Theses (Linguistics)

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    Perception of L3 French Vowel Contrasts by L1 Mandarin-L2 English Learners: A Contrastive Hierarchy Perspective
    (2024) Wu, Junyu; Archibald, John
    This study looks at the L2 and L3 perception of Quebec French (QF) tense and lax vowels [y, ʏ] and /e, ɛ/ and rounded vowels /y-u/ and /oe-ɔ/. Inspired by the Linguistic proximity model (LPM) (Westergaard, 2021), I predict that the trilingual participants will outperform the bilingual participants as the trilingual can transfer phonological features from both the L1 and the L2 to acquire L3 contrasts. The contrastive hierarchy theory, a representational and learning model proposed by Dresher (2009) is adopted to explain the sources of potential transfer in phonological acquisition. According to Dresher, phoneme inventories are best understood in relation to contrastive feature specifications, assigned in language-specific hierarchies. In a language-specific hierarchy, features are assigned to divide the inventory into smaller binary subsets until each phoneme is uniquely specified. The selection of the features is determined by examining the phonological processes in a given language (Dresher, 2009). The present study provides a comparison of the perceptual performance of four groups: (1) L1 Mandarin; L2 English; L3 QF (n=22), (2) L1 English; L2 QF (n=20) and (3) QF natives (NS) (n=20), (4) naïve learners (n=20). Two learner groups are at the upper-intermediate level of QF proficiency that was measured by self-rated background questionnaire (based on instructional hours and course level). The Mandarin speakers’ L2 English proficiency level was measured by IELTS (average 7.0). An ABX discrimination task (with 1500msISI) was conducted by embedding [y, ʏ] and /e, ɛ/ and /y-u/ and /oe-ɔ/ in CVC syllables ([bVb], [dVt], [sVz]) in a total of 120 trials. The primary findings of the study demonstrate that 1) The L3 QF learners are able to transfer [±front] > [±round] from L1 Mandarin and [±tense] from L2 English to successfully parse L3 QF tense and lax vowels [y, ʏ] and /e, ɛ/. 2) The L3 QF learners, transferring [±front] > [±round] from L1 Mandarin, are able to successfully parse /y-u/ and /oe-ɔ/. 3) Lack of [±round] in the English hierarchy and the transfer of L1 phonetic roundedness cue make the L2 QF learners misparse the rounded vowels and tense and lax vowels [y, ʏ]. 4) The contrastive hierarchy theory is able to predict the ease and difficulty of acquiring these contrasts based on different types of restructuring actions. 5) The present findings are in support of the LPM (Westergaard, 2021) and the Scalpel model (Slabakova, 2017) and reinforce the importance of developing a model in L3 phonology that takes contrastive hierarchy theory and restructuring principles into consideration.
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    Writing a Grammar of Inupiaq Emphasizing Language Revitalization, Pedagogy, and Inupiaq Education
    (2024) Creed, Myles; Czaykowska-Higgins, Ewa
    Indigenous language grammars in the linguistics field have historically been developed in a linguist-centered model with little regard to the needs of particular Indigenous communities. Moreover, Indigenous methodologies have rarely been considered in developing Indigenous language grammars. This dissertation therefore reflects upon the theory and practice of reframing the concept of what constitutes a “grammar”. Theory and practice are operationalized through the development of a collaborative grammar project documenting and describing King Island Inupiaq (Ugiuvaŋmiutun) grammar and creating language learning resources for the purposes of Inupiaq language revitalization, with a particular focus on adult language learners. The grammar curriculum developed in this dissertation, as a collaboration between a linguist and King Island Inupiaq community members, emphasizes Inupiaq education and values, an adult language learner pedagogy (using a focus on form approach), and community-based research models of language documentation, description, and revitalization. The grammar curriculum produced through this collaborative project thus illustrates a way of approaching grammar writing to reflect the needs of the Inupiaq language community, including the overlapping needs of the development of pedagogical materials, materials for language revitalization, and materials that are grounded in Inupiaq education.
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    Narratives of Language, Health, and Identity: Pursuing well-being through Indigenous language revitalization
    (2024) McCreery, Dale; Saxon, Leslie; Huang, Li-Shih
    Over the past two centuries, the Indigenous communities of western Canada have faced monumental changes in the context of colonization and racism. While a small portion of these changes have been negotiated by these communities themselves, most have been imposed, resulting in rapidly changing identities and decreasing levels of well-being. One of the most prominent changes in the social domain has been the experience of language loss caused by practices and policies at Indian Residential Schools, and their aftermath for individuals and communities. For many communities the loss of voice is inseparable from several other significant experiences of disempowerment, all of which have left indelible marks on Indigenous identities. Within this context, today’s language activists are working to revitalize Indigenous languages, not simply to restore a symbol of identity, but for the much larger goal of undoing impacts of disempowering colonial experiences and narratives. This study argues that the methods involved in Indigenous language reclamation and resurgence should reflect the goals of building well-being for individuals and communities. It reviews how the formation and maintenance of Indigenous identity connects language and communication practices to well-being. It examines the undermining and replacement of practices that support well-grounded and agentive Indigenous identities, and then turns to what communities are doing in order to reverse these changes and restore agency and connection. Finally, it looks in depth at how similar programs can be adopted within the field of Indigenous language revitalization, including several concrete examples from the author’s specific context as an Indigenous person with wide experience in language documentation and as a teacher of the Nuxalk and Michif languages, ranging from curricula to unit plans to lesson plans to supporting resources and ways to adapt various common teaching methods. This study shares the author’s personal critical reflection on the use of methods and resources designed to increase the agency of learners, as well as reflections on how to develop and use materials and methods that also increase learners’ sense of security as Indigenous people and establish their grounding in place, in community, and in practice.
