives are applicable to L2 learning within the written context, (3) an evaluation of the empirical contributions so far and (4) the extent to which theoretical considerations and empirical research have been aligned. In suggesting what we still need to know, and why, the talk will reflect on the already established cognitive, socio-cognitive and socio-cultural perspectives and suggest how complexity/dynamic systems perspectives could further enlighten our understanding of why learners respond or fail to respond to written CF when provided. In particular, the relationship between individual and contextual factors will be discussed with a view to recommending new directions and new questions for empirical enquiry. The talk will end with a series of questions for the audience to engage with.

19 August 2014

 

TESOL FEST at Macquarie Linguistics:

What Does It Take To Be An English Language Teacher? Exploring Teacher Knowledge, Skill And Cognition

Speakers: Professor Jack Richards
1-2 pm, E6A 102

This seminar is available via webcast on the echoes website
(No login/password required) and archived on the site for later access.

Teacher education for language teachers is predicated around assumptions concerning what teachers need to know, how they acquire knowledge and skills, and how they access their knowledge and skills in their practice. In this talk a number of core dimensions of teacher knowledge and skills will be explored, as well as their implications for teacher development.

18 August 2014

 

TESOL FEST at Macquarie Linguistics:

Reflective Practice: What Does It Really Mean?

Speaker: Professor Thomas S.C. Farrell
1-2 pm, Australian Hearing Hub (S2.6) 1st floor, Room 64

This seminar is available via webcast on the echoes website
(No login/password required) and archived on the site for later access.

Reflective practice has been around in general education circles for some time now. However, there is some confusion concerning exactly what reflective is and what it involves even though it is nearly impossible to read literature in the fields of education, medicine, and science without some reference to the importance of reflective practice. This interactive talk examines the meaning of reflective practice for language teachers in the post-method years. Focusing on the work of John Dewey and Donald Schön, I examine the usefulness of reflective practice as a pragmatic tool for the professional development of teachers regardless on their level of experience. Specifically I explore how teachers can make use of Dewey's ideas on reflective inquiry and Schön's ideas of reflection-in-action as well as reflection-on-action and reflection-for-action. I outline examples of reflective practice from novice and experienced ESL teachers in Canada. Finally, I define what Reflective Practice really is.

12 August 2014

 

Linguistics Research Seminar Series:

Attention distribution in academic lectures: eye tracking and performance

Speaker: Jan-Louis Kruger
1-2 pm, E6A 102

This seminar is available via webcast on the echoes website
(No login/password required) and archived on the site for later access.

The way students distribute their visual and cognitive attentional resources during an academic lecture is of paramount importance in educational design. When attending to (or watching a recording of) an academic lecture, students constantly have to shift their attention between different sources of information of varying information density and relevance. If there is redundancy between the words spoken by a lecturer, information on a visual presentation, and a transcription or translation of the words of the lecturer in subtitles, there will necessarily be competition, and a risk of cognitive overload.

I will report on an eye-tracking study conducted on one recorded lecture from a first-year Psychology class. The main focus will be on a comparison of visual attention distribution (derived from eye tracking data) between subtitles, slides, and the lecturer (information-rich sources) and the rest of the screen (information-poor source). The eye tracking data will be correlated with performance and brain activity measures to determine the impact of attention distribution between different sources of information on academic comprehension and engagement.

7 August 2014

 

TESOL FEST at Macquarie Linguistics:

Empirical studies on foreign language learning and teaching in China (2008-2011): A review

Speaker: Dr Andy Gao
1-2 pm, Australian Hearing Hub (S2.6) 1st floor, Room 64

This seminar is available via webcast on the echoes website
(No login/password required) and archived on the site for later access.

In this presentation, I report on a recently conducted review study on empirical studies in leading language learning and teaching journals published on the Chinese mainland during the years 2008-2011. The selected studies document a variety of approaches to improving the teaching of the English language and meeting the demand for proficient English graduates in China. They address a wide range of topics including language learners' cognitive processes, their language performance, and language teachers' professional development. It was also noted in the review process that leading Chinese journals have become more receptive to empirical studies and have published an increasing number of qualitative and mixed method studies. However, research scholarship in those journals is still beset with problems and there is a pressing need for Chinese researchers to become 'discerning' producers of scholarship.