Theses

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages



Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Korean Heritage-Speaking Interpreter

The U.S. is a country of immigrants who are non-native speakers of English (NNS), yet its legal system is not always in the favor of them. One of the issues for the NNSs is not being provided with proficient interpreters in legal settings such as police interrogations or courtrooms. There are times when some NNSs are offered qualified interpreters or translators, but others are provided with heritages speakers of needed languages in the local area. The heritages speakers are often thought to have good proficiency in languages, but unfortunately that<'>s not always the case. To investigate the need for qualified interpreters, I conducted a discourse analysis on the interpreting provided in police interrogations in a legal case involving a Korean immigrant suspect, a heritage speaker of Korean who acted as an interpreter, and English speaking police officers. The result of this research is to help American jurisprudence be more aware of the implications of unverified interpretations to protect both jurisprudence and potential defendants and suspects of NNSs.

Author: Yoonjoo Lee


Tailoring a Business Communications Curriculum for Non-Native English Speakers

This study evaluated the challenges and needs of non-native English speakers (NNES) in the undergraduate management communication (MCOM) course at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. MCOM faculty and NNES enrolled in MCOM in the last five years were surveyed and interviewed. Data results were used to identify areas within the curriculum where NNES would benefit from additional or modified instruction. A tailored version of the MCOM curriculum was created and taught to an international student section of MCOM for two semesters. Positive feedback from students in the course led to the NNES course being offered indefinitely. Curricular changes and recommendations are discussed following the evaluation results of the two development iterations. Key words: business communications, curriculum, non-native English speakers, undergraduate

Author: Susie McGann


Nature or Nurture in English Academic Writing: Korean and American Rhetorical Patterns

For many years, linguists, ESL writing teachers, and especially students have puzzled over the phenomenon where non-native English writers’ sentences are grammatically correct, but their paragraphs and complete essays often appear illogical to native English speaking readers. From the perspective of Kaplan’s original contrastive rhetoric theory where American rhetoric is “linear,” Korean L2 writers’ apparently circular rhetoric causes problems. Even though Korean writers are trying to write paragraphs that are logical for native English readers, this illogical output results in Korean ESL students being perceived as poor writers. In order to discover more about the nature of the rhetorical problems Korean ESL writers face, this study reports on a close contrastive analysis of a corpus consisting of 25 Freshmen Korean ESL students’ unedited, first draft essays and 25 Freshmen native-English speaking American Freshmen’s unedited, first draft essays randomly collected from a series of 1st year writing classes at a U.S.-based university. The analysis focused on areas where the logical flow breaks down from a native English reader’s perspective. The Topical Structure Analytical approach (TSA), developed by Lautamatti (1987), was used to analyze the data. Results show that both American and Korean Freshmen have difficulty controlling topical subjects and discourse topics in their writing. Instead, they often introduced irrelevant subtopics that did not advance overall topic development, making their writing difficult for general readers to follow. The key finding of the study shows that to overcome these rhetorical weaknesses, both Korean and American Freshmen need to be educated in academic writing regardless of their first language.

Author: Sunok Kim


Multilingual Trends in Five London Boroughs: A Linguistic Landscape Approach

Although multilingualism has been investigated in London, no studies have addressed the multilingual linguistic landscape of this linguistically diverse globalized mega-city. In addition, no previous research has addressed the linguistic impacts of colonialism on the colonizer with respect to signage in the linguistic landscape. With increasing rates of immigration and globalization in London, it is advantageous to fully document and research the nature of the linguistic landscape in order to create a baseline for future comparison. Consequently, aspects of the linguistic landscape of five London boroughs were collected and analyzed in terms of 2,062 signage items. The study noted multilingual signage situations in each borough with respect to the formal top-down and informal bottom-up nature of the signage. The results of this study document the significant impact of colonial and EU languages on London’s linguistic landscape. These findings suggest that Britain’s colonial languages make up the majority of London’s multilingualism, followed by European Union languages. We suggest that future research attempt to track the changes of London’s linguistic landscape by comparing future data to the data presented in this study as immigration laws change.