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    Statistical Power for Small Effect Sizes: An investigation of backward priming in Mandarin-English bilinguals
    (2024-01-29) Li, Xiao Xiao; Archibald, John
    Backward priming, or L2 to L1 priming, is a small but important effect for understanding the structure of the bilingual lexicon. A meta-analysis of priming in bilingual populations has shown that while the backward priming effect is quite small, it is qualitatively but not quantitatively different from the forward (L1 to L2) priming effect (Wen & Van Heuven, 2017). The empirical evidence for this view has come from various groups of bilinguals, including Japanese-English (Nakayama et al., 2016) and Korean-English (Lee et al., 2018) bilinguals, but not yet with Mandarin-English bilinguals: In this population, the effect is inconsistently significant. In response to this, researchers have raised the question of whether the existing studies were underpowered, given the small backward priming effect. Using a simulation-based power analysis, I show that this is most likely the case, as roughly 5400 observations per condition are necessary to detect a small backward priming effect. Previous work collected an average of 453 observations per condition, making it very unlikely for their statistical tools to be able to detect the effect. Based on this, I recommend that future work in this field conduct power analyses a priori, using the results as a guideline rather than a strict criterion for adequate power. Adopting this practice can help make experiments more replicable and future work in this direction is crucial for developing our understanding of the structure of the mental lexicon.
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    Unmasking ChatGPT: The Challenges of Using Artificial Intelligence for Learning Vocabulary in English as an Additional Language
    (2024-01-19) Farr, Chloë; Huang, Li-Shih; Bird, Sonya
    Through this thesis, presented in the form of a book, I examine the use of ChatGPT, a conversational AI tool, as a tutor for learning vocabulary in English as an Additional Language (EAL). The goal is to inform educators and learners about the role of AI in language pedagogy. I begin by examining how ChatGPT lies at the junction of technology, EAL pedagogy, and content knowledge (Chapter 2). I then conduct my own exploration of ChatGPT through a series of interactions that show where it succeeds and where it fails, focusing on vocabulary learning for English for Specific Academic Purposes (ESAP) (Chapters 3, 4, and 5). Throughout my exploration, I provide commentary on ChatGPT’s embedded cultural and linguistic biases, grammatical inaccuracies, and misinformation. The analysis of the interactions highlights the risks of using ChatGPT as a language tutor, due to technological challenges, pedagogical limitations, and content accuracy issues, especially in field-specific vocabulary. Ultimately, the recommendation is that ChatGPT should only be used for language learning by, or under the supervision of, individuals who are knowledgeable in technology, pedagogy, and content, and aware of the ethical considerations of AI (Chapter 6).
