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Languages, Volume 8, Issue 1 (March 2023) – 90 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Speech pauses between conversational turns are crucial for assessing conversation partners’ cognitive states; for example, speakers making longer pauses are regarded as less willing to grant requests. We tested in a rating experiment if the interpretation of pause length was mediated by the accent of speakers, in particular native vs. non-native accents. Participants judged non-native speakers to be equally willing to grant requests, irrespective of their inter-turn pause lengths, whereas native speakers making long pauses were regarded as less willing than those making short pauses. This indicates that listeners interpret long pauses by non-natives as the result of prolonged cognitive processing needed for planning an answer in a non-native language rather than of a lack of willingness. View this paper
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14 pages, 370 KiB  
Review
A Selective Review of Event-Related Potential Investigations in Second and Third Language Acquisition of Syntax
by Tanja Angelovska and Dietmar Roehm
Languages 2023, 8(1), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010090 - 22 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1800
Abstract
The aim of this contribution is to highlight the role and relevance of neurolinguistics accounts for second and third language syntactic acquisition/processing. This chapter begins with a brief historical overview of the field of experimental psychology and the birth of the EEG methodology. [...] Read more.
The aim of this contribution is to highlight the role and relevance of neurolinguistics accounts for second and third language syntactic acquisition/processing. This chapter begins with a brief historical overview of the field of experimental psychology and the birth of the EEG methodology. We then provide a general introduction of the ERP methodology and the language-related ERP components, explaining what they show and how they are to be interpreted. A special focus is given on the clear distinction between behavioral measurements in contrast to real-time measures and the leading role of ERPs is elaborated on. We then provide a selective narrative review of existing L2 and L3 syntax acquisition studies with the EEG methodology within the domain of syntax that we consider relevant for deriving implications for language instructed settings. We discuss results from EEG studies on second and third language syntactic acquisition/processing and finally, highlight several conclusions important for the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multilingualism: Consequences for the Brain and Mind)
19 pages, 1469 KiB  
Article
Linguistic Variation, Social Meaning and Covert Prestige in a Northern Moroccan Arabic Variety
by Montserrat Benítez Fernández
Languages 2023, 8(1), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010089 - 21 Mar 2023
Viewed by 2293
Abstract
This paper addresses how gender and age, as macro-sociological factors, influence variation and change in the Northern Moroccan Arabic variety of Ouezzane, and how social meaning plays a role in this variation. To do so, it examines the high degree of variability in [...] Read more.
This paper addresses how gender and age, as macro-sociological factors, influence variation and change in the Northern Moroccan Arabic variety of Ouezzane, and how social meaning plays a role in this variation. To do so, it examines the high degree of variability in the realization of two phonetic variables, the voiceless alveolar plosive /t/ and the voiceless uvular plosive /q/, in a corpus of semi-scripted interviews with 20 local informants. The data for the study was gathered during several fieldwork campaigns carried out between 2014 and 2021. The analysis combines quantitative and qualitative methods. Quantitative comparisons are drawn across gender and three age categories (under 30, between 30 and 50, and over 50) to search for gender and/or age markers, while the data are qualitatively analyzed with regard to the increase in the use of certain allophones, attrition and loss of other variants, and metalinguistic comments made by informants on those traits. These two methods make it possible to identify how the phonetic variables analyzed contribute to the construction of various identities, such as an “older person” identity, as well as self-affiliation with particular social groups, such as “artisans” or “rural women”, from which other groups, such as male university graduates, are keen to distance themselves. Full article
28 pages, 2168 KiB  
Article
An Experimental Investigation of Multiple Sluicing in Mandarin Chinese
by Xue Bai, Álvaro Cortés Rodríguez and Daiko Takahashi
Languages 2023, 8(1), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010088 - 21 Mar 2023
Viewed by 2047
Abstract
This paper examines multiple sluicing constructions in Mandarin Chinese (henceforth, MC) experimentally. The acceptability status of such constructions in MC is controversial, and the judgments reported in the previous literature vary. Obtaining experimental evidence on the acceptability status is, therefore, important to advance [...] Read more.
This paper examines multiple sluicing constructions in Mandarin Chinese (henceforth, MC) experimentally. The acceptability status of such constructions in MC is controversial, and the judgments reported in the previous literature vary. Obtaining experimental evidence on the acceptability status is, therefore, important to advance the research on multiple sluicing in MC. Consequently, the present study conducts two sets of experiments to investigate factors affecting the acceptability of multiple sluicing sentences and the influence of the distribution of shi preceding wh-remnants on acceptability ratings. The results show that multiple sluicing in MC is generally a marked construction. Nevertheless, factors including prepositionhood and specificity have ameliorating effects on the acceptability of such constructions. Moreover, the influence of the distribution of shi on the acceptability ratings is related to the nature of wh-remnants; that is, its presence significantly improves the acceptability of cases of multiple sluicing when it precedes bare wh-arguments. We argue that the observed ameliorating effects on multiple sluicing can be explained by a cue-based retrieval approach to cross-linguistic elliptical constructions. Compared to bare wh-arguments, prepositional and discourse-linked wh-phrases provide cues to facilitate the retrieval of information from antecedent clauses. Full article
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36 pages, 1090 KiB  
Article
Phenomena of Contact and Mixing in the Arbëresh Dialects of San Marzano di San Giuseppe in Salento and Vena di Maida in Calabria
by Leonardo Maria Savoia and Benedetta Baldi
Languages 2023, 8(1), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010087 - 17 Mar 2023
Viewed by 4265
Abstract
In this work, we will investigate hybridization, borrowing, and grammatical reorganization phenomena in the Arbëresh dialects of San Marzano (Apulia) and Vena di Maida (central Calabria). The data from the Arbëresh of S. Benedetto Ullano (northern Calabria) will be useful to provide a [...] Read more.