Author: Shayla Ann Johnson


Investigating rater bias in types of grammatical errors: An eye-tracking study

This quantitative study used eye-tracking technology to compare the attentional focus of 32 native English speakers and 26 native Korean speakers at the university level as they read idiomatic and literal phrases within well-formed sentences. Results revealed that native Korean speakers read both literal and idiomatic sentences slower than native English speakers. Additionally, native Korean speakers read idiomatic sentences slower than literal sentences, whereas native English speakers did not show a significant difference. Factors relating to language socialization, language development and idiom knowledge were also investigated to find which factors were correlated with reading measures. Of the factors tested, idiom knowledge was the only one that had significant effect on reading measures. These findings suggest that Korean speakers take longer to process English idioms as lexical units, though idiom familiarity seems to mitigate this effect.

Author: Sarah Miner


Pun Strategies Across Joke Schemata: A Corpus-Based Study

In the linguistic study of humor, research has largely been centered around the formulation of models and theories or the dissecting and categorization of jokes. Because of the often difficult-to-categorize aspects of verbal jokes, much time has been spent trying to create taxonomies for humor types and mechanisms. Linguists such as Raskin and Attardo have sought to categorize all verbal humor according to various functional elements (Attardo & Raskin, 1991). Such elements include, but are not limited to, the logical mechanism that drives the humor in the joke or the situation where the joke takes place. These categorizations are helpful in understanding the potential components of a given joke. However, relatively few studies have sought to quantify and qualify the distribution of these components across real-world data. This study seeks to understand the distribution of some of these categorizations laid out by Raskin and Attardo across joke topics, namely pun wordplay and narrative strategy. To do this, an original 100,000 word joke corpus was designed and compiled consisting of four joke topics: Marriage, Politics, Animals, and Food. Through some manual sorting and Python programming, jokes were labeled according to wordplay strategy and narrative structure. A subsequent statistical analysis was carried out to determine whether there exists a pattern of specific joke strategies when dealing with children’s humor versus adult humor.

Author: Robert Nishan Crapo


Rubric Rating with MFRM vs. Randomly Distributed Comparative Judgment: A Comparison of Two Approaches to Second-Language Writing Assessment

The purpose of this study is to explore a potentially more practical approach to direct writing assessment using computer algorithms. Traditional rubric rating (RR) is a common yet highly resource-intensive evaluation practice when performed reliably. This study compared the traditional rubric model of ESL writing assessment and many-facet Rasch modeling (MFRM) to comparative judgment (CJ), the new approach, which shows promising results in terms of reliability and validity. We employed two groups of raters<&hyphen>”novice and experienced<&hyphen>”and used essays that had been previously double-rated, analyzed with MFRM, and selected with fit statistics. We compared the results of the novice and experienced groups against the initial ratings using raw scores, MFRM, and a modern form of CJ<&hyphen>”randomly distributed comparative judgment (RDCJ). Results showed that the CJ approach, though not appropriate for all contexts, can be valid and as reliable as RR while requiring less time to generate procedures, train and norm raters, and rate the essays. Additionally, the CJ approach is more easily transferable to novel assessment tasks while still providing context-specific scores. Results from this study will not only inform future studies but can help guide ESL programs to determine which rating model best suits their specific needs.

Author: Maureen Estelle Sims


ESL Students’ Reading Behaviors on Multiple-Choice Items at Differing Proficiency Levels: An Eye-Tracking Study

Theorists have been concerned with the overlap of reading and problem solving for at least a century (Thorndike 1917, 1973-1974; Sternberg & Frensch, 2014). Various reading models have been proposed including bottom-up and top-down reading processing (Goodman, 1972; Gough, 1972). In second language literature, theorists have further noted that reading consists of strategic, purposeful, and interactive processes (Grabe, 2009). In test taking situations, problem solving is important because it can compensate for students’ language proficiencies. In spite of research showing the use of problem solving in reading, less is known about how learners actually read and problem solve in test-taking situations. This study centers around Khalifa, Weir and colleagues’ model for cognitive processing in reading (Weir, Hawkey, Green, Unaldy, & Devi, 2009) in combination with eye-tracking technology in order to examine ESL readers employ careful and expeditious reading. Data were gathered from 50 students attending a university sponsored Intensive English Program. Participants read eight validated reading comprehension items at varying difficulty levels while their eye movements were recorded. Results indicate that student level may not be a factor in how carefully and expeditiously a student reads. However, statistical analyses suggest that text difficulty may be a factor in how carefully students read.