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    Chinese-as-a-First-Language (CL1) and English-as-a-First-Language (EL1) Undergraduate Students' Business Writing in Canadian Universities: A Corpus-Based Contrastive Study of Linguistic Features
    (2024-01-18) Mao, Siyu; Huang, Li-Shih
    The importance of formulaic language, such as Lexical bundles (LBs) (e.g., as a result of, the value of the), the introductory it patterns (e.g., it is important to), and self-mention markers (e.g., I, me, you) in academic writing have been well recognized (Guan, 2022; Hyland, 2002b, 2005; Larsson, 2017). Those linguistic patterns are essential for organizing texts, constructing writers’ arguments, and projecting their voices in academic prose (Güngör, 2019; Hyland, 2002; Zhang, 2015). Nevertheless, the investigation of LBs, the introductory it patterns, and self-mention markers used by English-as-an-additional-language (EAL) undergraduates is limited. In Canada, the number of Chinese-as-a-first-language (CL1) undergraduate students in the business major has increased significantly (CBIE, 2022). Given that LBs, introductory it patterns, and self-mention markers are challenging for CL1 students (Leedham, 2011), it is crucial for researchers and practitioners to understand those linguistics features used by CL1 students in the business discipline compared to English-as-a-first-language (EL1) students. Through comparative analysis, this study aims to provide greater insights into the structural and functional uses of LBs, the introductory it patterns, and self-mention markers used by CL1 and EL1 business students. Specifically, the current study aims to fill the gap by analyzing the most frequent 4-word LBs, the introductory it patterns, and self-mention markers in CL1 and EL1 undergraduate students’ business writing concerning the frequency, structures, and functions of those linguistic features. The two self-compiled corpora, EL1 corpus, and CL1 corpus, including 42 articles in each corpus, were collected from second-year university-level business writing courses. Those linguistic patterns were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively using the corpus analysis software AntConc (Anthony, 2023). The results suggest that CL1 students showed significantly higher use and more variation of LBs and self-mention markers than EL1 students, while EL1 students employed significantly more instances with introductory it patterns. Regarding LBs, the use of LBs in EL1 and CL1 writing was similar, with a heavy reliance on verb-based phrases, indicating undergraduate students’ writing style as immature learner writing (Chen & Baker, 2010, 2016). With respect to the introductory it patterns, the introductory it has two prominent interpersonal roles in stance marking and interpreting observations. The main differences between the two corpora are in using the introductory it to hedge a claim and emphasize the writer’s attitude, with CL1 students making fewer hedges and overt persuasive statements. Concerning self-mention markers, the first-person pronoun I was the most frequent self-mention marker, followed by we in both corpora. The functions of self-mention markers used by both groups are primarily associated with low-risk functions, including expressing self-benefits and explaining procedures. Since limited uses of those linguistic patterns were identified in both corpora, the findings suggest pedagogical implications for teaching LBs, introductory it patterns, and self-mention markers in the business writing curriculum for CL1 and EL1 undergraduates.
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    Nihonjin Kyoushi Dake?: The Perceptions and Beliefs of a Non-Native Speaking Teacher in a High-intermediate Japanese Language Class
    (2024-01-05) Somerville, Matthew; Huang, Li-Shih
    Within non-native speaking teacher (NNST) research, literature concerning NNSTs within the Canadian Japanese-as-a-foreign language (JFL) context is limited. Previous research has shown that prevailing preferences for NSTs due to perceived linguistic and pedagogical capabilities creates negative implications for NNSTs, such as teaching anxiety, confidence issues, and workplace challenges (i.e., hiring and discrimination) (Holliday, 2006; Phillipson, 1992; Kickzokiak & Wu, 2018; Faez & Karas, 2017; Park, 2012; Tsuchiya, 2020). By using Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and qualitative and quantitative methods (i.e., reflexive journal entries, pre- and post-course surveys, language logs, follow-up interviews, and Likert-scale questions), this study addresses the gap of scarce literature on NNSTs in the Canadian JFL field by investigating the instructional practices used by a NNST and students’ and the instructor’s perceptions and beliefs of the NNSTs’ capabilities in a high-intermediate Japanese class. Key findings of this study are that tasks benefit students’ learning of professional Japanese communication, NNSTs have the capabilities to teach high-level and pragmatic-focused speaking courses, and, students’ preferences for their instructor are based on their instructors’ individual skills and teaching attitudes rather than their nativeness. These insights provide valuable implications for academic and practical fields, offering novel findings about NNST capabilities. Administrators can use this information for more informed hiring decisions and establish collaborative models based on the unique strengths of both NSTs and NNSTs. These recommendations foster hope for NNSTs by advocating for equity, diversity, and inclusion, thereby transforming student learning within higher education.
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    Serial Verb Constructions and Auxiliary Verb Constructions in SENĆOŦEN
    (2024-01-03) Campbell, Jessalyn; McGinnis, Martha
    Serial verb constructions (SVCs) and auxiliary verb constructions (AVCs) are understudied phenomena, particularly within the Salish language family. SENĆOŦEN is a dialect of Northern Straits Salish spoken in parts of British Columbia and Washington state. Building off existing SENĆOŦEN documentation, I present and examine a corpus of examples of SVCs in SENĆOŦEN, which is appended to this thesis. This corpus also includes examples of AVCs that contain the verb yeʔ ‘go.’ This thesis is divided into two parts: description and analysis. The former is contained in Chapter 1 and Chapter 2, which describe relevant SENĆOŦEN grammar and the corpus data. The latter is found in Chapter 3 and Chapter 4, in which I analyze the unique verb yeʔ ‘go’ and provide a Minimalist analysis of SENĆOŦEN AVCs and SVCs. I argue that, in an SVC, each verbal component can be as large as AspP. Additionally, I argue that some multi-verb constructions containing the verb yeʔ ‘go’ are better analyzed as AVCs, in which yeʔ ‘go’ is the head of an AuxP located between TP and AspP. The corpus of SENĆOŦEN SVCs and AVCs is appended in an effort to contribute to the overall body of research for the language and to the field of Salish syntax.