In this work, we will investigate hybridization, borrowing, and grammatical reorganization phenomena in the Arbëresh dialects of San Marzano (Apulia) and Vena di Maida (central Calabria). The data from the Arbëresh of S. Benedetto Ullano (northern Calabria) will be useful to provide a comparative frame. Arbëresh is the name of the Albanian varieties spoken in the villages/cities generally formed in the late fifteenth century by communities fleeing from Albania as a consequence of the Ottoman occupation. The long-time contact with neighboring Romance varieties is reflected in the extended mixing phenomena which characterize the lexicon and the morphosyntactic organization of Arbëresh as a heritage language. This is particularly evident in the two dialects that we investigate in this contribution, where relexification and grammatical reorganization phenomena provide us with an interesting testing ground to explain language variation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Syntactic Variation and Change of Heritage Languages)
19 pages, 439 KiB  
Article
The Role of Context in Learning to Read Languages That Use Different Writing Systems and Scripts: Urdu and English
by Amna Mirza and Alexandra Gottardo
Languages 2023, 8(1), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010086 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2814
Abstract
Language learning involves linguistic and societal factors that interact to facilitate or hinder second language learning. Different contextual factors provide an opportunity to examine and understand the similarities and differences that occur among bilingual children who learn the same first (L1) and second [...] Read more.
Language learning involves linguistic and societal factors that interact to facilitate or hinder second language learning. Different contextual factors provide an opportunity to examine and understand the similarities and differences that occur among bilingual children who learn the same first (L1) and second language (L2) in different countries and contexts. This paper explored the role of context, learners’ profiles and linguistic differences of Urdu–English bilinguals in Canada and Pakistan. Within- and cross-linguistic comparisons were conducted for 76 Urdu–English speakers from Pakistan and 50 participants from Canada. Children, ages 8–10 years, were tested on language and literacy measures in both languages. Group comparisons of performance on language measures across languages and countries confirmed that relative strengths were based on the societal languages of each country (Urdu in Pakistan and English in Canada). Despite some similarities in relations among skills within language, differences in the language learning context provided interesting findings regarding the role of L1 skills for acquiring L2 reading skills. These findings challenge the theories developed using data from L2 learners, where learners acquire the societal language in immersion contexts, such as in North America or Europe. Full article
17 pages, 371 KiB  
Article
Teacher Trainees’ Perspectives on Remote Instruction for Multilingual Learners of English
by Kandace M. Hoppin, Gregory Knollman, Patricia Rice Doran and Huili Hong
Languages 2023, 8(1), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010085 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1740
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a shift to virtual learning across many countries and school systems. It is worthwhile to examine the specific ways in which this shift is significant to teacher trainees preparing to work with multilingual learners (MLs). Considering the perspectives of [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a shift to virtual learning across many countries and school systems. It is worthwhile to examine the specific ways in which this shift is significant to teacher trainees preparing to work with multilingual learners (MLs). Considering the perspectives of teacher trainees preparing to teach MLs offers an opportunity to identify the questions and concerns that they are likely to have upon graduation. Examining these perspectives can also help to identify ways that teacher trainees can use virtual and remote teaching approaches more constructively. This paper presents findings from a qualitative study of an educator preparation program focused on preparing trainees in content areas along with English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), with a focus on the perspectives of teacher trainees who worked with MLs through virtual and remote modalities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper draws on data from an analysis of nine teacher trainees’ response journals and course assignments, and includes themes identified from the teacher trainees’ perceptions of virtual learning for MLs. The findings from the analysis revealed that teacher trainees emphasized the importance of establishing meaningful professional relationships in the virtual setting with their MLs, especially as a way to facilitate effective instruction and online classroom management. Participants also spoke about the importance of developing culturally responsive and sensitive instruction, and stressed the importance of engaging students and families in appropriate, linguistically accessible ways. Implications for future virtual instruction as well as teacher preparation are also discussed. Full article
17 pages, 3455 KiB  
Article
The Role Classifiers Play in Selecting the Referent of a Word
by Weiyi Ma, Peng Zhou and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff
Languages 2023, 8(1), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010084 - 14 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1527
Abstract
An important cue to the meaning of a new noun is its accompanying classifier. For example, in English, X in “a sheet of X” should refer to a broad, flat object. A classifier is required in Chinese to quantify nouns. Using children’s overt [...] Read more.
An important cue to the meaning of a new noun is its accompanying classifier. For example, in English, X in “a sheet of X” should refer to a broad, flat object. A classifier is required in Chinese to quantify nouns. Using children’s overt responses in an object/picture selection task, past research found reliable semantic knowledge of classifiers in Mandarin-reared children at around age three. However, it is unclear how children’s semantic knowledge differs across different types of classifiers and how this difference develops with age. Here we use an arguably more sensitive measure of children’s language knowledge (the intermodal preferential-looking paradigm) to examine Mandarin-reared three-, four-, and five-year-olds’ semantic knowledge of four types of classifiers indicating animacy (human vs. animal distinction), configuration (how objects are arrayed), object shape, and vehicle function. Multiple factors were matched across classifier types: the number of classifiers, perceived familiarity and perceived typicality of the target, and the visual similarity of the two images paired together. Children’s performances differed across classifier types, as they were better with animacy classifiers than with configuration and vehicle function classifiers. Their comprehension was reliable for animacy, object shape, and vehicle function classifiers but not for configuration classifiers. Furthermore, we did not find conclusive evidence for an age-dependent improvement in the child’s performance. The analysis, including the oldest (five-year-olds) and youngest (three-year-olds) children, revealed a marginally significant age effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research on Chinese Morphology)
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15 pages, 1904 KiB  
Article
A Bi-Gram Approach for an Exhaustive Arabic Triliteral Roots Lexicon
by Ebtihal Mustafa and Karim Bouzoubaa
Languages 2023, 8(1), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010083 - 13 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1272
Abstract
With the rapid development of science and technology, many new concepts and terms appear, especially in English. Other languages try to express these concepts with words from their vocabulary. In Arabic, there are many ways to find a counterpart for a particularly new [...] Read more.
