About This Issue
The special focus of this issue is on sociolinguistics, or the study of the relationship between the ways in which language is used and the sociocultural context in which it is used, for language teachers. Each of the papers is based on original data collection and analysis and covers new and interesting areas of research.
Ms Catherine Demosthenous
Catherine M Demosthenous is a casual lecturer and doctoral graduate from the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith. Catherine’s main research interests include linguistics and language, talk in inter‐racial interaction and intercultural communication, and issues relating to inclusion and exclusion. She has published widely, and is currently co‐writing a book that looks at Indigenous Australian languages and the social contexts in which they are produced.
Ms Hellene Demosthenous
Hellene T Demosthenous is a casual lecturer and doctoral graduate from the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith. Hellene’s main research interests include conversation analysis and language use in interaction. She has recently published a book on Turn‐taking in Deep Hypnosis (Verlag VDM), and is currently co‐writing a report on the real life circumstances of the people of Boigu Island in the Torres Strait in Australia.
Tok Pisin, and Internal Variation
Author: Ricky Gure
Ricky Gure is completing a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. Ricky is from Central province in Papua New Guinea, and has been an educator for eight years. He has a graduate Diploma in Secondary education and Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Goroka and Papua New Guinea respectively. His interest areas are English as a second language (ESL) teaching, language policy and research in language studies.
This exploratory study investigates interactions amongst members of the sociolinguistic community of Papua New Guinea; with a focus on those from the New Guinea Islands. The study examines the way in which the participants use Tok Pisin: which is one of three national languages (Tok Pisin, English and Hiri Motu), and one that is moving towards becoming the language of instruction in classrooms across the nation. The data consists of interviews and observations. These data show that Tok Pisin is able to express things that can be expressed in Standard English, and enable mutual understanding between speakers. The study identified internal variation in the way that Tok Pisin is spoken in this sociolinguistic community. In particular, it found that the lexicon “laga” is in common usage by speakers of Tok Pisin from the New Guinea Islands. Further, the findings indicate that “laga” is used to mark social identity and build solidarity. Given the current push for Tok Pisin to become a language of instruction, the study has implications for policy‐makers and the sociolinguistic community of Papua New Guinea as a whole.
Vietnamese Expressions of Politeness
Author: Vu Mai Yen Tran
In Vietnam, address terms are indispensable features of polite conversation, as these relate to the age and social status of the speaker and hearer, and the interaction between them. This paper examines the use of a number of politeness strategies in interaction between young women from northern Vietnam. The data are recorded conversations and observations. The study examines the ways in which the participants address each other in Vietnamese. It found that they used the paired address terms “bà‐ tôi” and “mình‐ mình” to refer to those of the same age and social status, and the paired address term “chị‐em” to address females with age distinction. Moreover, it found that instead of saying something formally, young women can also express politeness non‐verbally; and the smile is their choice. An appreciation of these findings is essential for those with an interest in understanding how one might express politeness in interaction in Vietnam.
Code-switching: A Korean Case Study
Author: Amy E. Pagano
The push to learn English in Korea has led many families to send their older children to western countries in order to increase their speaking abilities. Code‐switching is one strategy that English Second Language students use to combat the difficulties encountered while learning the Second Language. This paper examines an instance of code‐switching between two Korean women who are discussing a Korean political topic. Conversation Analysis and ethnographic interviews were used to review the data. It was found that one of the participants used code‐switching to establish intersubjectivity, however the recipient rejects this attempt at social identity agreement. This non‐alignment is analysed, and implications of the results for the English Second Language classroom are examined.
On 'Non-Arabic Speaking' Muslims
Author: Bader Saleh Almansour
Bader Almansour has been an ESL Teacher in the Military Vocational Training Program in Saudi Arabia since 2005. He is currently completing a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.
This exploratory study investigates the use of code‐switching among non‐Arabic speaking Muslims from diverse linguistic backgrounds. The data consists of a focus group interview that was audio‐recorded and later transcribed for analysis. Informed by Content Analysis Method, the focus remains on the participants’ production of four Arabic phrases from Islam: ma sha Allah (‘whatever God wills’); alhamdu lillah (‘God be praised’); bismillah (‘in God’s name’); and in sha Allah (‘If God wills’). The study shows that although the participants do not speak Arabic, they do code‐switch from English to Arabic; at least to produce the Arabic phrases mentioned above. It shows that code‐switching into these Arabic phrases provides a way of expressing and establishing a common and shared identity as Muslims. While the study is of interest to members of the Muslim world, sociologists and so on, it is also has implications for sociolinguists and educators in Arabic second and foreign language teaching and learning contexts; particularly with regard to the significance of the use of these Arabic phrases and the widespread reach of the sociolinguistic community to which they belong.
Urumqi Dialect of Chinese ESL Students: Some Teaching Implications
Author: Mali Kong
Mali Kong has been an EFL Teacher in China for over 20 years. She teaches at TAFE and is a TCSOL trainer at the Australian Multicultural Education Centre. She is completing a Masters in Applied Linguistics at Griffith University, and specialising in improving communicative competence for English and Chinese learners.
This study investigates the use of Urumqi Chinese dialect, which is the variety of Mandarin spoken in Xinjiang in Northwest China. The case study method is adopted to investigate the use of Urumqi Chinese dialect in light of standard Mandarin. The data were gathered from Urumqi Chinese native speakers, who are currently studying at universities in Brisbane, Australia. Data consists of an interview, observation and follow‐up questions. The findings indicate that a number of variables define this particular speech community and differentiate it from the standard Mandarin speech community, as shown in the participants’ productions of apical sounds confusion and nasal sounds confusion in Urumqi Chinese dialect. The findings further indicate that the sociolinguistic context impacts the participants’ use of Urumqi Chinese dialect; the greater the period of time students have been away from Urumqi, the fewer number of Urumqi Chinese dialect sounds are produced in conversation. So, the findings contribute to our knowledge of Urumqi Chinese dialect speakers; particularly those who study English in Australia. They also contribute to our understandings on the standardisation of students’ spoken Chinese Mandarin, which has implications for educators, members of the Urumqi Chinese dialect community, and others.