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    Faute de mieux: An exploration of Core French curriculum, teaching methods, and learner motivational factors in British Columbia
    (2023-09-29) O'Toole, Erin; Huang, Li-Shih
    As French education rises in popularity across Canada, there is an increasing need to assess the impact of French curriculum and teaching methods on students. In 2023, the Canadian federal government updated the Action Plan for Official Languages, with up to $242.8 million funding an increase in the national English-French bilingualism rate by 2036. Across Canada, efforts are being made to accomplish Action Plan goals, including the British Columbian mandate that requires students to take a second language course from Grades 5 through 8. Despite this, very few studies have focused on the motivational factors that affect Core French students’ willingness to persevere in their French studies (Arnott, 2019; Carr, 2007; Trerice, 2015). Through both qualitative and quantitative methods including participant surveys, Likert scale rankings, and an interview, this study addresses this gap in the literature by investigating the factors that demotivate B.C. students from enrolling in Core French beyond Grade 8, and considers what can be done to mitigate these factors. This research focused on a group of Grade 8 students on Vancouver Island during their final mandatory Core French course, as well as two Core French instructors. Key findings of this study are that students are demotivated to continue studying French when they dislike the pedagogical materials used in class, experience feelings of anxiety or embarrassment during class time, and perceive their teachers’ French knowledge or skills to be inadequate. Additionally, teacher challenges include a lack of perceived standardized learning outcomes, a lack of available Core French resources, and insufficient pre-service teacher training. Results of this study have generated actionable recommendations to improve Core French pedagogy based on student and teacher perspectives, with the goal of fostering classroom environments in which students feel supported and motivated to continue learning French.
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    Apology Strategies in High vs. Low Context cultures
    (2023-09-14) Aleassa, Lana; Nassaji, Hossein
    Apologies play a crucial role in interpersonal relationships, However, (Blum-Kulka and Olshtain, 1987) mention that culture and the power between the apologizer and the person who was offended can affect the production of apologies. Thus, the present study investigates the impact of culture on apology strategies by comparing high and low context cultures, specifically Jordan and Canada, respectively. The research sample comprises 40 undergraduate students, with 20 Jordanian native Arabic speakers and 20 Canadian native English speakers. Data collection involved a written discourse competition questionnaire, which presented nine hypothetical apologetic scenarios, each representing different power dynamics between the apologizer and the offended party (high, equal, and low power). The questionnaire was translated into Arabic for Jordanian participants and distributed in English for the Canadian participants. Coding and analysis of the data employed frequencies and percentages to identify and quantify the usage of apology strategies by each cultural group. Furthermore, a chi-square test was conducted to examine differences in apology strategies between Jordanians and Canadians across high, low, and equal power relationships. The findings reveal that both cultural groups utilized six apology strategies, namely illocutionary force indicating device, promise of forbearance, offer of repair, explanation, concern for the hearer, and assessment of responsibility. Canadians exhibited consistent usage of apologies regardless of the power dynamics, which suggests that power did not affect how Canadians apologized. In contrast, Jordanians employed a significantly higher number of strategies when the person who was offended held a high-ranking position, but no differences were noticed when the addressee was in an equal or low-ranking position, which suggests that power affected how Jordanians apologized. Additionally, Jordanians used significantly more apology strategies compared to Canadians when apologizing to a person in a high-ranking position. On the other hand, Canadians used significantly more apology strategies when the person who was offended was at an equal or low power ranking position. The findings of the study were explained using the characteristics of high and low context cultures.
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    The perception and production of Mandarin citation tones by prelingually deaf adults
    (2023-05-04) Chen, Yu; Bird, Sonya
    While considerable attention has been paid to the study of speech perception and production by prelingually deaf children, little is known about prelingually deaf adults' performance in such tasks many years after rebuilding hearing and using spoken language. For prelingually deaf people who have Standard Chinese as their target language, because tonal information is hard to process by hearing devices due to technological limitations, it is especially important to investigate whether they can perceive and produce Mandarin tones correctly. This dissertation aimed to contribute to this knowledge by investigating Mandarin tone perception and production by three participant groups, namely the HA (hearing aid) group, the CI (cochlear implant) group, and the NH (normal hearing) group, through three experiments---synthesized tone perception, lexical tone perception, and lexical tone production. In the experiment of synthesized tone perception, we addressed whether prelingually deaf people could categorically perceive synthesized Mandarin tones, using identification and discrimination tasks. The results showed that while not all NH participants perceive all the synthesized tones categorically, the NH group surpassed the deaf groups both in tone identification and discrimination. Inside the deaf groups, the HA group performed better than the CI group: while a few HA participants could categorically perceive the synthesized tones, almost none of the participants in the CI group could do this. Thus, the results of this experiment might indicate that: first, Mandarin tones are not categorically perceived, or at most quasi-categorically perceived, even by NH people; second, it is hard to process fine-grained tone information even for prelingually deaf people who have abundant experience using spoken language; third, the CI devices do not convey the acoustic details needed to perceive tone as well as the HA devices do. In the experiment of lexical tone perception, we checked the deaf participants' performance in identifying Mandarin lexical tones by analyzing their mouse movements during the decision-making process. The results