With the rapid development of science and technology, many new concepts and terms appear, especially in English. Other languages try to express these concepts with words from their vocabulary. In Arabic, there are many ways to find a counterpart for a particularly new concept, such as using an existing word to denote the new concept, derivation, and blending. When these methods fail, the new concepts are phonetically transliterated. Unfortunately, most of the transliterated terms do not conform to the rules of the Arabic language, and many languages, including Arabic, avoid the use of such terms. Some modern linguists call for using the generation strategy to translate new terms into Arabic based on the idea of the meanings of the Arabic letters. Therefore, it is necessary to provide a resource that contains all Arabic roots with a categorization of what is used, what is available for use, and what is rejected according to the phonetic system. This work provides a comprehensive lexicon that contains all possible triliteral roots and determines the status of each root in terms of usage and acceptability. Additionally, it provides a mechanism for giving preference to roots when there is more than one root that indicates the desired meaning. Full article
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19 pages, 351 KiB  
Article
Not Only Anteriority in the Past: The Functions of the Pluperfect in Spoken Italian
by Eleonora Morei
Languages 2023, 8(1), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010082 - 13 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1293
Abstract
Three distinct anaphoric functions and one deictic function are, with fair confidence, associated with the Italian Pluperfect in the existing literature. In recent studies, it has been hypothesized that the Italian Pluperfect may also have an aoristic use. The present study attempts to [...] Read more.
Three distinct anaphoric functions and one deictic function are, with fair confidence, associated with the Italian Pluperfect in the existing literature. In recent studies, it has been hypothesized that the Italian Pluperfect may also have an aoristic use. The present study attempts to assess the semantics of the Italian Pluperfect, by a corpus-based methodology. It will be shown that the data do not support the hypothesis of an aoristic use of the Pluperfect: rather, they suggest the need to extend the analysis of the Pluperfect’s semantics to domains other than tense and aspect. It will be argued that (inter)subjectification may have a key role in describing the layered semantics of the Italian Pluperfect, especially concerning its possible modal-evidential developments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Grammaticalization across Languages, Levels and Frameworks)
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6 pages, 311 KiB  
Editorial
Developing Critical Language Awareness in the Heritage Language Classroom: Implementation and Assessment in Diverse Educational Contexts
by Sara Beaudrie
Languages 2023, 8(1), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010081 - 13 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2014
Abstract
The main goal of heritage language (HL) education is to empower learners to explore and develop their cultural and linguistic heritage [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developing Heritage Language Learners’ Critical Language Awareness)
30 pages, 2750 KiB  
Article
Sound Change in Albanian Monolinguals and Albanian–English Sequential Bilingual Returnees in Tirana, Albania
by Esther de Leeuw, Enkeleida Kapia and Scott Lewis
Languages 2023, 8(1), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010080 - 9 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2110
Abstract
This research investigated contrastive perception of L1 phonological categories in Albanian–English bilinguals who returned to Albania after living abroad for over on average a decade. In Standard Albanian, there are phonemic contrasts between /c/ and /tʃ/, /ɫ/ and /l/, and /ɹ/ and /r/. [...] Read more.
This research investigated contrastive perception of L1 phonological categories in Albanian–English bilinguals who returned to Albania after living abroad for over on average a decade. In Standard Albanian, there are phonemic contrasts between /c/ and /tʃ/, /ɫ/ and /l/, and /ɹ/ and /r/. These phonemic contrasts do not occur in English. Using a “real speech” binary minimal pair identification task, we compared the accuracy and response times of bilingual returnees against functional Albanian monolinguals who had never lived abroad. Results showed that (1) reaction times for /c/ versus /tʃ/ were longest for both groups, indicating that this contrast was “harder” than the other contrasts. Surprisingly, (2) bilinguals outperformed monolinguals in accurately identifying /c/ versus /tʃ/; and (3) no significant group differences were found for the other two phonemic contrasts. In combination with other research showing that Albanian is undergoing a merger of /c/ and /tʃ/, our findings suggest that this merger is more advanced in monolinguals than bilinguals—probably because the bilinguals were abroad when the merger started. Examination of variation within the bilinguals indicated that (4) the younger the speaker was when they left Albania, and the more recently they had returned, the lower their accuracy was in identifying the laterals. These phonological findings enhance our understanding of perceptual L1 attrition whilst underlining the need to examine language change in the country of origin in L1 attrition research. Full article
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14 pages, 1891 KiB  
Article
Occurrences and Durations of Filled Pauses in Relation to Words and Silent Pauses in Spontaneous Speech
by Mária Gósy
Languages 2023, 8(1), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010079 - 9 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2719
Abstract
Filled pauses (i.e., gaps in speech production filled with non-lexical vocalizations) have been studied for more than sixty years in different languages. These studies utilize many different approaches to explore the origins, specific patterns, forms, incidents, positions, and functions of filled pauses. The [...] Read more.