Author: Juan M. Escalante Talavera


Performance Self-Appraisal Calibration of ESL Students on a Proficiency Reading Test

Self-assessment as a placement measure or accurate assessment of skill has been scrutinized in previous research. Findings have shown a general human tendency towards overconfidence in performance (Kruger & Dunning, 1999). This study looks at performance selfappraisals in an ESL population, with participants from varying cultural backgrounds. Performance self-appraisal calibration is a measure of the relationship between an examinee’s perceived skill (or confidence) and their actual skill (or ability) on a given exam item (Phakiti, 2016). Being well-calibrated is an indication that test takers know their strengths and weaknesses and thus the difference between confidence and ability is minimal, whereas poorly calibrated examinees may be oblivious to their weaknesses. While some research has explored selfappraisal calibration in first language (Hassmén & Hunt, 1994; Gutierrez & Schraw, 2015; Stankov & Lee, 2014) and foreign language contexts (Bastola, 2016; Phakiti, 2016), the language research has been limited to the performance of native language speakers on normreferenced tests. It still needs to be determined how test takers would perform on a criterion-referenced exam with items of differing difficulty parameters administered to examinees from different language backgrounds. To that end, a proficiency-based criterion-referenced reading comprehension test was administered to 96 ESL students with 8 different language backgrounds. To measure confidence, a pre- and post-test questionnaire was administered in addition to a confidence slider bar that was embedded into each test item. We investigated correlations between cultural background and item difficulty on the students’ self-appraisal calibrations. Our results showed that ESL students were overconfident in their selfcalibrations, and their overconfidence was more pronounced as item difficulty increased. There were significant differences based on native language background. Implications will be discussed. Keywords: self-assessment, self-appraisal calibration, assessment, confidence, reading comprehension, cultural differences

Author: Jodi Mikolajcik Petersen


Second Language Semantic Retrieval in the Bilingual Mind: The Case of Korean-English Expert Bilinguals

The present study aims to explore the relationship between proficiency level and semantic retrieval in the second language. A group of Korean bilinguals who speak English with high proficiency performed semantic relatedness judgement tasks of two hundred English word pairs. Unbeknownst to the participants, half of the words in both the related and the unrelated categories contained a “hidden prime”—a common first syllable shared by the two words, if translated into Korean. Each participant’s event-related potential (ERP) was recorded while reading the words. While a former study by Thierry and Wu (2007) found that Chinese-English bilinguals were affected by the hidden primes, thus causing a “N400 reduction effect” in their averaged ERP, the bilingual group of the present study was unaffected by the hidden primes. The difference between the bilingual groups’ performance between Thierry and Wu’s study and the present study is likely caused by the higher English proficiency of the bilingual group in the present study. This provides additional evidence supporting the Revised Hierarchical Model of semantic retrieval proposed by Kroll and Steward (1994), which suggests that increased proficiency leads to reduced reliance on the first language during second language semantic retrieval.

Author: Janice Si-Man Lam


An Analysis of Reheared Speech Characteristics on the Oral Proficiency Interview-Computer (OPIc)

The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines identify memorized words and phrases as a hallmark of novice-level speech. For this reason, research by Cox (2017) found rehearsed content to be a major hindrance to interviewees being rated at higher sublevels on the Oral Proficiency Interview-computer (OPIc). To further investigate, an analysis of these memorized segments to determine patterns of lexicogrammatical and discursive features was conducted. In this study, researchers utilized a Praat analysis to compare prosodic features (specifically, mean length of utterance, number of silent pauses, and articulation rate) of speech segments marked as memorized and those which were not. A qualitative analysis was also conducted by identifying via a grounded theory approach any notable patterns both within single interviews as well as between speakers. Articulation rates differed significantly between the spontaneous and rehearsed segments; however, the strongest evidence of memorization lay in the transcriptions and the patterns that emerged within and across interviews.