showed that both of the deaf groups could identify Mandarin lexical tone with quite high degrees of accuracy (around 70\%) under the distractions of competing tones and segmental distractors, indicating that the groups' performance in this experiment was much better than in the experiment of synthesized tone perception. In addition, the CI participants reached the same level as the HA participants in identifying Mandarin lexical tones, revealing that the CI participants were able to gather valuable tonal information indirectly from real human-produced speech sounds. However, the deaf groups still performed much worse than the NH group. The results showed that the deaf participants were vulnerable to the effect of target tones and of rhyme complexity in the syllables that these tones were embedded in: they performed much worse in identifying T2T3 and T2T4 than other tone pairs, and in identifying tones in nasal rhymes, compared to other rhyme types. In the experiment of lexical tone production, we investigated how deaf participants behaved in Mandarin tone production tasks using acoustic analysis and subjective assessment with multiple judges. The results confirmed that the deaf participants could produce Mandarin citation tones quite well, and the CI participants even performed a little better than the HA participants in tone production. Nevertheless, although the deaf groups had set up similar tone patterns as the NH group, the deaf participants still performed worse than their NH counterparts. Similar to the results of lexical tone perception, the deaf participants' performance was also impacted by target tone and rhyme complexity. In the current study, T2 and T3 (especially T3) were much harder to produce than T1 and T4 for the deaf participants. Tones were also harder to produce in syllables with nasal rhymes although the impact of rhyme complexity was not as obvious as in the lexical tone perception experiment. Overall, the current study indicated that, while all three groups performed much better in perceiving and producing Mandarin lexical tones than in perceiving synthesized tones, the NH group performed much better than the two deaf groups in all three experiments; inside the two deaf groups, although the CI group performed much worse than the HA group in the synthesized tone perception experiment, the two groups performed similarly both in the lexical tone perception and the production experiments. Compared with the performance of the NH group, the performance of the deaf groups revealed that the acoustic characteristics of tones themselves, the types of rhymes the tones are embedded in, and the different hearing devices were important factors that impact the prelingually deaf adults' Mandarin tone perception and production. Under the theoretical framework of the speech chain theory, these results demonstrated that the underlying mechanisms responsible for prelingually deaf Mandarin-speaking adults' challenges in tone perception and production were their deficits of information processing in the three levels (the acoustic level, the physiological level, and the linguistic level) over the speech chain. That is, because the deaf participants could not clearly hear the acoustic signals associated with the tones (the acoustic level), they showed weaker mental representations for these tones (the linguistic level), and thus experienced more difficulties in realizing them both in perception and production (the physiological level). From the results of the synthesized tone perception experiment, we can see that the deaf groups, especially the CI group had difficulty perceiving synthesized tones categorically because they could not directly access tone acoustic information. In contrast, both deaf groups performed much better in the lexical tone perception and in the production experiments, indicating their hearing devices provided access to indirect acoustic information on tones and therefore unexpected benefits to these deaf participants in terms of tone perception. In particular, considering the CI device has worse performance in processing tone information than the HA device, and the CI participants have worse original hearing loss than their HA counterparts, the current results indicate that: (a) the CI device is a useful tool for rebuilding hearing and developing spoken language even when it comes to aspects of speech that one would not expect them to help with, and (b) other cues to tones exist beyond those assumed to be the most important for speech processing (duration, amplitude, overtones of rhymes, etc.). Future studies should explore what cues to tone are available to CI users, and to Mandarin speakers more generally, that help them acquire tonal structures in the language.
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    Heritage Language Anxiety in Canadian Post-Secondary Heritage Speakers of Spanish
    (2023-05-03) Cervantes, Eloisa; Archibald, John
    Heritage Language Anxiety (HLA) refers to when anxiety and discomfort regularly occur in an individual during the use of a heritage language (HL). This can arise in post-secondary HL classrooms since learners who mainly acquired their HL in informal settings may find it nerve- wracking to later receive formal instruction in the HL (Torres et al., 2020). There is currently no tool consistently used across studies that is designed to measure classroom HLA, and previous research tends to use scales intended for foreign language learners. These may not be the most appropriate instruments for investigating HLA because they do not consider the academic or social contexts that can shape heritage learners’ anxieties (Jee, 2020; Tallon, 2009). Furthermore, much of the research on Spanish as a Canadian HL is ongoing; contributing to this area of study is valuable for understanding Heritage Spanish and its speakers in Canada, but also for developing conceptualizations of HLA and HLs that are generalizable to more contexts. The current study addresses these issues by presenting data about HLA in 11 Canadian post- secondary heritage learners of Spanish (e.g., anxieties about grammar, speaking, etc.). I remotely administered questionnaires (N = 11) and semi-structured interviews (n = 7) inquiring about participants’ backgrounds and their experiences as heritage learners. Key findings from descriptive statistics and a content analysis indicate that HLA in these speakers does relate to factors that current scales may not recognize, such as writing in the HL or external expectations of HL proficiency. In particular, learners experienced HLA if they felt that their existing knowledge of Spanish was not accepted by others. Participants also discussed social factors such as: the association of Spanish with identity; monolingual language standards; and low access to a Spanish-speaking community while growing up. Based on these findings, I present a preliminary Spanish Classroom HLA Scale alongside the implications for both researchers and practitioners.