Filled pauses (i.e., gaps in speech production filled with non-lexical vocalizations) have been studied for more than sixty years in different languages. These studies utilize many different approaches to explore the origins, specific patterns, forms, incidents, positions, and functions of filled pauses. The present research examines the presence of filled pauses by considering the adjacent words and silent pauses that define their immediate positions as well as the influence of the immediate position on filled pause duration. The durations of 2450 filled pauses produced in 30 narratives were analyzed in terms of their incidence, immediate positions, neighboring silent pauses, and surrounding word types. The data obtained showed that filled pauses that were attached to a word on one side were the most frequent. Filled pauses occurring within a word and between two silent pauses were the longest of all. Hence, the durations of filled pauses were significantly influenced by the silent pauses occurring in their vicinity. The durations and occurrence of filled pauses did not differ when content or function words preceded the filled pause or followed it. These findings suggest that the incidence and duration of filled pauses as influenced by the neighboring words and silent pauses may be indicative of their information content, which is related to the processes of transforming ideas into grammatical structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pauses in Speech)
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22 pages, 3633 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Onset of Phonetic Drift in Voice Onset Time Perception
by Jackson Kellogg and Charles B. Chang
Languages 2023, 8(1), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010078 - 8 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2173
Abstract
Recent exposure to a second or foreign language (FL) can influence production and/or perception in the first language (L1), a phenomenon referred to as phonetic drift. The smallest amount of FL exposure shown to effect drift in perception is 1.5 h. The present [...] Read more.
Recent exposure to a second or foreign language (FL) can influence production and/or perception in the first language (L1), a phenomenon referred to as phonetic drift. The smallest amount of FL exposure shown to effect drift in perception is 1.5 h. The present study examined L1 perception at earlier timepoints of FL exposure, to determine whether the phonetic system is able to resist FL influence at an incipient stage. In a longitudinal pre-test/post-test design, L1 English listeners were exposed to Tagalog under different conditions varying in attention directed to the voice onset time (VOT) plosive contrast in the FL; they then completed an identification task on L1 tokens from VOT continua. In every condition, the likelihood of “voiceless” identifications decreased. This change indicates a shift towards a longer VOT crossover point between “voiced” and “voiceless”, consistent with dissimilatory drift in perception. Listeners in a control condition, however, displayed a similar, albeit less lasting, change in L1 judgments, suggesting that the change arose partly from a task effect. We conclude by discussing directions for future research on phonetic drift in perception. Full article
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20 pages, 7508 KiB  
Article
Task Stratification and Differentiation Strategies for Partially Sighted and Dyslexic Learners in Textbooks of Russian as a Foreign Language: An Italian Case Study of Non-Inclusive Learning/Teaching
by Linda Torresin
Languages 2023, 8(1), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010077 - 8 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1782
Abstract
This paper aims to analyze six of the most popular textbooks for Russian as a foreign language (RFL) for adolescent and adult learners used in Italy, namely Reportazh, Russkiy klass, Molodets, Davayte, Poyekhali, and Ura, to see [...] Read more.
This paper aims to analyze six of the most popular textbooks for Russian as a foreign language (RFL) for adolescent and adult learners used in Italy, namely Reportazh, Russkiy klass, Molodets, Davayte, Poyekhali, and Ura, to see whether and how task stratification and differentiation strategies are put in place for partially sighted (PS) and dyslexic (D) learners. Through a comparative content analysis, it is shown that there is a total lack of educational design aimed at the inclusion of PS and D learners in the Italian context. This may be due to the greater presence in such textbooks of traditional RFL views, which generally do not prioritize inclusion, as well as to carelessness toward the contributions of Italian-based glottodidactics, which, in contrast, is very attentive to inclusion issues, even for languages other than Russian. Finally, some suggestions are given, accompanied by practical examples, for enhancing the inclusivity of these textbooks. Full article
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18 pages, 4647 KiB  
Article
The Dance of Pauses in Poetry Declamation
by Plinio A. Barbosa
Languages 2023, 8(1), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010076 - 8 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1807
Abstract
In poetry declamation, the appropriate use of prosody to cause pleasure is essential. Among the prosodic parameters, pause is one of the most effective to engage the listeners and provide them with a pleasant experience. The declamation of three poems in two varieties [...] Read more.
In poetry declamation, the appropriate use of prosody to cause pleasure is essential. Among the prosodic parameters, pause is one of the most effective to engage the listeners and provide them with a pleasant experience. The declamation of three poems in two varieties of Portuguese by ten Brazilian Portuguese (BP) speakers and ten European Portuguese (EP) speakers, balanced for gender, was used as a corpus for evaluating the degree of pleasantness by listeners from the same language variety. The distributions of pause duration and inter-pause interval (IPI) both varied greatly across the subjects, being the main source of variability and strongly right-tailed. The evaluation of the degree of pleasantness revealed that pause duration predicts degree of pleasantness in EP, whereas IPI predicts degree of pleasantness in BP. Reciters perform a kind of complex “dance”, where sonority between pauses is favored in BP and pause duration in EP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pauses in Speech)
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13 pages, 1140 KiB  
Article
Sampling and Generalizability in Lx Research: A Second-Order Synthesis
by Luke Plonsky
Languages 2023, 8(1), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010075 - 6 Mar 2023
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2917
Abstract
As in many other social sciences, second/additional language (Lx) researchers are often interested in generalizing their findings beyond the samples they collect data from. However, very little is known about the range of learner backgrounds and settings found in Lx research. Moreover, the [...] Read more.
