Saturday, June 25, 2011

New Home for an Old Idea

This is a short paper prepared for DAARC 2007, but was not presented there. I have yet to find a good home for it, so I guess this is as good a place as any.
 Pronouns are a typical realization of Presuming reference in text, but Presuming reference has a range of realizations (Martin, 1992). In order to resolve anaphora in discourse, all instances of Presuming reference first need to be identified. One obstruction to extending resolution of anaphora to realizations beyond pronouns is the influential concept of bridging (Clark, 1977), a type of inference which posits a distinction between direct reference, including pronouns, and indirect reference. This paper outlines objections to bridging, and recommends that semantic relations, including repetition, superordination and composition (e.g. meronymy), better explain referential ties than bridging. This reinterpretation positions anaphora in the system of Presuming reference under the semantic category of repetition. Adopting a centering approach (Strube and Hahn, 1999) within a systemic-functional framework of discourse semantics, the resolution of Presuming reference is enabled by semantic relations. Consequently, anaphora, as realizations of Presuming reference, can be resolved through a range of sense relations. Examples of text analysis are provided with quantitative results. Suggestions for incorporating computational tools such as Word-net demonstrate the applicability of the model to computational implementation.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Martin & Matthiessen on Genre

Just a quick post for this 11-minute interview which was conducted following this Plenary talk at TESOL 2011:
James R. Martin and Christian Matthiessen
Modelling and Mentoring: Teaching and Learning From Home Through School
Friday, March 18, 2011
8:30 am–9:30 am
Adopting a longitudinal perspective on teaching and learning language from home through school to working life, Martin and Matthiessen bring out the inherent complementarity of teaching and learning processes, showing how parents and teachers serve as mentors for learners by modelling meaning for them in dialogic interaction.

Lots of interesting points, but I do have one criticism - Speak up Jim! We can hardly hear you, and we couldn't get what you were saying in your ISFC plenary. Could you please turn up your volume when in the presence of technology. It does not seem to pick you up very well. Thanks.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


First there was PLoS, now there is JOVE.

Biological, biomedical, neurological and medical science research has a new outlet. Alongside a paper version of research, JOVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments) publishes an online video version of the research paper.

JOVE is peer-reviewed, open source, Web 2.0 with community feedback and multi-modal. The official description from all JOVE webpages is:
"Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) is an online research journal employing visualization to increase reproducibility and transparency in biological, medical, chemical and physical research."

Could this be the way of the future for academic publishing? Will linguistics researchers and journals be able to follow the lead of the medical sciences? In this great example (Brümmer, V., Schneider, S., Vogt, T., Strüder, H., Carnahan, H., Askew, C. D., Csuhaj, R., Coherence between Brain Cortical Function and Neurocognitive Performance during Changed Gravity Conditions. doi: 10.3791/2670. J Vis Exp. 51 (2011)) from the German Sport University Cologne, you will find a description of the methodology of the experiments, discussion of the results, and brief explanation of how the results can be applied, in addition to watching people fly to zero-gravity to perform tests. You will also watch a little self-promotion by the researchers while doing the CARS* step in the research paper genre. Throughout, however, the level of English is very high, and so we need to ask whether this would be yet another prohibitive measure to non-native speakers when trying to publish academic research. Academics of the future may have to be able to submit publishable English in written form and speak about it to internationally acceptable standards.

*Create A Research Space

Monday, June 6, 2011

An Introduction to Linguistics and Language Studies

At last an introductory linguistics textbook that takes a clearly functional-linguistic line on all issues, without neglecting all of the important areas of the field. There are lots of well-chosen real-life examples to make the clear text and interesting discussions more relevant to new students of linguistics.
Here's a list of the chapters:
1. An Introduction to Linguistics and Language Studies
2. A Focus on Spoken Interaction
3. Analyzing Written Language
4. Language and Mind
5. Language Change
6. Language Variation
7. Language, Biology and Learning
8. Fields of Linguistics
Chapter 8 is subdivided into 13 areas such as clinical linguistics, computational linguistics and psycholinguistics. I will definitely be looking closely at this book to see if I can use it as my main coursebook for "Introduction to Linguistics" & I suggest that you do, too.
Congratulations to Anne McCabe on a job well done.
I will post a link to the Linguistlist review (& any others) when it is ready.

Go here for the publisher's page

Also from the publisher's page, here is the first chapter (click on each page to enlarge) to give you a taster of the style and the level of the book:

And here's another perspective (from linguistlist).