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    Mainly English, Some Japanese: Exploring the Opinions of EFL Students and EFL Teachers on Using Translanguaging in EFL Classrooms in Japan
    (2023-05-02) Serpas, Gill; Nassaji, Hossein
    The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) identified a widespread pattern of low English speaking-ability in Japan. To solve this, MEXT has implemented the "Teaching English in English [only]" approach in Japanese high schools. Many private Eikaiwa language schools in Japan also use this method to teach their students. Despite this, Japan has still yet to see a significant increase in English scores of Japanese high school students. In order to improve Japanese students’ English proficiency level, English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers should try out different teaching methods. Thus far, English teaching methods practiced in Japan either use predominately Japanese (Yakudoku method) or predominately English (Communicative Language Teaching) to teach EFL lessons. Translanguaging is a teaching method that uses all languages in the classroom to teach and learn a new language. This study explored the opinions that EFL teachers and students had on translanguaging in EFL classrooms in Japan. 30 EFL teachers and 37 EFL students completed a questionnaire that asked about Japanese use during English lessons. The questionnaire included sections that asked about (a) demographic information, (b) Japanese use during teacher instruction, and (c) Japanese use during group work activities. The teacher’s questionnaire included a section at the end that asked about the term “translanguaging”. First, descriptive analyses calculated the measures of central tendency on Excel. Next, content analysis was used to determine themes that emerged from the participants’ open-ended questions and categories were made based on these themes. Statistical analysis included Chi-Square tests that calculated the p value for the comparison between the students’ and teachers’ responses. Results suggests that teachers and students think that Japanese use in EFL classrooms is beneficial. However, both groups of participants believed that Japanese would be more helpful during teacher instruction than student group work activities. Further analysis revealed that a higher percentage of teachers than students believed that Japanese could be beneficial during student group work activities. Based on the results, the researcher argues that “mainly English, some Japanese” could be used in EFL classrooms in Japan to help improve students’ English skills.
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    A dictionary of Songish, a dialect of Straits Salish
    (2022-11-15) Mitchell, Marjorie Ruth; Grekoff, George V.
    A dictionary format is used to present a body of lexical material collected primarily from one of the few remaining speakers of the Songish dialect of Straits Salish. Preliminary outlines of the phonological system and the morphology are provided and the validity of the linguistic sample is assessed. The dictionary incorporates some ethnographic details of Straits Salish culture. These were provided by the informant and drawn from relevant ethnological accounts. Grammatical categories, derivational forms, and examples of usage are included with many of the entries.
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    Supporting B.C.’s expanding international education: The efficacy of academic reading strategy instruction among adult English-as-an-additional-language students
    (2022-11-02) Khatri, Raj; Huang, Li-Shih
    The enrolment of international students at Canadian institutions of higher learning has tripled to 318,153 in 2018/2019 from 101,304 in 2008/2009 (Statistics Canada, 2020). Similarly, the number of international students in B.C.’s post-secondary institutions has significantly risen (BC Council on Admissions & Transfer, 2019). A significant proportion of these international students for whom English is an additional language first encounter Canadian higher education through their enrolment in English-for-academic-purposes (EAP) programs, which prepare students for English-language coursework and offer a path for enrolment at Canadian institutions without an institution’s required documentation of English language proficiency. For international English-as-an-additional-language (EAL) students who initially enrol in EAP programs in order to later pursue higher studies in Canada, reading a variety of academic texts can be challenging, since reading comprehension “involves the ability to integrate various sources of information in order to construct” meaning (Li & D’Angelo, 2016, p. 159). To facilitate reading comprehension, second language (L2) researchers have identified a variety of reading strategies, and extensive research has been conducted to examine the efficacy of reading strategy instruction. However, the research on the effect of reading strategy instruction remains inconclusive due to the interplay of various contextual and individual variables (e.g., Cohen, 2011; Plonsky, 2011). This study reports a mixed methods-action research project involving 52 intermediate-level EAP students conducted to investigate the efficacy of L2 reading strategy instruction at a post-secondary institution in Canada. Implemented through five phases: diagnosing, reconnoitering, planning, acting, and evaluation (Ivankova, 2015), the study used Mokhtari and Sheorey’s (2002) Survey of Reading Strategies (SORS) to capture the participants’ reading strategy use and a standardized reading comprehension test to measure the participants’ reading comprehension abilities. Further, participants’ weekly post-task verbal reflections and post-intervention interviews provided qualitative data about learners’ use of reading strategies over time. Through both qualitative (i.e., content analysis) and quantitative data analyses (i.e., descriptive statistics, paired-sample t-test, Pearson’s correlation, and MANOVA tests), the results showed higher awareness and use of reading strategies and reading performance among the participants after the intervention. In strategy use and reading comprehension, the experimental groups that received reading strategy instruction outperformed the comparison group that simply received regular instruction on reading with no instruction on strategy use. Statistically significant correlations were found between participants’ overall strategy use and reading performance. The analysis of the qualitative data revealed that the participants used a wide variety of global, problem-solving, and support reading strategies depending on reading academic texts in English.