As in many other social sciences, second/additional language (Lx) researchers are often interested in generalizing their findings beyond the samples they collect data from. However, very little is known about the range of learner backgrounds and settings found in Lx research. Moreover, the few papers that have addressed the range of settings and demographics sampled in Lx research paint a disappointing picture). The current study examines the extent to which concerns expressed over this issue are merited and worthy of further attention. Toward that end, sample-related features such as L1, Lx/target language, age, proficiency, and educational setting (or lack thereof) were extracted from a sample of 308 systematic reviews of Lx research. The data from this “meta-synthetic” sample are then used to estimate the extent to which Lx research has sampled—and might or might not be able to generalize to—different populations and contexts including those pertinent to migrant populations, the focus of this special issue. The results reveal an incredibly disproportionate interest in participants with English as a first or target language and as well as university students in a narrow range of countries. The findings are used to call out the applied linguistics community on this gross oversight while also seeking to inform future research and contribute to the ongoing methodological reform movement in applied linguistics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Second Language Acquisition in Different Migration Contexts)
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28 pages, 1794 KiB  
Article
Prosodic and Segmental Aspects of Pronunciation Training and Their Effects on L2
by Silvia Dahmen, Martine Grice and Simon Roessig
Languages 2023, 8(1), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010074 - 6 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2692
Abstract
Some studies on training effects of pronunciation instruction have claimed that the training of prosodic features has effects at the segmental level and that the training of segmental features has effects at the prosodic level, with greater effects reported when prosody is the [...] Read more.
Some studies on training effects of pronunciation instruction have claimed that the training of prosodic features has effects at the segmental level and that the training of segmental features has effects at the prosodic level, with greater effects reported when prosody is the main focus of training. This paper revisits this claim by looking at the effects of pronunciation training on Italian learners of German. In a pre-post-test design, we investigate acoustic changes after training in learners’ productions of two features regarded as prosodic and two features regarded as segmental. The prosodic features were the pitch excursion of final rises in yes–no questions and the reduction in schwa epenthesis in word-final closed syllables. The segmental features were final devoicing and voice onset time (VOT) in plosives. We discuss the results for three groups (with segmental training, with prosody training, and with no pronunciation training). Our results indicate that there are positive effects of prosody-oriented training on the production of segments, especially when training focuses on syllable structure and prosodic prominence (stress and accent). They also indicate that teaching segmental and prosodic aspects of pronunciation together is beneficial. Full article
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26 pages, 5283 KiB  
Article
Vowel Quality in Xiang Non-Lexical Hesitation Markers: New Forms of Typological Evidence?
by Robert Marcelo Sevilla
Languages 2023, 8(1), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010073 - 3 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1919
Abstract
Xiang (hsn) remains a poorly understood grouping within Sinitic, with no satisfactory conclusions on how to demarcate its boundaries or define its subgroupings. One general observation is that there is a rough typological split between the Northeast and Southwest related to contact from [...] Read more.
Xiang (hsn) remains a poorly understood grouping within Sinitic, with no satisfactory conclusions on how to demarcate its boundaries or define its subgroupings. One general observation is that there is a rough typological split between the Northeast and Southwest related to contact from northern- and southern-type Sinitic varieties, respectively, which can be supported with phonological, lexical, and syntactic evidence. It is predicted here that an additional source of evidence can be found in the phonetic features of hesitation markers (HMs; ‘fillers’, ‘speech disfluencies’, etc.), which tend towards the central area of the vowel space (approaching [ə], [ɤ], [e], etc.) but still conform to the phonologies of the languages in which they occur. This study introduces a novel three-way division of Xiang in terms of phonemic central vowels found in open syllables (either [ə/ɤ], [e/ɛ], or both) which is then evaluated against the vocalic quality found in HMs to determine whether they can be used as evidence for Xiang internal typology. Data are gathered from 47 speakers representing 16 Xiang localities, distributed across Hunan province, recorded performing the Pear Stories paradigm, with 304 hesitation markers extracted. Features reported on include vowel quality (F1-F2), tonal contour (F0), and duration (ms). It is found that Xiang HMs demonstrate four distinct vowel qualities, but that their distribution does not neatly fit established taxonomic schemes; however, the evidence does support the transitional status of Xiang varieties as a site of mixture of northern and southern Sinitic features. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Typology of Chinese Languages: One Name, Many Languages)
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18 pages, 745 KiB  
Review
Sentence Production in Bilingual and Multilingual Aphasia: A Scoping Review
by Aslam Norhan, Fatimah Hani Hassan, Rogayah A Razak and Mohd Azmarul A Aziz
Languages 2023, 8(1), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010072 - 2 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2153
Abstract
Language processing impairments across different dimensions result in deficits of informational content, syntactic complexity, and morphological well-formedness of sentences produced by people with aphasia (PWA). Deficits in language processing affect linguistic skills of bi/multilingual PWA in all languages that they have acquired prior [...] Read more.
Language processing impairments across different dimensions result in deficits of informational content, syntactic complexity, and morphological well-formedness of sentences produced by people with aphasia (PWA). Deficits in language processing affect linguistic skills of bi/multilingual PWA in all languages that they have acquired prior to aphasia. However, the impairments of dual or multiple languages in aphasia may not necessarily be parallel. One language may be more preserved than another and be recovered at different paces, including sentence production abilities. This scoping review aims to compare syntactic characteristics and errors demonstrated by bi/multilingual PWAs between their acquired languages and to explore the nature of bilingual impairments in primary progressive aphasia (PPA). We conducted an online search on three databases (MEDLINE, SciVerse Scopus, and Taylor and Francis publications) for original studies on sentence production of bi/multilingual aphasia that were published between 1991 and 2021 using keywords related to “bilingualism”, “aphasia”, and “speech production”. Based on the titles, abstracts, and full-text screenings, 13 studies were found to have met our inclusion criteria. A qualitative synthesis of the accumulated evidence was conducted following the PRISMA guidelines. Collectively, past researchers reported dominance in L1 with higher occurrences of linguistic errors in L2 among participants with sudden onset aphasia. In PPA, language impairments were found to be comparable between L1 and L2, which may indicate parallel deterioration. It is noted that this review is not exhaustive and many of the reviewed studies were based on single case studies. This review also highlighted an urgent need for investigation into multilingual PPA to fully comprehend the nature of sentence production impairment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Linguistics and Adults with Language Disorders: Modelling the Theory)
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24 pages, 1774 KiB  
Article
Cognitive Load Increases Spoken and Gestural Hesitation Frequency
by Simon Betz, Nataliya Bryhadyr, Olcay Türk and Petra Wagner
Languages 2023, 8(1), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010071 - 2 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2320
Abstract
This study investigates the interplay of spoken and gestural hesitations under varying amounts of cognitive load. We argue that not only fillers and silences, as the most common hesitations, are directly related to speech pausing behavior, but that hesitation lengthening is as well. [...] Read more.
