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Open Access Publications from the University of California

About

Created in November of 1989, Issues in Applied Linguistics is a refereed journal managed, edited and published by graduate students of the UCLA Department of Applied Linguistics. The journal is published twice yearly and has established international distribution and a solid reputation in the field of Applied Linguistics.

Our aim is to publish outstanding research from students, faculty, and independent researchers in the broad areas of discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, language acquisition, language analysis, language assessment, language education, language use, and research methodology. We are particularly interested in publishing new departures and cross-disciplinary endeavors in the field of applied linguistics.

Articles

Wh- Movement in Child Catalan

This study examines the production of wh-questions in the speech off our monolingual child speakers of Catalan who were recorded longitudinally as part of the study carried out by Serra & Sole, obtained from the CHILDES Data Base (MacWhinney & Snow, 1985). In this data all wh-questions produced appeared to be adult-like, in contrast with the non-adult-like production of this construction in child English, Swedish, Dutch and German. However, there is an initial period in which no wh-questions at all are produced, in spite of the fact that other aspects of syntax, such as negation, clitic-placement and complementation seem adult-like in this same period. During this "no wh-question" period, there is a concomitant absence of verbal tense morphology, with the exceptions of present and irrealis forms (imperatives, root infinitives, root gerunds and root participles). Interestingly, the onset of wh-questions appears to correlate with the onset of a much wider variety of tense morphology. Given this observation and Rizzi's (1991) hypothesis that wh-questions and tense morphology are crucially linked in adult syntax, I propose that the early absence of wh-questions is a consequence of the early underspecification of tense.

Balancing the Competing Interests in Seminar Discussion: Peer Referencing and Asserting Vulnerability

As Jacoby and McNamara (1999) have convincingly demonstrated, English for Specific Purposes (ESP) assessment tools with primarily a linguisticfocus can fail to locate the competence actually needed in real-world professional settings. In a similar vein, English for Academic Purposes (EAP) pedagogical activities rooted in an unsituated notion of academic English can also be inadequate or misleading. Through a sequential analysis of actual interactions, this study describes the real-world discourse activities performed by competent native and normative speakers to handle complex academic tasks. Using data from a graduate seminar, I detail two interactional resources ( "peer referencing " and "asserting vulnerability") exercised by the seminar participants in the doing of disagreement and critique. I show that these resources are invoked to accomplish the double-duty of acknowledging another's viewpoint while performing a potentially disagreeing action, to make an otherwise independently advanced critique into a co-constructed one, or to back down from forcefully articulated positions. Finally, I hypothesize that the particular use of peer referencing and asserting vulnerability characterizes the members' transitional stage between undergraduate novicehood and doctoral level junior expertise.

Cohesion and Coherence in Children's Written English: Immersion and English-only Classes

This study investigates the nature of cohesion, coherence, content, and grammar emergent in children 's essays, with a greater emphasis given to the understanding of cohesion and coherence. Conceptual definitions of these constructs are summarized based on prior research. The measurement of these constructs is operationalized into a picture-based narrative writing task for elicitation and scoring criteria for quantification. 192 first and second graders from an immersion program and English-only classes participated in the study. The analysis uses percentages, correlations, multiple regression, and qualitative analyses. Main findings include the following: (a) the measurement of cohesion and coherence can be operationalized; (b) referential and lexical cohesion correlate highly with the overall writing quality defined as the sum of the ratings of coherence, content, and grammar; (c) ellipses and substitution show a weak correlation with the overall writing quality; (d) lexical and referential cohesion are significant predictors of coherence while other types of cohesion are not; (e) dominant reference types are pronominal forms and proper nouns, and prominent types of conjunctive relation are temporal and additive; and (f) the most common error in cohesion is inaccurate reference. The substance and method of this study can provide a foundation for investigating subsequent topics with latent variables and different linguistic backgrounds and grade levels.