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    Who is they? Pronoun use across time and social structure
    (2022-09-26) Loughlin, Ayden T.; D'Arcy, Alexandra
    Who uses they, and who can they be (or not be) used for? Singular they has been proscribed in formal grammars since the mid-18th century, yet it dates to at least the 14th century (Balhorn 2004; Curzan 2003), persevering in both writing and speech (e.g., Baranowski 2002; Balhorn 2009; Lagunoff 1997; Matossian 1997; Newman 1992; Strahan 2008). This thesis investigates the envelope of variation (e.g., LaScotte 2016; Maryna 1978; Meyers 1990) in which speakers make choices of third person singular pronouns based on a multiplicity of both linguistic (e.g., gender stereotypicality, antecedent type) and social (e.g., gender, age, LGBTQ2S+ identity) factors. The analysis is based on data from 620 participants from across Canada and the US between the ages 13 and 79. An online survey sought responses related to three occupations: LaScotte’s (2016) open ended ideal student question was replicated, and Martyna’s (1978) fill in-the-blank style was modelled for mechanic and secretary—nouns with observed and unambiguous gender stereotypes (masculine and feminine respectively; Deaux & Lewis 1986; Haines, Deaux, & Lofaro 2016). Participants self-identified their gender and were categorized into a ternary grouping: men (e.g., cis, trans, transmasculine), women (e.g., fem, cis, trans, female ish), and non-binary (e.g., genderqueer, genderfluid). LGBTQ2S+ identity was also collected, as well as personal pronouns. Use of third person pronouns in the survey responses is quantified by consistency (i.e., maintaining use of the same pronoun throughout a participant’s response) and by proportional frequency of use—the latter explored in depth. The most important quantitative finding is that singular they is the most consistently and frequently used third person pronoun overall. But, its patterns of use are not parallel across test occupations or participant social groups. The results indicate that student is gender-neutral, whereas mechanic and secretary remain gendered (he:they; she:they), results that are reflected by perceptual ratings: student remains neutral (they), mechanic skews masculine (he), and secretary skews feminine (she). The impact of social characteristics adds layers of complexity about the groups leading sociolinguistic change at societal levels and/or within their own communities and networks: Non-binary, LGBTQ2S+, users of gender neutral personal pronouns, and/or younger. Collectively, these findings suggest that gender stereotypical roles are not unilaterally weighted and biases can manifest through pronominal choice. There are multiple dimensions of influence, such as the referent, one’s identity, and the communities to which individuals are connected. Thus, this thesis both uncovers persistent gender biases and creates a dynamic display of pronominal variation across speakers.
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    Get over time: a longitudinal variationist analysis of passive voice in contemporary English
    (2022-08-26) Allen, Caroline; D'Arcy, Alexandra
    The English voice system has two passive auxiliaries: the canonical be-passive, and the more recent get-passive. Accounts of the get-passive in the linguistic literature draw from descriptive, historical, corpus linguistic, and variationist perspectives. Much existing work on the get-passive from the former three traditions notes semantic dissimilarities from the be-passive, suggesting that these two forms are not interchangeable and therefore do not constitute a typical sociolinguistic variable. Nonetheless, variationist work has treated the be- and get-passives as alternants expressing the same function. This latter work has focused on social factors alone, setting aside purported linguistic differences. This thesis provides a variationist account of the be- and get-passives, considering not only social factors, but also operationalizing as linguistic factors previously noted semantic characteristics, demonstrating which factors constrain variation and providing a holistic picture of the get-passive in vernacular English. The speakers in this study span a birth range of 1865 to 1996, providing a longitudinal scope from which to view the grammaticalization of the feature. Following the principle of accountability (Labov, 1972), instances of be- and get-passives were extracted from 108 speakers born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (N=1716). Distributional and inferential results show a substantial increase in rates of get-passive over the last 130 years, indicating an active and ongoing change in progress. Social and linguistic factors alike are shown to play meaningful roles in variant selection, revealing a (largely) longitudinally stable variable grammar. The longitudinal scope of the study illuminates grammaticalization pathways into the 20th century and reinforces attested semantic links between the contemporary get-passive and its proposed lexical source(s).