This study investigates the interplay of spoken and gestural hesitations under varying amounts of cognitive load. We argue that not only fillers and silences, as the most common hesitations, are directly related to speech pausing behavior, but that hesitation lengthening is as well. We designed a resource-management card game as a method to elicit ecologically valid pausing behavior while being able to finely control cognitive load via card complexity. The method very successfully elicits large amounts of hesitations. Hesitation frequency increases as a function of cognitive load. This is true for both spoken and gestural hesitations. We conclude that the method presented here is a versatile tool for future research and we present foundational research on the speech-gesture link related to hesitations induced by controllable cognitive load. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pauses in Speech)
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18 pages, 910 KiB  
Article
What Sentence Repetition Tasks Can Reveal about the Processing Effort Associated with Different Types of Code-Switching
by Julia Hofweber and Theodoros Marinis
Languages 2023, 8(1), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010070 - 28 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1737
Abstract
In this study, we explored the linguistic consolidation processes associated with bilingual processing using an experimental paradigm novel in bilingualism research, i.e., sentence repetition. We tested 46 L1-German L2-English bilinguals immersed in the L2 context. Firstly, we compared participants’ sentence repetition accuracy in [...] Read more.
In this study, we explored the linguistic consolidation processes associated with bilingual processing using an experimental paradigm novel in bilingualism research, i.e., sentence repetition. We tested 46 L1-German L2-English bilinguals immersed in the L2 context. Firstly, we compared participants’ sentence repetition accuracy in single-language sentences and in sentences involving code-switches. Secondly, we investigated the processing cost associated with different types of code-switching, i.e., alternation, insertion, and dense code-switching. Finally, we assessed the following potential predictors of repetition accuracy: regular usage of different code-switching types, executive functions (working memory and inhibitory control), as well as relevant bilingualism variables (proficiency, dominance, and immersion). Our first finding was that bilinguals displayed reduced repetition accuracy in sentences involving code-switches compared to single-language sentences, but only when the single-language sentences were in the participants’ L1. This suggests that any processing costs associated with code-switching are modulated by bilinguals’ language background. Moreover, bilinguals’ poor performance in L2 compared to L1 single-language sentences, despite reporting high levels of L2 exposure frequency, highlights the importance of age of acquisition and dominance profiles for language processing. In terms of code-switching, our results revealed that bilinguals’ repetition accuracy differed across different types of code-switching. The processing effort associated with different types of code-switching in the sentence repetition task was primarily driven by the structural depth and the degree of mixing of the involved code-switch, i.e., dense forms of code-switching involving high levels of linguistic co-activation were harder to repeat than alternations involving unintegrated language switching. This effect partially converged with bilinguals’ sociolinguistic practices because bilinguals also reported lower exposure frequency to dense code-switching, but no direct correlations were observed at the level of individual differences. In terms of general cognitive functions, repetition accuracy was modulated by working memory but not by inhibitory control. By investigating this issue, we hope to contribute to our understanding of language processing in the face of cross-linguistic consolidation processes. Full article
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11 pages, 378 KiB  
Review
A Dual-Motivation System in L2 and L3 Learning: A Theoretical Framework and Pedagogical Application
by Gavin Bui
Languages 2023, 8(1), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010069 - 28 Feb 2023
Viewed by 2713
Abstract
This article is an attempt to conceptualise the possibility of two coexisting language learning motivational subsystems for an existing L2 (or L2s) and an L3 currently being learnt, which gives rise to a complex dynamic dual-motivational system. As is generally accepted, an L2 [...] Read more.
This article is an attempt to conceptualise the possibility of two coexisting language learning motivational subsystems for an existing L2 (or L2s) and an L3 currently being learnt, which gives rise to a complex dynamic dual-motivational system. As is generally accepted, an L2 in second language acquisition is defined as any language learned in addition to a person’s first language, which can be the second, third or any other subsequent language. Partly because of this, there appeared to be an assumption that L2 motivation, in general, could be applied to all these “L2s”. In more recent studies, however, it was pointed out that L3 learning may sometimes have an adverse influence on one’s lexical activation, L2 identity, or general L2 motivation. In particular, L2 and L3 motivations have been conceptualised as two quite distinct yet related systems. Against this backdrop, this article argues that L2 and L3 (with any subsequent languages) deserve discrete statuses, as do the motivations of learning them. It then follows that there exists a dual-motivation system for multilinguals. From a Complexity Dynamic Systems Theory perspective, this paper presents an up-to-date review of the mutual influences between languages among multilingual learners, discusses the similarities and differences between L2 and L3 motivational systems, and, most interestingly, explores the interaction between the two types of additional language learning motivation among multilinguals. This article ends with a close look into how the notion of a dual-motivation system could shed light on L2 and L3 pedagogies. It suggests how teachers could maintain existing learning motivation when another language is introduced to one’s linguistic repertoire and avoid detrimental effects that might thus be caused. Full article
18 pages, 484 KiB  
Article
The Contribution of Music Abilities and Phonetic Aptitude to L2 Accent Faking Ability
by Marion Coumel, Christine Groß, Sabine Sommer-Lolei and Markus Christiner
Languages 2023, 8(1), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010068 - 27 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2600
Abstract
This study examined how second language (L2) speakers’ individual differences in music perception abilities, singing abilities and phonetic aptitude relate to their L2 phonological awareness. To measure participants’ L2 phonological awareness, we used an accent faking paradigm, where participants were asked to speak [...] Read more.