Author: Gwyneth Elaine Gates


Cultural Differences in Russian and English Magazine Advertising: A Pragmatic Approach

Many American companies looking to increase sales and achieve growth targets consider expanding the reach of their product lines to other countries. However, expansion on a global scale often requires much trial and error as English-speaking companies try to market their goods to a foreign audience. In order to ease this process, localization experts are often hired to “localize” or change advertisements in order to make them more culturally relevant to consumers. Because the field of localization is relatively new, there is little research done on the degree and extent to which advertisements are localized. The purpose of this study is to explore the cultural differences in advertising between Russia and the United States of America. Two different samples of print magazine advertisements were taken from beauty magazines published in Russia and America to determine how much, if any, localization is occurring in Russian media. In order to compare the different advertising strategies of Russia and the United States, 235 non-localized Russian advertisements and 128 localized advertisements were coded for several different pragmatic features that Simpson (2001) included in his “reason” and “tickle” advertising framework. The results were then analyzed through content analysis and Chi-square statistics to find what pragmatic features are characteristic of localized and non-localized Russian ads. The study found that non-localized Russian advertising places more emphasis on reason-based persuasion strategies—most notably celebrity endorsement and extensive listing of reasons to buy a particular product. Localized Russian advertising, in contrast, uses more tickle-based persuasion tactics such as metaphor and implicature. 80% of localized Russian advertisements had little to no change in their advertising text from the English version of the advertisements, which means that the rate of localization in Russian advertising is currently low. Low rates of localization and differing persuasive techniques among the two samples signify the need for better cultural awareness in international marketing campaigns.

Author: Emily Kay Furner


Building an Online Framework to Develop Novice English Language Teacher Pedagogical Competency

The rise of English being spoken internationally has led to a rise in demand for English language teachers. Many of these teachers are volunteer teachers with no training or experience and novice teachers with training but little experience. In the field of TESOL, there are four knowledge bases that language teachers must be competent in to be effective (Day, 1992). Of these four knowledge bases, the pedagogical knowledge base has received the least amount of attention due to previous assumptions that language teachers primarily need training in linguistics to be successful in the classroom (Johnston & Goettsch, 2000). While that may be true to an extent, competency in the pedagogic knowledge base enables language teachers (especially those who do not share a common language with their students) to run a classroom smoothly and maximize class time—things that most novice and volunteer teachers struggle with. This gap in novice language teacher education prompted several stakeholders to request the development and evaluation of the Novice and Volunteer English Language Teacher Training modules, (hosted at www.noveltt.wordpress.com) to help their novice and volunteer teachers and teacher trainees become more effective language instructors.

Author: Elisabet S. Chew


Investigating the Perception of Identity Shift in Trilingual Speakers: A Case Study

This is a case study that examines the perception of identity shift in trilingual speakers. The participants were three females from Moldova, a country in Eastern Europe, that have moved to the U.S. Participants responded to open-ended questions during an individual interview and self-report. The questions were about (1) the way they think in their native language, (2) the way they feel in different situations while switching languages, and (3) their interactions with others, depending on their relationships with the participants, the situation, and the language they use at that moment. Primary findings suggest that trilingual speakers perceive a shift in their identity depending on the language they are speaking. The languages used for this case study are Romanian, Moldovan-Romanian, Russian, and English. These are the languages spoken by a people who have been in social, cultural, and political conflict for centuries, most recently throughout the Soviet Union era, and even up to recent post-Soviet conflicts. Studying the perception of identity shift in multilingual speakers allows linguists to understand fluidity in identity in additional language-acquisition contexts. Such findings may help in second-language acquisition research, language teaching, immigration-assimilation research or resistance-to-assimilation research. The results of this study support previous findings of people switching their personality according to the language used at that moment. In this case, personality is similar to identity.

