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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

Categorical Gender Myths in Native America: Gender Deictics in Lakhota

This paper questions the existence of distinctions which are solely based on the gender of the speaker or hearer in Native American languages. An analysis of conversations from field work conducted in Pine Ridge, South Dakota and the texts of Ella Deloria reveals that the gender deictics of Lakhota indicate more than the "sex" of the speaker. Certain deictics have prototypical associations such as nurturance for clitics typically used by women or authority for those used by men. However, both male and female speakers sometimes use the deictics which are considered appropriate to the other sex. Given that both sexes sometimes use the same gender deictics and that the deictics accomplish more than indicating the gender of the speaker, the existence of "categorical gender" is dubious. 1 propose an analysis following Hanks (1993) which recognizes both the validity of native speaker metapragmatic judgments of "appropriately" gendered speech and contextual deviation. By recognizing a distinction between schematic prototypes or frames versus their implementation in context (framework) for Lakhota, the debate concerning the presence of true categorical gender distinctions in Native American languages such as Koasati, Atsina, and Yana can be resolved. A simple description of categorical gender for these languages is improbable.

Who Has the Right Answer? Differential Cultural Emphasis in Question/Answer Structures and the Case of Hmong Students at a Northern California High School

Observed speech and interactive behavior of American Hmong students who were attending a northern California high school indicate that Hmong student responses to teacher generated questions were often influenced by culturally based predispositions. In answering certain types of content related questions, these students relied on underlying cultural emphases (pervasive culture specific themes) which were sometimes different from those generally held by Anglo American students and teachers at this school. Because of these differences, Hmong students often provided answers considered "wrong" in academic contexts, although they were essentially correct from a normative Hmong perspective. Moreover, Laotian Hmong students, often described as "shy" by educators, were found to be carrying out normative cultural rules for demonstrating respect and deference to authority figures through silence. This "taciturn style" was evident during numerous open ended question/answer sessions as these exchanges occurred in classroom situations. Constructing answers on the basis of Hmong cultural agendas and remaining silent in classroom situations produced impediments to communication between these students and their teachers. Moreover, many teachers often did not recognize these problems as the result of fundamental cultural differences.

Equal Educational Opportunity for Language Minority Students: From Policy to Practice at Oyster Bilingual School

Based on a two year ethnographic and discourse analytic study of Oyster Bilingual School in Washington, DC, this article illustrates what equal educational opportunity means for the linguistically, culturally, and economically diverse student population who participate in this "successful" two-way Spanish-English bilingual program. The article begins by summarizing the Oyster educators' perspective on equal educational opportunity, and emphasizes their opposition to the notion of equal educational opportunity implicit in mainstream U.S. programs and practices. The majority of the article then provides a comparative discourse analysis of the "same" kindergarten speech event in Spanish and English to illustrate how the Oyster educators translate their ideological assumptions and expectations into actual classroom practices. The micro-level classroom analysis demonstrates how the team-teachers work together to distribute and evaluate Spanish and English equally so that all students acquire a second language, develop academic skills in both languages, and use each other as resources in their learning. The analysis also reveals systematic discrepancies between ideal plan and actual implementation which are explained by consideration of Oyster's sociolinguistic context.