This study examined how second language (L2) speakers’ individual differences in music perception abilities, singing abilities and phonetic aptitude relate to their L2 phonological awareness. To measure participants’ L2 phonological awareness, we used an accent faking paradigm, where participants were asked to speak in their native language (German) while imitating a strong L2 accent (English). We measured their musical abilities with the AMMA test and their singing abilities with two singing tasks and a self-report questionnaire. Their phonetic aptitude was assessed with a combination of phonological short-term memory tasks (forward and backward digit span tasks), and language perception and production tasks, in which participants needed to process and imitate sounds from unfamiliar languages. A regression analysis revealed that singing abilities and phonetic aptitude could predict participants’ English faking abilities. This suggests that being able to sing could help learners produce and memorise highly accurate L2 sounds, although their performance could also partly be explained by innate learning capacities such as phonetic aptitude. This study also proposes a new combination of tests to obtain a well-rounded assessment of individual differences in phonetic aptitude. Full article
16 pages, 431 KiB  
Review
Exploring the Implications of Input Variability for Unfamiliar Accented Speech Perception: A Focused Review and New Hypotheses
by Tiana M. Cowan and Anne J. Olmstead
Languages 2023, 8(1), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010067 - 27 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1664
Abstract
Children with and without communication disorders have difficulty understanding words and sentences produced by talkers with unfamiliar characteristics, such as unfamiliar accents. To date, few studies have investigated how this difficulty manifests in linguistically diverse children. Studies of monolingual children have found that [...] Read more.
Children with and without communication disorders have difficulty understanding words and sentences produced by talkers with unfamiliar characteristics, such as unfamiliar accents. To date, few studies have investigated how this difficulty manifests in linguistically diverse children. Studies of monolingual children have found that lexical and phonological skills predict accurate perception. For linguistically diverse children, there are differences in the structure of their linguistic input relative to their monolingual peers. These differences in their linguistic input influence their lexical and phonological development, suggesting that they may also differ in how they perceive unfamiliar accented speech. In this paper we present different hypotheses for how input variability might affect unfamiliar accented speech perception. Then, we conduct a focused review of the literature on how input variability affects early linguistic development for bilingual and bidialectal children. We link this information to the literature on how children with and without language disorders understand unfamiliar accented speech to identify important areas for future inquiry. Determining how input variability interacts with linguistic skills to predict unfamiliar speech perception is a crucial area for future inquiry. Effective clinical recommendations and educational accommodations require understanding of the linguistic skills and experience that support accurate variable speech perception for diverse populations. Full article
15 pages, 905 KiB  
Article
Comparative Constructions in Zhoutun from a Language Contact Perspective
by Chenlei Zhou
Languages 2023, 8(1), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010066 - 24 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1666
Abstract
The paper describes comparative constructions in Zhoutun, a Chinese variety that was heavily influenced by Amdo Tibetan and spoken in Guide County, Qinghai Province. There are five comparative constructions (Cxn), based on the type of comparative marker, in Zhoutun, namely (1) the xa [...] Read more.
The paper describes comparative constructions in Zhoutun, a Chinese variety that was heavily influenced by Amdo Tibetan and spoken in Guide County, Qinghai Province. There are five comparative constructions (Cxn), based on the type of comparative marker, in Zhoutun, namely (1) the xa-Cxn; (2) the pi-Cxn; (3) the ‘look’-Cxn; (4) the ‘and’-Cxn; and (5) the hybrid Cxn. The five constructions illustrate features from both Chinese and Amdo Tibetan, and their co-existence demonstrates the mixed nature of the comparative constructions, as well as the grammar system of Zhoutun due to language contact. This paper also argues that the “comparative subject” should be further subcategorized into “comparative subject” and “attributive subject”, and that the “comparative result” should be divided into “abstract measurement” and “concrete measurement” in the typological study of comparative constructions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Typology of Chinese Languages: One Name, Many Languages)
21 pages, 623 KiB  
Commentary
Translanguaging in Bilingual Deaf Education Teacher Preparation Programs
by Millicent M. Musyoka
Languages 2023, 8(1), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010065 - 24 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2709
Abstract
Most D/HH learners experience language deprivation because they lack full access to a comprehensible language input. Sometimes, this language deprivation continues through school because of the rigid school language policy and teachers’ failure to recognize and include all the linguistic repertoires which the [...] Read more.
Most D/HH learners experience language deprivation because they lack full access to a comprehensible language input. Sometimes, this language deprivation continues through school because of the rigid school language policy and teachers’ failure to recognize and include all the linguistic repertoires which the learners bring. Like many other teacher education programs, some Deaf education teacher preparation programs have adopted assimilationist ideologies, subtractive approaches to bilingualism that focus on only the majority hearing language, English, or the majority Deaf people’s language, such as ASL. Embracing translanguaging improves the implementation of bi/multilingualism in Deaf education by empowering the learner and the teacher to work through these challenges of language deprivation and minority languages in classrooms with Deaf learners. The current article reviews the literature and draws from translanguaging theory and practices, biliteracy, and Crip linguistics to discuss how Deaf education teacher preparation programs can support future teachers in implementing translingual knowledge, skills, and disposition and avoiding linguistic neglect in Deaf learners. In addition, the article will focus on how teachers can value and support the acquisition of all languages beneficial for bi/multilingual Deaf learners to overcome language deprivation and challenges in school. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translanguaging in Deaf Communities)
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9 pages, 362 KiB  
Article
Formal Genre-Specific Knowledge as a Resource-Dispersing Feature of Task Complexity
by Mark D. Johnson
Languages 2023, 8(1), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010064 - 24 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1583
Abstract
Recent second language (L2) writing research informed by task-based theories of second language acquisition has enthusiastically adopted task complexity frameworks to describe the specific cognitive demands of a given writing task and the effect of those cognitive demands on written L2 production. However, [...] Read more.