Author: Elena Vasilachi


The Effects of Metacognitive Listening Strategy Instruction on ESL Learners’ Listening Motivation

Prior studies looking at the effects of listening strategy instruction on motivation have shown there to be a positive correlation between the two. However, the participants of these studies all shared a first language (L1) and were not enrolled in an intensive English program (IEP). This study aims to investigate the correlation between listening strategy instruction and listening motivation in an IEP classroom for students from different L1s. Listening motivation was recorded utilizing the English Listening Comprehension Motivation Scale (ELCMS) and strategy use was tracked with the Metacognitive Awareness Listening Questionnaire (MALQ). Pre- and post-test scores of 56 participants (control group, n=30; experiment group, n=26) were analyzed using a mixed-effects regression and paired t-test to determine differences after a 7-week treatment period. Results revealed that study participant motivation levels in both groups decreased over the treatment period, with the experiment group seeing a smaller decrease than the control group.

Author: Corbin Kalanikiakahi Rivera


Backward Transfer of Apology Strategies from Japanese to English: Do English L1 Speakers Use Japanese-Style Apologies When Speaking English?

When learning a second language, there are elements of a learner’s native language that can transfer and are exhibited during production in the second language. This can extend not only to the way things are said but even to gestures that are language- and speech-act-specific. However, there is evidence that the same can occur backwards, that is to say that elements of a second language can be exhibited during production of one’s native language (Pavlenko and Jarvis, 2002). This study focuses on English L1 learners of Japanese who have spent significant time both in country and learning the language to see if they exhibit Japanese tendencies when performing apologies in their native English. Comparisons between those with no Japanese experience were made with those who had extensive Japanese experience. Through video recordings of 45 participants engaging in six apology-induced scenarios (non-Japanese, n=24; Japanese, n=21), the participants showed that backward transfer occurs with repetition of IFIDs and nonverbal cues. Further research through different methods can be more telling.

Author: Candice April Flowers


Applying the Developmental Path of English Negation to the Automated Scoring of Learner Essays

The resources required to have humans score extended written response items in English language learner (ELL) contexts has caused automated essay scoring (AES) to emerge as a desired alternative. However, these systems often rely heavily on indirect proxies of writing quality such as word, sentence, and essay lengths because of their strong correlation to scores (Vajjala, 2017). This has led to concern about the validity of the features used to establish the predictive accuracy of AES systems (Attali, 2007; Weigle, 2013). Reliance on construct-irrelevant features in ELL contexts also forfeits the opportunity to provide meaningful diagnostic feedback to test-takers or provide the second language acquisition (SLA) field with real insights (C.-F. E. Chen & Cheng, 2008). This thesis seeks to improve the validity and reliability of an AES system developed for ELL essays by employing a new set of features based on the acquisition order of English negation. Modest improvements were made to a baseline AES system’s accuracy, showing the possibility and importance of engineering features relevant to the construct being assessed in ELL essays. In addition to these findings, a novel ordering of the sequence of English negation acquisition not previously described in SLA research emerged.

Author: Allen Travis Moore


Switch-Reference in Pastaza Kichwa

Pastaza Kichwa is a Quechuan language spoken in eastern Ecuador. This thesis describes its use of switch-reference which is traditionally understood to be an interclausal cross-referencing feature. Switch-reference is manifested by one of two morphemes that mark a subordinate clause as having either the same or different subject as another clause. Switch-reference has been described for other Quechuan languages and some of these studies present challenges to the theoretical underpinnings of switch reference (Stewart 1988, Dreidemie 2007) others present associated functions of switch-reference morphemes (Cole 1982). This study tests some of the propositions made about switch-reference in other Quechuan languages in Pastaza Kichwa.The data comes from the Corpus of Pastaza Kichwa which is a collection of 40 narrative texts. A broad statistical analysis of the switch-reference morphemes in the forty texts verified a distributional pattern posited by Stewart (1988). A sample of five texts was used for a closer in context analysis to examine adherence to proposed typological rules of canonical switch-reference, to test Stewart<'>s (1988) motivation for counter examples, and test additional functions proposed by Cole (1982).Analysis and results indicate that switch-reference in Pastaza Kichwa does not obey all of the typological rules of canonical switch-reference. Stewart<'>s proposed motivation proved inapplicable and potentially problematic, and that associated functions of switch-reference markers are due more to contextual factors rather than specific constructions.

