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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.


Dimensions of Locus of Control: Exploring Their Influence on ESL Students' Interlanguage Development

This paper reports the findings of a study which sought to determine whether adult ESL students with internal orientations on two dimensions of locus of control also have positive expectancies about their life situations in the United States and therefore show a higher degree of proficiency in their English interlanguage than their counterparts with external orientations on these same two dimensions. Broadly speaking, internal orientations of locus of control refer to people's belief that rewards in life are contingent on their own actions. External orientations refer to people's belief that rewards occur independently of their actions and that life situations are determined more by fate and luck (Rotter, 1966, 1975; Lefcourt, 1982). The study acknowledged that locus of control is a complex and multidimensional construct; that is, a person not only does not necessarily have similar internal or external orientations across a broad range of situations, his or her other orientations may differ with respect to the particular dimension of locus of control being measured (Wilhite, 1986). In the present study, internal-external orientations on two different dimensions of locus of control (locus of responsibility and locus of personal control) were investigated in order to observe their effect on interlanguage development. The findings show that locus of personal control correlates significantly with interlanguage development. Rationalizations for and implications of the findings are discussed.

The Development of Speaking/ Writing Variability in Narratives of Non-Native English Speakers

This study investigates target language variability between speaking and writing in the second language acquisition of non-native English speakers. Spoken and written narratives from three groups of non-native English speakers, representing three levels of English proficiency, are analyzed and compared to the spoken and written narratives of native English speakers. Eleven linguistic features, representing three dimensions of the oral/literate continuum, are examined with the multi-feature/multi-dimensional approach developed by Biber (1986). Results indicate that as narrators advance in English proficiency, they develop more abstract content and more reported style in both speech and writing. Conversely, both speech and writing become more interactive as speakers develop in English proficiency. Results indicating variability between spoken and written narratives show that non-native speakers develop systematically toward native English variability between speaking and writing.

The Effects of Linguistic Context on Unplanned Discourse: A Studyin Interlanguage Variability

This study examines the variable realization of the third person singular -s by Shona learners of English at elementary and intermediate levels of proficiency. The study is unlike previous ones, not so much because it controls for differences in discourse mode but because it examines the effects of different linguistic contexts embedded in comparable discourse positions. The paper argues that although the performance of the subjects is elicited from unplanned discourse, different discourse segments might vary in terms of their degree of plannedness. The results demonstrate that very little morphological variability occurs in the production of elementary learners. The little variation exhibited is lexical. Some words attract target-language-like variants more frequently than others.

The performance of the intermediate group shows that the distribution of grammatical variants is sensitive to linguistic context and that, contrary to expectations, second language learners are more likely to inflect verbs to mark the third person -s if the grammatical subject is realized, as opposed to when it is not.

Conditions on Transfer: A Connectionist Approach Yasuhiro Shirai

The purpose of this paper is twofold: (1) to comprehensively discuss conditions under which LI transfer tends to occur, and (2) to explain these conditions in terms of the connectionist framework of second language representation, processing, and acquisition, primarily relying on the localized connectionist model (CLM = Connectionist Lexical Memory) of Gasser (1988). The conditions identified are: (1) interlingual mapping, (2) markedness, (3) language distance, (4) learner characteristics, (5) cognitive load, and (6) sociolinguistic context. It is argued that the connectionist framework explains LI transfer effectively and that the interaction of these factors determines the degree of LI transfer in interlanguage.

The Older Second Language Learner: A Bibliographic Essay

It is difficult to find research concentrating on second language acquisition by older adults, since most studies differentiate only between children and adults, accepting puberty as the division between the two language learning stages. In an effort to locate studies on the older adult second language learner, one online and three compact disk databases were searched, using search strategies and subject headings appropriate to each particular file.