Journal Articles: TESOL Review, 2010
Apr13

Journal Articles: TESOL Review, 2010

Full reference: Pollard, Andee. (2010). English and the Korean Learner: A Question of Wants, Needs and Intelligibility. TESOL Review, 2, 75-96. Abstract: This paper looks at how the Korean learner of English perceives a selection of English varieties – General American English, Indian English, Irish English, Korean English and Received Pronunciation – as well as how intelligible these same varieties are perceived. It is through understanding the perceptions of our students thatwe can determine what the best course of action is for them in relation to their English acquisition. This quantitative study presents findings that appear to suggest that English education in Korea and the Korean learner of English are being partially influenced by linguistic imperialism. In competition to this linguistic imperialism, and in the hopes of increasing receptive intelligibility levels for the Korean learner of English in the international context, this research takes what is essentially a World Englishes approach to English as a Lingua Franca and suggests that learners of English could benefit from exposure to otherwise unfamiliar varieties of English. KEYWORDS: Intelligibility, Korean English, World Englishes, ELF, TESOL Full Article: English and the Korean Learner TESOL Review:...

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Conference Notes: Linguistics and Education
Apr04

Conference Notes: Linguistics and Education

Over the last year or so I have given papers at a number of conferences throughout the region. These conferences have primarily involved discussions within TESOL and Applied Linguistics but have also crossed-over into the related realms of general education, lifelong learning and learning disorders. There have been some great presentations at the conferences I’ve attended (..and some not-so-great!). And I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many knowledgeable and wonderful people within my profession. However, as with many conferences… the presentations go relatively unheralded due to limited publication numbers. So, I’m going to be writing some notes from my files on the conferences as well as perhaps uploaded some of my own presentation slides; I won’t be uploading all of the papers I’ve given due to some of the already having been published and in those cases I’ll probably just give a brief summary and the full reference (with link if available online). I’ll go through my files and pull out some notes from the conferences listed below, and if you want any more information than that I provide… please let me know Anyway, the conferences I have notes from that I’ll post about include: The Second International Conference on Language and Communication, Bangkok, Thailand, 2010 The 18th PAC-KOTESOL International Conference, Seoul, Korea, 2010 The Second Asian Conference on Education, Osaka, Japan, 2010 The 2011 Winter International Conference on Linguistics in Seoul, Korea, 2011 Others I will be giving papers at over the next few months include: The 2011 KOTESOL National Conference, Daejeon, Korea The Fourth International Conference of English as Lingua Franca, Hong Kong The 9th Asia TEFL International Conference, Seoul, Korea The 2011 Korea English Education Society International Conference, Cheongju,...

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The Truth About Arabic

There’s no doubt that the people from the Middle East are very proud people. They are proud of their country, of their history and of their language. Except when speaking English… many of those I speak to wish to lose all traces of the  markers that identify them as being from the region. But that’s a story for another time. Today we talk about Arabic itself. What are the differences between Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and the colloquial or vernacular varieties? Which is intrinsically the best Arabic to learn? The answer seems to be…. all of them! No matter which country the person comes from that I speak with. Whenever I tell them that I have an interest in Arabic and wish to study it in the future, they all tell me to learn their variety of Arabic; whether it is Saudi Arabic, Iraqi Arabic, Jordanian Arabic, Lebanese Arabic… or take your pick from any of the Gulf states. And why should I learn X variety? Well, because, as I’m reliably informed (irrespective of where that speaker comes from)… X Arabic is the closest to MSA. It’s amazing right… so many different varieties that are reported to be somewhat unintelligible to one another, and yet, they all the closest to MSA. My question to you… as a learner of Arabic, and not as an L1 speaker of Arabic… which Arabic vernacular is actually the most practical for the learner to attempt to acquire, keeping in mind that the vast majority of Arabic materials reflect MSA and not the...

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Bilingual Children and Literacy

As a follow-up to the Multilingual Children post a while back, this is a question we’ve been pondering lately… How do you develop and maintain literacy in the home language without formal instruction? The obvious way as we are both teachers is to actively teach our son how to write and give him written tasks as he progresses… but that’s unrealistic. The last thing we want to do is have Leon resenting English when we’re in Korea (where English will be the home language). Sure, he’ll be exposed to English in the education system or should we choose, a private institute… but since his English level is likely to be higher than his peers, that’s also kind of unrealistic. We have no issues when it comes to taking care of the other skills – listening, speaking and reading – and their development as to take care of them is obvious. Read and talk, just like any parent does. Meta-linguistic transfer should take place to assist with reading skills across the board. The only concern is the writing as it’s a different alphabet, and a direct transfer cannot take place. So our dilemna is purely related to English writing skills that are going to be comparable to his development in the community language, or Korean. I’ll be interested to hear from others that have been raised bilingually (or are raising kids bilingually) and have successfully developed written literacy in their home...

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Which Pronunciation?

I’m sure as language teachers that this thought goes through our head a fair bit. It’s not a difficult decision for most languages since there is the standard. And yes, while there are varying dialects and accents, there is typically the one golden standard that we can revert to. Let our students fall back on if they want to work their new tongue in a familiar and intelligible style. The problem here is that English doesn’t have this golden standard. There are just too many standards to count. The powerhouses are British English (BE) and General American English (GAE), with some others gaining popularity and credibility – Canadian English, Australian English, Irish English, and so on. On top of these we also have the concept of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) that has some momentum thanks to linguists. I believe that in the international community with international communication being the main objective that ELF is a fantastic notion, but there are still problems with it in design and implementation. Basically, ELF looks at removing those phonological features that if omitted don’t hamper intelligibility. Great right? Well, here’s the catch… do the students really want to learn this reduced variety of English? In a recent study I conducted (with Koreans as my focus group), I tried to find out from a sample of learners just what they wanted… The result? Overwhelmingly GAE for pronunciation. Next challenge… ‘Native’ models of English are supposedly difficult to understand… hence ELF being a notion of importance. However, what happened in this study? GAE was found to be the most intelligible to this sample as well. So.. a unanimous decision from my Korean sample. Irish English was the biggest surprise for me since it received quite high ratings for pronunciation desirability. Intelligibility was on par with BE and Korean English, which wasn’t so bad considering the majority of participants informed me that it was a totally unfamiliar sound to them. Something they had not heard before (or too often). But this poses the question… Since GAE is what is most familiar to English learners in Korea, then did it only return the number one position due to this familiarity? If given more exposure, will Irish English be the global standard of...

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