Author: Alexander Harrison Rice


Eye Behavior While Reading Words of Sanskrit and Urdu Origin in Hindi

Hindi and Urdu are two branches of the same language sometimes known as Hindustani. They are divided by orthography and geography but when spoken are sometimes indistinguishable. Both have contributed loanwords that have now been completely assimilated into the language. The question of how the eye behaves during Hindi reading when it encounters Urdu loanwords has not been focused on extensively in prior research. The main purpose of this thesis is to document the eye behavior during reading Sanskrit-based words and Urdu loanwords in Hindi. We place fifteen word pairs consisting of one target Hindi Sanskrit-based word and its Urdu loanword equivalent in different sentences. Native Hindi speakers participate to read Hindi sentences containing either Urdu loanwords or the Sanskrit root word in Hindi. To quantify the differences in reading Hindi and Urdu loanwords in Devanagari (Hindi script) sentences we use an eye tracking methodology, which is used to measure eye movements of a participant during reading. We discover very distinctive eye behavior during reading of Urdu loanwords in comparison to reading Hindi Sanskrit-based words. Analysis also shows an interaction in eye behavior due to language and frequency.

Author: Tahira Carroll


A Latent Class Analysis of American English Dialects

Research on the dialects of English spoken within the United States shows variation regarding lexical, morphological, syntactic, and phonological features. Previous research has tended to focus on one linguistic variable at a time with variation. To incorporate multiple variables in the same analysis, this thesis uses a latent class analysis to perform a cluster analysis on results from the Harvard Dialect Survey (2003) in order to investigate what phonetic variables from the Harvard Dialect Survey are most closely associated with each dialect. This thesis also looks at how closely the latent class analysis results correspond to the Atlas of North America (Labov, Ash & Boberg, 2005b) and how well the results correspond to Joshua Katz’s heat maps (Business Insider, 2013; Byrne, 2013; Huffington Post, 2013; The Atlantic, 2013). The results from the Harvard Dialect Survey generally parallel the findings of the Linguistic Atlas of North American English, providing support for six basic dialects of American English. The variables with the highest probability of occurring in the North dialect are ‘pajamas: /æ/’, ‘coupon: /ju:/’, ‘Monday, Friday: /e:/’ ‘Florida: /ɔ/’, and ‘caramel: 2 syllables’. For the South dialect, the top variables are ‘handkerchief: /ɪ/’, ‘lawyer: /ɒ/’, ‘pajamas: /ɑ/’, and ‘poem’ as 2 syllables. The top variables in the West dialect include ‘pajamas: /ɑ/’, ‘Florida: /ɔ/’, ‘Monday, Friday: /e:/’, ‘handkerchief: /ɪ/’, and ‘lawyer: /ɔj/’. For the New England dialect, they are ‘Monday, Friday: /e:/’, ‘route: /ru:t/’, ‘caramel: 3 syllables’, ‘mayonnaise: /ejɑ/’, and ‘lawyer: /ɔj/’. The top variables for the Midland dialect are ‘pajamas: /æ/’, ‘coupon: /u:/’, ‘Monday, Friday: /e:/’, ‘Florida: /ɔ/’, and ‘lawyer: /ɔj/’ and for New York City and the Mid-Atlantic States, they are ‘handkerchief: /ɪ/’, ‘Monday, Friday: /e:/’, ‘pajamas: /ɑ/’, ‘been: /ɪ/’, ‘route: /ru:t/’, ‘lawyer: /ɔj/’, and ‘coupon: /u:/’. One major discrepancy between the results from the latent class analysis and the linguistic atlas is the region of the low back merger. In the latent class analysis, the North dialect has a low probability of the ‘cot/caught’ low back vowel distinction, whereas the linguistic atlas found this to be a salent variable of the North dialect. In conclusion, these results show that the latent class analysis corresponds with current research, as well as adding additional information with multiple variables.

Author: Stephanie Nicole Hedges