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    L2, L3 and heritage acquisition of Chinese T3 sandhi: comprehensibility and accentedness
    (2022-05-02) Deng, Jie; Archibald, John
    This is a study of Mandarin third tone (T3) sandhi produced by learners learning Mandarin as a second language, third language, or heritage language. I investigate factors affecting learners’ Mandarin T3 sandhi performance measured by two constructs, comprehensibility and accentedness. T3 sandhi in Mandarin is a phonological property that learners of Mandarin need to acquire on top of the four lexical tones (i.e., Tone 1 high level, Tone 2 rising tone, Tone 3 dipping tone, and Tone 4 falling tone). T3 sandhi is a process that which lexical tones alternate categorically, changing from the underlying tone sequence of T3T3 to T2T3. This process is motivated by the underlying trochaic feet of Mandarin (Qu, 2013). 67 Chinese learners passed the screening test (i.e., reading monosyllabic words with satisfactory tone production) to ensure that they could produce basic lexical tones before their tone sandhi production was evaluated. The eligible learners’ reading of the experimental wordlist that consists of 40 disyllabic words (i.e., 20 sandhi words and 20 non-sandhi words) was judged by 20 native speakers of Chinese in terms of comprehensibility and accentedness on a scale of 1 to 9 (e.g., Munro & Derwing, 1995; Saito, Trofimovich & Isaacs, 2017). The primary findings of the study are 1) Comprehensibility and accentedness were confirmed to be two distinct constructs as learners were found to perform significantly differently on these two constructs (both p < .05). 2) Previously learned foot structure, either from first or second language (L1footness or L2footness), were found significantly predict L3 comprehensibility and accentedness. L1footness was correlated with better performance: higher comprehensibility and lower accentedness ratings. The finding of L2footness’ correlation with worse performance in comprehensibility and accentedness was confounding but caused by low exposure to the target language Mandarin. 3) Exposure to the target language, measured by total learning length, the number of Chinese courses taken and total time spent in China, was found significantly influence comprehensibility and accentedness. This shows the importance of teasing apart effects of exposure and language transfer in L3 acquisition studies, which echoes with Puig-Mayenco and Rothman (2020). 4) Heritage learners were not found to have any acquisitional advantages over non-heritage learners as there were no significant differences between heritage versus non-heritage learners. Furthermore, Cantonese learners were found to perform worse than L2 learners on T3 sandhi words (where T3 sandhi rules need to apply) but not on non-sandhi words due to their lack of foot structure in their heritage language Cantonese. This suggests the heterogeneous nature of the Chinese heritage learner population, and Cantonese heritage learners and Mandarin heritage learners should be distinguished at least for prosodic feature acquisition.
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    A grammar of relationship. How Mi’kmaw verbs indicate the relationship between participants in a sentence
    (2022-04-27) Friesen, Dianne; Saxon, Leslie
    In this thesis we ask, how are arguments introduced and mapped to grammatical positions in Mi’kmaw? We build on insights from Piggott (1989), Wiltschko (2014), and Harley (2017) and use a corpus of over 150 verb stems in 1500+ clauses. We propose that Mi’kmaw verb stems are classified by whether they are unergative or unaccusative. Three functional categories: little v, Animacy agreement, and Voice introduce the other argument and then map the arguments to grammatical positions through two overlapping processes. We illustrate active, passive, antipassive, and possessor raising constructions. These argument-building and mapping systems work without exception throughout the language. This thesis represents a fresh analysis of Mi’kmaw which accounts for transitivity, valence, and grammatical voice in a way that the traditional Bloomfieldian analysis (Inglis 1986, Fidelholtz 1999, McCulloch 2013) has not. We believe that our findings are only possible because of my close collaboration with Mi’kmaw colleagues, our decision to systematically investigate how the functional categories pattern with a large set of verb stems, and our decision to study the syntax of the verbs in complete clauses.
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    Heterogeneity in the structure of Icelandic -st figure reflexives
    (2021-08-25) Moser, Christiana; McGinnis, Martha
    Under a theoretical framework of Minimalism and Distributed Morphology, this thesis presents evidence for an analysis that accounts for heterogeneity in the argument structure of figure reflexives that contain -st verbs of motion in Icelandic, as in Bjartur squeezed through the crowd, where Bjartur is both the entity that is the AGENT of the squeezing and the FIGURE, the entity that gets squeezed through the crowd. A set of -st verbs of motion is divided into three classes. I argue for an unergative analysis of Class 1 verbs, as they do not require PPs and can occur in impersonal passives. An expletive argument analysis best accounts for clauses containing Class 2 verb roots, as they require a PP for most speakers and can occur in impersonal passives. A derived-subject analysis best accounts for clauses containing Class 3 verb roots, as they do not require a PP and do not allow impersonal passives for most speakers.