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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.


Academic Paper


Title: Linguistic Correlates of Second Language Proficiency
Author: Michael H Long
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Maryland
Author: Kira Gor
Institution: University of Maryland
Author: Scott R. Jackson
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Maryland
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Subject Language: Russian
Abstract: With Russian as the target language, a proof of concept study was undertaken to determine whether it is possible to identify linguistic features, control over which is implicated in progress on the Interagency Linguistic Roundtable (ILR) proficiency scale, thereby better to inform the instructional process. Following its development in an instrumentation study, a revised version of a computer-delivered battery of 33 perception and production tasks was administered to 68 participants—57 learners between levels 2 and 3 (21 at ILR 2, 18 at 2+, and 18 at 3) on the ILR scale, and 11 native speaker controls—whose proficiency was tested via an ILR oral proficiency telephone interview. The tasks sampled subjects’ control of Russian phonology, morphology, syntax, lexis, and collocations. Relationships between control of the linguistic features and the ILR levels of interest were assessed statistically. All 33 tasks, 18 of which assessed learners’ abilities in perception and 15 of which assessed their abilities in production, were found to differentiate ILR proficiency levels 2 and 3, and a subset was found to also distinguish levels 2 and 2+, and 2+ and 3. On the basis of the results, a checklist of linguistic features pegged to proficiency levels was produced that can be useful for syllabus designers, teachers, and learners themselves as well as providing the basis for future diagnostic tests.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Studies in Second Language Acquisition Vol. 34, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site .



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