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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Issues in Applied Linguistics

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ial is a refereed journal managed by scholars in the field of applied linguistics. Our aim is to publish outstanding research from faculty, independent researchers, and graduate students in the broad areas of second language acquisition, language socialization, language processing, language assessment, language pedagogy, language policy, making use of the following research methodologies (but not limited to): discourse analysis, conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis, critical race theory, and psychophysiology. ial publishes articles, book reviews, and interviews with notable scholars.

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Child Agency and Language Policy in Transnational Families

Study of family language policy unites research in child language acquisition and language policy to better understand how parents’ language decisions, practices and beliefs influence child outcomes (King, Fogle & Logan-Terry, 2008). Thus far, this work has focused on how family language policy shapes children’s language competencies, formal school success (e.g., Snow, 1990), and the future status of minority languages (e.g., Fishman, 1991), with less attention to children’s active roles in shaping parents’ ideologies and practices (cf. AUTHOR1, 2009; Luykx, 2003). Addressing this gap, this paper examines how child agency and language use patterns influence parental language behaviors. We draw from three studies of transnational families (Russian/English-speaking international adoptive families and Spanish-English bilingual homes), to describe four aspects of child-parent discourse: (a) children’s metalinguistic comments, (b) children’s use of resistance strategies, (c) parental responses to children’s growing linguistic competence, and (d) enactments of family-external ideologies of race and language.

Constructing ‘an institution’: A case from a Korean student group meeting

Using Conversation Analysis, this study describes how ‘institutionality’ is accomplished in talk-in-interaction by analyzing how the Korean student group members construct themselves as ‘an institution’ through decision-making. Most conversation-analytic research on institutional talk has been of occupational settings. This study, with data from a voluntary student staff group whose meetings are sporadic and without formal phases, illustrates that the group members’ interaction reveals how they construct themselves as a decision-making group whose members embody different social roles, and ultimately as an institution. Two significant practices are discussed. First, the data show that the members actively search for precedents, which later become the most crucial basis for their decision-making. Second, as a strategy of gathering power over others within their institutional boundary, the members frequently depart from the preference structure of ordinary conversation. Overall, this paper contributes to a better understanding of institutionality with data from a quasi-institutional setting in the relatively under-examined language, Korean.

Rhetorical Strategies of McCain and Obama in the Third 2008 Presidential Debate: Functional Theory from a Linguistic Perspective

This study analyzes the rhetorical strategies employed by candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, in the third presidential debate of 2008. Particular attention is given to candidates’ use of acclaims, attacks and defenses, as defined by functional theory. The analysis also recognizes the presence and important role of candidates’ “nonfunctional” statements and overlapping function units, two linguistic occurrences unexplored in previous studies. This research confirms the value of functional theory for investigating interaction in the context of political debate and also points to the need to include other aspects of linguistic theory in future investigations.

Building Understanding: The Construction of Joint Attention in Preschool

A multi-layered discourse analysis of the interaction of three to five-year-old children in two preschools reveals a highly structured process occurring between the children and their caretakers to build and maintain joint attention. This process, serving to promote socialization into preschool, is constructed through language, gaze, intonation, and physical embodiment.

Te Espero: Varying Child Bilingual Abilities and the Effects on Dynamics in Mexican Immigrant Families

This paper offers a closer examination of the effects of an English-dominant society on bilingual abilities by looking at everyday family dynamics in Mexican immigrant families. Three immigrant families from Mexico currently residing in Northern California provided the data for this project through ten hours of audio recordings documenting their normal home interactions. A qualitative analysis of family interactions shows that while the youngest children are proficient in the dominant language of the society they live in, they experience a far greater degree of difficulty with bilingualism than do their older siblings. This difficulty leads to heritage language avoidance with their parents and a weakening of family interaction. As a result, middle children find it necessary to take it upon themselves to act as translators within the family in an effort to maintain cohesive family dynamics.