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Languages, Volume 3, Issue 1 (March 2018) – 7 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Languages (www.mdpi.com/journal/languages) is an international, peer-reviewed open access journal on interdisciplinary studies of languages and linguistics, indexed in DOAJ and ERIH Plus. We welcome contributions within any theoretical, experimental or applied approach.
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Article
Monosyllabic Place Holders in Child Acquisition of Spanish as a Second Language
Languages 2018, 3(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3010007 - 19 Mar 2018
Viewed by 1525
Abstract
Monosyllabic place holders (MPHs) have been studied extensively in first-language (L1) acquisition of Spanish and other Romance languages. However, the study of MPHs in second-language (L2) acquisition, both by children and adults, has received much less attention. This study provides evidence for the [...] Read more.
Monosyllabic place holders (MPHs) have been studied extensively in first-language (L1) acquisition of Spanish and other Romance languages. However, the study of MPHs in second-language (L2) acquisition, both by children and adults, has received much less attention. This study provides evidence for the presence of MPHs in the L2 Spanish of two L1 Moroccan Arabic children living in Spain. The age difference between the children (10;9 for Rachida and 6;10 for Khalid) allows us to address the issue of whether the younger child would use MPHs, as is the case in L1 acquisition. However, what the data show is that both children used MPHs, although Khalid’s MPH rate was slightly higher than Rachida’s. Therefore, based on these findings we argue that MPHs can constitute a strategy available for all child learners of Spanish. Full article
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Article
On Recursive Modification in Child L1 French
Languages 2018, 3(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3010006 - 16 Mar 2018
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1696
Abstract
This paper investigates nominal recursive modification (RM) in the L1 acquisition of French. Although recursion is considered the fundamental property of human languages, recursive self-embedding is found to be difficult for children in a variety of languages and constructions. Despite these challenges, the [...] Read more.
This paper investigates nominal recursive modification (RM) in the L1 acquisition of French. Although recursion is considered the fundamental property of human languages, recursive self-embedding is found to be difficult for children in a variety of languages and constructions. Despite these challenges, the acquisition of RM proves to be resilient; acquirable even under severely degraded input conditions. From a minimalist perspective on the operations of narrow syntax, recursive embedding is essentially the application of a sequence of Merge operations (Chomsky 1995; Trotzke and Zwart 2014); therefore, given the universality of Merge, we do not expect to find cross-linguistic differences in how difficult recursion is. But if the challenging nature of recursion stems from factors which might differ from language to language, we expect different outcomes cross-linguistically. We compare new data from French to existing English data (Pérez-Leroux et al. 2012) in order to examine to what extent language-specific properties of RM structures determine the acquisition path. While children’s production differs significantly from their adult’s counterparts, we find no differences between French-speaking and English-speaking children. Our findings suggest that the challenging nature of recursion does not stem from the grammar itself and that what shapes the acquisition path is the interaction between universal properties of language and considerations not specific to language, namely computational efficiency. Full article
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Article
Adult Word Learning as a Function of Neighborhood Density
Languages 2018, 3(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3010005 - 06 Mar 2018
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Abstract
Previous studies exploring the influence of neighborhood density (ND) during adult word learning have largely relied on tasks designed for young, preliterate children. In order to examine effects of ND on adult word learning during an ecologically valid task, eight nonwords varying in [...] Read more.
Previous studies exploring the influence of neighborhood density (ND) during adult word learning have largely relied on tasks designed for young, preliterate children. In order to examine effects of ND on adult word learning during an ecologically valid task, eight nonwords varying in neighborhood density (4 dense, 4 sparse) were taught to 50 typical adults in the context of a lecture. Half of the participants (n = 25) were solely exposed to the phonological forms of the nonwords, while the other half of the participants (n = 25) were exposed to both the phonological forms and orthographic representations. Results indicated that participants who only heard the nonwords learned more dense words than sparse words, similar to prior work. However, participants who heard as well as saw the nonwords learned dense words and sparse words to a similar degree, in addition to overall greater learning of sparse words. Thus, learning of sparse words can improve when orthographic information supplements the phonological information. An account of working memory is re-visited to interpret the results related to auditory and visual processing during lexical acquisition. Full article
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Article
Measuring the Effectiveness of Writing Center Consultations on L2 Writers’ Essay Writing Skills
Languages 2018, 3(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3010004 - 19 Feb 2018
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2701
Abstract
With the international growth of English-medium education, tertiary institutions are increasingly providing academic support services to L2 students, and thus, the number of writing centers working with L2 student writers has also increased. Writing center practices originated in L1 English educational contexts and [...] Read more.
With the international growth of English-medium education, tertiary institutions are increasingly providing academic support services to L2 students, and thus, the number of writing centers working with L2 student writers has also increased. Writing center practices originated in L1 English educational contexts and their appropriateness for L2 English writers requires examination. This study investigated the effect of writing center consultations on the essay writing skills of L1 Arabic foundation level students at an English-medium university in the Gulf region. Analysis was based on quantitative measures of writing ability of two distinct groups of students: an experimental group who participated in tutoring sessions at the university’s writing center and a control group who did not. Findings indicated that students who participated in writing center consultations scored significantly higher in overall essay writing scores, as well as in two aspects of writing: task fulfilment (that is ideas) and text organization/coherence. These findings contribute to a limited bank of similar empirical studies on effectiveness of writing center sessions on students’ essay writing ability. They also support the case for the expansion of writing center work beyond the domains of predominantly L1 English academic communities. Full article
Article
Clausal Coordination in Gã: The Case of nì
Languages 2018, 3(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3010003 - 13 Feb 2018
Viewed by 1163
Abstract
This paper analyses the communicative functions of the Gã (Niger–Congo, Kwa branch) clausal connective nì, roughly corresponding to English ‘and’, drawing on Wilson and Sperber’s (1995; 2004) relevance theory. The study demonstrates that nì is a conjunction that achieves optimal relevance when [...] Read more.
This paper analyses the communicative functions of the Gã (Niger–Congo, Kwa branch) clausal connective nì, roughly corresponding to English ‘and’, drawing on Wilson and Sperber’s (1995; 2004) relevance theory. The study demonstrates that nì is a conjunction that achieves optimal relevance when the nì-utterance has cognitive effects that transcend those of the individual conjuncts of nì. Importantly, the use of nì leads the way in providing clues that aid the interlocutor to “work out” the nature of the inferential relation between the conjuncts. These inferential relations, including addition, temporality, causality, contrast and parallelism, ultimately enable the interlocutor to arrive at the desired and/or intended interpretation of the utterance as a whole. This paper is, thus, an attempt to account for the meaning of nì as well as the pragmatic processes that inform the specific inferential relations between the nì-conjuncts. It also illumines the ways in which pragmatic enrichment and context-dependent inference can strengthen the logical form of clausal coordination in Gã. Full article
Editorial
Introducing the Special Issue: MOBILizing Language Learning in the 21st Century
Languages 2018, 3(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3010002 - 30 Jan 2018
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1603
Abstract
Mobilizing paraphrases as ‘making mobile’, alluding to people as well as resources being organized with a clear intent[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MOBILizing Language Learning in the 21st Century)
Editorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Languages in 2015, 2016, and 2017
Languages 2018, 3(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3010001 - 23 Jan 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1152
Abstract
Peer review is an essential part in the publication process, ensuring that Languages maintains high quality standards for its published papers [...]
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