Recent second language (L2) writing research informed by task-based theories of second language acquisition has enthusiastically adopted task complexity frameworks to describe the specific cognitive demands of a given writing task and the effect of those cognitive demands on written L2 production. However, missing from many studies on the effects of task complexity on L2 written production is a discussion of genre as a potential source of task complexity. This paper examines the potential of genre as a resource-dispersing form of task complexity that is unique to writing. The article summarizes the predictions of task-based theories of second language acquisition particularly the predictions of the Cognition Hypothesis and its intersection with Kellogg’s widely-cited model of working memory in writing. It then argues that formal genre-specific knowledge constitutes a resource-dispersing form of task complexity that is distinct from general L2 proficiency and general writing proficiency. Full article
30 pages, 497 KiB  
Article
Interactions between Differential Object Marking and Definiteness in Standard and Heritage Romanian
by Monica Alexandrina Irimia
Languages 2023, 8(1), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010063 - 23 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1265
Abstract
The observation that not all grammatical realizations in heritage languages can be attributed to transfer from a dominant language has been emphasized in several recent works. This paper provides further arguments in this direction from heritage Romanian. As opposed to standard Romanian, the [...] Read more.
The observation that not all grammatical realizations in heritage languages can be attributed to transfer from a dominant language has been emphasized in several recent works. This paper provides further arguments in this direction from heritage Romanian. As opposed to standard Romanian, the heritage Romanian data examined here do not exhibit a restriction which blocks overt definiteness on a differentially marked object (DOM), when the latter is unmodified but interpreted as definite. Moreover, in heritage Romanian there appear to be differences between the differential marker and (other) prepositions when it comes to interactions with overt definiteness. It is shown that the preservation of overt definiteness cannot be reduced to transfer; some of the dominant languages at stake, namely Serbian and Russian are determinerless, with nominals being used bare regardless of their syntactic function. The heritage data in turn give support to a theory under which the differential marker must be structurally set aside from (other) prepositions. If the latter spell out a P projection, the differential marker is the spell out of complex internal structure of certain classes of objects, which must project at least a DP. This structural complexity for DOM is transparent in other Romance languages, where definiteness is equally obligatory on the surface, if a definite interpretation is intended. Thus, the DOM-overt definiteness setting in the heritage data follows from predictable paths of language variation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Syntactic Variation and Change of Heritage Languages)
19 pages, 854 KiB  
Article
Syntactic Awareness and Reading Comprehension in Emergent Bilingual Children
by Diana Burchell, Kathleen Hipfner-Boucher, S. Hélène Deacon, Poh Wee Koh and Xi Chen
Languages 2023, 8(1), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010062 - 23 Feb 2023
Viewed by 2862
Abstract
The present study investigated the role of syntactic awareness in reading comprehension among English–French bilinguals learning French as an additional language in Canadian French immersion programs. We examined the direct effect of French syntactic awareness on French reading comprehension as well as the [...] Read more.
The present study investigated the role of syntactic awareness in reading comprehension among English–French bilinguals learning French as an additional language in Canadian French immersion programs. We examined the direct effect of French syntactic awareness on French reading comprehension as well as the indirect effects mediated through French word reading and French vocabulary. We further examined the extent to which English syntactic awareness contributed to French reading comprehension through cross-language transfer, again considering both the direct effect and the indirect effects through French word reading and French vocabulary. Mediation analyses indicated that, within French, the relationship between French syntactic awareness and French reading comprehension was fully mediated by both French word reading and French vocabulary. In contrast, English syntactic awareness contributed directly to French reading comprehension. Finally, French word reading partially mediated the relationship between English syntactic awareness and French reading comprehension. Our study suggests that children who learn French as an additional language rely on word reading and vocabulary, in addition to French syntactic awareness, to comprehend French texts. Given that English is French immersion children’s stronger language, they use English syntactic awareness to support French reading comprehension both directly and indirectly through French word reading. Full article
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15 pages, 1105 KiB  
Article
Establishing Reliability and Validity of an Online Placement Test in an Omani Higher Education Institution
by Samia Naqvi, Reema Srivastava, Tareq Al Damen, Asma Al Aufi, Amal Al Amri and Suleiman Al Adawi
Languages 2023, 8(1), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages8010061 - 22 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2801
Abstract
Although placing students in the appropriate proficiency levels of post-secondary English programs is crucial for optimal learning, the evaluation of placement tests (PTs) in terms of establishing their reliability and validity is relatively under-researched. This study assesses the validity, reliability, and effectiveness of [...] Read more.
Although placing students in the appropriate proficiency levels of post-secondary English programs is crucial for optimal learning, the evaluation of placement tests (PTs) in terms of establishing their reliability and validity is relatively under-researched. This study assesses the validity, reliability, and effectiveness of an in-house online PT. The content validity was established through the internal and external moderation of the question papers and answer keys while criterion-related concurrent validity was established via IELTS benchmarking. New Student Survey was used to investigate the face validity. The internal consistency and reliability of the reading test items were measured using Cronbach’s alpha while descriptive statistics were calculated for the listening test. Paired sample t-test (dependent t-test) was used to assess the inter-rater reliability of the speaking and writing tests which were double-marked. The data analysis revealed that the PT was effective in placing students at different levels of the foundation program (FP) and the statistical analyses conducted to test the reliability and validity showed positive results for most of the test versions. The study offers useful insights to test developers and policymakers regarding the authentication of in-house tests and the creation of guidelines for PT design and evaluation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
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